How to ease into decluttering in the new year
by Sarah Ravits
Keeping an organized home is a challenge for many, especially following a chaotic holiday season. Everything seems to pile up, including wintertime bills, extra layers of clothing, gift wrapping, children’s holiday toys and general clutter.
But January is a time for fresh starts, and experts say that reorganizing your home doesn't have to be daunting. Picking up a few new habits can do wonders for your home — and your mental well-being.
A creative way to declutter your home is to designate an official donation bin, says Jen Van Buskirk, who operates The Neat Boutique in the Charleston area and teaches a newly launched Organized Mamas Masterclass.
She says to place the bin in a prominent location, such as near the garage door or front entry.
“I recommend using a cute basket or even a paper grocery bag,” she says. “This way, donating items is always top on your mind and super easy to do.”
She recommends hauling the donations away a weekly habit.
Van Buskirk also says to focus on what she calls “Conscious Consumption.” It’s a philosophy of being “intentional and setting a high bar for everything that comes into your home. Ask yourself the following before purchasing or obtaining a new item:
-Do I love it?
-Do I have a specific ongoing need for it?
-Is it a priority to buy?
-Do I have space?
-Will it add value to my life?
“Let’s keep it simple in 2020,” says Keri Scott, owner of Once Upon a Clutter based in Mt. Pleasant.
Scott has been organizing and coaching clients for 12 years and says while each client has a unique set of circumstances, what ultimately unifies them all is a desire to “de-stress and simplify.”
She offers three easy-to-follow tips to help you embark on a neat, new path.
For starters: Make your bed.
“The bedroom is the place where we start and end our day,” she says. “It should be a serene and organized space that inspires and energizes you as you wake up. It should be a cozy, inviting space that welcomes you home after a long day.”
The psychological benefits of keeping a clean bedroom are numerous.
“If you have a messy room, this one task will be an instant Band-Aid,” she says. “If you have an organized room, it will be the final touch. The best part is pulling back the covers and crawling into bed after a long day.”
She also says it’s important to create a routine. Start by carving out 10 or 15 minutes of quiet time, says Scott. “That may mean waking up a little earlier, but give it a try. The benefits outweigh the inconvenience.”
Whether you have children or not, she recommends planning the night before for the next day.
“This not only saves time, but allows for a much less stressful morning,” she says. It can “lay the foundation for a great day.”
Even when unexpected circumstances inevitably arise, Scott says that having a predictable evening routine can give you something to look forward to.
“Kids and adults alike thrive on routine,” she says.
It can be as simple as making a warm cup of tea and escaping into a good book.
Even a small sense of accomplishment will give you instant permission at the end of the day to rest easy.