The little ways I'm tidying up my life in 2017

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

New years always inspire me to start fresh in every aspect of my life. I don't have an apartment or a home of my own right now – here's to all the millennials living with their parents! – so I only have so much space to clean, but I have plenty of messages to deal with.

Most of my personal possessions are stuffed in a storage unit, and the stuff I've got with me now pretty much has to fit in my Ford Focus. Wish me luck!

1. The easy one – my closet and dresser drawers – in progress

January is a great time to look at your closet and ship some stuff off to a thrift store or donation center, and that's exactly what I'm working on this week. In October, I switched all of my hangers around so I can see what I do and do not wear. So, here's what's up for this week:

  • I'm going to look through the hanging clothes that I haven't worn since October and, unless they weren't seasonally appropriate to wear between then and now, they are going to a new home.
  • I also just have some cheap, low quality clothes that I bought in college to stay on top of trends, and they don't usually make it through a season. Grownup Paige doesn't have time for that.
  • Time to go through my socks and toss the ones with holes. This is a serious problem for me.

Does anyone use ThredUp? I have never sent in clothes, because it doesn't seem like they have very good rates and they charge you to get the clothes back that they don't want, but it's on my mind while I get ready to tackle this one.

2. My Goodreads bookshelves.  – done

I am a religious, obsessive user of Goodreads to keep track of my reading habits. Goodreads is a godsend. It's where I keep up with some friends with great tastes in books and what they're reading, and it's how I keep track of how many books I've read in a year – since I plan to read 52 in 2017. But my shelves have gotten totally wacky and out of order, and I had 100+ books on my to-read shelf that I had absolutely no plan to purchase/borrow. Bye bye.

3. My email inbox. – done

Oh, what a mess. My inbox is WAY less crazy now that I have a separate work email but, you know, still pretty crazy. Here's how I tackled it:

  • I didn't delete any emails for a week. (Although I handled any that needed handling). 
  • Then, I sat down with my crazy email inbox went through a full week of spammy marketing emails that I don't remember being tricked into signing up for, newsletters that I was optimistically hoping I'd read and all kinds of other crap.
  • I created labels for all of the newsletters that I wanted to keep receiving – only a few made the cut! – and for my Stella and Dot emails.
  • I unsubscribed from all the stores that I've never purchased anything from and don't plan to. 
  • And for the remaining recurring emails I receive, I set up an rollup to come in ever morning, so I won't be overwhelmed with all of them every day. We'll see how it goes.

4. My medicine cabinet and makeup bag. – in progress

This is the best time to go through your toiletries, makeup and medicine cabinet and check expiration dates/toss things you don't use. I never remember when I buy makeup so I can keep track of when it expires, so I have to guestimate when I bought it. I also toss anything I haven't used in a month (unless it's a special occasion thing that isn't expired!). But most toiletries and pharmacy items will have an expiration date on the bottle – you probably haven't checked them in a while.

5. My phone, iPad and laptop. – in progress

Oh, my technology is a MESS. I like to do periodic cleanups of everything in my technological life so all of my stuff lasts as long as possible, and it's definitely that time of year:

  • I back up all of my files – especially my Creative Cloud files, because those are HUGE – to Google Drive. 
  • I delete any files from my computer that I don't use regularly or won't need if I'm offline. If I need them again, I can download them from the Drive.
  • I update my resume. This isn't really my laptop's problem, but I always update and refresh my resume in the new year.
  • I back up all of my iPhone and iPad photos to Google Photos. LOVE Google Photos. It is the best. iCloud can stuff it. 
  • I delete all photos on my phone. If I need anything again, I can get them from Google Photos.
  • I go through all of my apps for both my iPad and phone and refresh. What haven't I used in a while? This is a great time to nix games you were briefly addicted to and to do list apps you optimistically thought you'd use (just me?)
Happy tidying!
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