I don't know if you are like me, but after Christmas, I always feel the urge to purge my house. I'm not sure if it is my OCD reaction to all the extra holiday clutter, or what, but I always know I'll get the urge to throw out everything but the kitchen sink - keeping the kids is optional.
Just kidding. Most days.
Anyway, here is a list of areas that it would be a great idea to go through as we approach the first of the year.
- Wrapping paper. This is probably obvious, but since there will be great deals in stores on wrapping paper, now is the time to stock up. I always look out for paper that can by multi-functional. Last year I bought some gold and silver rolls that work just as well for anniversaries, even birthdays. Also take a look at bows, gift tags, Christmas cards, etc. And if you need one of those nifty storage bins for this stuff, they are usually on clearance this time of year as well.
- Christmas stuff. Again, obvious, but this the perfect time to evaluate your Christmas decorations, etc. Do you have things you don't use? Donate them. Do you have lights that don't work, wreaths that are smashed, etc.? Throw them away. Next Christmas you won't even miss them. Are there things you would like to add to your collection? Maybe you were really wishing you had an Advent calendar this year? Make a list as you go through everything and check the stores and online vendors like CBD this week. You can probably get some on clearance.
- Paperwork. First of each year, I clear out our file folders in our file drawer, as we keep current year stuff in there. Some of you may remember that I had let this slide for a couple of years, causing myself mucho work the first of this year. Don't let this happen to you! We keep everything needed for taxes out, and put the rest that need to be saved in envelopes in a special box. Everything else is shredded. I also go through the box and shred anything older than 7 years.
- Medicine. End of year is a great time to go through all your over the counter meds. Throw away anything dated 2007 (or earlier!). Don't forget to check things like hydrocortisone cream, sunscreen, antibiotic ointment, etc.
- Pantry. Ditto for the pantry! Most pantry staples have expiration dates, so poke back into the recesses of your pantry to see if there is anything lurking back there (and if you feel the urge to straighten that pantry up in the process, be my guest!). I recently came across several jars of baby food - and my youngest just turned 3! I was able to give one or two jars to a friend at church, but the rest of it was past dates, so I threw it out. No one wants to risk a past date jar for their baby!
- Spices. Actually the first of November would probably be a better time to go through the spice drawer/rack, so that fresh stuff would be on hand for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But if you forgot to do it then, take a moment to look through the spices. I'm pretty sure my cream of tarter is losing it's tart-ness, so that's going on my list. If you can't remember the last time you used something or when you bought it, it might be time to toss it.
- Calendar/organizer. Maybe I'm the only housewife/homeschooling mom who uses a Day Runner, but I love mine. I have tweaked the categories to fit my life, but I use it not just as my calendar, but where I keep lists (like my Christmas list), addresses books, important things to remember, to-do's, project lists. I also keep important pieces of paper in there, like invitations or notices, rosters, etc. But I have to go through it or the junk collects. Since I have to replace my calendar anyway, now is a good time to go through it.
- Junk drawers. I don't have an official junk drawer, but I do have a couple that tend to get junky. One is a drawer in the kitchen that tends to collect odds and ends. The other is a small drawer in my desk where I keep sales flyers and coupons. Wherever your junk tends to collect, no is a great time to clean it out!
- Toys. This one is also pretty obvious, but sometimes we must make room for the new by getting rid of the old. My kids are much more easily induced to get rid of things if they have brand new things to play with.
- Knick knacks. Usually we get more of these at Christmas, so it is a good time to go through these. If you've got stuff boxed up that hasn't seen a shelf or curio cabinet in years, maybe it is time to give it to charity. I usually try to go through things like this to get one last donation in before the first of the year.
- The Computer. That's right. If you don't already have a back-up system in place, back up your data! This can be done several ways, by burning cd's, backing up to a second computer, etc. Also, now might be a good time to burn a cd or dvd of this year's pictures if you have a digital camera.
So what did I leave off? What do you use this time of year to cull out?