Five tips for freshening up your space in the new year


If your house looks anything like mine, you wish it didn’t. Christmas gifts linger on tables and countertops, waiting to find a permanent home. A stack of Christmas cards takes up space beside the mail basket in the kitchen. And we’re only halfway through putting away the ornaments, the wreathes and the other decorations that we just unpacked a month ago. 

To help make sense of the chaos, we asked Taryn McLean, co-founder of Help You Dwell, an organizing and packing company, for five tips to freshen up our homes in the new year. Here’s what she suggests:

1. Cleaning supplies: Open up the cabinet and assess what you have. Are there multiple partially used bottles of the same product? Combine them. Dispose of outdated supplies. Group and sort your cleaning supplies by category in bins/baskets that are easily accessible & visible (to avoid overbuying or running out). Consider keeping all of your cleaning supplies in one central location (or two – split between kitchen/household and bathroom supplies). Be sure these items are stored out of reach from little ones/pets. 

2. Sock drawer: Dump them all out. Pair all of the matches. Find the stragglers and let them go. Don’t be ashamed if your house is plagued by the common disappearing sock phenomenon. 

3. Miscellaneous Tupperware: Find those spare lids that have fallen to the back of the cabinet. Match each storage container with its lid. Let go of the ones that have gotten deformed in the dishwasher, have no lid, or aren’t used by your family. Consider switching to glass food storage containers. 

4. Holiday decor: As you pack up and put away your holiday decorations, take a thoughtful look at your collection. Are there items you haven’t displayed in a few years? Has your style changed? Only pack away the items you plan to display the next year. Upgrade your bins to matching (colored or clear with labels) ones before tucking them away this year. Remember to wrap breakables and label those boxes/bins “fragile”. 

5. Email inbox: We’re not saying it’s practical to tackle your entire inbox at once… but you can make progress today. Start by unsubscribing from a few newsletters/lists that email you too frequently or that don’t add value to your life. This will help slow the build of your inbox in the future. Consider scheduling 30 minutes/1 hr of time once a week in your personal calendar to spend time clearing emails. 

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