As we welcome in the start of the new year my hope is that you are embracing this opportunity for a fresh start. If you are anything like me, this brand-new year has got you making a mental or physical list of things in your life that you would like to see changed. The infamous and often dreaded New Year’s resolutions.
One of the top New Year’s resolutions year after year is better health and inevitable the desire to shed some of those unwanted pounds. What you may not know is that you may have more weight to shed than you originally bargained for.
Many people are unaware of the extra weight their homes are carrying. Since the 1970s the American home has gotten 50 percent larger. The addition of all of that extra space has led to our accumulation of even more stuff.
You may be now asking yourself; “How can I tell if my home is overweight?.” To start take a good look around your home. I mean really dig in and see all of the things you have in it. Look in each closet, drawer and cupboard and be ready to be really honest with yourself. Are your closets overflowing? Do you have no space in the garage to park your car? Do you have any items in your home that you don’t use on a regular basis? When is the last time you used that rice cooker or froyo machine? Do you really need 4 spatulas?
It’s a proven fact that clutter increases stress, it makes you feel overwhelmed and anxious and doesn’t allow you to fully relax in your own home. It takes up a lot of your extra free time to manage it, I can think of a multitude of other things I’d like to spend my free time on can’t you? So what do you say, are you ready to shed some of that unwanted weight with me in 2019?
The start of the year is always a great time to purge those items you no longer need or use, but don’t let the date stop you, you can get started at any time. The point is to start. It’s especially helpful to take control back of the clutter if selling your home is on your to do list this year. Clutter free homes seem bigger, more open, more peaceful, and sell faster and for more money.
I find it easiest to choose just one room or area to focus on so that I don’t become overwhelmed or frustrated. Here is a great free de-cluttering check list for your entire home by Mary Martha Mama, https://www.marymarthamama.com/housetohome/whole-house-organization-de-cluttering-checklist/.
A simple and easy area to start with is your closet. Go ahead and get rid of all of those things you know you no longer want. Then with what you have left try this little trick. For each item of clothing you wear simply turn the hanger around backwards, this signifies to you that it has been worn. Fast forward 6 month to a year, depending on if you have seasons, any item that has not been worn (hanger not reversed) then gets the boot. As with any item you no longer want you have three basic choices, donate (great for tax write offs), sell (instant money in your pocket), or throw away.
Another area that often is overflowing in our home is our children’s’ closets. When we first started purging for our last move we packaged up half of our children’s toys and books (to give their rooms a larger feel). Any item that they did not ask for during the time our home was for sale stayed in the tub, any item they did ask for they were allowed to swap out with another item currently in their room, as a sort of trade. After six months there was plenty in the tub they were ready and willing to get rid of.
Our children liked this idea so much that even after the move we continued to keep half of their toys and books in a tub in the basement. We then swapped them out every two months with those in their rooms. Our kids loved toy swap day, and spent hours rediscovering all those toys and books that had been packed away. By decreasing the clutter in their own closets it was easier for our children to find items to play with and were able to enjoy the ones they had even more.
It’s not just what is already in your home, however that is adding the weight, it’s also what’s looming for you in your mailbox day after day. Over 100 Billion pieces of junk mail are sent through the US Postal Service each year, that is a lot of clutter. What that means for you is on average you get 6 pieces of Junk Mail delivered to you each day. Now that you have begun the steps in lightening up your home are you ready to tackle your mailbox?
There are some simple steps you can take to get rid of all that unwanted junk mail that is not only filling up your mailbox but also landfills. Direct Marketing Association is responsible for 75% of all national mailings. To take your name and address off their list go to www.dmachoice.org. There is a $2 fee to remove your name, however this allows you to customize what you do and do not want to receive for ten full years. You can also add your email to stop spam there as well. This could include credit offers, catalogs, magazine offers, donation requests, bank offers, retail promotions and more. You can also go to optoutprescreen.com, to opt out of credit and insurance preapproval offers for free. Trust me your mailbox and recycle bin will thank you.
Another great option to decrease all that paper clutter is to go paperless, whether it be your gas and electric bill, a credit card statement or your monthly cell phone bill switching to paperless not only helps keep your home clutter free but is an easy way to organize all your records in one spot. That way when tax time comes around they are all there at your fingertips, just a mouse click away. As an added bonus many companies offer incentives if you do switch to paperless, this could be a special gift or even some extra spending cash.
If your New Year’s Resolutions include buying or selling a home this year, I’d be happy to help you create and implement the perfect plan to achieve it.