Inside: You don’t have to wait for any magic date to declutter for a fresh start. Let go of these things to begin transforming your life right now.

There is no time like the present to work on your goals and to declutter for a fresh start.

Consider what things you want to leave behind as you move forward in life. Some of them could be physical items while others may be types of clutter that you can’t see.

By intentionally letting go of these things now, you can experience the benefits of living more simply immediately.

Give yourself a fresh start by decluttering the things that have been holding you back. This will help pave the way for any new goals you’ll set.

Be thoughtful about the things you hold onto and purposeful in the ones you let go of.

Clearing out the clutter will create space for new things to enter your life that are in alignment with your values and priorities.

declutter for a fresh start

Why Should I Start Decluttering Now?

If you’ve been waiting for the new year to get your fresh start, you don’t have to.

Any day is a great day to declutter for a fresh start!

Notice what things in your life are holding you back from your goals. Jumpstart your progress by starting to declutter now.

Begin to experience the benefits of living more simply throughout the holiday season as you prepare for the new year.

To declutter for a fresh start, there may be some physical items you want to let go of. Often we keep things that no longer serve us or support our goals. Go ahead and declutter them.

Other times the things that we’re holding onto are thoughts, feelings, and mindsets that are holding us back. Release them and unburden yourself from the weight you’ve been carrying.

Continue reading for 8 helpful things to declutter for a fresh start in your life.

“Clutter is not just physical stuff. It’s old ideas, toxic relationships and bad habits. Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” ~Eleanor Brownn

Sarah Breathnach quote

8 Things to Declutter for a Fresh Start

Start changing your life now by letting go of some of these things for a fresh start.

1. Past failures and regrets

Physical clutter in your home isn’t the only kind of clutter that can negatively impact you. In fact, various forms of invisible clutter can hold you back from the life you want.

Sometimes that unseen clutter comes in the form of holding onto past mistakes. It can be a challenge to forgive yourself.

If you want to have a fresh start, it’s important to let go of past failures and regrets.

Remember the lessons while releasing the regret. Work through your thoughts and feelings by journaling, talking to a trusted friend, or working with a therapist.

Experience a greater sense of freedom by decluttering those nagging thoughts and feelings that are preventing you from moving forward.

“Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred yesterday. Realize the past no longer holds you captive. It can only continue to hurt you if you hold on to it. Let the past go. A simply abundant world awaits.” ~Sarah Breathnach

declutter for a fresh start

2. Clothes that make you feel bad

Take a look in your closet. What do you see? Do you love the pieces you have or do you feel overwhelmed with a mixture of emotions?

What you wear is a form of nonverbal communication. Whether we like it or not, people will make assumptions based on the way we dress and carry ourselves.

Beyond what anyone else may think though, how you feel in your clothes matters. It can reinforce positive messages or negative ones.

Consider ditching these types of items from your wardrobe. Let go of negative feelings and thoughts as you streamline your clothing. As an added bonus it makes getting ready a much easier and more enjoyable process.

Your clothes impact how you show up in the world and how you feel about yourself. Keep the pieces you love and feel good wearing.

“Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live.” ~Gianni Versace

Roy Bennett quote

3. Resentment or bitterness

As you prepare to start a new year consider the emotional clutter that you may be holding onto.

While emotional clutter may not be easy to let go of, especially if you’ve been carrying it for a while, it’s an essential step toward a happier life.

You can’t change other people but you can choose how you respond. Holding onto anger or grudges hurts you. Not only does it become emotional baggage but it can negatively impact your physical health too.

Releasing past pain is easier said than done though. It can take time and deep work to get there. However, the end result is worth the effort.

Processing your emotions helps you to be a healthier person and to have healthier relationships in your life.

This isn’t to say you will never experience these emotions again because life happens. But knowing how to work through and release them is a habit that will help you to feel happier.

“Don’t waste your time in anger, regrets, worries, and grudges. Life is too short to be unhappy.” ~Roy Bennett

declutter for a fresh start

4. Items that aren’t serving you now

Do you hold onto items for someday when… or what if…? While there are some things that are good to have on hand (emergency supplies, extra food and paper products, etc.) there are other ‘someday’ items that can hold us back from completely embracing life now.

When you have too much stuff, it’s important to evaluate what you love and actually use now. Those are the items that take priority. The excess and ‘what if’ items are often what gets decluttered.

And for good reason. If you aren’t using that item now (and haven’t used it within the last year or so) odds are you don’t need it.

Will there be some exceptions? Yes, but holding onto too much stuff for imagined potential scenarios can keep your home cluttered.

Another category of things to consider decluttering are ones related to your fantasy self. Those items were ones you imagined or hoped you would use, but that aren’t benefitting your life now.

