Plan ahead: Get organized in the New Year

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By Theresa Howard

The beginning of a new year offers the opportunity to refresh and reset ourselves in a variety of different ways. Planning ahead now to get organized in the new year can help you feel more prepared for daily life and unexpected situations which may arise over the next few months. 

One of the first steps to getting organized is reducing clutter. After the holidays, our houses tend to have extra “stuff.” As you put away holiday gifts or those items that you purchased at after holiday sales, consider donating older items that you do not use often. A one-to-one exchange helps prevent your home from becoming cluttered. For each new item you bring in, donate an older item. This is a great exercise and a teachable moment for children; toys often create a lot of household clutter. Families in the United States purchase 40 percent of the world’s toys, but only 3.1 percent of the world’s children live in the United States. 

Reducing junk mail can help you eliminate clutter at your house. Often junk mail will pile up until someone has the time to sort through to make certain it does not include anything important. You can request your name be removed from mailing lists by contacting the Direct Marketing Association, the cost is $1. More information regarding the Direct Marketing Association may be found at www.DMAchoice.org. In addition to direct mailers received from companies, many people often find their mailboxes full of unsolicited credit offers and insurance policy. You may request your name be removed from these lists by visiting the official Consumer Credit Report Industry Website at www.optoutprescreen.com. This website allows you to choose to stop receiving prescreened credit offers for a 5 year period.

A recent research study linked over-accumulation of stuff with higher levels of stress. As you prepare for the new year, consider steps you can take to help you feel more organized at home.