It's the New Year, and next to losing weight, getting organized is always at the top of the resolution list. So this week, I offer Five Organizing Tips to get you on track for 2017.
1. Clear off your kitchen counters.
Clean lines are in and packed kitchen counters are out. If your counters are covered with small appliances, mail, cookie jars and more, it means you have too much stuff. Your kitchen items should fit in your drawers and cabinets.
Go through your kitchen spaces and get rid of any items you no longer use. Lots of us go crazy with that wedding registry gun, and, once we have kids, we realize we have no time to make pasta or orange juice in that amazing pasta maker and juicer we thought we needed.
When decluttering, just remember how much money you spent on those beautiful counters. Why are you covering them with junk?
2017 Pro Tip: Take unwanted kitchen items to the Green Chair Project, which helps set up homes for people who are recovering from homelessness, crisis or disaster.
2. Clean out your makeup.
I once had an eye infection, and the doctor asked me how old my mascara was. She said mascara grows all sorts of gross stuff the older it is. Yuck!
I know you have old makeup. It's hard to throw it out because makeup is expensive, and you just can't bring yourself to get rid of it.
It's time to throw it out. 1. Old makeup is unsafe to put on your skin and around your eyes. 2. Unless you are professional model, you don't need 8 million cases of makeup. 3. It will be easier and faster to get ready in the mornings the less stuff you have in your bathroom drawers.
2017 Pro Tip: I invite you to go see aesthetician Julie Hafer at Beauty Ethics, who can help you create a fast, but beautiful makeup regimen with affordable make up. She also does brows and facials!
3. Be mindful of the clothing you buy.
There have been a number of recent articles about how "fast fashion" is hurting the environment. That's because people by so much cheap clothing - 10 T's for $10! - and then throw them away shortly after because they don't last more than a season. Then they end up in our landfill.
I am starting a conscious clothing movement, where I am teaching consumers to be more mindful of how much clothing they buy.
My mission at Raleigh Green Gables is for you to buy quality items that last. Yes, it will be more expensive, but I like that. You can save up and research what you really want. And it means you will leave the store with only one or two items, instead of 50. You don't wear half of what's in your closet anyway - more than half if it's shoved full of clothes you can't see and don't even know that you own. It's time to stop buying clothes in bulk.
2017 Pro Tip: Raleigh Green Gables organizers can help you clean out your closet, and then I invite you to call Sheon "The Stylist" Wilson, who will help you put outfits together with what is left.
4. Say no to things coming into your house.
I request you make 2017 the year of saying no.
It's hard to say no because we worry what others will think of us if we turn down the volunteer job or the china from mom we don't want.
But we must learn to take a stand. Live your life for you and not for them. Yes, I am talking about all those volunteer jobs they ask you to do and that you don't want to do. But I am also talking about saying no to stuff.
I am at the age where so many of my friend's parents are downsizing and bringing them boxes and boxes of stuff. It's OK to politely decline Grandma's 200-piece china set.
And if your mom throws a temper tantrum, that's about her, not about you. Plus, if she doesn't want it in her house, why do you have to have it in yours?
As I tell clients, it's OK to get rid of Grandma's china if you don't want it. You are not throwing out Grandma, just her china.
2017 Pro Tip: You can sell your china at Replacements, Ltd., located just outside Greensboro.
5. Clean out your basement, garage and attic.
Did you basement flood during Hurricane Matthew? That is a sign from the universe to clean it out. I encourage everyone to have nothing in their basements or attics. And garages are for cars. Period.
There is very little chance you are going to go down to the dark basement or climb up the rickety ladder to the attic to get anything on a regular basis. So why are you storing anything up there? Plus, when you leave things in the basement, they tend to grow mold.
Winter is attic and garage season, so it's a good time to clean it out. As I tell clients, empty spaces invite opportunities. Do you want a new car? Clean out the garage. Tell the universe you are ready.
2017 Pro Tip: Junk Doctors will go anywhere in your house and haul out junk. I had them clean out extra wood left in my attic, so now it's completely empty.
Leah is the mom of two, a professional organizer and owner of Raleigh Green Gables. Find her here regularly on Go Ask Mom.