January Sanity Savers: Do Your Future Self a Favor

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Take the steps you need to now to get ahead of the process next year.
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Every year you throw those strings of lights into the box, and you try to wrap them nicely – using your arm or twist ties or whatever idea pops into your head that year. Well, this year use some empty Bounty paper towel rolls or wrapping paper rolls and wrap your lights around those. No more tangles. No more fuss. And next year you can spend time decorating the house instead of being frustrated.

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Now is the time to get rid of stuff. While we certainly embrace the mentality of use it up, wear it out, make do or do without, there is likely some stuff that should be bound for the curb. Since you’re already going to be in the basement or storage closet rearranging, take the extra time to assess what you’ve got and what you can get rid of. Some of the new gadgets and gizmos you got for the holidays can actually replace what you currently have – not just add to them.

And most places will accept donations all year round – not just before the holidays – so reach out to them and hand over those gently used items that can be put to better use by someone else.

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A simple storage solution for ornaments.

You will need:
Big plastic bin
Plastic cups
Hot glue gun
Cardboard or cardstock

Instructions

1. Line the bottom of the empty bin with plastic cups, row by row
2. Add a spot of hot glue on the bottom rim of each cup and attach to the bottom of the bin. If you’d like, add some hot glue where the top rims of the cups touch each other
3. Allow the hot glue to dry fully, and then place a piece of cardboard (cut to size) on top of the layer of cups
4. Start the process over, lining up the empty cups, and then hot gluing them directly to the cardboard to help stabilize everything

Depending on the size of the bin and cups, you can potentially fit several levels and dozens of ornaments (or other seasonal knick-knacks) each in their protected, individual space.

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You probably don’t have to think back too far to remember climbing under, over and around all the boxes, bins and buckets you’ve got in storage – filled with all your holiday décor. Why didn’t you put all the Thanksgiving stuff together? And why did you just plop it down instead of moving the stuff you’re going to need next to the front?

Get a system together that actually works, and stick to it. Take the extra few minutes to label your bins. When you’re putting way the holiday decorations, put them at the back of the pile since it will be another year before you have to get them out again. You keep that up long enough and the next time New Year’s comes around, Valentine’s Day will be front and center, waiting for you.

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Take the time to clean it right. You’ve likely moved some furniture around. Vacuum and dust before you move it all back. Sweep out that basement or storage closet while you’ve got everything out of it. For some of those bigger seasonal pieces you only get out once a year, take the time to wash, shine or clean them appropriately before putting them away for 11 more months.

And to help you tackle that, put together a simple cleaning toolkit you can easily carry around the house. A bucket or basket with a handle works great. Have everything all in one place, take five extra minutes in each room as you pack away the holidays, and put in that little extra bit of elbow grease.

Trust us. Your future self will thank you for it.

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