AT HOME:  Get Organized for the New Year

AT HOME: Get Organized for the New Year



January is traditionally the month for getting organized.  At the end of every year, I receive an email from my literary agent.  She cleans out her office and wants to send back all extra copies of all her authors’ books.  It’s a wake up call that I should tackle my office.

Right after the holidays, we have the urge to put away the accumulations of last year.  Starting a new year is refreshing.  In this regard, our mailboxes begin to overflow with catalogs for items to make organizing easier.  Things like new hangers, shelving units, and desk items are always enticing for making us feel as though all we need are these things and magically everything in our homes will fall into place.

Sadly, it doesn’t happen that way.

Like everyone I know, I want my house to look organized and stylish at all times but I don’t want to spend the time to achieve this.  Having done my usual thing for the holidays—decorating every surface with sparkle—I now want a clean, unencumbered look.

A New Year, A New Strategy for OrganizingGetting Organized | New Year Organization Tips | ACT TWO

It is time for purging.  Forget the usual resolution to lose weight.  Instead, concentrate on something more achievable: a clean, well-functioning home.  Put your house, instead of yourself, on a diet.  It may prove to be more successful.  If you just do one drawer or one closet at a time, it won’t be overwhelming.  DO NOT tackle the entire kitchen at once!

Begin by throwing away stuff—papers, clothes, old cooking utensils, chipped chinaware.  Immediate weight loss!  This is the first stage of getting organized.  

Let’s Get Started!

The following are some easy things to do before tackling any major projects:

Can’t get rid of those old magazines (just in case you overlooked a great recipe)?  Go through them all and rip out what you want to save.  Then file them according to subject.  Or put them in a box and label it.  Toss the magazines.

Getting Organized | New Year Organization Tips | ACT TWOHang a bicycle basket on the back of your front door for holding keys, mail to go, gloves, sunglasses, and all the things you bring in and take out on a regular basis.

Sort photos and delete duplicates.  Print the best of the year and make a book or album.

If you entertain, organize one shelf or drawer with freshly washed and ironed napkins (toss stained ones), placemats, candles, votives, in a basket that can easily be accessed with everything together.

Check dates on all medicines in your cabinet and weed out the outdated.

Getting Organized | New Year Organization Tips | ACT TWORearrange your spices and throw away the outdated baking soda at the back of your refrigerator.

Use a big basket in your entryway for dumping boots, shoes, etc.  I keep my slippers here so I can remove my boots and put my slippers on when I come in.

Remove clutter from countertops.  You’ll feel more in control and your kitchen will function better.

Look for unused wall space for a narrow bookcase.  The cubbies can hold bulky clothing that takes up lots of space in dresser drawers.

Getting Organized | New Year Organization Tips | ACT TWOOrganize much-used items in the bathroom like your toothbrush and cosmetics into good-looking containers like ceramic mugs or mason jars for these items.  Anything unsightly should be put into trays in cabinet drawers.

To make more drawer space, keep bulky items like sneakers, sweatpants and heavy sweaters in a basket in the closet.

A sliding platform, usually meant to hold a TV, can also be used for a sewing machine or computer.  When not in use, it’s easy to slide the item away into a cabinet.

Getting Organized | New Year Organization Tips | ACT TWOFor an instant uplift, change the hardware on kitchen cabinet doors.

Replace curtains with shutters or blinds to make a room look streamlined.

Think green.  Use only green plants, white flowers with green leaves, and pots of herbs to freshen a room.  Winter white is welcoming.  Remove as much color as possible and then reintroduce one color a little at a time.


By Leslie Linsley  

Leslie Linsley is the author of more than 65 books on interior design and crafts.  Her website is and her latest book is “Nantucket Cottages & Gardens”  (Skyhorse Publishing).


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