It is wonderful to enjoy the special holiday decorations, but it is also nice when it all comes down and the house is a little less cluttered!  January is a time of renewal, so take some time to clean out those closets, donate those clothing items you no longer need, and clear out the clutter in your kitchen.

Clutter can really weigh down your home and can keep you from making the most of your space.

While the thought may be overwhelming, approach this project like you would anything else: One step at a time. It is important to be realistic with your goals and your method of meeting those goals. Perhaps start with the front hall closet or the junk drawer in the kitchen. No matter how or where you start, it is a good idea to have a method that works for you.

Getting organized is all about decisions: What to keep and what to discard. When it comes to things you plan to keep, categorize them into groups such as A, B, C and D. Things in the “A” category are those you use on a daily basis, such as your hairbrush or coffee maker. Now, think about your “A” spaces in the house: counter tops, easy to reach shelves, and handy drawers. Your A things should go in A spaces.

“B” things are used often, just not as frequently as “A” items. These things could include a large salad bowl or your blender, and should be kept in “B” places, which are slightly less accessible than “A” places.

Seasonal decorations are things that would fall into the “C” category. They are still used, but not very often. “C” places are areas in your home that are less accessible and completely out of the way of the daily flow of living in your home.

Finally, those dreaded “D” items. These are things you do not actually use, but feel you should keep anyway, such as spare furniture. “D” items need to be stored as out of the way as possible.

Ideally, your home should have mostly “A” and “B” items, which are things you really love and use regularly. In a perfect world, you'll have very few “C” and “D” items.  Keep in mind those “D” items could be donated. This helps consumers follow the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and helps cut down on wastes.  If you don't use that old rocking chair anymore and it's just in the way, someone else could use it on a daily basis.

As you go through your home and sort things into the A, B, C and D categories, it can be helpful to ask yourself a few questions: When was the last time I used this? What is the worst-case scenario if I donate this item? How hard would it be to replace this item?

As you go through closets, cabinets and drawers, take the time to clean the area, too. Wipe down shelves and drawers with an eco-friendly cleaner. You'll be amazed at how good you feel as you go. That feeling will keep you motivated to move throughout your house and declutter and clean.

Once you are done sorting your belongings into categories and have determined what items you need to get rid of, look for a reputable place in your area that will take your donated items. Be sure to ask for a receipt, as you may be able to use the donation as a tax deduction.

Having a clutter-free home is a great way to start the new year. Not only are you helping others by donating items that can be reused, you're also making the most of the space in your home so it's more enjoyable.

For more information, or to schedule a program locally about financial management, nutrition, health and wellness, parenting education, or Oklahoma Home and Community Education, contact the OSU Cooperative Extension Service in Pottawatomie County at 405-273-7683.