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Set a date to put away your holiday décor.

New year, clean house

The end of 2012 is nearing and it’s time to turn your attention to the new year, your goals, purposes and commitments. Because your environment absolutely influences your ability to stick to those goals and dreams, your first order of business should be to get your home and office organized before the end of the year.

To inspire you to action, we’ve compiled some helpful tips.

Set a date to put away the seasonal décor. Before the week is out, set a date for taking down and putting away all of your decorative holiday items. Make it an appointment.

Tackle the paper piles. Holiday cards, children’s artwork, notices, invitations, catalogs – one thing is for certain: paper is in abundance at this time of year. Piles of it here and there quickly add up to a big visual mess.

Work in one direction. Organization takes a systematic approach, especially if you only have a set amount of time to work. So start at the entrance and work along a certain side of the room until you get to the opposite corner, then work the next side.

Finish up each session. When you don’t take out the trash, and put up your boxes after each organizing session, you’ll feel like you are continually working and getting nowhere in your effort.

Designate clear zones. When you’ve cleared an area, make sure you don’t add clutter to it again. If you have to bring a box in, then immediately organize it.

– Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore,