Oh dear, we’re in January. Possibly the cruelest month of the year. All the fun festivities are over, the decorations that made our home sparkle have gone, the happy (and sometimes manic) preparations for the festive seasons are a distant memory… What now? It does seem a little drab and empty, doesn’t it? I don’t know about you, but one of the worst parts is the taking down of Christmas decorations. Having just got used to having them around, the house suddenly looks like it’s lacking something and everything seems just wrong. This is where we need some positive action. Something to make us feel comfortable and happy again in our home. And what better time to do some organising than the beginning of the year? I mean, it’s the perfect time: the days are still short, the evenings long and most of us will be watching our cash flow closely, so staying in and giving our home some attention is the perfect antidote to feeling deflated and inactive. Besides, the beginning of the year also an obvious choice to set us up for the whole year and prepare for how we want to live. So, here some tips on how to organise your home for 2017.
I’ve decided to focus (just as I do in my own home, really) on three main areas: the kitchen, my wardrobe and the living room. The kitchen because it’s actually quite satisfying to get organised there, the wardrobe because January seems to be the right time to take stock of what we’re wearing or not, and the living room because that’s most likely where the Christmas tree will have been and it now cries out for some re-organising.
Let’s start with the kitchen then. If you’re anything like me, you will have mountains of boxes, bags, containers etc. filled with food stuffs. Over time, I have found that there are items I use all the time and others that I might pull out once a year (mixed spices are a prime example as they tend to come out pretty much only at Christmas time) but don’t want to discard. Storing the ones I use less often in tins “light-proof” tins goes a long way to keeping them fresh for longer. Other items (flour, sugar, rice) can then be put into large jars. Buy a stack of labels and set an hour or so aside to label all jars/tins and then arrange them on your shelf. This will immediately make you feel and your kitchen look more organised and make your workflow easier.
Replacing food items that we don’t use every day (but that we might suddenly need) can often be forgotten, so a decorative blackboard is a great idea: as soon as you use the last tin of chopped tomatoes, write it on the blackboard so you won’t forget it on your next shop.
If your fridge looks anything like mine (and no, you don’t want to see it!), then that might mean that you’ll have a whole collection of small items and jars. Get a large, square or rectangular, tupperware container and put all those small items in it. Suddenly your fridge will look a lot more organised and you can pull out the whole container in one when looking for something instead of knocking countless items over.
Getting your wardrobe organised might be a little trickier than your kitchen. Not because it’s more difficult in the technical sense, but because we’re so often emotionally attached to clothing. However, there’s something very liberating about taking a huge bag of clothing to the charity shop.
Start by going through the smalls: chuck out any socks with holes (unless you really are going to darn them???), bras with missing wires, undies with frayed elastics. Basically anything that really is a mess.
Next, go through your wardrobe and really scrutinise each item in terms of when you last wore it. Seriously, when I did this, I discovered I had been holding onto items I hadn’t worn in over two years! What’s the point in keeping those? If you can’t bring yourself to actually chuck something out, then put it into a plastic bag and store it somewhere like the attic. Give yourself 6 months to “miss” it. If you haven’t, get rid of it.
Now’s the time (if you have such items) to take a load to the dry cleaners. Getting your wardrobe organised also means only having pieces in there that you can pull out and wear instantly.
As mentioned, the living room will most probably have been where the Christmas tree has been standing up until last week and now it feels a little bleak and needs a bit of care to feel homely again.
So, start by sorting through books and ornaments and give all your shelves a good dusting. Rearranging everything in a slightly different manner will give you a new outlook and an idea of which books you might actually want to re-read. Whilst you’re at it, that stack of magazines might also require some attention. Which ones are you likely to go back to at some point?
Get your sofa and carpet professionally cleaned to really freshen up the room. You could also invest in some new cushions to give the sofa a new look without having to splash out a fortune.
Whilst flowers don’t strictly come under the term of “organisation”, after spending a day sprucing up your home, it’s nice to treat yourself. A bunch of lovely fresh flowers for your coffee table will cheer up the room and make all your hard work look even better.
I hope these tips are useful and will inspire you to get organised for the new year.