8 Things to Declutter Now for the New Year

The new year brings a desire to clear out the old, bring in the new, focus on goals, and be more productive. Making a clean sweep through your life and home will help you focus on all your new year goals and plans. Coming up on Top Shelf Home Organizing’s eight year of helping busy families, we created a list of impactful things you can declutter to have the best year yet.

1. Schedule

Take a real look at your busy schedule. Create a priority list of activities. Start with the time required to make money and care for your family. Then look at what makes you happy and healthy. Time wasters that do not fulfill the above can be seriously reconsidered. Your time is precious.

2. Email

Take some time to clean out your inbox. Create a list of action items from your email to tackle at another time in order to keep focused on clearing the emails. Unsubscribe to any email lists that you do not want to continue receiving. Consider a separate email account for retail promotions and other non-business email lists.

3. Holiday Decor

As you are packing away your seasonal décor, donate the items you did not use or did not enjoy this past season. This will make packing away décor and decorating next holiday much easier. More tips on Organizing Holiday Stuff here.

4. Pantry

Eating healthy in the new year means cleaning out the junk from the pantry. Clear out any food that is expired or doesn’t align with your healthy eating goals. Follow these Simple Steps to Pantry Organization here.

5. Food Containers

Has your stock of food storage containers expanded over the holidays? Clear out any mismatched lids and containers that do not match, return any containers to family and friends, donate the extras that you do not need. More ideas on Framework for Organized Kitchen here.

6. Clothes

Donate the clothes you did not wear in the past year. If you did not have the desire or reason to wear some of your clothes in the past year, chances are you won’t wear them this year. Find a good charity you want to support and donate your clothes. More on Wardrobe Decluttering from Conway Image Consulting here.

7. Personal Products

Clear out your personal products by discarding old, expired make up, lotion, perfume and soap. Get rid of products you do not use or are not the right fit for you. Unopened, unexpired items can be donated to a shelter or social services program. Learn more Fun Bathroom Organizing Tips here.

8. Toys

Any toys your kids did not play with in the last 12 months can be sold or donated. If they didn’t play with them in the last year, they likely will not play with them this year.

Get Started!

This list is enough to get you off to a great start this year. Decluttering is a process. It cannot be done in one hour or one day. Start with areas with the biggest impact and start the snowball rolling. After years of working with busy families, we know areas to focus on.

When organizing and decluttering overwhelms you, we are happy to help. Reach out to Jayme at Top Shelf Home Organizing to get you started on the right track

How Clutter Affects Your Health & Wellbeing

By: Jena Ehlers, The Wellness Resolution

Disorganization and clutter can affect you both mentally and physically. Having lots of clutter and being disorganized creates more stress in our lives. It can cause anxiety. Too much clutter can also cause troubles sleeping, poor eating choices, or even make it hard to dust causing allergies.

How an Unorganized Space Creates Anxiety

After an exhausting day, it can be hard to relax when you see piles of papers, piles of boxes, surfaces cluttered with junk, clothing piled up, etc. You might not consciously feel anxious when you see the clutter, but you could be feeling it subconsciously. Just think about how you feel after you have cleaned your kitchen and everything is neatly put away. There is a sense of calm when you start cooking and nothing gets in your way.

I have noticed when I make sure to clear all the clutter on my coffee tables, end tables, fold blankets, and place all the pillows neatly on my couch before bed, I feel this sense of calm when I see my living room space in the morning. When I don’t my mood is less uplifting.

Harms Your Productivity and Focus 

It can be harder to concentrate on one project at a time if you are not organized. Not only with not being organized with your work priorities, but just seeing clutter around you can be a distraction and make it harder to focus and remember things.

Sabotages Your Time 

When you are in a rush to make a meal, find the perfect outfit for the day, and get out the door in the morning, being organized is a huge time saver! Just the thought that you might be late for work or another activity can create some anxious feelings. Being organized will help you make more efficient plans and save you time.

Anxiety from Items that Don’t Fit Your Space or Lifestyle 

Items that don’t fit with the style of your living room, clash with the color palette you are trying to achieve, take up too much space, or remind you of a person you used to be, should be decluttered. These items can make you feel less happy, and your home should be a place that best represents you. The current you, not the past you. These items can also create unnecessary anxiety, and your home should be the place where you feel the most comfortable.

Items that Bring Bad Memories 

Clutter could bring up bad memories either on a conscious or subconscious level. Maybe you have an item in your house that reminds you of a difficult time in your life, an item a friend gave you that you no longer speak to, or just an item that represents a former you. Seeing that item regularly could cause sadness, anger, or anxiety. So make sure to declutter items that no longer bring you any happiness, even if they are really unique or expensive.

At Top Shelf Home Organizing, we love to help busy households get organized. If you are looking for guidance on getting your home organized, reach out to Jayme.

Understanding Emotions Will Help You Declutter

Decluttering is one of the first steps to an organized home. The emotions that emerge when sifting through items in your home can overtake your motivation to declutter. We all experience emotions when working through items acquired through our life experiences. Hope, fear, guilt and emotional attachment may prevent us from decluttering our homes. Identifying, understanding, and overcoming these emotions will help you create the peaceful home you desire.

Here are some key areas to consider to help overcome these strong emotions.

Setting Small Goals

Have you started to declutter in the past, but the project was too overwhelming? When emotions arise, cutting the clutter can be nearly impossible to tackle. Breaking the process down in steps or a method can make the project manageable and reduce overwhelm. Instead of telling yourself you are going to organize the basement this weekend, set the goal of gathering one category of items. Getting all items together is a task that is clearly defined and does not bring on the overwhelm of the entire organizing process.

