The first month of the year,
A perfect time to start all over again,
Changing energies and deserting old moods,
New beginnings, new attitudes "
Charmaine J Forde
It is officially a brand-new year and for me that means staring at the long road ahead of me and wondering how in the world will I get organized and more purposeful this year? The best way for me to get into that scary but exciting head space is to remember that there is nothing better than taking stock of my have's and giving to those that have not. On the surface I took care of some of those things during the holiday season and quite frankly I do it through the year but there is just something so refreshing and rejuvenating and renewing about a clean sweep that begins at the start of a new year.
This year I came up with my "top 5" list for each month of the year. I'm not a fan of tackling too much in a short amount of time. My reason is simple, everything I will get my hands on needs the dedication, time and care to be handled and thought about thoughtfully and lovingly and, I'll be honest, everything has a memory attached to it and I want to allow for that impromptu trip down memory lane. I know myself well enough that the trip down memory lane will eat up time and a small top 5 list will very likely take at least a week or two to get through depending where my trip takes me. I give myself the whole month to get completely through my list because the other thing I know for sure is that one action, one thought, one intention will absolutely lead to another and before I know it I have a second top five list and maybe even a third. It all depends on what comes up along the way and how I my creativity blossoms.
This year my focus for January is all about organizing, sorting and storing my holiday decorations, gifts, cards and winter gear. Here is how my thought process formed …
My daughter has adopted the task of being the household decorator of all things holiday throughout the year but especially the end of year holidays when things get very crazy busy and the we go from one celebrity to the next. Boxes are stacked neatly in a corner for easy access and the decorations change almost daily if she happened to go to the store to buy something new (ugh).
Once the holiday is over I am ready to clean up but she is not so I start thinking about how I will tackle the clean-up once I get the all clear permission from her. It's just too sad of a chore for her to participate in the clean-up so I gladly do my share and take that task on by myself. During the clean-up I make lists of what we will need for the following year in the event that something broke or got squished beyond recognition or if I saw something that was too beautiful to pass up next time. I then create new ways to pack all the decorations so that I do not have too many boxes going back into the attic. It's challenging and fun to put that puzzle together.
So, when I thought about putting away the decorations this year I also realized that some of the holiday gifts were still piled up in a corner and so I considered that once the decorations were all set and in their place until next year what will I do with all the gifts that need to be gone through and put away? I am an absolute supporter of donating whether it be food, time, clothing, or services so I knew right away that opening the donation station at home was going to take more than a few hours of my time. I would need everyone's help with making those decisions.
Are you ready for the list? Here we go:
Set up a recycling and donation station that is accessible for all hands to contribute to at any time either for this specific project or set up for deposits through the year.
Organize, label and put away holiday decorations and wrap those decorations safely and carefully for easy access next year.
Break up empty gift boxes and card board boxes and wrap them tightly together for recycling. I have a few rolls of colored vinyl tape in the garage so I use that as my wrapping material. The recycling company in my area picks up with the garbage each week so it makes life easier for me and the guys appreciate the single bundle so it's a win / win.
Recycle Christmas trees and wreaths. I would check to see if your town has specific pick up dates and times for recycling of these items or sometimes your landscaper will haul it away for you for a small fee or you can find a local recycling company in your area that takes debris like trees , shrubs, etc. One town near me has the entire month of January available for residents to drop off their tree with a few guidelines to follow and set times. Knowing the tree will get a second chance to be of good use to the land is a great way to give back to the earth.
Save the front of your greeting cards and use for projects throughout the year stored in a labeled box for things such as pictures sent that can be framed, or cherished words that can be embellished into a collage or gift tags for next year. Another idea is to donate the front part of the cards you are not looking to keep.
Sort through your gift cards, returnable items, broken or damaged items or gifts that you might think to re-gift and see if you can repair those that are broken or donate the gift cards or returnable items like Ronald McDonald house .
It is at this point where going through those gift items Let me go through my own closets of "stuff" to see what needs keeping and what could gain new life for someone else. So, I decided to keep to winter clothing this month. Please consider donating gently used or new winter gear such as blankets, sports equipment, boots, gloves, scarves, hats, coats, shovels, scrapers, sweaters, flannels, electric heating blankets, pads or rubs and creams, hand warmers, socks, knee hi stockings, shawls, jeans, etc.
Last thought: If you find that every month this year you want to declutter your pantry and give to food banks throughout the year instead of only at Thanksgiving time then this month would be a great time to check for the items you might have purchased a bit too much of like soup, canned goods, pasta, cereals, anything boxed or canned that can be made into a warm meal.
And just like that my top 5 list became my top 8 list and I did not lift a finger yet to get to the clean-up. Sheesh!
I hope this has been helpful for you and most of all I hope you have fun with it. Allow your imagination and creativity to bloom and grow while going through this list. If it is easier for you, save your new list for February when I list a whole new set of top 5 ideas. If you are really ambitious just remember how January feels like the longest month of the year so go ahead and tackle your emerging ideas as they happen. Good Luck and I'll see you back here in February.
Call to Action
What stops you from getting organized?
What would be helpful to you in order to win at organizing?