Are your Christmas decorations (mostly) down? We hauled the last of our bins down to the basement last weekend, although I’ve found a few things that I missed and they’re waiting by the back door to rejoin their friends.
For me, part of the fun of January is getting the house back in order. The holidays are such a fun and busy time, and of course I love how pretty that house is when it’s decorated, but I also love when it’s back to being neat, organized, and cozy.
If you feel the same way, then you’ll enjoy today’s post. It’s all about what I usually do (or plan to do) during January to get things shipshape for the year to come. Amy will share a similar post in a couple of weeks and she is definitely more organized than I am!
Sort and Purge Christmas Decorations
Every year when I take down our decorations, I take a hard look at them and donate or toss things we haven’t used. This year I even went through ALL of our ornaments and found a ton of broken ones that I guess I was holding onto out of sentimentality. Since we move so frequently and we do have a weight limit, I’m always torn between purging and wanting to hold onto things for my kids for “some day.” However, I’m pretty sure they don’t want broken ornaments!
I’ve used big red and green bins (like these) for years to organize our decorations and I try to pack up the decorations by room; that’s just faster for me than grouping like items together, especially when I pull them out the next year. If you don’t already have a label maker, then I highly recommend you add one to your shopping list as they are SO useful! The one I have is years old and they don’t make the exact one any more, but this is the newer version.
If you have an artificial Christmas tree and don’t store it in a bag, I highly recommend one. They’re usually under $20 and are so much easier to handle than the huge box that your tree came in! (see a few options here)
Amy is super-organized when it comes to storing her holiday decor and wrote an entire post about it (you can read it here).
Organize Your House, One Room at a Time
This project often takes me a little longer than the month of January, but I do like to organize and sort in every room of our house as part of my New Year’s tweaking. After the Christmas decorations have been dealt with, I usually turn to my closet, and then work room by room until I’ve taken a look at everything we own and decided if we still want to own it!
I throw very little away; I give it away instead. Since I volunteer at a thrift shop I know that even ratty T shirts can be shredded and recycled. I usually take 2-3 bags of donations in weekly throughout the year, although that number does increase in January.
If you’ve read Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, then you’ll know that I move onto books next, and so on.
For things that are more valuable, I’ll snap a quick picture and post them on Facebook Marketplace, and then stash the cash in an envelope to spend on our next vacation. Or, on college tuition since we are still in the thick of that!
Set Yourself Up for Cleaning Success
As much as I hate it, cleaning the house never, ever ends. I do have a few favorite products and services to share that will help you start 2020 with your home organized AND clean, though.
First, Amy and I have both used Grove Collaborative for years for many of our natural cleaning and personal care items and highly recommend it. It’s a monthly subscription service, so I take stock of what we need in the cleaning closet and adjust my monthly shipment accordingly. I try to keep a full set of cleaning supplies upstairs and down; it just makes life easier. I don’t have room for a beautifully organized cleaning closet like Amy does, but I do use bins that I stash under the sinks.
I also swear by our Dyson vacuums (we have an upright and a stick) and our iRobot mop, Lenny. You can read a review I wrote about Lenny (here); I will say that I haven’t met anyone who owns a Roomba or robot mop that doesn’t love it. They run great sales several times a year, too.
We’ve partnered with Spot Shot for several years now and that’s because both of us used it and swore by it long before we had a business relationship with them. Their carpet stain removers are always in my cleaning bin–even though we have hard flooring throughout this house, I still use it when the rugs get stained.
I do try to complete an actual “spring cleaning” in the first few months of the new year but that is still to be scheduled and quite possibly put off for as long as possible.
Make Technology Work For You
One of my goals this year is to go paperless in our filing systems as much possible. My plan is to scan and then shred all the receipts that I need to keep for tax or other purposes, and slowly but surely scan older documents and shred them. It’s a big job but other than documents that have to be originals (like wills, birth certificates, passports, etc), I’d rather not have to file and move all that paper around.
There are dozens of scanning apps out there, but I’ve used Tiny Scanner for quite a few years and plan to use it for this newest project. I’ll save receipts to folders on my laptop, and of course my laptop is backed up two places online and again on an external hard drive. It will be a big job, so wish me luck!
If you have any brilliant ideas to keep us on track for an organized 2020, I’d love to hear them. Happy organizing, and thanks for stopping by!