While an organization overhaul is usually associated with the new year, now is a great time to focus your efforts on making space by removing items that no longer serve you. Getting #neatandready is designed for just that - to help you reset and end the year on a calm and mindful note.
Our Editing Philosophy
An organized space can provide clarity of mind, reduce stress, and add time back into your day. However, getting there is easier said than done. A sure way to clear the clutter and take back control of your space is to remove items from your home that you are no longer using. Editing is also instrumental in helping prioritize your needs and changing your mindset when bringing new items into your home. It replaces the chaos with a feeling of calm and composure.
Depending on the category you’re editing, you may want to include others in your process. If you’re editing toys, consider whether your child is old enough to be involved. With younger children it might make more sense to edit while they’re not around to avoid meltdowns. We also suggest inviting an honest friend over to get their opinion when it comes to editing your own wardrobe.
We suggest keeping a designated donation bin in your home and editing all year long as you come across items you’re ready to part ways with. However, with categories you access less frequently, make an effort to give them a good edit semi-annually, or as the seasons change.
When editing, it's helpful to consider where you plan to take these items after you remove them from your home. Most household items are easily donated to your local donation center, and clothing can be donated to charities like Dress for Success. However, tech and hazardous waste may require a bit of research for tracking down e-waste events or recycling centers. You might also consider consigning vintage and gently used items through avenues like the RealReal or ThredUp. Lastly, don't forget to utilize online "buy nothing" groups for things like hangers that Goodwill may not take.
Technically, everything in your home is up for debate, however most of us aren’t ready to commit to the minimalist lifestyle. Categories that tend to accumulate quickly in commonly used spaces like clothing, kitchen gadgets, toys, paper, toiletries and food are a great place to focus regular editing efforts. Storage categories like holiday decor, tools, cleaner, back stock etc. are important to edit as well but can be addressed more seasonally.
Edit one category at a time and start small to avoid becoming overwhelmed. Gather the entire category and start by categorizing and sub-categorizing as needed. By doing this, it will be easier to see where you are accumulating excess. Consider when you last used an item. If it’s been a year or more, it’s likely unnecessarily taking up space. Other questions to ask that may help you pull the trigger: Is it an effective tool? Does it fit? Would I buy it again?
Kitchen & Pantry
Locate any duplicate kitchen gadgets. If you have any that are never used simultaneously, keep your favorite and set the others aside for donation. You may like keeping more than one vegetable peeler around so more than one person can peel at the same time, but a single pizza cutter is typically plenty. Replace any lost or broken items to ensure you have a full set of dishes, drink ware, and flatware for meals that will include guests. Now is also a good time to consider getting rid of any excess dish sets that Pre-wash serving pieces that have collected dust since last use and polish any silver you plan to use for holiday meals.
Prep for holiday grocery shopping by checking expiration dates and tossing anything that is past Its prime. Don’t hesitate to toss expired spices as well. Once expired, they can become bland and won’t add the needed flavor to your dishes. Consider rearranging categories so seasonal items like baking essentials are easier to access. This is especially helpful for categories that are typically stored out of the way but may be used more frequently during the holidays. If you haven’t already, now is also a great time to categorize and contain your dry goods. This can be as easy as using bins you already own to hold each group of like items. Doing so will make adjustments to your system simple as your needs change.
Group your linens into categories that make sense to you and consider saying goodbye to any you no longer love or use. If one category is larger than another, it might be time to downsize and make some hard decisions. Once you’ve edited, make note of any items you may be lacking for the upcoming holidays. Give table linens you intend to use this year a wash or steam, to refresh them before you get overwhelmed by your holiday task list.
Guest Room & Bath
Remove items that have accumulated in storage zones of your guest areas over time and either relocate or donate them. Clear an area of hanging and drawer space in your spare room for overnight guests to unpack and store belongings. Create a guest basket with travel size toiletries that visitors may have forgotten. We also like to include a few snacks and a bottle of water. If you’re feeling a little extra, hang a robe and slippers in the closet for major hostess points!
Similarly to the guest room, ensure you have a few extra hangers or hooks available in your mudroom or coat closet for guests to use. This will prevent jackets and coats from piling up at the entryway. Make sure your drop zone area is seasonally ready. Do a switch with outdoor essentials, making sure beanies, gloves and scarves are placed on “prime real estate” shelves. Sun hats and other summer items can be placed up high or stored away for the winter.
Adding labels to each category in shared spaces like the hall closet is super important. Without them, your system will likely unravel quickly. Whether you use one of our pre-printed label sets or write your own, be sure it’s clear to everyone in your home (including guests) where things can be found and put away.
In anticipation of an onslaught of new toys this holiday, do a ruthless edit of your children’s play area. Anything that is missing a piece, no longer age appropriate, or is just plain excess, should go. Reference our editing philosophy above when deciding whether to include your child in the process or not.
If you’re not ready to part with certain toys and you have extra room, consider a toy rotation box. The idea is that you place less often played with toys in storage. Cycle them out with another grouping in a month or so and see if your child plays with them. If not, it’s time to donate.
SHOP THE SOLUTIONS
Feeling inspired? Don’t forget to share your results on social media by using hashtag #neatandready as you go! Our hope is that by refreshing your home and removing excess belongings, you can give yourself a moment to breathe!
the NEAT team