A Tidy Start to the New Year

Already fallen short of your new year’s resolution to keep your home (and your life) tidy this year?

Don’t worry! You’ll get a fresh start on January 25th, when the Chinese calendar starts anew with the Year of the Rat. According to Chinese tradition, you should do a deep cleaning of your home eight days prior to the start of the year, essentially “sweeping away the dust” of everything you’ve accumulated last year to make room for the new. The challenge, of course, is always keeping things tidy all year round.

Here are some tips for making good on that resolution to having a tidy home.

 

Start with a deep-clean of your home

Crank up that dance music and wipe away last year’s dust from every nook and cranny. You could even make a day of it with your family. You’ll be surprised by how much younger kids love a duster and a Swiffer. Not only can it be a fun competition — see who does the best or fastest job on their tasks, for example — but it also teaches kids the importance of cleaning up after themselves.

If you’re pressed for time or just don’t think deep cleaning sounds like very much fun, consider getting a professional cleaner to do it for you. Either way, if you start with a clean house, it will be much easier to maintain and tidy. Think about scheduling regular cleaning sessions, too, so you can focus on the things a cleaner can’t help you with — that growing pile of mail, throwing out old food from the cupboard or refrigerator, and so on.

 

Throw out one item a day

As Marie Kondo suggests, give thanks to the item and then let it go — into the trash or out for donation. Marie would also advise you to take everything out of your closet and go through each item to see if it “sparks joy.” For those of us who are already short on time, that may sound daunting. Instead, challenging ourselves to find and throw out just one item a day is a good start. By the end of the year, we will have purged 365 items from our home! This can be simple as a random piece of mail, an article of clothing you’ve been planning on mending for a good six months, old toiletries, and makeup you bought forever ago that’s gotten pretty gunked up.  Psst — the treasure trove lies in that kitchen junk drawer and spice cabinet. Happy binning! 

A note on donation items: if your good intention is now creating a closet full of bags you haven’t had time to donate, consider throwing them out. Don’t even look inside the bags, just toss them. If that makes you feel guilty, it may be the encouragement you need to actually take them to the donation center.

 

Create a home within a home

The big secret to a tidy home is finding a place for everything.  You also need to make sure everyone living there knows where things go. Set up a bin for winter hats, gloves, and scarves, and swap it out with a bin for sunhats, shades, sunscreen, and bug spray when summer rolls around. Have a mail tray to keep that pile from spilling over. Use a decorative basket to hide electronic games, cords, and devices. You can find so many stylish choices in every price range from places like IKEA, Container Store, and Amazon.

 

Armed with these easy tips, you’ll be off to a tidy home (and life) in no time. Happy new year, new home!

 

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