We all start the fresh New Year with high hopes but sometimes that is easier said than done. These Tips for How to Declutter in The New Year help keep decluttering within your grasp!
How to Declutter in The New Year
If you feel as if your home is too cluttered, the new year is the perfect time to get that clutter under control. Clutter, especially bad clutter, can be extremely overwhelming to manage, but with a little time and work, you can easily get a handle on it. These tips for how to declutter in the new year will help you not only clear out clutter without that overwhelming feeling most people have. By the time you’re finished, you will have a nice, neatly organized home that you can be proud of.
Have a written plan – Almost everything that has multiple steps, happens more smoothly when there is a plan in place and organizing your home is no different. Plan out each room and which areas you will tackle first.
Break each room into zones – If you try to tackle your entire home at once, you will only be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, break each area of your home into zones. For instance, your bedroom has at least two zones; the main part of the room and your closet. Or if you are like me, perhaps it has four zones if you include the dressers and under the bed. Think about where your clutter is lurking and make your zones as small as you need to. By breaking each room down, you give yourself a better work plan to work from.
Decide where to start decluttering – Dana White, author of Decluttering at the Speed of Life, recommends starting in the most visible areas for immediate decluttering wins. I used this method and began with decluttering my living room and kitchen counters. I was so pleased with the results that I was motivated to tackle more areas of clutter in my home. However, if clutter is causing problems in another area of your life such as being late to work because you can't find something to wear or late bills because the paperwork is in messy piles on your desk, start with the area that will make an immediate improvement on your life.
Start Small – Your home is built up of differently sized areas and some areas will obviously take you longer to organize. Instead of jumping into the larger zones first, start with the smaller ones. Start with just the top of the desk and save the drawers for another day. Doing things this way ensures that you can see results with very little work. This will keep you motivated longer than working on a larger zone for a longer amount of time with little results. By the time you get to your larger zones, you’ll be on a roll and highly motivated to keep moving. Short on time? Check out this free printable decluttering calendar. It has a 15 minute (or less) decluttering task for each day of the year.
Use the 6-month rule – We all like to hold onto things, but that is how we end up with clutter. If you haven’t used or worn something in 6 months, chances are good you no longer need it. Unless it is a family heirloom or has other sentimental value, seriously consider getting rid of it. If it isn’t being used, it really has no place in your home.
Decide on sentimental items – As much as you might want to, you don’t need to keep every single concert stub from your teens. Instead, go through your sentimental items and keep only the ones that truly bring you happiness and good memories. It might be hard, but letting the others go will be better for you. To make it easier, take a picture of sentimental items, so you can look back on the picture to remember it.
Grab a trash bag and a donatable box – As you go through your items, make decisions about whether you will keep an item, throw it away, or donate it. For the items you will be keeping, put them where they belong. Place the items you will be donating into the donatable box. and place the trash in the garbage bag. Once an item is moved to the box or bag, do not allow yourself to remove it or make changes unless it is to remove something from the donate box or keep pile to move to the trash bag.
Put items you’re keeping away immediately – For items you’re keeping, make certain to put them away, in their rightful homes, immediately. Not doing so will only lead to the area you just decluttered being cluttered again. In her book Decluttering at the Speed of Life, Dana recommends taking items to where they belong immediately instead of putting them in a pile to be put away later. This method ensures that if you get interrupted while decluttering, you aren't left with a big pile of things that still need to be put away.
Don’t procrastinate – When you’re finally finished sorting items for the area you decided to declutter, don’t procrastinate getting your things into their proper places. As mentioned before, items you’re keeping should be placed where they belong rather than left in a pile. The items you are going to donate should be moved to the car to be dropped off at a thrift store at your earliest convenience. And take that bag of trash to your trash bins. This will help keep clutter from coming back and prevent you from going back and grabbing things you originally decided not to keep.