New year, new organized you
January – Clean your fridge and pantry
Once all the holiday guests have gone home and you’re through entertaining, it’s a good time to clean out your fridge and pantry. Throw out (or compost) half-eaten leftovers, check expiration dates, and if you have foodstuffs you don’t plan on enjoying, donate it to a local food pantry.
Video: How to get organized
Take this opportunity to set up items with oldest in front to be used first and restock your go-to ingredients.
February – Tackle paperwork and piles
Tax time seems like the right time to organize your office space for maximum efficiency. Start by sorting through the piles of papers – what needs immediate attention, what can be filed for later and what gets sent to the shredder? Next, review your filing system and retire what you don’t need. Filing systems should be simple and easy to manage. Lastly, clean out your desk and back up important data on a hard
March – Spring clean and host a yard sale
Spring cleaning can be daunting, but when you clean your house and make some money at the same time, it makes the simplification process much easier. Instead breeding scattered clutter – kid’s toys in the den, stray hair accessories and items in the kitchen “junk drawer” – keep a catch-all ‘garage sale box’ that for items to unload. Price items to sell, and when your sale is over, donate leftover goods to a local charity.
April – Get garden ready
Now’s the time to put on your gardening gloves and set up an organized space to store your outdoor supplies. Clean and dry all of your garden accessories before creating an accessible space for these supplies in the garage, shed or basement. Also, make sure none of your fertilizers or pesticides are expired and keep them sealed up and kept safely out of reach of children.
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May - De-clutter sports and camping equipment
Sports and camping equipment can take up a lot of space. If you’re short on storage, an over-the-door rack can work wonders for organizing balls, mitts, helmets and shoes. Storage tubs can also be a lifesaver. For camping equipment, compartmentalize your gear by cooking pots, stove and utensils, tent/sleeping essentials and sundry supplies. A check list can be handy to keep track of what you have or need to replace, and there are some excellent camp gear check lists available online for ideas.
June – Summer fun
This month is all about streamlining summertime fun. Keep a basket by the back door full of sunscreen, bug spray and hats. Get beach and pool-ready with a bag of shelf of towels and swim suits. Stock up on refreshing snacks like popsicles and juice-boxes and use Ziploc bags to portion out on-the-road nibbles.
July – Get your car road ready
Some simple planning can help ensure your car runs properly and that you’re prepared to handle any unexpected on-the-road issues. Before you hit the highways, have a certified technician check your vehicle for safety. Further prepare for emergencies with membership in a 24/7 roadside assistance program like AAA. Now is also a good time to restock your travel first aid kit.
August – Back to school
Help your kids get off to a smart start with a little of bit of prep and organization. Stock up on school supplies and avoid any last-minute project disasters. Buy in bulk to save money. Get a wall calendar and mark down appointments, after-school activities and important dates. Assign each kid a different color to keep obligations straight. Create a study space that will help promote positive homework habits. This may seem obvious, but a thoughtful environment can help encourage educational success.
September – Winterize your house
Get your home ready for sweater weather with a few simple tips. Remove dead tree branches that could fall and cause damage in heavy snowfall. Make sure your chimney is clean and check for any leftover summer “guests.” Seal leaks on your roof, around doors and windows and add insulation as needed for maximum energy efficiency. Not only will you be ready for snow, cold and inclement weather, you’ll stay safe and comfortable.
October – Organize the shed and garage
These two places tend to be a catch-all for everything from gardening supplies to sports equipment (and everything in between). Start by tossing items that aren’t used. Contact your local EPA office for guidelines on how to dispose of old paint and chemicals. Next, sort like items. For smaller items, you can use hooks for storage. For larger items, shelving systems can be useful. Hazardous items like car fluids, fertilizers and lawn mowers should be kept safely out of reach of children.