January is the official “Get Organized” month, but who’s to say that you can’t start getting organized before January hits? (And start the new year off with a bang. And an organized house.)
Inside you’ll find 20 things to declutter before the new year arrives so that you can start the year off with a clutter-free, stress-free home and life.
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Clutter = Stress
Did you know that the amount of stress a woman feels at home is often linked to the amount of clutter that is piled up in her house? Clutter works to raise the stress hormone, cortisol, which means, a cluttered house = a stressful house. (Source)
As the new year approaches many people will be planning their ever-extravagant New Year’s Resolutions.
Usually, those resolutions include saving money or making more money, working out/dieting/losing weight, being a better person, etc.
Sometimes, sometimes, you will hear of people who make their resolution to be more organized/declutter/tidy up their home.
But it’s rare.
And of those who make resolutions, 80% of them give up by mid-February.
I don’t know about you, but to me, that success rate isn’t very encouraging.
So why not NOT make a resolution to be more organized.
Why not just be more organized?
Don’t wait until the new year to start being more organized, start today so that you can start the new year one step ahead and hold on to the momentum you’ve generated.
Here is a list of the top things you should declutter before the new year for an organized home and life.
(Want 5 quick tips to declutter your house in a week? Here’s my ultimate guide on how to declutter your house in one week.)
Things to declutter from your house before the new year
This list of things to declutter from your house will make an immediate change in the way your house looks.
You can spend hours upon hours, days upon days decluttering and see no difference. That’s when you’re decluttering the back-end stuff, the stuff that no one really knows about except you.
That kind of decluttering is important, but it isn’t as encouraging and motivating as decluttering the stuff that makes a prompt, visible change in the way your house looks.
When it comes to decluttering, I love helping people get started, because there’s not much better than the feeling of accomplishment you get once you’ve fully decluttered your home and life and you can not only see but feel the difference.
When you know that you’re making a positive change in the way that you’re living – a change much deeper than simply getting rid of knick-knacks and things you no longer use.
The feeling of freedom you get when you wake up in the morning, bounce out of bed and make your way to the kitchen to brew a steaming cup of coffee. Along the way you ask yourself – do you dare take a quick peek in the guest bedroom?
You squeak the door open and feel your spirits lift even higher.
Inside the room is a beautifully made bed, a neatly set up night table with only the essentials, and an elegant dresser with a picture sitting on top… and nothing else.
Where there used to be boxes upon boxes, loose pieces of paper, toys, clothes were thrown everywhere, and every other kind of clutter imaginable is now a beautiful, neat, and tidy room.
The same goes for the office, as you used to pass by every morning on the way to the kitchen you used to get overwhelmed and feel stressed out from an innocent glance through the door.
Unorganized papers were everywhere, receipts littered the desk, and clutter gathered in groups on the floor.
Now? It’s gone – the clutter is finally gone. And you can’t help but feel like you’ve been freed from a weight you never knew was there.
That is the life-changing joy of decluttering. And that is where I want to help you get.
But I’ve tried decluttering before and I’ve never been able to do it
Surprisingly enough, decluttering the RIGHT way is something that very few people know how to do, and this is why so many people have tried to declutter in the past and wound up failing, being left discouraged.
That’s a sign that you’re decluttering the wrong way. I talk more about the right and wrong ways of decluttering in my free eBook, From Chaos to Calm. You can sign up for it below.
If you’re feeling discouraged from many failed past attempts at decluttering, don’t let it get you down.
Give yourself a pat on the back because you are strong enough to try again. You’re not going to let the fact that you weren’t able to make decluttering work for you in the past hold you back anymore.
You’re giving it another try, and that’s all that matters.
Take note of this, though:
Just because you’re decluttering these 20 things from your home, doesn’t mean your home will magically be and stay completely decluttered. It’s going to take hard work to continue to keep the clutter out of your home, and it’s up to you to do it – no one else is going to do it for you.
If you struggle to keep clutter out, you can grab my free resource to keep your home clutter-free, here.
20 things to declutter before the new year
One of the most difficult things to do when decluttering is to give yourself permission to let go. Let this list of things to declutter before the new year be just what you need to give yourself permission to let go of the things that are no longer useful to you.
1. Clothes you haven’t worn in the past 6 months
One exception is if you live somewhere where the seasons are particularly long. Maybe you haven’t worn any of your winter clothes in the past 6 months because you’ve been wearing your summer clothes.
If that’s the case, don’t worry about getting rid of your winter clothes, just focus on the clothes that you have been wearing in the past 6 months.
How to declutter clothes (even clothes you love):
If you have troubles trying to figure out which articles of clothing you wear and which ones you don’t, one trick I’ve learned over the years is to turn all the hangers in your closet backward – then as you wear an article of clothing, turn that hanger back around the right way. If you fold your clothes, fold the articles of clothing in a different way than you normally fold them, then as you wear the clothes fold them back the normal way. At the end of 6 months, get rid of any clothes that are still hanging backward or folded the wrong way.
2. Take-out dishes
It seems that everyone has an overabundance of take-out dishes. You know, the kind you get when you take leftovers home from the restaurant, and then you wash them and keep them in case you host a meal and want to send leftovers home with people?
The containers are great for that – but there are only so many you need.
It’s perfectly okay to hold onto a couple of these containers, but try to find at least a few to get rid of to help tame the pile.
3. Extra serving dishes
Serving dishes are my weakness. I love them. I love all the different colors, patterns, and types of dishes you can get.
