The urge to purge: How to make way for the New Year
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(BPT) - In many cultures worldwide, it’s traditional to clean out your home at the beginning of a new year. It’s understandable — New Year’s brings with it the urge for a clean slate and a fresh start. And as you’ve been spending more time in your home this year, you’re probably more aware of the need to clear out than ever before.

Here are some easy ways you can declutter this season — or any time you feel the need — that will help your home feel refreshed and be good for the environment, too.

Start with trouble spots

Take note of areas in your house that are in serious need of purging. Is your pantry overcrowded? Your fridge stuffed to the gills? Or maybe your garage no longer has room for one car inside, much less two? Starting with an area that bugs you the most can give you the most satisfaction when you clear it out.

While you sort through the trouble spot, use sturdy bins or boxes to sort items to donate or recycle as well as to discard items that are no longer useful. Check your local authorities for guidelines about proper recycling as well as how to discard potentially hazardous materials.

Time for a cupboard de-clutter

Kitchens are a prime source of clutter frustration. How many times have you opened a cupboard to have items literally falling out on you, or had to rummage through several drawers to find just the one utensil you need?

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Assemble all your food storage containers to see which have duplicate or missing lids. This is a great time to upgrade to newer products that will serve your needs better. Consider, for example, stackable EasyFindLids™ food storage containers from Rubbermaid, where the lids snap onto the container bases and other same size lids for easy organization — eliminating the need to ever hunt for a matching lid again.

Make way for new food storage containers by recycling all your older (or lidless!) ones. Rubbermaid® has partnered with TerraCycle® to provide a convenient recycling solution for well-used plastic and glass food storage containers. All you do is sign up on terracycle.com and download a prepaid shipping label. Pack up your old food storage containers, ship them to TerraCycle at no cost, and they take care of the rest. You’ll know your containers will be correctly recycled, helping protect the environment — and your kitchen sanity.

Go through your pots and pans, considering which ones you really don’t use, and donate the excess. If there are some items you only use once a year, consider finding a new home for them in a closet that won’t take up valuable real estate needed by your daily-use items.

Clear your closets

This can be a whole-family project — trying on old clothes and seeing what you and your family can’t or don’t want to wear anymore. If kids are reluctant, make it into a game! See what silly outfits you can conjure up when you mix and match old tops and pants in creative new ways. Then challenge kids to find methods to organize their shirts or socks that make sense to them. Color-coded? Long-sleeved to short-sleeved?

Donate any clean, gently used items so others can make good use of them. You’ll love all the space in your closets — and how much easier it is for everyone to find things.

Clearing out your home for the new year can be extremely satisfying and reinvigorating — leaving you and your home feeling refreshed and ready for whatever the next year brings.