Starting 2015 with a Clean Slate

Clean Slate

When the season ended a few days before the New Year and the holiday madness settled down for me, I could not believe how unorganized my life felt. It seemed like things I was so on top of before had been pushed to the side and there was more chaos + clutter than ever. I had four days off starting on the first so I made the most of it to start tackling the mess head on and I thought it might be helpful for me to share some of the things I did to “clean the slate” for 2015.

The first thing I did was clean out my closet. I usually do this at the end of summer and in the spring, but since they preseason started early this year for the Bills it never got done. I started by clearing out everything that wasn’t hung up, folded or in bins and organized that. After that I went through all of the clothes in the closet and separated it into three groups – stuff that was staying, stuff that was getting donated + stuff that needed to go in my other closet until spring came. As you’re going through your stuff, really think about what’s worth taking up space/what you REALLY wear… everything else is just unnecessary clutter so why keep it? I then put everything back into the closet in groups that make the most sense for me, which in my case looks like this: hoodies/sweatshirts, work pants, jeans, leggings, sweaters, long sleeve shirts, blouses, sleeveless shirts + then I use 3 S hooks for all my cam is and tanks. This makes it SUPER easy to find exactly what I’m looking for every day.

Look Inside Closet

On the floor of the closet I have two big rubbermaid containers. One has all my workout pants and one has all my workout t-shirts and tanks. That way I just grab one from each bin and a sweatshirt hanging above and I’m good to pack my gym bag each night.

Workout Bins

I try to keep the shelf up top pretty cleared off, otherwise I tend to throw a bunch of stuff up there and it snowballs in to a mess. To avoid that, I just put my most used purses and clutches (including my DIY translucent Clutch) and the hats I throw on the most often. It takes a lot of time to get stuff set up like this but you will be AMAZED at how much smoother your mornings (or nights) will go if you organize things!

Closet Shelf

The next thing on my list was random but it had been bugging me for a while – our hall linen closet. This has begun a sort of catch-all… it had sheets, comforters, towels, washcloths (the usual suspects) but it also has accumulate a bunch of extra stuff for the bathrooms (air fresheners, candles, soaps), toiletry bags, jewelry boxes + A LOT of shopping bags. That started a couple years ago when we never had any bags to carry random stuff in so we started keeping them, but there were now like 100 bags in there. I hadn’t planned on doing it but I needed something from in there and after 1/2 hour of not being able to find it we decided enough was enough. When closets or rooms get that overwhelming, I find it easiest to just take absolutely everything out of it. Go through things and make three piles: trash, stuff to be donated + stuff that will be going back in the closet. I can’t say enough about bins… get plastic ones from the dollar store, use old ones laying around or heck, I used an extra wooden crate from my shelving project. These can hold a bunch of loose items like the jewelry boxes, toiletry bags, air fresheners + soaps without making it look like there’s a ton of crap cluttering your shelves. The towels all got refolded, even the old worn ones we keep for leaks in the basement, etc. I got new sheets on Black Friday so I donated a couple old sets. I filled on larger bag with some shopping bags and threw out all the rest. The laundry baskets used to be in the closet in in the master bedroom but it seemed to make more sense to move them to the hall linen closet and get them out of the way.

Linen Closet

The next big thing that was stressing me out was the Christmas decorations… oh, that + the fact that the downstairs bathroom was still decorated for fall. We started by un-trimming the tree + packing the ornaments up in new newspaper sheets, you can read a little more about how I store that stuff here. There were a couple strand of lights that had dead spots this year so I made sure to throw those away instead of packing them up and forgetting by next year. We took the tree down and then packaged up the mantle, leaving the LED candles out to be used year round. The wreath that was hanging on the deer bust got moved to the front door to replace the glitter wreath for the rest of winter. I took everything out of the downstair bathroom (the fall decorations) and replaced it with the normal decor (a beachy feel).

Half Bath Decor

This made me feel much better already, freeing up a lot of space in the living room but putting the bathroom back together caused me to move on to my next project…. Under the sink. I hate this area in both of our bathrooms. No matter how many times I go through and throw stuff away + organize it, it seems like it always becomes cluttered so quickly as stuff gets thrown underneath it. This bathroom really only holds my nail stuff (I said only, but there’s over 100 bottles of nail polish) and my husband’s shaving stuff… I don’t know where all the other crap comes in but there was a lot of it. So I did the same routine… took everything out, threw out a LOT of stuff and then organized what was going back in with snap-together containers and put it all back together. You will be shocked how much better you’ll feel about life with a well organized under sink area! I’ll spare you a pic because, well it’s under a sink, and I’ve already shown you my linen closet lol!

The next problem area for me was the mail bin. Used to be this is how it worked… mail was picked up from the mailbox or my PO box, it was brought into the house and put in a wire basket (that was super old, I just spray painted it gold), it got went through once a week (junk got tossed, bills were added to my iCalendar with alerts, cards were responded to, etc) and anything that needed to be kept got filed in its appropriate folder in a box in the office. To say the mail had become a cluster was an understatement… the basket was filled and spilling over and nothing had been filed since the beginning of summer (thank god for auto deductions for 99% of the bills so I didn’t have to stay organized with that). I buy these little hanging folder boxes each year and obviously it was time for a new box with the new year but I wanted to try something new to help make things simpler. I got this leather expandable accordion filer for like $6 at Walmart and made tabs for everything. This way it stays in the mail basket and I just add to it daily instead of letting things pile up. This is also an amazing system if you need access to something random quickly, like a receipt or a car maintenance report – it’s all right there and easy to locate.

Mail Bin

That about did it so far for the home stuff, but there was some other things that just helped clear the clutter mentally and seemed to help me focus a little more. I went through my desktop computer + got rid of absolutely everything I didn’t need including documents, pictures, music, etc. I made sure I installed the latest updates on all my electronics. I dropped my iPhone last week and shattered it so I wasn’t given a choice but it was nice to have the new one wiped clean of photos, apps, contacts + music… it gave me the chance to only put back on it what I wanted. I took all my photos from 2014 and backed them up on a DVD and my external hard drive so I could start this year fresh. I cleaned out the cubby above my desk at work and clorox-wiped every inch of it.

Desk Cubby

I started a new workout journal, reset my fitness goals + reworked my plan for each day at the gym. I cleared off the DVR. I sat down with my planner and made sure everything was up to date, I also started an editorial calendar for the blog to help keep me organized + accountable. I went through my e-mail and deleted old stuff I didn’t need + made folders to organize what I did. I went through my laptop + desktop’s bookmarks and deleted a lot and also added a folder with new blogs I want to check out in 2015 (if you have some you’d think I’d like, let me know in the comments!). I ordered some new stuff that will help keep me organized at work, in the gym + at home (which I’ll tell you more about in February’s fave things) and got some new cookbooks with clean eating recipes. My Nike Fuel Band’s display stopped working in the summer, I finally sent it in to get it replaced. All those little things REALLY add up in a big way to help you mentally feel less cluttered!

As I’m finishing up writing this post it sounds like I went crazy, but I promise I just buckled down and did all of this over a few day span. I really felt like I had enough of the clutter + realized I was holding on to a lot of stuff all over the place that wasn’t really serving any purpose to my everyday life. I thought this post might be helpful similar to my spring cleaning checklist to share some of the things I did that helped me feel like I had a fresh start to 2015. I don’t really believe in resolutions because I don’t think you should need a new year to make changes if you feel like you need to make them but it is a good time to re-evaluate things and see what you really NEED. What are some things you guys did to “clean the slate” for 2015???