There’s nothing like a fresh new year to jumpstart goals and projects! And there’s no better way to start a fresh new year than with a fresh, clean, and organized home… but for many of us, that’s a big, overwhelming project!
Here are some easy decluttering tips to get your 2020 started off right.
Start Small & Start Decluttering
Don’t try to tackle the whole house at once or devote an entire weekend to decluttering. Instead, start with just five or 10 minutes at a time. Pick a spot—desk, closet, corner, kitchen—and start chipping away at it, one five-minute chunk at a time. Here’s how to get started.
Understand Your Reason for Stuff
When starting to declutter, you’ll likely find yourself making excuses to hold on to things—or to keep them out on a counter. So as you start to tidy up, pay attention to these excuses. Are you worried you’ll need something later if you throw it out? Do you collect multiples because you’re too busy (or disorganized) to reuse? Do you stack or collect to “go through later”?
Understanding your reasons for holding onto things will make it easier to combat your excuses… and start paring down.
Question Everything. And Be Honest
As soon as an excuse pops up, respond with a question. Do you truly need that thing you’re vying to keep? Have you actually used it in the past year? Is it worth the clutter to keep it around? If the answer is not a firm yes, make it a firm no—no excuses, no second thoughts.
Be Strict About What’s Kept
If you’re serious about cutting back on clutter, you’ve got to be serious about getting rid of stuff. And that means a no-nonsense approach to saying no. If you haven’t used it in the past year, if it belongs to someone else, or if there is not a concrete foreseeable time you will use it again, it goes. That includes everything: clothes, toys, kitchen appliances, shoes and accessories, decor… everything.
Designate a Paper Spot
A lot of clutter tends to stem from unfinished (or unstarted) “need to go through” piles, like mail or bills. Ideally, you’d want to eliminate such sources, but more practically, you’re probably not always going to pay a bill the minute it ends up in your hand. But instead of leaving mail on the counter or bills on the coffee table, have a designated spot for these needs-attention items, whether that’s a bin on your desk or a basket by the front door.
Create a Clutter-Free Zone
The biggest issue with decluttering, for many of us, isn’t so much the actual organizing process as it is staying organized after the fact. One way to do this? Start with one zone. Clear it out to your complete satisfaction—and then completely disallow clutter. Nothing new may be placed in that area. Anything in use must be put away afterwards. As you master this area, slowly start expanding it out to other areas of your home.
Not Sure What You Use? Here’s How to Test
When was the last time you wore that shirt? Used that kitchen utensil? If you’re not sure here are some easy ways to test.
Turn hangers backwards.
Turn all the hangers in your closet around backwards, so the opening faces outwards. When you wear something, turn the hanger back around the proper way. Soon, it should be pretty clear just how many of your clothes aren’t being worn.
Box it up.
Transfer the contents of a drawer (or anywhere—a desk or countertop could work, too) to a box. When you need something, remove it from the box, and when you’re done using it, put it away in its proper place. What’s left in the box is all the stuff you don’t need.