When you are snowed in with nowhere to go, it can be tempting to use this time to scroll endlessly through social media or cozy up in front of the television.
However, professional organizers say snow days are some of the best times to get things done around the house – especially as you are locked in and have limited distractions.
Things to do on a snow day to organize your home
'Snow days are great for organizing because you don't have any appointments or visitors who can get in the way of your focus,' begins Kim Corey, professional organizer and founder of Finely Sorted Organizing. You are completely free of car-abled distractions such as shopping and errands. Moreover, ‘the kids may also be home from school so that you can recruit them to help.'
With that in mind, here is how to make the most of your snow day.
1. Decide on a big or several small projects
To set yourself up for a successful decluttering session on a snow day, it is best to decide if you want to take on one big project or a few small ones, says Amy Trager, certified professional organizer. Snow doesn't last forever, so it is important not to set yourself too big a task and leave it incomplete when you have to go back out to work.
‘Are you ready to devote the whole day to a large project? Or is it more realistic to tackle a couple of small pockets around the house between meals, kids, and work?
‘Large projects that work well for snow days are entire rooms or storage areas, like organizing a guest room or a basement that has become overrun with post-holiday hustle. Small areas that are great to organize can be decluttering a nightstand, the fridge, a smaller closet/pantry, or the entry and exit of the house.
'These areas affect our daily lives and can make a big impact with just a small amount of time.’
2. Focus on decluttering
When organizing on a snow day, it is best to focus your efforts on decluttering. While you are stuck in the house you are not able to go out and buy organizers or buy more clutter to immediately refill the gaps you make, so you can make incredible progress in clearing out.
Libby Wood, professional declutterer and downsizer with Senior Settlers, suggests focusing on the main three clutter magnets – decluttering the kitchen, decluttering a closet, and decluttering a bathroom:
‘Snow days are perfect for kitchen decluttering. Empty jars of expired herbs and spices, put the jars in the recycle bin, then put those items on your grocery list for when the weather clears.
‘Go through the personal care items in the bathroom. Makeup is particularly volatile, and expired cosmetics can irritate the skin, so be ruthless. The money spent on those items is far less important than avoiding an ugly reaction.
‘Finally, consider trying on some clothes that haven't seen the light of day for a while. If they don't fit either your body or your lifestyle, put them in a bag on the floor of your closet. Once you can leave the house again, drop them off at your favorite charity.’
Libby is the owner of Senior Settlers, whose mission is to make moving for seniors less stressful through decluttering, unpacking, and moving assistance. She is the senior move manager, and a subscriber to the institute for chronic disorganization.
3. Shut off distractions
While we don’t have outside distractions to take us away from our tasks, our phones and TVs can become an enemy to progress – especially when all of your friends and family are also at home and will be readily accessible at the end of a text or phone call.
To help get motivated to clean and declutter, Amy Trager, certified professional organizer, recommends eliminating distractions while working by shutting off the phone or closing the door and turning on some motivating music or podcasts that will not draw your eye away.
‘If you have to put something away in another room, set it just outside the area you're working in and deliver it later to the proper spot. It's too easy to get distracted by walking away from the project.’
4. Organize old photographs
'Being trapped inside is a great time to tackle some of the more tedious tasks we otherwise put off when organizing our homes,' suggests professional organizer Kim Corey. This could mean getting rid of paper clutter and organizing important documents or decluttering books.
Kim recommends dealing with big collections such as photos: ‘Most of the time they are piled in boxes never enjoyed because they are not organized. Or worse, they are stuck in those sticky-backed albums or stored in cold attics or damp basements, ruining their longevity.
‘For my family, we like to store them by 'person' so that on that person's birthday, we can quickly go to their box and get out a bunch to send to them and all the family members on their special day,’ she shares.
‘You may prefer to organize photos by era. Give each person a box to triage into decades and then combine at the end of two hours so that you have all the photos you want to keep, and you know where they are. Use any old cardboard box until the sorting and editing are completely done. When all photos are organized, you can consider digitizing them in an attractive, easy-to-access storage option online.
‘If you cannot finish the project on this snow day, be sure to temporarily label at least the categories you have made so you don't lose track of your progress,’ she adds.
Starting in 2000, Finely Sorted Organizing, LLC has been helping people declutter, downsize, rightsize, rearrange the basement, clean out a family home, with closet makeovers, garage resets, kitchen retooling, office optimizations, mudroom triages, file cabinet overhauls help to ease anxiety and feelings of frozen immobility caused by lack of systemization in a world filled with curve balls
How can I be productive on a snow day?
If you want to remain productive on a snow day, use the time to complete tasks you have been procrastinating while you are locked in and have no other choice. This might be reorganizing, decluttering, or finishing a DIY project you have started but abandoned. If physical work is not on the agenda, you can use a planner to lay out your upcoming events and tasks or even just catch up on your reading.
Does snow affect your mood?
Snow doesn't make everyone feel whimsical. For some, it can make them feel sluggish, especially if it is persistent. If this is the case, consider how you can make your home cozy and improve your winter lighting to help boost your mood. Use sun-mimicking lamps and add thick textiles to your space to feel warmer so you can relax rather than feel stuck. Take the time to work on a new hobby or organize and declutter your home to stay moving and avoid doom scrolling when feeling low.
It can be hard to know what to do with the items you are decluttering when you are trapped in your home. When decluttering and organizing on a snow day, make sure anything you want to get rid of is either thrown in the trash or bagged up and moved to your entryway, garage, or car so it is ready to go when the roads are safe again. Avoid leaving them on display to make your home feel tidier and prevent yourself from pulling items back out and storing them again.
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Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.
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