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Declutter Your 2018- Our How-Tos for Organizing Your House, Life and Mind

It's almost time to watch the ball drop! This time of year always has me excited to make some changes. It's a great time to try new things, focus on yourself and organize your life. Some may call me a freak of nature, but I LOVE decluttering and organizing! I haven't quite reached Monica Gellar status because I hate to clean. My floors are dirty and my windows need washin', but my pantry is tidy and my countertops are clear! After organizing my closet, I find excuses to visit it as often as I can. There's something so satisfying about a well-organized space, right? Right? No, just me? Well anyway, here are my top tips for decluttering your space and your life in the new year.

Baby Steps Are OK. Tackle one room, or even just one drawer, at a time. Organizing your entire world can be seriously overwhelming.

Take Advice from Marie Kondo. In her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Kondo preaches to only keep those things that spark joy. Thank other items for the part they've played in your life and then let them go. For assistance, consult the flow chart below:

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For Clothes, Use the Hanger Trick. Go into your closet and make sure all your hangers are facing the same way. Once you wear an item, reverse the hanger. In one year, give away all the items with hangers still facing the first way. If you haven't worn it once all year, it's time to let it go.

Don't Hold on to Things Because of Guilt. Let go of those things that are no longer useful or that you don't even like, even if it makes you feel guilty because of how much you paid for them or because they were a gift. The items are yours to do with as you wish, and you deserve to have a house filled only with the things you love.

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Create a Virtual Art Gallery. Save your childrens' art digitally using the ArtKive app. My pack rat five year old has a need, nay, a burning desire, to save every piece of art, every worksheet, and every card she's ever made or received. I'd be drowning in a sea of paper if not for this app.

Create Photo Mementos of Sentimental Items. If you have items taking up a lot of space in your house, items that are only valuable because of the sentiment attached to them, take a picture of them and then sell or donate them. Or, if you're like my husband and the item is an old Bengals t-shirt from 1986 that is full of holes, throw it away! You can treasure the picture forever while making space in your life for the things you actually need.

Write it Down. Now that you're a parent, you have, at a minimum, doubled the amount of things you need to keep track of on the regular. If you're like me, you're also exhausted and at times running on empty. This trifecta doesn't exactly contribute to great memory skills. Just admit defeat and try to write everything down as soon as it comes into your brain because before you know it the baby will be sticking something up his nose and the toddler will be running to tell you that they peed, probably on the carpet.

Make Use of Your Phone. Find a great planning app and use it daily. I've used Planner Pro for a few years and it really helps me keep track of events and tasks in my life. Check out these other great apps to improve your organization here. I'm especially excited to try out LastPass because I'm always forgetting my passwords!

Declutter Your Inbox. Overwhelmed by all the junk mail I was receiving last year, I went on a mission to unsubscribe from the websites that sent me daily emails. It took some time on the front end, but now I'm not greeted with a million messages in my inbox each morning. Also, not getting regular emails boasting of sales from Zulily, Old Navy and Modcloth, to name but a few, has made a very positive impact on our bank account.

Divide Your To Do List. When trying to organize my life, making a good list always helps me get things done. However, when that list gets more than 20 items long, I find myself staring at it in panic and then going to the pantry to search for chocolate. Itemizing that to do list by day of the week really helps me stay sane. Completing three tasks Monday, three tasks Tuesday, etc. makes conquering that list feel a lot more manageable.

Get Kids In On the Act. This spring I'm having my kids do their own room decluttering for the first time. Once they've gathered the things they're willing to part with, we'll have a yard sale. Half of their profits will go in their college funds and the other half they can save for themselves. According to this article, you can also get kids involved in cleaning and organizing at as young as age two. They have a great chart that shows the kinds of tasks kids can be expected to accomplish at every age.

Create a Weekend Bucket List. We all have those wonderful weekends from time to time where nothing is going on. Plan ahead and make a list of all the things you'd like to do when you have the time. This way on those precious weekends you won't waste time figuring out what to do. You can just consult your list, and then be on your way to family fun!

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Declutter Your Mind with Daily Meditation. This is so important, but honestly, meditation is like really nasty cough syrup for me. I know it's good for me and know I need it, but it's just so tough to take. However, I just found a book that I think will be a life-changing step towards my self-enlightenment. It's called, "Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics" and it's written by ABC anchor, and "defender of worrying", Dan Harris. So far I've only read the back cover, but I can already tell that this guy gets me. If he can do it, so can we!

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(My sentiments exactly! Decluttering isn't just for closets!)

Let's make 2018 not just our best year yet, but the year we resolve to be more present in our lives, for our families and, most importantly, for ourselves. We can do this by clearing away the literal and figurative clutter and making space for the things that truly matter. Get rid of the junk and the guilt and make time to breathe, to dream and to plan and think for yourself this year. I'm so excited to start this year with all of you in the Fit4Mom Village!

With Gratitude, Love and Champagne Wishes,

Erin

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