Organizing - Organizing Ideas

20 ways to help your home lose 50 lbs.

The new year is the perfect time to shed some excess weight at home.

Celebrate the New Year with a leaner, cleaner and more organized home. Make it your New Year's resolution to lose 50 or more pounds of extra flab ... from the living spaces and storage areas of your home! Here are 20 fast and easy ways to cut the clutter and start the New Year in a "new" home.

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LIVING ROOM
1
Don't cultivate a hospital waiting room aesthetic: recycle your old magazines. Scan design magazines first and rip out tear sheets for your project-inspiration book.

2 Banish kids' toys to the family room, kids' bedrooms - or Goodwill!

3 It should go without saying, but if that Christmas tree is still up, evict it ASAP.


DINING ROOM
4
Clear dining room paperwork piles. The dining table may rock as an ersatz work-from-home HQ or homework station, but don't let clutter from old projects linger. Recycle, shred, or file away.

5 Move wool or shag area rugs and/or runners into storage. Opt for bare floors or lighter, coastal-inspired sea grass, sisal or cotton rugs.


KITCHEN
6
Don't just clean your fridge, purge it of condiments you don't use. Even preserves go bad or lose their flavour. If you haven't used a condiment in three months or more, free up fridge space by disposing of it.

7 Ditch those novelty cups. Chances are the plastic ones - often bearing the recycling numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, or 7 - contain Bisphenol-A anyway, making them potential health hazards as well as space hogs.

8 Donate small appliances you use less than once a year. Sure, you could sell that long-neglected slow cooker for $10 online, but if you donate it to the Salvation Army, you'll gain a donor high worth double that!


BATHROOM
9
Clear out medicine chests and cabinets of no-longer-used cosmetics, personal-care items and medication. If you stopped using a product and put it away last year, chances are you aren't going to like it later. Just dump the contents and recycle the packaging. (Medication should never be dumped down the drain or thrown into the trash, however. Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies accept leftover medication and sharps for safe disposal.


BEDROOM
10
Edit the pile of junk under your bed. Nothing under your bed? Treat yourself to a mochaccino!

11 Clunky table lamps? Swap them for tidy wall-mounted reading lights.

12 Edit your dresser contents. Make three piles: garbage, donations, keep-and-repair. Make this the year you cultivate a smaller wardrobe of better quality clothes you can mix up with accessories.


CLOSET
13
Get rid of those boxes and boxes of kids' crafts and pictures. It's amazing how they pile up! If you're feeling sentimental, hold on to a couple choice art pieces-preferably by framing and displaying, not storing. (And if you absolutely MUST keep an exhaustive record for posterity, take digital shots of everything and archive your images by burning them onto CDs.)

14 Got coats or boots you didn't wear at all this winter? Donate those in good, wearable condition, throw out the rest. (If we all got rid of clothing we didn't wear but were holding onto "just in case," the average home would probably need 50% less closet space!)


HOME OFFICE
15
Toss the Yellow Pages into the recycling bin and bookmark yellowpages.ca instead.

16 Unload old office electronics - but avoid the landfill. The Electronic Recycling Association repairs and refurbishes old desktops, laptops, fax machines and more. Your hard drives and personal data are irretrievably wiped beforehand to RCMP security standards. The new-again items are donated to community organizations across Canada, while the unsalvageable bits are sent off for environmentally responsible recycling and disposal.

17 Shred old income tax records. Just keep returns and documentation from the past six years - everything else can go.


GARAGE/BASEMENT
18
Throw out your VHS collection. Yeah, that one sitting in a plastic bin under the stairs. It's time to let go.

19 Donate useable leftover paint to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Paint and varnish can also be dropped off at the Special Services desk at any Home Depot for safe disposal.

20 Get rid of old bikes and large kids' toys. While it's true old toys can increase in value down the road, that usually takes a half century or more! In the meantime, if you clear the clutter, you'll have room to enjoy a new hobby (refinishing flea market furniture, for instance).

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