It's the beginning of another new year. No one can predict what 2020 will bring, and a lot of things feel out of control. But two things we can control are our behaviour and our home environment. If you're looking for organising resolutions for 2020, perhaps you'll find some helpful suggestions below. No, you don't have to do everything on this list, but let's hope you find a few ideas to help bring a sense of order, routine and calm to your home and to your life.
1. Organize your digital photos from 2019. Print your favourites and put them in frames or in an album so others can enjoy them. Delete unwanted photos each month in 2020.
2. Commit to buying less. Check out books at the library instead of purchasing them. Borrow a tool from a neighbor. Consider buying sustainable substitutes for one-time-use items such as snack bags and straws. Avoid shopping for entertainment to limit unnecessary and impulse purchases. When you do shop, go with specific items in mind, and stick to your list.
3. Open and sort mail daily. Recycle the items you don't need, and set aside bills to pay and items to file. Call three companies that send catalogues that you never look at and ask to be removed from their mailing lists.
4. Recycle your old electronic devices if you received updated ones over the holidays. Old phones and tablets can often be taken back to the retailer to be "wiped" and recycled.
5. Identify your favourite 10 or 12 reusable bags and donate the rest. The reusable tote may be a more sustainable alternative to a single-use bag, but buying 40 of them is not necessary. Commit to not buying more tote bags this year and instead use the ones you already have.
6. Make your bed every day. Accomplishing this small task will make you feel ready to take on other tasks. Plus, it's nice to come home to a neat bedroom at night.
7. If you don't have a will or advance directives, make it a priority to get them done. Without a will, you don't have control over what happens to your finances and minor children in the event of your death. An estate lawyer can also help you draw up a durable health-care power of attorney and living will, which are sometimes called "advance directives." The durable health-care power of attorney will give the person you designate the power to make health-care decisions for you if you can't make them yourself. A living will explains what type of medical treatment you wish to receive at the end of your life.
8. Go through your medicine cabinet and put aside expired medications for proper disposal.
9. Return online purchases that don't fit or that you don't like. Unreturned items and cardboard boxes can quickly clutter a space. Plus, you're basically throwing away the money you spent on the item unless you return it.
10. Get rid of six items in your kitchen that you haven't used in the past year. The items could be gadgets you never use, glasses or mugs you don't need, or cookbooks you never refer to.
11. Spend 15 minutes every day putting things away or organizing one small space in your home. This might be decluttering a kitchen counter, straightening up a couple of drawers, organizing your refrigerator, or deleting emails or photos.
12. Turn off your cellphone and other devices by 10 p.m. and get a good night's sleep. If you're overtired, organizational tasks seem even more daunting. If you're well-rested, you'll be more consistently productive and efficient at home.
13. Buy smarter. Before you buy something, be sure that you don't already own it. Buy quality items that will last longer, not cheap things that you'll probably dispose of soon after purchasing. Take time to consider whether you really need and want something before buying it.
14. Clean out 2019 files, recycle or shred old papers, and create new folders for 2020 to keep track of incoming papers including financial documents, school papers, home repairs, charitable contributions, etc.
15. Look closely at recent credit card bills. Double-check that no new fees are being tacked on to your monthly bill and that the interest rates haven't changed. Also, take a few minutes to review your recurring charges and assess whether those expenses are still ones you want to incur.
16. If you have a storage unit, resolve to empty it out. It will be such a relief to not have all of that stuff weighing on your mind, and you'll be saving money.
17. At the end of each season, sort through your clothing and shoes. Donate unwanted items within a week of clearing them out.
18. If you have a car, commit to keeping it clutter-free. Clear trash regularly, and consistently do small cleanings.
19. Simplify your skin-care and makeup routines. Many of us have too many products on our vanity and even more underneath it that never get used. Get rid of unused cleansers and lotions, as well as all of those travel-size items. Unopened products can be given away to a shelter (call first to find out what they need) or to a friend or family member. Opened bottles should be emptied and recycled if possible. Go through your makeup to determine what you really need, and get rid of the rest. Clean your makeup brushes, too. Anything in your vanity that is significantly past its expiration date should be disposed of as well.
20. Take an inventory of your spices and discard any that are expired. Replenish as necessary. Resolve to find one new recipe each month to use rarely used spices.
This article was originally published on The Washington Post
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