Gathering tools, pants, or pots and pans feels much more manageable than getting an entire room organized in one weekend. Once a category is gathered, set the next goal of sorting the category. Dividing the items into: need/love, don’t need/dislike, and might use/its okay categories is a task that can be completed in a reasonable time. Breaking down the individual tasks in an organizing project will help reduce overwhelm.

Letting Go

The things in our home and life arrived because of a life event. Revisiting these items may bring back memories. A college backpack, an engraved pen set, wedding dress, handwritten notes and cards, artwork, sporting goods, or tools and crafts were acquired at a time of life when there was an accomplishment, celebration, or a life change. It was a big time in your life. An array of emotions may surface when approaching these things making you feel the need to keep the items. Understand these items are not who you are. Your life experiences have shaped who you are today, not the stuff. Letting go of items will not change who you are, what you have experienced, or what you have accomplished.

Fear

The emotion of fear prevents us from decluttering our homes. We keep items because they offer a sense of security. Fear may exist because you feel you may not have the resources someday to purchase the items or the items may not be available.

The first step in overcoming this fear is understanding if you will even need or use the item someday. You may be hanging on to hobby items you will not have the time or physical ability to use again, but fear if you get rid of them, you may not have the resources to purchase them again. You may have a pantry full of expired food because you fear you may not have the resources someday to buy food. You may fear you will hurt someone if you donate the wedding gift they gave you. Understanding why you are afraid of purging the things in your home can help you overcome the fear and be realistic about what you keep in your home.

Would You Buy It Today?

Ask yourself if you would buy the item today. This question is great when you are decluttering household items, personal care items, and clothing. If you were to make a decision on whether to purchase a particular item right now, would you? Would you purchase that kitchen gadget, lipstick, or clothing item you have in your closet today? You may have truly enjoyed the item at one time. Maybe you believed the item would make you more efficient in the kitchen. If your answer to this question today is anything but “yes,” the items do not have a place in your home.

At Top Shelf Home Organizing, we love to help busy households get organized. If you are looking for guidance on getting your home organized, reach out to Jayme.

Fun Tips on Changing Out Your Wardrobe

An image of a closet to discuss organizing a person's wardrobe for a new season.The season change is a great time to assess and change out your wardrobe. Here are three categories the experts use to make this event as fun and simple as possible.

Existing Season

Filter through your wardrobe for the current season before packing it away or moving it to the back of your closet. Pull all clothing items out and group them by categories. While going through each item, decide if you enjoyed the item this past season or did not. There will be items you simply did not wear or did not enjoy wearing. Those can be donated. Clearing out items that no longer fit, you don’t like, or are worn out will make wardrobe changing now and the next season much easier.

Wardrobe Staples

Your wardrobe has items that transfer to multiple seasons. You will want to pull all these items out and sort them by category. Remove items that do not serve you anymore and pass them on. Take note of any staples that need to be replaced. Undergarments, socks, athletic wear, shoes, and jeans all fall into this area. Seasonal wardrobe changing is a good time to go through and organize your clothing staples.

New Season

Bringing out the clothing for the next season should feel fun and exciting. You may have stored these items in the basement, extra closet, or the back of your closet. These items should also be sorted by category. If there are any items you did not wear or did not want to wear the last time they were in your closet, donate them. Some clothing items might need to be tried on to ensure a good fit and a fabulous feeling when you wear them. Take note of any items that will need to be replaced.

Last Steps

Once all three categories have been sorted, organized, and purged, they can be combined into your closet and drawers. Off-season items can be laundered and neatly packed away. All items that are put back into your wardrobe should be items that fit well, make you feel fabulous, and provide good function.

When shopping for new items use your notes on items that need to be replaced to ensure you stay within your budget and have good focus. Your closet will have a fresh feel and coordinating your daily outfit will be fun and painless.

If changing out your wardrobe brings stress, we would love to help. Check us out at topshelfhomeorganizing.com or call Jayme at 262-373-9416.

How to Setup the Framework for an Organized Kitchen

An organized kitchen is our hopes and dreams for preparing meals efficiently. Setting up the framework of your kitchen can help you be the best chef or short order cook you can be. Here are some tips from the organizing experts.

Kitchen Items Only

Your kitchen is prime real estate when it comes to your home. You need to protect the boundaries and only allow kitchen items in the kitchen. The drawers labeled, “office,” “toolbox,” “junk,” or “crafts” can serve a new purpose in your kitchen. Place those items in their respective areas of your home; the office, the workshop/basement/garage, the trash or the craft room. This extra space will be a functional space in your kitchen.

Location

Where your items are located will determine how quickly and efficiently you can move around your kitchen. Everyday plates, glasses and flatware located near the sink or dishwasher will make putting dishes away streamlined. Occasional dishes and glasses can be located on the perimeter. Items that are only used annually or for very special occasions can be placed in a storage area in the basement or garage if space in your kitchen is limited. Small appliances that don’t get used can be donated. Those items take up a lot of room.

Pantry

Whether your kitchen has an official pantry or not, keep food items together versus spread around your kitchen. It will help you keep an accurate inventory of what food you have. Stashing food randomly throughout your cabinets will cause you to lose track of what you have. Identify an area of your kitchen where you will keep food.

Minimize

Minimize the items you have in your kitchen. Duplicates of utensils, cookware, storage containers and small appliances will cause overcrowding in the limited space. Identify the most practical items and place the extras into storage or remove them from your inventory.

There is no doubt a kitchen is one of the most challenging spaces in a home to organize. Establishing a framework for your kitchen and keeping only kitchen items in the kitchen will help maximize your kitchen’s potential. It will also help you be as efficient as you can be. If creating an organized kitchen is overwhelming to you,  Top Shelf Home Organizing can help. Contact Jayme to see how Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you.