January is National Get Organized Month, so begin your new year with a clean start.
One of your first steps should be to reduce clutter. That can be tough since many items hold emotional bonds that make it difficult to decide whether to keep them or get rid of them.
But lets start by focusing on what are possibly the three most cluttered spaces in your home your bedroom closet, home office desk and junk drawer.
Your bedroom closet represents many different times in your life. From your skinniest figure to clothes you purchased during an emotional time, the closet presents lots of difficult decisions.
But being realistic in your goal is a must. Here are a few ways to start:
■ Set aside anything you havent worn or used in a year. Donating the items will not only make you feel good but also get you a tax deduction. If something is ruined, just send it to the scrap pile. You might want an impartial friend to be on hand to tell you the truth about how things actually look on you.
■ Get rid of clothes that dont fit. If you are trying to lose weight, you can keep one or, at most, two articles of clothing for inspiration.
■ If you are a bit leery about getting rid of certain pieces, box them up. If you dont pull any out by the end of the year, donate them. Keeping your closet organized can be very easy if you hang items by your personal preference. You also can categorize shirts, skirts, dresses, pants or organize them by color.
Now look at your home office. Is your desk full of papers, mail, catalogs and magazines that you planned on reading?
Start with the simple task of reducing the junk mail that comes in every day. For $1, you can ask the Direct Marketing Association to remove you from mailing lists. Learn more at Dmachoice.org.
You also can request to be removed from the lists of credit card solicitors for a five-year period by visiting Optoutprescreen.com.
For those papers already on your desk, divide them into three categories documents that require attention now, those that youll need time to review and those that youve finished reading. This gives you a direction on how to start cleaning.
Also keep in mind you should visit the IRS website to learn what records you should be keeping and for how long.
Now move to the junk drawer. A junk drawer doesnt have to be a bad thing. Just remember that its not a catch-all for everything.
Junk drawers are for small items you use often and dont have a place for otherwise.
Be deliberate in your cleaning, and youll find yourself organized this year.
Freebies and discounts
■ Every Wednesday through March, Baskin-Robbins is offering a free two-scoop sundae for each purchased.
■ Receive a free download of My Child ID software, which lets you securely organize and store your childs personal and medical information.
Each store has different coupon policies. I recommend printing them out to have as a reference if your coupon is denied. Also, Kroger doubles coupons up to 50 cents but will not let you use both a digital coupon and paper coupon on the same item.
Deborah Morris weekly column, The Fru-Gal, can help you get through these economic hard times a little more easily. If you know of a way to save some money, feel free to share it on The Fru-Gal blog on BluegrassMoms.com and visit her website, Fru-gal-friends.com.