This article was initially published in our Winter 2013 Issue.
We all have them – those nagging jobs that we need to get done! But with the busyness of back-to-school, followed closely by the crazy holiday season, it’s all too easy to put them off.
There’s nothing better than a snowy winter weekend to tackle some of the things on your organizing to-do list. If the weather outside is frightful, why not spend some time getting your life in order! Hilda Rodgers, a professional organizer in Mississauga (www.fromoverwhelmedtoorganized.com), believes that a weekend organizing project will make the winter months more orderly! They can also improve your spring and summer – whether you are posted or not!
1. Create a Hot Drink Zone in Your Kitchen
Store your favourite hot chocolate, tea, coffee, sugar, flavourings, and marshmallows all together in a basket in a cupboard near your mugs. Keep your kettle and coffee maker on the counter below (find a location with an available outlet nearby). And presto! You’ve got a hot drink zone, ready for those cold winter mornings or to warm up after playing in the snow.
2. Declutter & Organize Your Entry Area!
Those hats, mitts, and scarves have a way of multiplying and taking over your whole entry area! So instead, use back-of-the-door pocket organizers, baskets, or cubbyholes to give everything a place and contain the clutter for the rest of winter.
3. Purge Your Hall Closet
Winter coats are big, and a hall closet can get crowded. That makes it annoying when you’re trying to get out of the house on time in the morning. Take all your coats out of your closet and only put back those you regularly wear during the winter season. If you have several winter jackets per person, consider donating some to a local charity for those who need them more than you. Store your lighter-weight jackets in the basement or a guest room closet. Keeping your closet less cluttered makes everything easier to access.
4. Organize Your Fridge
If your fridge still has the remnants of summer barbecues (including nearly empty salad dressings and BBQ sauces), clear it out to make room for leftover casseroles and other winter comfort foods. Toss anything that has expired and combine partially used bottles where possible. While you’re at it, give your fridge a good clean (who says you can’t spring clean in the winter?!). Then when you put everything back, organize your fridge into zones so you can easily find what you’re looking for when you need it.
5. Declutter Your Kids’ Toys
Are you tripping over excess toys after the holidays? Purge any broken toys, have missing pieces, haven’t been played within the last six months, or aren’t loved as much as new toys are. Kids will enjoy their toys more when they see what they have and aren’t overwhelmed with too many choices.
6. Refresh your Medicine Cabinet
The only thing worse than dealing with sick family members is not
having the supplies, you need in your medicine cabinet or finding out they have expired. Go through your medicines and purge everything that is old or has expired. Replenish what you will need this winter. While you’re at it, you can create a portable Cold/Flu caddy for those middle-of-the-night wake-up calls or to keep with you throughout the day.
7. Prepare for Tax Season
Don’t wait for the middle of April to start getting your papers in order. Create a file for T4s, charitable donation slips, sports receipts, child care receipts, etc. If you use tax software, give your taxes a run-through before the end of February to see if you need to top up your RRSPs.
8. Clean Out Your Files
This is a job that can take quite a few hours if you’ve neglected the paper in your life for too long. But it’s so rewarding! Spend a snowy day getting all of your papers in order. The first step is to collect them all in one place from the various piles throughout your home. Purge, shred, and file things away as needed. Clean out files you already have – only tax documents need to be kept for seven years – everything else can go much sooner. Look online for different filing systems if you’re unsure how you want to file that paper away.
Streamline Your Life
Don’t despair when you are snowed in over the next couple of months. Instead, buckle down and tackle any one of these ideas. Think of it as an opportunity to get a jump on a more streamlined life!