There are so many things I do in order to start the new year fresh! This time of year is always a time of reflection and cleansing for me. One of the things I do to put an end to any year is to declutter and clean. I will write more about this, but ringing in the new year with a clean and decluttered home, no dirty laundry, and new sheets is a tradition I have always followed. It’s good for me, and it’s good for my mental health! Also, declutter when I feel stuck. It gets my mind off of things or helps me organize my thoughts. (If you feel overwhelmed by the idea of decluttering and would like to have professional help, my two recommendations are at the bottom of this post!)
Towards the end of the year, I start to cleanse both digitally and physically from all unwanted items in our home. The process of decluttering can be overwhelming since you generally have to take everything out of its place first, and then start organizing or purging. It will get worse before it gets better, but always better to start somewhere, and just get going. It is worse if you do not start at all. Some people have 30-day declutter challenges, and some do it whenever they can. I fall in the category of “whenever I can”. Over the years, I have learned that even if I do not get to achieve all of my decluttering goals before the end of a year, I still enjoy sitting in our super organized room and having tea, following a decluttering project. I always feel so accomplished even if I do just one room or drawer I often visit. This process always provides me an opportunity to donate which I also find very rewarding.
Here are some specific areas in your home or office where you can begin to declutter. You can divide things up between you and your partner if you have one, or just do it by yourself! Take it one day and one area at a time, and don’t get too ambitious!
- Mail & Paperwork: This seems like such an easy one, but let’s face it. We all have bills piled up somewhere. It is time to go through the pile and figure out what needs to be paid, what is junk, and what is to be saved. In this process, I love to get things scanned and just save important documents electronically and filed away on my personal computer.
- Medicine Cabinet: It drives me nuts when I reach for Advil and it has expired. Cleaning out a medicine cabinet is one of the easiest projects you can undertake since it mainly involves you throwing out any medicine that has expired. In addition, I also review some other items that make it into our medicine cabinet, like my skincare products. If I didn’t like how that product made me feel when I used it or I hated the smell of it, then it’s out.
- Office & Desk: I am such a “hard copy person” when it comes to documents. I have to print and review. I realize it may not be the best approach to save the trees, but it is just the way I am. This causes me to accumulate so much paperwork as I work on a project. I should really throw all relevant draft documents out after the project is over, but I don’t. During my decluttering kick, I go through every single paper and document in my office and desk, and it feels so rewarding. If there are documents I need to save, I try to save them electronically. I also always ask myself “Do I have this digitally?” “Is this the latest draft?” “Is this such pertinent information that should be maintained as a hard copy?” Asking these questions helps me decide what to keep.
- Night Stands: I hate hate hate opening up my nightstand drawer and not being able to close it. I hate opening a drawer and seeing a mess. Does this ever happen at our house? Absolutely! But my goal is to reduce and eliminate that feeling. You will find things in your nightstand that never belonged there, to begin with.
- Bathroom Cabinets: This is huge. Brushes, hair ties, shampoos, hair masks, face masks, cleaning supplies, etc. The list goes on and on. It is very easy to get your bathroom cabinets disorganized and out of control. It is just as rewarding though to organize these cabinets.
- Front Entry Coat Closet or Furniture: Most of us have some sort of furniture or closet as soon as we enter our home. That is where we put our keys, our mail, our coats, and perhaps our shoes. It is one of the great places to organize during this process. Especially since it is a spot you see every time you enter your home.
- Underwear and Sock Drawer: We all have socks that are not paired, and underwear we never use, is old, or just does not fit. This is another great place to declutter as we prepare for the new year.
- Kitchen Island, Hutch,9 or Counter: This is where you have appliances you never use, fruit that may have gone bad, or just “stuff” that should not be there or is unused. This is another spot in your home that you see every day and it is the perfect time to cleanse it.
- Under the Kitchen Sink: It is great to be able to open the cabinet under your kitchen sink and find it organized. Our cabinet under the kitchen sink has a variety of items including cleaning supplies, and cooking oil, etc. Things that should really not be kept in the same space. I will revisit this as I declutter this year and decide if I want to separate these items.
- Pantry: Those expired canned foods, expired cereal or oatmeal, jars of food or chips that have expired or will never be used.. Time to go.
- Kids Closets: I am learning with Siena that kids grow out of their clothes so fast. I am keeping special pieces that have a special memory or clothes that were given to us to mark the special occasion of her birth. I am separating the other clothes that do not fit her and will decide if I should donate.
- Kids Toys: Kids grow out of their toys so fast. Sometimes we have toys that are missing a piece or toys that Siena just never enjoyed. It is a great time to go through those and decide what should be donated or kept.
- Your closets: This is obvious but I put this last since it can be the most overwhelming of them all. The questions to ask yourself as you declutter your closets are: When was the last time you used this clothing? (pre-covid) What is the likelihood of you fitting into or wearing this clothing again? Or you can follow Marie Kondo’s Konmari method and ask yourself if the piece of clothing brings you joy. A lot of our clothes have memories. We wore them in certain situations or someone bought them for us or they are from a place we visited with someone. There are so many reasons why a piece of clothing can bring you joy or no joy. Think about it as you go through your closet.
When you feel stuck, declutter! Believe me, it works wonders! If you feel so overwhelmed by undertaking these projects on your own or seek to have professional help from people who are trained to organize and do this all day every day, I have two recommendations for you on each coast. I have worked with both of these ladies and have been so impressed with what they have been able to accomplish in my homes. I have also learned so much from both of them!
New York City and Surrounding Areas:
Los Angeles and Surrounding Areas:
Organization Fabulous (OFab)