Getting Your Stuff in Order: 8 Areas to Organize for a Productive New Year
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This week we're looking at various areas to get organized in order to set ourselves up for a productive new year. January is the perfect time to get ourselves (and our stuff) organized and ready for the new year! Happy new year! I hope you enjoyed a joyful and peaceful holiday season.  In December we spent time looking at managing our stress by looking for ways to find joy in our day-to-day lives, and managing our time and (to some extent, our space) by following peace, and managing our lives by walking in love.  This week I want to talk about the value of establishing order in our lives, specifically with respect to managing our stuff, so that we can make room in our lives for joy, peace, love, and productivity. Getting organized What does it mean?  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary: to get organized means "to arrange one's things or one's affairs so they can be dealt with effectively." This is a great area to focus on for the first month of the year. Where do we start the process of getting a place or an area of our life organized? Start with identifying your expectations--what do you want from the space you’re organizing? Then consider purging before organizing--takes less time to effectively organize less stuff Create a plan for maintaining the organization Begin developing good habits--put things away; tidy small spaces regularly, etc. Specific areas or categories to organize 1. Christmas - While it’s still fresh in your mind, do a little debrief about the holidays. What went well; what went not as well? * Decorations - If you like how you decorated a particular space, take photos with your phone so you can remember next year what you did and why you liked it. Anything broken? Toss. Anything you haven’t used in the past 3 years, donate.  * Gifts - A place for everything! * Purge - if you got new hair tools or kitchen equipment, donate or toss the old; same for clothes, kids’ toys, etc.  * Cards - decide whether to keep or recycle; scan or take digital photos of any cards or holiday letters that are particular sentimental for you.  * Photos - print and organize into photo albums or, better, collages you can frame and display; digital--keep the best and tag or organize into a folder for the holiday (e.g., Christmas 2022) so you can find and enjoy them. 2. Food (pantry, fridge, freezer) - If you did a lot of holiday cooking or baking, you probably have leftover food or ingredients. Even if you didn’t, this is a good time to reorganize your food storage. Sort through what you’ve got, check expiration dates, use it up before it goes bad, toss what’s expired. If you have unopened foods that are unexpired, put together a box of food for your local food bank. Clean and reorganize to make sure you use things before they go bad. While you’re at it, organize some meal plans for the next few weeks, to help put nutritious, tasty meals on the table with minimal waste. 3. Medications/vitamins - Check for expired and dispose of safely. The US Food and Drug Administration has a webpage advising how to dispose of various drugs and medications; they recommend the following steps: * Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or cat litter. This makes the medicine less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally go through the trash looking for drugs. 
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