Each new year brings the promise of a fresh start, and after a long, hard 2020, many of us may be more ready than ever to embrace the hope that January brings.
Perhaps organizing your home is on your resolutions list for the new year. If you’d like to get started but don’t know what to do first, consider tackling one or more of the following projects.
Getting your house in order can be a wonderful way to create a new beginning and a peaceful foundation at home for that fresh start we all want in 2021!
Clear Out Printed Materials You Don’t Need
The start of a new year also means the closure of the previous year. Soon you’ll be seeing tax documents in your mailbox. To avoid the chaos of sorting through stacks of papers during tax season, start clearing unnecessary papers now. As a start, consider eliminating:
- Newspapers and magazines. If you have subscriptions and haven’t kept up with reading your publications, they may start to accumulate faster than you can catch up. It is suggested to recycle all newspapers to date, as yesterday’s is already old news.
- Ads and catalogs. You may have saved coupons and catalogs while holiday shopping. Sometimes these end up in piles, untouched far past their expiration dates and season. Recycle them all.
- Receipts. Review any receipts you’ve been saving. Unless you need to keep them for specific reasons such as tax or insurance purposes, you may be able to recycle them (or shred them if they contain personal information).
Eliminate Excess Food Storage Containers
The pandemic has changed the way people share food with family and friends. Baking and cooking are nice ways to show you care, but not everyone feels comfortable receiving homemade food at this time. When you accumulate containers, to be sure their number doesn’t exceed your needs, try to always offer them back to the giver, in hopes they can reuse them.
Otherwise, select a few that stack well and keep them with party supplies (instead of in your main space) for guests to use to take leftovers home when you host. Of course, not many people have hosted any gatherings in almost a year, but keep the faith that we’ll be able to resume get-togethers in the future, and keep the containers for that time.
Let Go of Unneeded Pots and Vases
Do you end up with extra vases and pots for plants? Regularly go through your collection and pare down the ones you are not in love with. These usually include most florists vases, excess duplicate sizes, pot liners, and pots and vases in colors you may not like. Donate the excess items, knowing that someone else can enjoy them.
Pair and Winnow Your Socks
Sorting your socks may be a quick, painless activity if you have a small pocket of time. To get started, match up your socks. If even one of the socks in the pair has holes or thinned-out patches, It’s recommended that you toss or recycle the pair (search online for local textile recycling options). Set aside all the single socks that remain and allow a few wash cycles to go by to see if the matching partners snuck into another load.
Donate pairs that are in good condition but don’t fit well, as well as any novelty socks you don’t use. And again, consider your wash routines to determine how many pairs you need to keep. If you have far more socks than you can use between washings, consider donating some, especially if your sock drawer is filled to the point of not closing well.
Declutter Your Cords
Most people have a plethora of cords in their home. It seems we’re afraid to get rid of them in case we might ever need them. But you probably have cords for items you no longer use or even own. It is suggested to do a little detective work to identify which cords belong with your current devices and which ones have lost their purpose.
Electronics cords are considered e-waste and usually can’t be recycled in your weekly bin. Your community may offer occasional e-waste recycling days. Electronics retailers may also have e-waste recycling programs. Check your local resources to find out the best way to recycle unused cords.
And in the future, make it a habit to label your cords as soon as you get your device, so you’ll always know at a glance what the cord belongs with. This will also make it much easier to identify the matching cord when you’re ready to discard a device.
Infuse your Home with Select Sustainable Materials, Durable Surfaces, and Versatile Colors
While design and functionality are important, there’s a growing demand for materials that are sustainable and made from recycled components. Recycled glass, for instance, was used to manufacture the matte gray quartz surfaces here; the presence of crystalline silica was also significantly reduced.
Synthetic stones such as quartz are some of Magon’s favorite eco-conscious materials to use because of their durability. “They are built to last and will withstand wear and tear beautifully,” she says. “Plus quartz is so versatile — it comes in so many different colors and can be used in many different ways, so you really can’t go wrong with it. It also has a unique ability to be cut, edged and colored in a near-limitless amount of ways.”
Investing in materials that will last means you can enjoy their timeless design without having to replace them regularly — something that’s becoming increasingly important. We’re not talking high-maintenance surfaces, either — think scratch- and stain-proof quartz countertops, as seen here, and sturdy porcelain floors that are easy to clean.
“Quartz is a versatile, strong and durable surface that requires minimal maintenance,” Magon says. “This makes it a wonderful choice for highly used spaces and for families because of its highly durable qualities. Also, since quartz materials are made through an engineering process, this helps enhance their vibrant colors.”
There’s nothing worse than being stuck with an interior scheme you no longer like simply because one fundamental element is in a color that doesn’t go with anything else. Choose furniture and surfaces in versatile hues to make it easy to adapt to changing tastes in the future. “White, gray and dark colors, such as black, are always great options,” Magon says. “They pair well with a variety of other colors and look great in many different applications.” Black quartz counters, for instance, bring fresh yet timeless style to the kitchen seen here.
For those who prefer brighter hues, inject color into your space with items that can be more easily swapped out in the future, such as decor. Neutral walls, flooring and countertops will let those colorful pieces really shine.
Written by Patricia Lee Houzz Contributor. Patricia Lee is a professional home organizer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the co-owner of Tailorly with her business partner Jeanne Taylor. Together they create beautiful homes through decluttering, organizing, and styling. For more information visit www.tailorly.net. ** Also, parts of this story were written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.