Five Tips For Your Own “Year-End Clearance”

As 2017 draws to a close, it’s natural to mentally jump ahead to what’s on tap for 2018: new connections, opportunities, and the anticipation of a fresh start.

Setting goals and planning for a successful new year is exciting. But it’s all that much harder to do if the last few weeks of your current year are a jumble of unfinished projects, loose ends and tight deadlines.

Take a cue from retailers and stage your own personal “Year-End Clearance.” Separate the essential from the extraneous, and you’ll soon find yourself with the breathing space you need to show up on January 1st feeling like “Game on!” instead of “Can I get a do-over?”

Here are a few simple – Yet highly effective – tips to get your started.

Streamline Your Smartphones Photos

Reporting everything from morning coffee to major life events on social media has turned most of us into unintentional photo hoarders. Become friendly with the delete button (do you really need sixteen shots of your breakfast burrito?) and you’ll be over halfway to a decluttered phone. Upload your photos to a cloud-based storage system and/or your primary home computer, where you can do further sorting, deleting and categorizing.

Stage A Closet Closeout

Getting rid of unworn clothing and accessories is one of the fastest ways to clear mental and physical junk. But when you’re standing knee-deep in piles of garments you’re hoping will be back in style before the next ice age, nostalgia can hit hard. That’s when it’s time for some tough love. Put down the college era jeans and repeat this mantra: “If you haven’t used, worn or looked at it within the past 365 days, donate it.”

Reconsider Your Resolutions

This time of year there is an overload of advice on how to make sure you reach your New Year’s targets. But University of Scranton psychology professor John C. Norcross, PhD estimates that less than 10% of resolutions are actually achieved, largely because most people try to go from zero to sixty when creating a positive new habit. Any actions you take must be small and easy to do for the first week. A goal to “take the stairs instead of the elevator” is infinitely more doable than “work out every single day” and it will gradually lead to more physical activity.

Space Out

No matter the size of your living area, making the most of the space you have is a great way to feel organized and efficient and minimize mess. Use small magnets inside your medicine cabinet to hold nail clippers, hair pins and other easy-to-lose objects. Double the storage space for your kids by adding a second clothing rod or shelves in the lower half of the closet. Reduce pet food spillage by moving dog or cat kibble from a floppy bag to a sturdy, wide-mouthed bin (a spray-painted popcorn canister leftover from the holidays works great).

Gauge Your Gadget Gult

No one will argue with the notion that cell phones, tablets and physical activity trackers are useful devices. But does anyone really need a five-pound electric quesadilla maker or laser-guided scissors (yes, they exist)? Go back through your inventory of gadgets and figure out what you’re actually using on a near-daily basis. Donate all other items or give them away as white elephant gifts.

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