These items often carry emotional weight with them too. Life doesn’t always turn out how we planned and it can be tough to let that go.

But holding onto things out of fear or because you wish things were different doesn’t allow you to be fully present in the life you’re living now.

“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.” ~Louise Smith

declutter for a fresh start

5. Unrealistic expectations

Another thing to declutter that can change your life is unrealistic expectations. Those expectations can be ones you put on yourself or that you perceive from others.

Social media has influenced how we view other people’s lives. We see the highlight reels which can quickly set up unrealistic expectations.

But it’s important to keep in mind that comparison is the thief of joy. There is nothing to be gained from comparing your life to anyone else’s.

We each have our own journey with our own unique experiences and challenges. It’s also worth considering that how another person defines success may not be how you do.

You get to decide how to define success in your life. It’s up to you to determine your top priorities and values.

When you focus on your own path and the things that matter to you, you can find a greater sense of contentment and purpose.

“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose.” ~Bob Goff

reasons for keeping clutter

6. Items that make you feel guilty or sad

How does the stuff in your home make you feel? There are many reasons for holding onto clutter but often we’re holding onto things that aren’t bringing us joy (& in some cases are making us feel bad).

If you’re holding onto things because of how much you spent on it, it’s time to let it go. If you don’t love and use that item, it is simply reminding you of a past purchase regret. No one needs that kind of negativity in their life.

Similarly, if you are keeping gifts you were given out of guilt or obligation, let them go. Gifts are meant to be enjoyed, not to evoke negative feelings.

If you’re holding onto items only because they belonged to someone you loved, it’s important to remember that people are not their things. The things you learned and the memories you shared are what mattered. You don’t need to hold onto all of their stuff.

It’s important to know what you own, why you own it, and how it makes you feel. If it’s not serving you, feel free to remove it from your home.

“Remember that the money you spent on your item is gone. You are not any richer because you store this item in your home, and you won’t be poorer if you let it go.” ~Cassandra Aarssen

Mandy Hale quote

7. Unhealthy relationships

Relationships can bring a great deal of joy to your life. Unfortunately, unhealthy relationships can also bring a lot of negativity, drama, and pain.

Evaluate the relationships you have in your life and consider whether or not you have any relationships that need to be worked on or let go of.

Decluttering relationships can be hard and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Relationships, even healthy ones, take work.

People are human and make mistakes. Open communication, active listening, apologizing, and forgiving are essential.

However, it’s also important to discern when a relationship has become unhealthy and possibly can’t be saved.

Remember that the only person you can control is you. Creating boundaries is an essential part of taking care of yourself.

“The less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people…the more peaceful your life will become.” ~Mandy Hale

habits that waste your time

8. Things that are getting in the way of your goals

The final one of the things to declutter for a fresh start is any habits or beliefs that are getting in the way of your goals.

We all have habits. Some of them are good and some of them aren’t.

Habits that waste your time keep you from reaching your goals and can leave you feeling frustrated with your lack of progress.

Self-limiting beliefs also hold you back from achieving the things you want to. After you’ve identified those beliefs, replace them with the truth.

Set yourself up for success by changing your mindset to shift your perspective and get on a more positive path.

Letting go of negativity and adopting positive mindset habits will improve your outlook and your outcomes.

“Make no mistake about it. Bad habits are called ‘bad’ for a reason. They kill our productivity and creativity. They slow us down. They hold us back from achieving our goals. And they’re detrimental to our health.” ~John Rampton

Final thoughts on things to declutter for a fresh start

If you’re ready to declutter for a fresh start consider which of the areas on this list you want to tackle first.

Reflect on where clutter is negatively impacting you and what changes you can make now to benefit your life.

Imagine feeling more light and free right now. Anytime is a good time to let go of the things that aren’t serving you well.

What things will you declutter for a fresh start? Let us know in the comments section.

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52 Comments

  1. I have dishes…China…. there is China I haven’t seen in 15 years still in boxes when I moved into my home.🤷‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️🤷‍♀️😜🤦🏼‍♀️

    1. thank you for the inspirational article, just in time for helping with 2024 resolution for New Year 🎊🕛
      I am feeling very positive about my chances of starting a new year with a new and less cluttered environment. I have even asked my daughter in law and a neighbor if they’d like to tackle this project together,, but in our own homes,, keeping each other updated as to our progress so we have encouragement from loved ones who can see the positive changes and reinforce the new routine so it can become a regular healthier habit. Declutter our minds and our physical surroundings at the same time — open ourselves and our lives to see and experience new situations. And while being able to stop holding onto so many “things” and fall back into our old ways.

  2. This is literally the best decluttering post I’ve ever read. This actually spoke to me. Like seriously this was church to me. Thank you for your incredibly valuable insight and helpful tips. I’m signing up now to be a regular for your blog and more tips. I can tell you’re really passionate about helping people live their best life through decluttering . Thanks so much again!

