10 Decluttering Tips for the New Year

January 15, 2019

With the new year in full swing, here’s a resolution that we can all set for ourselves: keeping our house clean. Here are 10 tips for keeping your home as decluttered as possible.

1. Visualize what you want your space to look like

Before you start removing clutter from your home, take a moment to consider your goal for the space. What will you use this room for? How will you organize the items in the space? Do you want it to have a more minimalist feel? By focusing on the outcome of your decluttering efforts, you may be more motivated to get started and maintain the cleanliness of your home.

2. Tidy up your entryway

Even if you don’t have a mudroom or foyer, you can still make your entryway a lot more organized by dedicating a landing station for coats, jackets, keys, and so on. Hang a clothes rack by your front door to store jackets and coats, leave a ceramic dash on an entryway table for keys and mail, and buy a shoe cubby to store your shoes.

3. Create a spot for incoming mail

Paper tends to build up in our homes because we tend to put it in a variety of spots around the house—on the kitchen counter, on the coffee table, in a drawer, etc. Designate an inbox tray on your dining room table or kitchen nook and don’t put papers anywhere but that spot. This will help streamline where important documents, mail statements, and receipts all land.

4. Clear counters at least once a day

Keeping your kitchen counters clean will take you less than five minutes and can be done right before you leave the house for the day. Remove junk mail, empty bottles, and any other trash you find laying around. Relocate any items that belong elsewhere (for example, if you’re cleaning a kitchen counter, remove all mail and put it in your home office or mail drop box).

5. Make your bed

Since the bed is the one object that takes up the most space in the bedroom, simply fluffing the pillows and folding the sheets and blankets can produce a cleaner, tidier look. Not only does this task take less than five minutes in the morning, it also creates a welcoming and inviting space for you to come home to every night.

6. Divide and conquer your bathroom

Remove everything from your medicine cabinet and clear out all drawers and shelves before you get into organization mode. Toss expired makeup and medications and separate products with labeled bins and drawer dividers. Additionally, if you want to store fewer and better products, invest in items you love and will use frequently instead of buying mediocre products that sit unused for months.

7. Purge your closet once every three months

It can be hard to get rid of clothes, especially items that have a personal significance or were extremely expensive at one point in time. To make the task of keeping your closet organized a lot simpler, make three piles: one for keeping, one for donating, and one for throwing away. Assess all of your clothes and pick out the pieces that are frayed, have holes, or are in tatters. Put these items in the “throw away” pile. For all of the clothes that you’ve worn once in the past year, put them in the donate pile. Keep the rest of your clothes that don’t fall into either pile and separate them by color or type of clothing.

8. Pull everything out of your night side drawer

Once a month, empty the contents of your bedside table drawer and sort the items by junk that needs to be thrown away (this could be receipts, candy wrappers, or old prescriptions) and stuff that could go elsewhere (think: books, snacks, art supplies, etc.). Try to keep the following essentials in your bedside table drawer: a pack of tissues, a TV remote (if you have a TV in your room), some ibuprofen, moisturizer, a notepad, and an emergency-ready flashlight.

9. Get rid of appliances

If you find that you don’t have a use for the second refrigerator in your garage or that broken microwave sitting on your counters, donate it to the Salvation Army or call a junk removal service to safely dispose of the appliance. If you want to try and salvage the appliance, call a service technician to make the necessary repairs or get the appliance replaced under your home warranty.

10. Remember that the decluttering process will take time

It’s more than likely that all of the clutter in your home has collected over the years, meaning it might take some time to clean and organize every room of your house. Don’t get discouraged by this—even baby steps in the right direction are still steps toward making your home cleaner and more organized.

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