Five Fabulous De-Cluttering Tips for the New Year


The start of a new year lends itself perfectly to a good purging and de-cluttering of our homes. As we take down holiday decorations and try to find space for new holiday gifts, most of us realize that there’s just too much STUFF lurking in our closets, garages, and basements.

Now is the time to sort through all those pesky piles and overflowing drawers so that we can begin this new year with clean and clear spaces – both physically and mentally. Here are five quick and easy tips to get you motivated and moving.

1) Out with the old, in with the new

This tip is especially helpful for those of us with kids who got new toys, games, and clothes for the holidays. For every new gift item that came into your child’s room, help them remove one old item that they no longer play with, use, or wear. Most likely, they’ll find even more things that they are willing to part with, so take advantage of this “holiday plenty” moment in time!

2) Create a 12-12-12 challenge for January

With the start of a brand-new month and year, proclaim to your family that January will be your first month to hunt down and throw out 12 old items, donate 12 gently used items, and find 12 items to move back to their proper place. (Every kid’s room has a cup or kitchen utensil lurking somewhere, and we all have small “treasures” in our laundry areas that need to find their way back home.) This exercise can easily become a monthly habit, especially if a small reward is offered up to all who participate!

3) Play the Trash Bag Game

Set a date on your calendar for every other month of this year to play a fun speed game called “TBG.” Find a trash bag and set a timer for five minutes so that everyone can quickly go through their room and closet and find donation items to fill up the bag. Have your kids go with you to drop off the bag at a donation center so that they can feel good about helping others and recycling items to keep them out of landfills.

4) Enlist help from a de-cluttering friend

Some of us tend to get a bit emotional about our stuff and we hang on to it longer than we really should. Find a friend who wants to embrace de-cluttering this year as well and team up to take turns at each other’s house to do a walk through and suggest to each other items that could be let go. If you defend an item from releasing it, present your reasoning. If your friend agrees, it can stay, but if they don’t, be willing to donate it, sell it, or pass it on to another family member.

5) Create a de-clutter checklist tailored to your house

We all have certain categories of items that build up quickly in our homes and we tend to keep too many of them. For your family, it may be sporting equipment, stuffed animals, seasonal décor items, or kitchen glassware. (I appallingly realized this past fall during a kitchen renovation that I had saved 16 vases of various sizes that were deeply hidden in the back of a cabinet!) Print out a PDF version of this 101 category de-cluttering checklist from the Becoming Minimalist website. Vow to tackle a couple categories each month of the year to keep overflow in check throughout your house and garage. I’ll definitely be working on coffee mugs and empty cardboard boxes this month.

Wishing you all a happy new year and successful de-cluttering. It feels so good to let that stuff go!


Comments are closed.