December 31, 2017


1. Clothing, jewelry and other personal Items. Gifts are wonderful, but if we don’t periodically purge our possessions they can pile up beyond what is ideal. The holidays offer a wonderful opportunity to let go of your unwanted things. When storing apparel, consider getting rid of one older item for every new item you receive as a gift. Scan your closet and drawers for clothing and accessories you have not worn over the last year. Consider donating any items that are unworn or (barely) stained or do not fit well. Also take a close look at personal items you have accumulated such as hand lotion, soap and perfume. If you don’t like the scent or will never use them, consider donating them to a women’s shelter. In addition, try not to have too many decorative knick-knacks cluttering your dresser. Only keep the ones you truly love. To quote Marie Kondo, get rid of anything that does not “spark joy.”

2. Toys and books. It is easy to become overwhelmed with children’s toys and books after the holidays, especially if you come from a large extended family that gives many gifts. If your children receive an abundant supply of new toys, consider putting some away and rotating them in later during the year. That way, newer toys will remain fresh and exciting.
Also consider donating any toys and books your children have outgrown. If it’s difficult to let go of books, consider storing favorites in your attic or basement so they are not cluttering your living space. Donate the rest of the unwanted reading material to a local nonprofit or library.

3. Household goods. If you received new household items that you would enjoy using, cut off the tags and use them right away rather than storing or saving them for later. Wash and hang a new set of towels and enjoy them. This frees you to donate old or faded towels, perhaps to a local animal shelter that will likely accept towels in any condition.

Organize Your Returns and Donations

Let’s face it: Sometimes even the most well-intentioned gift just isn’t to our liking. Those gifts can clutter our homes for days or weeks if we don’t make the time to return them. To make the process easier, place all items for returns and their associated receipts in a shopping bag and leave them by your front door, or even in the trunk of your car. Then set a time on your calendar

Get Your House Back in Order

1. Clean out the refrigerator and pantry. During the holiday season, these areas often get stuffed with leftover food and holiday cookies. Take the time to pull out all your containers of uneaten leftovers and survey their freshness. When in doubt, throw it out — the risk of food poisoning is not worth it! Also toss out any stale baked goods. However, chocolate can be stored in a cool, dry place for several months, or you can store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to one year.
Once you’ve addressed the food, take a few minutes to wipe down refrigerator and pantry shelves so they’ll be ready for your next grocery trip.

2. Tidy up the guest room. If you had overnight visitors for the holidays, change the sheets and clean the room. Having clean sheets on the bed and a tidy room will make it much easier the next time you host overnight guests.

3. Create a decorative winter scene. When my daughters were little they always felt sad when it was time to take down our holiday decor. One year, we decided to leave the fireplace garland on the mantel after the tree and other decorations were put away. We added white lights as well as white decorations — snowflakes and snowmen — to create a winter scene that didn’t feel Christmas-specific. We liked this solution so much that we now keep our mantel decorated until early February. For my family, this practice has helped take the sting out of the end of time off from school and work.

Finally, Take Time to Be Thankful

Once your house is back in order, take some time to relax, sit down with a cup of tea and write thank-you notes or emails. You should send a written note anytime you receive a gift and the giver wasn’t there to be thanked in person, according to the Emily Post Institute. If the gift is from a close friend or relative, though, a call or email is acceptable. Gratitude improves both physical and psychological health — grateful people sleep better, have less stress and are more resilient, according to Amy Morin, a licensed clinical social worker and author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do. This should give us all motivation to be thankful!

article credit Houzz


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