Skip to content

Health & Balance

Make 2005 New Year's Resolutions a Reality

Here are five baby steps to improve your health, family, and home in the New Year.
Font Size
A
A
A

continued...

Smart snacking tips that won't break your diet.

New Year's Resolution No. 5: De-clutter Your House

If your family's mail collects on the dining room table, you need help. That's where Cynthia Townley Ewer, editor of OrganizedHome.com, can get your New Year's resolution on track.

Ridding the house of junk mail is one of Ewer's specialties. "The greeting cards, the invitations -- that's the fun mail you read immediately," she tells WebMD. "It's the rest that seems to propagate in the middle of the night."

To get mail under control:

  1. Don't bring it into the house -- not until you've done a first toss, that is. That means sorting mail over a trash can, tossing junk immediately, saving other mail for review later. "It's like speed dating, there's no lifelong commitment," says Ewer. A trash can in the garage or by the back door is convenient for this.

  2. Do your tossing when you're not distracted, after groceries and kids are safely inside the house.

  3. Give remaining mail a "home." Put it in a designated place. A magazine file holder is good for this, especially one that is transparent, so you can see what you're looking for, Ewer suggests.

  4. Now the "R" word -- routine. You need a routine for dealing with bills, credit card statements, etc. Set a time every week for this. "This doesn't necessarily mean you have to pay all the bills at that time," Ewer tells WebMD. "But if you let it go any longer than one week, you won't see the bank overdraft or the erroneous charge on your credit card."

  5. Set up files. You might need a file for pending matters (such as a dispute with a merchant or rebate in progress), another for "bills to pay," another for statements, etc.

Keep in mind, though, that there's no such thing as clutter-free living, says Ewer. Nobody's absolutely perfect.

As with your mail, it helps to establish "clutter preserves" for your other stuff. These are like wildlife preserves -- limited areas where clutter can live freely, as long as it stays within boundaries, Ewer writes on her web site.

Today on WebMD

woman in yoga class
6 health benefits of yoga.
beautiful girl lying down of grass
10 relaxation techniques to try.
 
mature woman with glass of water
Do you really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day?
coffee beans in shape of mug
Get the facts.
 
jet plane landing at sunset
Slideshow
poinsettias
Quiz
 
Hungover man
Slideshow
Welcome mat and wellington boots
Slideshow
 
Woman worn out on couch
Article
Happy and sad faces
Quiz
 
Fingertip with string tied in a bow
Article
laughing family
Quiz