Photo Credit: Jewish Press

With the change of the clock comes the desire to hibernate in our homes, as nothing says cozy like a warm blanket and hot cup of tea, right? Except if you can’t find a warm blanket underneath that pile of stuff you meant to give away and never got around to.

So, in the spirit of taking full advantage of the desire to stay indoors during these chilly nights, let’s organize our homes so that we can find the peace of mind we deserve.

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As it is winter, the logical place to start is the coat closet – the easiest places to shove things in to. You never know what could end up in its deep, dark recesses. Take a look at which coats, scarfs and half gloves are being used and toss everything else. That goes for the broken sports equipment and lone boots as well. This is a project that can be tackled in less than an hour, so do it when you don’t have a lot of time and or energy. If you can, take a look at the umbrella bin and the shoe area. Are there broken umbrellas and outgrown shoes clogging up the space? Say thank you for your service, a la Marie Kondo, and toss them into the garbage.

Another project that doesn’t take too much time is going through your bookcases and donating or giving away seforim and books that you no longer use. If they were presents and are unused, you can regift them. Don’t forgot about your magazine rack; only keep the magazines you would read again. All the shopping catalogs can be tossed. I promise, you will get more in the mail.

Now that you are done, take a moment to enjoy your clean space and perhaps choose a book from your favorites to have a nice cuddle with.

Let’s move on to another area that seems to beg us to store unnecessary items: kitchen cabinets. This is a project that takes more time, as it involves checking for expiration dates and organizing items into zones. What are zones? Where we keep related items –

a baking zone, a coffee zone, a canned goods zone, etc. This way you will know where the cocoa is without opening up every cabinet.

Another project that requires a commitment of time, yet offers the bonus of family bonding time is sorting pictures on your phone. We all have thousands of pictures, but how often do we actually create an album with them? Nothing is more delicious than going over good memories in a tangible format, such as a printed photo book or album. Gather your love ones around and download all the pictures on your phones to a computer. Remember all the great times and laugh at the silly faces. Then, print out the ones you all love best and make another album to enjoy. This is also a great time to update the pictures hanging on your walls or on spaces throughout your house. An added benefit is freeing up memory space on your phone for more pictures.

Another fun, family activity you can do together is going through the toy area. We all have board games and toys that are missing pieces and parts or that the children have simply outgrown. If your children are old enough to work with you, include them. It can be fun for them to remember the times they did enjoy the game. However, if your children have a hard time parting with a possession, it would be better to do this on your own. One surprise benefit of organizing the toy bin is that sometimes, when everything is laid out, games can be combined to make one fully functional one, i.e. a new game to be enjoyed.

Of course, let’s not forget the linen closet so that we can find that yummy blanket. Throw out all the worn, stained, faded linens and towels that have accumulated over the years. If you haven’t used them in the last year or so, chances are you will not use them in the next year, and they are just taking up space in your closet. All these rubbed out blankets are getting in the way of the things you actually use, not to mention the blanket you want to snuggle with. As the linen closet is usually next to the bathroom, take a quick peak into your bathroom medicine cabinet, sink vanity and bathtub shelf, and chuck all the dried up make-up, old bath toys, and empty shampoo bottles.

Now that your house is all organized, pull out that warm blanket and enjoy. After all, you deserve it!

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Pnina Baim is the author of the Young Adult novels, Choices, A Life Worth Living (featured on Dansdeals and Jew In The City) and a how-to book for the Orthodox homemaker, Sing While You Work. The books are available at amazon.com. Pnina is available for speaking engagements and personal consulting. Contact her at pninabaim@gmail.com.