Decluttering for the New Year

Anyone who has lived or worked with me can tell you that I LOVE to organize and purge things. I can’t help it, I get such satisfaction from cleaning out things and organizing. So what better way to start off the New Year than with a clean and organized space! The start of the New Year pushes people to make goals and resolutions for the upcoming year, and while most of those are lost within the first few weeks, decluttering is something tangible that you can do once that will make an infinite difference in the long run. You can’t go wrong!

To start out, choose the space you want to work with. For me, I chose my entire condo (since it’s quite small) so that I can really refresh the space and get it ready for the year. I find it easiest to start in the bedroom, because that will take the most amount of time if you’re like me and have a lot of clothes and accessories. With your clothes, answer the following questions for each item:

  1. Have I worn this in the last month?
    If not, why? If yes, keep it. 
  2. Does this item fit my current body shape well, and flatter my figure?
    Do not keep things in the hope you will fit them again one day (aside from very sentimental items such as a wedding dress, or maternity items if you have had children and are planning to have more). Try to love the body you have currently; keeping items that do not fit will simply make you feel bad about yourself, and take up too much space mentally and physically. BIN IT! 
  3. Are the tags still on it?
    If the tags are still on and you didn’t just buy the item, get rid of it. You don’t need it. If you needed it, you’d have worn it. Thank u, next. 
  4. Is the item worn or ratty?
    If there are holes in your socks or underwear – first of all, gross. Second of all, bin it. If you’re in desperate need of new socks/underwear, depending on where you live, just go to Old Navy, Primark, or the Dollar Store – they have 10 packs for $5 or less. Other items that are worn or ratty, bin them – unless it is an easy fix, such as a small tear in something that is still in great condition and can be easily mended. 
  5. Do you still like the item?
    We all have things we buy when they are on-trend and later the trends die out and you’re left with neon crop tops you’re never going to wear again (just me?). Don’t hoard them because you think you can wear them to an 80’s themed party that will probably never happen, just get rid of them and clear the space.

Once you’ve done this a few times it becomes a lot quicker to determine if you should keep an item or not, and you can easily breeze through your closet or dresser in a few minutes. Be sure to put anything you’re getting rid of that is still in decent condition in a bag to donate to the charity of your choice, and anything that is too tattered or worn, just bin it.

Next up is the bathroom – ladies, I’m sorry, but you need to go through your makeup. Most of us are guilty of keeping certain makeup or body products for months – even years past their expiry date. Yes, makeup does expire! Be extra vigilant about anything that goes near your eyes – eyeshadows, liners, mascara, and lotions can expire and the bacteria can cause serious harm! According to Women’s Health Mag, “As a general rule, you should replace your mascara every three months, eyeliner and eyeshadow every six to twelve months, and lipstick every one and a half years. Meanwhile the average expiration date for foundation, powder, and other facial makeup is twelve months.” So you should check all of your makeup and other items for their expiration dates, and try to remember how long ago you purchased them! We all want to keep that perfect shade of red lipstick forever, but after a year and a half it will only bring you harm, so you better bin it. If you haven’t used some of the various bottles and jars of lotions and potions, just get rid of them. You’re only taking up space that could be better utilized, and taking a chance on ingredients that could have expired. Be sure to check every drawer and the cupboard under the sink, and get rid of what you don’t need. It will feel oh so good to have a clean space to work with in the morning when you’re getting ready for the day!

Next stop, kitchen! First, let’s get into that fridge. It doesn’t matter who you are, I can guarantee there is at least one expired item in your fridge. Take this time to go through every item in your fridge, condiments included, and check for expiration dates. Open everything and take a good long sniff and see what can go. Once you’re done your fridge, go through the cupboards. We’ve all got a few things in there that we don’t really need or use, so make some space and donate what you don’t use!

The same goes for the living room and dining room, if you have any items that are just taking up space – such as speakers, extra side tables, rugs, etc. – get rid of them! There is no use in keeping it in the hopes that you will find a place to put it one day. Ask around, and I’m sure someone you know could use it! If not, donate.

Essentially, the gist of my decluttering is to go through every single room, look at every single item, and determine if there is a legitimate reason to keep it. If I do not use it, it’s broken, it’s old, it’s expired, it no longer works for me, or I simply do not like it anymore, then the item can go. This is the time to be absolutely ruthless. We tend to hoard material objects because we feel like we need every last thing, but in reality, we don’t. You do not need that pair of blue jeans that fit you 5 years ago, they will be out of style by the time you do fit them again – if you do fit them again. Keep what works, bin what doesn’t – end of story.

I also tend to take this time to reorganize things that are messy or in spots that are not beneficial, and doing this really makes a difference in your day to day life. For those who are not great at sticking to their New Year’s resolutions, try doing a decluttering session at home. It’s a great way to do one thing, one time, that will make a lasting difference in the year to come! I promise, it will be worth it!