However, despite loving how they all look, I have about 3 that I default to using every time I pull out my nice serving dishes. Which made me realize that even though I love them, I don’t need them and they aren’t serving a purpose in my life anymore.
And maybe you’re the same.
If you have serving dishes that haven’t gotten used in a while, go ahead and get rid of them – but be sure you hold onto the ones that you do use often (and you can give yourself permission to keep a couple that are for extra-special occasions, despite not getting used much).
4. Unused home decor
Whether it be spring, summer, fall, or winter decor, there’s a good chance you have some sitting somewhere in your home that you don’t use.
Now is an especially good time to sort through your Christmas decor, because (if your house is already decorated for Christmas) anything that isn’t already set in your house, you can get rid of it.
5. Egg cartons
Anyone else hoard egg cartons like they’re going to be starting the world’s largest egg production anytime soon?
Unless you actually have use for all those egg cartons (and no, I’m not talking about a craft you’re planning on doing 5 years down the road from now), it’s time to hand them off to someone who could actually use them.
6. Old charging cords
My husband and I used to have a desk drawer dedicated to charging cords. They were a tangled mess and we didn’t even know what half of them belonged to, but we held on to them just in case we needed them one day.
Until I learned that “one day” wasn’t coming and we didn’t need a charging cord for a phone that we hadn’t even had for years.
(But we still had the cord… just in case.)
Sort through the charging cords in your house and match them up with the things you actually still have, then test them to make sure they work, and get rid of any that you no longer need or ones that no longer work.
The same goes for headphones – you only have so many ears, so you only need so many pairs (and chances are out of all the ones you have, about only 1/3 of them still work decently).
8. Old electronics
Get rid of any phones you no longer need/no longer work, old laptops and computers, DVD players, CD players, and anything else that no longer gets used or no longer works.
You can find most manuals online these days, so go ahead and throw out any old manuals that are cluttering up your house (but be sure to hold onto manuals that you need for returning an item, if you plan on returning it).
Magazines are great… until they start cluttering up your home, which they can do really fast. Sort through your stack of magazines and get rid of any you don’t plan on reading again.
And for the ones that you do plan on reading again – will you realistically get a chance to read it again?
(A tip I’ve gathered is if you have a specific page in a magazine that you want to read again or a recipe you want to make, rip that one page out of the magazine and put it into a binder, then discard the magazine.)
11. Small condiment packages
Open all those little condiment packages you get from restaurants up and combine them with your bigger container of that specific condiment.
(For example, open all your little ketchup packages and squirt them into your big bottle of ketchup.)
Think about the number of people you would realistically host at a time – now look at the number of mugs you have.
I think it’s safe to say you’re able to get rid of at least a few mugs.
(Plus, getting rid of mugs makes it easier to access the mugs that you actually like and use often, rather than having to weed through the lesser-mugs to get them.)
13. Towels & bedding
As a rule of thumb, keep no more than two sets of sheets per bed that you own. So, if you have a toddler bed, a twin bed, and a king bed, you would need two toddler sheets + pillowcases, two twin sheets + pillowcases, and two king sheets + pillowcases, and that’s it.
You can also get rid of any towels that are old and falling apart.
14. Blankets & pillows
We talked about towels and bedding, now it’s time to clear out the excess blankets and pillows.
Keep as many pillows as you have beds, and then one or two extra in case someone comes over and crashes on the couch. The same goes for blankets.
It’s easy to collect flower pots over the years without even realizing it – if you have more than you need – or more than you have room to store – it’s time to get rid of the ones that aren’t your absolute favorite.
16. Baby clothes over 3 years old
Baby clothes are one of those things that are HARD to get rid of.
(Anytime you try, you end up getting sucked into a reminiscing state-of-mind and all you do is look at each item of clothing before putting it back in the box, getting rid of nothing.)
But, if you aren’t planning on having any more babies, and your babies are over 3 years old, it’s time to pass that baby stuff on to another mom who could actually use it.
17. Glass jars
Donate any glass jars you have in storage that you don’t plan on using again (whether it be for canning, storage, or home decor).
18. Reusable water bottles
Reusable water bottles, as well as reusable coffee mugs, should be sorted through and donated or thrown out on a regular basis.
(A common problem with double-walled bottles and mugs is mold growing between the walls. Check the walls of the mug to see if any mold is growing inside. If there is, it’s time to throw them out.)
19. Wrapping paper, tissue paper & gift bags
I’m a sucker for holding on to wrapping paper, tissue paper, and gift bags. But, I’ve learned to only hold onto the things I know I’m going to reuse – if something’s ripped or doesn’t look nice anymore, I don’t keep it because I know I won’t use it again.
If you’ve got a large collection of these gift-wrapping accessories, sort through it and keep the things you know you’re going to use, but get rid of any bags with holes, tissue paper that’s ripped up, or wrapping paper that can’t be reused.
20. Coats & shoes
With it being the holiday season, there’s a good chance you’ll be hosting guests at your house… so, now’s a better time than ever to declutter your coat closet and make room for guests to hang their coats and put their shoes.
(If you don’t want mud, snow, and dirt being brought into your house with the number of people that will be coming and going, grab one of these before guests arrive to keep the mess down.)
When you hold on to stuff that is no longer serving you a purpose, you’re preventing someone else – who actually needs it – from being able to get use out of it.
I’d love to know, is there something else you’d add to this list of things to declutter before the new year?
Are you starting the new year off with a clutter-free home?