I moved to Iowa on April 30, 1994 and on May 1, it snowed. A lot. I remember calling my parents in tears, blurting out, “I am in Iowa, it is May 1 and the ground is covered with snow and there is more coming.”
Now, I must confess I grew up in the snow belt of Ohio where we still had school with a foot of snow on the ground. I consider myself a sturdy winter person. But snow in May. Really?
This winter has provided plenty of its own challenges and I am hopeful that we are past the most difficult weeks. I have learned to take advantage of the months when I find myself held captive by the interior spaces of my home. Rather than Spring Organizing, I have often employed the Art of Winter Organizing.
Let me suggest that you set aside time during the month of February to clear some space in your home by making a list of hot spots that could use some organizing attention. To make the entire process more enjoyable and a bit more spontaneous, write each task on a small piece of paper, fold said paper up and place it in a jar or a bowl.
Be certain that you aren’t writing “organize the garage” on a piece of paper. That activity is a project, consisting of multiple steps. For now, we are aiming for “one and done” to get some traction on our Winter Organizing.
Set aside time on your calendar for a Winter Organizing session and either you or another willing family member draws the current organizing activity from the jar.
I gave myself a gift of a Sabbatical for the month of December and I employed the jar technique to give myself permission to work on some creative projects that consistently got set aside or passed over simply because life works that way. So, I can assure you that the jar process really does work.
To help you get started, here are a few possible organizing tasks that can land in your jar:
Linen Closet: remove any old sheet sets or towels and donate to Human Shelter and/or Goodwill. My advice to clients is you only need two sets of sheets per bed in your house.
·Pantry: remove anything that has an expiration date.
·Spices: if you can’t smell it, toss it.
·Recipes/Cookbooks: pick your favorite 5-10 cookbooks and let the rest go to Half Price Books or Goodwill. (Seriously – we all know the cookbooks we use the most often – give yourself the gift of a more-narrowed focus in the kitchen).
·Shoes: Everyone in the house goes through their shoe collection and removes at least two pairs that s/he no longer wears.
Consider each pulled task a victory when completed. I strung my completed squares of paper up in my office as a banner of Sabbatical Success. Did I get through all the papers in the jar? No, and that is just fine. Did I always do the item pulled for the day? No, because I got to make the rules up as I went. Have fun with the process. Each small step you make toward the Art of Winter Organizing will provide you with a beautiful canvas in your home come spring.