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Along with a new year comes a desire to get myself more organized at home! To start the year off fresh, I decided to pare down my belongings, clear out the clutter and rid my home of things I hardly use which were taking up valuable space. My goal was to create a greater sense of peace and clarity going into the new year so I could feel more content and focused. I’ve already begun the process of purging and organizing. Here’s what I’ve tackled so far:

The Refrigerator & Freezer. I threw away anything that was expired or that had been in my fridge or freezer for too long. Next I completely cleaned out the inside…Something I probably don’t do often enough but it makes a huge impact. It looks super clean and I can find anything I’m looking for easily.

The Medicine Bin: I had Peptol Bismol tablets that expired in 2008 (and many other similar offenses) so I did the same as above and threw away anything that was expired. I had loose cough drops and packets of Theraflu all over the bin, so I piled them together and stored them neatly in tiny ziploc snack bags.

Toiletries & Beauty Products: I keep these items in my linen closet and the toiletry shelves were filled to the brim with products, some which I’ve never even used. Working in fashion, I always get free beauty products in gift bags or from friends who work in the industry. So I had tons of unopened hand creams, makeup, hair products…you name it. Anything I had never used was tossed into a giveaway pile and I threw away anything that was old, almost empty or barely used. I had multiples of lots of items such as shampoo, so I kept the ones I used the most and tossed the rest.

My Clothes: I went through all of my drawers, closets and storage bins and cleared out anything that seemed outdated, that I hadn’t worn in the past year, or that was simply a fashion mistake (we all have those!). This was the hardest thing for me to do since my thought is always ” I never know when I’m going to want to wear it.” But where I live space is at a premium so I had to compromise and part with some of my clothes. One guideline I used was that If I haven’t worn it in the past year, get rid of it. I filled up a garbage bag full of clothes and you know what? I don’t miss a thing. Now my closets and drawers feel much more spacious.

Tip: When you’re clearing out clutter in your own home, a great tip is to do what I do and sort your things into four categories of piles: The garbage pile, the giveaway to friends and family pile, the donate to Goodwill pile and the consignment pile. I recently started consigning some of my things that I no longer want but that are a bit too nice to donate. A great online consignment resource is Christabelle’s Closet or you can also do a Google search to find a local consignment shop in your area. Why not make a few extra bucks off your old stuff? Consider it a bonus for the time you spent organizing!

After completing the big purge, I called in a pro to help me organize my apartment and make my life a bit easier. Enter Lisa Zaslow, professional organizer and founder of Gotham Organizers here in New York. Lisa is an organizational guru and has been featured on HGTV, in The New York Times, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Self magazine and many more. I knew she would have great storage and organizational tips to make my
current organizational systems much more efficient. And honestly, even after I purged my belongings I had more stuff that I knew I could get rid of so Lisa was the perfect neutral voice of reason to help me determine what else to toss and what to keep. Example:

Lisa: Nicole, do you really need 37 canvas tote bags? You should decide which ones are your favorites and then donate the rest.

Me: But they’re all my favorite! And they’re eco-friendly. And each one could work with a different outfit.

These statements were followed by a list of other reasons why I needed to keep all of the totes. (Yeah, the things I get attached to are sometimes pretty ridiculous!) Lisa finally convinced me to toss some of the canvas totes. (And for the record, 37 was an exaggeration for effect, but you get the idea.) Another thing Lisa helped me with immensely was clearing out paper clutter, because sometimes I feel like this:


Am I the only one? Next week, I’ll talk more about my 3-hour organizing session with Lisa and she’ll share some of her top tips for organizing, including how to conquer paper clutter. (She even wrote a book on the subject!) Check back next week for more!


  1. Doesn’t it feel so good to get organized? I just did EXACTLY the same thing to start off 2010! I make the same 4 piles too! I found oil in the kitchen that had expired in 2005 & Neosporin that had expired in 1998. Check it out here: http://perfect-town.blogspot.com/

  2. Thanks for the little push. I need it, definitely with the clothes. It will be nice to be able to close my dresser drawers 🙂

  3. Very impressed with your ability to purge, I have the hardest time getting rid of things!