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Winter Declutter – A Guide To Organizing Your Home
Many people put off cleaning until the spring because the weather is usually too terrible to tackle any major home improvement or clean out projects.  Yet, there are smaller projects that you can tackle in the warm embrace of your home while the bitter winter winds blow foul that can put you ahead in the coming year.  By completing one small task a day, such as cleaning out a junk drawer, and one slightly larger task on weekends, such as clearing your bedroom closet, you can have your entire home organized and looking sharp by the time warm weather hits.  Here are some tasks you can complete with relative ease this winter…
  • Closets – Get rid of any worn or old shoes that you no longer have a use for.  If they are falling apart, toss them, but if they still have a little use, consider donating them.  This goes for old or unused clothes as well.  If they are ripped or stained, throw them out, but if you simply won’t wear them again, donate them.  Make sure everything in your closet is neatly organized: clothes are on hangers or folded nicely, shoes lined up, etc.
  • Functional Storage – Purchase bins or cloth carry-alls that can be stored on shelves or under your bed.  The goal is to neatly store your items without creating an extra eye sore or more clutter in the form of stacked bins with no home.
  • Toys and Books – If there are unused or slightly worn toys and books taking up space, donate them.  You can always choose charities such as AmVets or thrift stores like Salvation Army but you can also take old books to stores like Half Price Books and receive a store credit for your haul.
  • Old or Broken Furniture – Why hang on to broken furniture?  Toss it.  If it’s simply old, you can give it away to families in need or to charities.
  • Freezer and Fridge – Sort through your freezer and refrigerator for expired items or anything you will no longer use.  Throw them away to clear space and remove mold sources.
  • Cabinets and Pantries – Use a particularly nasty weekend to clean out your kitchen cabinets and pantries.  Remove expired items and sort through your spices/ingredients.  If you have any old appliances or 6 items of the same kind, consider donating them to those in need.
  • Junk Drawer – Whether it is in your kitchen, office or bedroom – everyone has a junk drawer or two.  Empty your entire junk drawer and organize it.  Discard items that you have too much of or will never use again.  You can purchase small tray or divider organizers to keep things neat.
  • Cleaning Supplies – Go through your cleaning supplies and straighten them up.  Many times you can dispose of cumbersome bottles by marrying half used bottles.  Be sure it is the same chemical – Pine-Glo with Pine-Glo not Pine-Glo with Spic and Span, etc.
  • Countertops – Clear off your kitchen countertops.  You may be losing valuable space to an item you hardly use, such as a blender.  Consider putting it in a lower cabinet when not in use.
Tips on Cleaning
  • Old Phone Apps – Go through your phone and uninstall old apps that you no longer use.  This will not only help to keep your phone screen less cluttered but will free up valuable memory on your device.
  • Clean Computer – Whether it is a desktop, laptop or tablet, clean out junk applications that you no longer use or that take up too much space.  Organize your files into labeled folders and try to back up important files and media (pictures/video) to an external hard drive.  This will keep them off of your computer and help keep performance optimal.
  • Emails – If you have more than one large email account, you may want to break it up and only organize one a day.  Clear out any junk email or older emails you no longer need.  If it’s a keeper, sort them into labeled folders.  Be sure to clear your spam folder and empty your trash.
  • Helpful Apps – Spend an evening looking through iPhone or Android app stores for something that might help to organize a particular area of your life.  Maybe you need help tracking your fitness goals or spending habits, perhaps an app for recipes or a community to sell your old items – whatever the need there may be an app to help you manage it.
  • Your Car – If it’s not too brisk outside, consider taking a few minutes to clean out your car.  Toss those old receipts, food debris and garbage and organize emergency kits, shoes, clothes, etc. in your trunk or rear compartment.  You can even purchase storage options that are specifically for vehicles.
  • Personal Items – Go through those 25 lip balms and toss out the old ones with smashed balm on the sides.  Will you ever truly use all 25?  Chances are, no, you will not.  Sort through your makeup and dispose of anything old, dried out or broken.  If you have items you will never use, give them to a friend or donate them.
  • Junk Mail – Even though you may do everything by email, the snail mail can still pile up.  Recycle all junk mail.  If there is anything you don’t need to hold on to but that may have sensitive information on, tear, cut or use a paper shredder to eliminate any snoopy noses from digging where they shouldn’t.
  • Wallets and Purses – Take a few minutes to empty out your wallets or purses.  Toss any receipts you don’t need and organize your cards and money.  Make sure everything is secure but easy to access.  If you have a purse and have extra items stored in it, make sure everything is neat and absolutely necessary for you to carry.  If you have loose change, toss it into a piggy bank or your coin purse.
  • Bathroom Toiletries – Organize your shelves, medicine cabinet and under sink storage.  Toss out old items and, if applicable, marry similar items.  You may find items that don’t necessarily need to be stored in a bathroom and can be put in a hallway or bedroom closet.  If there are items you will never use, give them to a friend or donate them.

By taking on a little every day, you can kick clutter to the curb and have your house back in tip top shape.  When the weather begins to lighten, you can focus on landscaping or garage clean out projects and not have to waste the warm weather slaving away inside.  Stay motivated and only take on a few things at a time.  If you can only do one drawer or shelf per day, so be it.  Just make sure to stick with it each day.  Once you start to see things become neater, it will make you feel good and you will start to crave more of it, making it easier to form the habit.

Use the mind map to keep on track for target areas and add other decluttering projects on to your personal winter challenge.  When it is time to tackle those large projects or you need to do a clean out pronto, contact your Lemont dumpster rental service to find the solution you may need.  While cleaning may seem daunting, take a breathe and just take it one drawer at a time.

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