So we're almost 30 days into 2012--feel bad about falling off the wagon yet? I do. But I've got some quick and easy pick me ups for all you Januarians out there. Now that you're tired of eating right and exercising everyday, here are five things you can do in the new year to improve yourself that don't require getting up at 5 A.M.
1. Reorganize Your Kitchen Cabinets
After being in my apartment for years things in the kitchen have gotten completely out of hand. More than once I've gone to get something out of the cabinet and be met with a total avalanche (and then some colorful language). Since it's cold outside, I figured I shouldn't wait until spring to do some serious indoor cleaning and finally tackled my disorganized cabinets. Now I know where everything is, and I can finally get rid of that giant rotisserie/oven/bun warmer thing that took up half a cabinet. And that cheesy punch bowl that someone else forced on me a few years ago is going straight to charity; let some other person make their favorite sherbet drink in that monstrosity.
2. Clean Out That Spice Rack
I just went through my spice rack andI'm more than a little embarrassed. Some of the stuff in there came from stores I haven't stepped into in years. Some I don't ever remember buying. Maybe my mother pawned them off on me when she cleaned out her own spice rack. Who knows. It's mystery spice. And in any event, spices lose their flavor and become useless over time, so throw out that dusty bottle and don't buy a new one until you need it again. Dump the contents into your compost pile and save the jar for something else because that's all you're going to get out of these ancient herbs.
3. Get Rid of Expired Medicine
Unless something really terrible happens to me, I'll never get sick often enough to use up all the medicine my mom buys for me. Plus, I have a tough-it-out mentality when it comes to being sick. Cold medicine just suppresses your symptoms, which is great when you're trying to sleep or work. But it's not like they actually cure your cold, so I rarely take them and my medicine cabinet is jammed with bottles that have long since expired. I finally made threw all that stuff out. I considered adding them to the compost too but on second thought, maybe it's best not to mix NyQuil with my homegrown veggies.
4. Donate Unused Clothes to Charity
Frankly, I think this should be done twice a year: once at the end of the cold season and once at the end of the warm season. Anything that didn't get worn the season before should hit the road. One closet in my home that always gets neglected is the coat closet. I always think someone will come visit me in New York, not know how to dress properly despite Google and I'll need extra coats to keep this insane person warm. Whether or not this actually happens nobody's gonna want to wear that late 80's turquoise ski parka. But, aren't the 80's back? Wouldn't it be funny if after all these years my old parka is hip again? See? This is my problem.
5. Recycle Old Catalogs and Magazines and Donate or Sell Used Books
What's more difficult than getting rid of old coats? Books. I even have a hard time getting rid of old magazines. Am I ever going to read these things again? Probably not, so why I am clinging to them? The best thing to do to keep the pages that you love from magazines is to cut them out. I like to put my cut out pages in plastic sheet dividers and then in a binder. I have a binder for recipes and one for crafts and one for fashion looks I love! After that, magazines and catalogs can be recycled. Books can be donated or sold. Does anyone really think I'm smart when they look on my shelves and see that copy of "Little Women" I read in junior high? I doubt it. Plus, it might be time to remove "Cooking Light" from the bathroom.
Each of these steps shouldn't take longer than a handful of commercials breaks each night. Why not ditch disorganization while watching "Downton Abbey"? And what other quick tips do you guys have to go from chaos to calm?