CHARLESTON, W.Va. - With the beginning of the New Year, many people's thoughts turn to getting organized and losing weight.
While such challenges can seem overwhelming, every journey starts with the first step.
Local experts offer tips for starting to streamline your life and your waistline.
"January is get-organized month," said Rita McGhee, who runs an organizational business called Sort My Space.
"I recommend a drawer or a shelf at a time. Or, it might be the kitchen counter or a closet."
Because things did not get disorganized in a day, it is wise to remember that it will take a little time to put them in order.
The key is to choose a manageable area that can be organized in a reasonable amount of time. Once that area is done, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment, and then you can move on to the next space.
McGhee said it's important to stick with one area until it is completed. Moving from one room to the next can be distracting and steal time needed to finish a task.
For example, when cleaning a junk drawer, use a bag to hold items that need to be distributed elsewhere in the house. Have another bag ready for items to be given away. Immediately toss what goes in the trash.
When tackling a larger area such as a closet, consider what can be purged.
"Don't go buy newfangled bins until you've purged," she said. "You may already have something in the house you can use. Wait until you know exactly what to get."
Get rid of items that have not been worn in the last two years as well as those things that are much too large or too small, she said.
Put these things in a bag so they are ready to go out the door and be donated. With that glorious extra space, it is now time to organize the remaining clothing by type and color. For example, put all pants together and all tops in one area.
"That way you can see what you have and make smarter purchases," she said.
Seeing things lined up can be funny because we tend to buy the same styles and colors, she said. Once you've done this, it's time to get rid of things that look a bit worn as well as those items that were just a bad decision in the first place, she said.
Create spots for storing shoes such as a plastic container or canvas bin, she suggests. For that stash of purses, use large duffel bags as holders and sort them according to size.