      1. Thanks for a different perspective on decluttering. I’m ready to get started before new year and new addition to family! will also be letting go on emotional baggage 🚮

    1. I could not agree more! I have read this article so many times and continue to reference it as I am working on myself and my home! Thank you from the bottom of my heart. God is doing wonderful things through you.

    1. This post touched me more than any other decluttering post I’ve read (and there have been many). My father died in February and I’ve been struggling with the disposition of all I’ve inherited. Your post has helped me separate emotionally from some of what I have. Thank you.

  3. Very inspirational and timely. I’m 68 and have been in poor health in my “golden” years. Time to let go of so many thoughts as well as things and accept my new “normal.” I’m signing up for your e-mails. Thx so much!

  4. This gets to the heart of why we keep stuff and question also what for. It’s scary when you realise you have had things for years that are not used and really have no purpose. I go about the house now with a paper shopping bag and drop bits into it and when full I take to the op shop to find it’s way into someone else’s home. And yes I do a bit of shopping while at the op shop but limit to only things needed and useful.

  5. I constantly think, “if something happens to me and family members have to clean out my house, what a mess they will have on their hands.” This motivates me to declutter.

  6. This article truly spoke to me. I took my time and I was savoring each intellectual bite. There were so many gems and significant insight that spoke to my core. Appreciate you Julianna, thank you!

    1. HA! i just cleaned out my whole house; it took one year! I got rid of 75% of everything I own……..and….I STILL have too much. Now I have to get rid of stuff I really like alot, Ugh!

  7. Love your words of wisdom!
    I’ve been putting a room off in my home.
    I believe I will tackle it tomorrow.
    Thank you!

  8. Loved this! I declutter from time to time, but this helped me understand why I hold onto things the way I do. This has given me freedom as I begin to declutter from here. Thank you!

  9. I’ve been holding onto my ex belongings that he left at my house for 4 years now after reading this I will be decluttering and getting rid of his stuff. This is the last weekend I will see his things. This article was worth the read. Thank you!

  10. I am decluttering at the present time. So glad I did read your article. I loved it.

    Thank you so much.

    Jeannette

  11. Thank you for your post. I really needed to read it. I have been struggling with clutter lately both physical and emotional. I will certainly apply these steps in my life.

  12. I’m sending this blog to my Grandson. He needs this inspiration to help him through the day. We need all the help we can get in this day and age. Things are twisted out there and the young people don’t know how to cope. I loved the article and hope my Grandson does too!!😁

  13. Excellent advice! I was inspired to gently end a correspondence that was starting to make me uncomfortable. Now to attack my bookshelves. Thank you!

  14. Hi
    This spoke volumes to me. I’m on a journey to declutter, I’m calling it a death cleaning to lessen the burden later. I prefer to share my belongings with someone who can use it now. The mental notes “today expect something good…words to live by thanks for sharing. I’m signing up!

  15. Very helpful article. Goodbye beautiful bridesmaid dress I won’t fit in again but I’m keeping my Spode china from the 1940’s!

  16. I love all of these comments.
    Sooo me!
    I appreciate that you give us insight as to reasons we hold onto so much stuff. Thank you so much.

  17. I agree with lots of the other comments and really do appreciate your tips and blog. I decluttered my food storage areas yesterday. Am wondering why I keep so much stuff, it is overwhelming and having someone help at least at the beginning just motivates u to continue…

  18. I enjoyed this post. I have moved closer to family.and have been decluttering for almost a year, Do not think this is a small task it takes time. Both emotional and physical clutter hold us back from reaching our full potential. thank you for the clarity.

  19. I’ve just started crying. I realise I am overwhelmed by the 100+ boxes just standing where my lounge is supposed to be. I’ve lost my job 2 years ago, I’m 60, my ex fraudulently spent my pension fund, I have nothing left, and I pay rent for a granny flat out of my savings that will soon be finished too. I need to sell in order to survive. It is very overwhelming and I find excuses to do other things instead of doing what needs to be done. I wish I had help. This is so emotional. I pray to God to help me handle this.

  20. I don’t have a lot of negative in my life… negative thoughts.. nope. Negative people.. nope. Negative feeling about my overstuffed sock drawer… yep. I think I’ll tackle that one today!

  21. A very timely post for me, too.
    I struggle to get rid of things that belonged to my two sons. Silly things like their school certificates, things they made for Christmas etc
    They’re now both in their late 30’s. 😳
    Lots of emotional baggage from my childhood too.
    I don’t where to start.

  22. Really enjoyed this post. Have read many of others but this one is by far more informative and realistic. I would very much like to read more about this site. Many thanks. Looking forward to reading more.

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