With an entire new year ahead of you, decluttering your home may not seem so hard. But after January, when that new year energy begins to wane, the prospect of tackling such a big project tends to overwhelm.
Enter your New Year Clutter-Clearing Plan, a month-by-month guide to clearing the clutter from every room in your house. I’ve zeroed in on areas of the home that I find fit with certain events, such as back-to-school or spring fashion, but feel free to reorganize as you see fit to tackle specific areas of your home that need attention sooner.
No matter what, by the end of the year, your home should be feeling more spacious and, perhaps more important, you should be feeling more capable of maintaining a clutter-free space.
Getting started: Turbocharge your decluttering. If you’re feeling inspired and motivated by the new year, take advantage of that energy and spend a few weekends clearing clutter throughout the house. Making noticeable headway will help motivate you to keep up the decluttering effort in the coming months. Try to get the other members of your household onboard — but if they are not interested, don’t try to force it. Hopefully they will see the positive changes happening around the house and change their tune!
Habit to cultivate: Keep an empty reusable bin in a closet, and use it to corral items you plan to give away.
January: Kitchen and pantry. Give yourself a fresh start for the new year with a clean kitchen, decluttered cabinets and a healthy pantry and fridge.
- Toss worn dish towels or cut them up to make rags
- Sell or give away specialty small appliances and tools you seldom or never use
- Recycle or toss freebie cups and Tupperware containers without lids
- Toss expired food and spices
- Take stock of cookware and dishes; give away or sell pieces you do not need
Habit to cultivate: Clean out the pantry and fridge each week before shopping.
February: Home office – digital documents and papers. Get a jump-start on tax time by getting your files (paper and digital) in order.
- Sort through random stacks of paper; file, shred or recycle everything
- Streamline your files, shredding any documents you no longer need
- Use one calendar to keep track of all events
- Switch to paperless bills and statements if possible
- Clean out computer files and back up everything, using cloud-based storage and an external drive
Habit to cultivate: Sort your mail at the door, tossing junk
March: Clothes and accessories. The seasonal transition is a good time to sort through clothing.
- Sort through winter clothes before storing, and pare back spring and summer clothes as you begin to wear them.
- Donate or sell clothes, shoes and accessories in good condition
- Have winter clothes laundered or dry-cleaned before storing until next year
- Try on all clothes for the upcoming season and give away or sell any items that do not make you feel good
Habit to cultivate: As soon as you wear something and notice it doesn’t fit, has a hole or doesn’t flatter you, toss it in a bag in your closet. When the bag is full, donate it.