Inside: Ready to declutter for the new year? Read on for 23 ideas to get you started!
The new year is a great chance for a fresh start – a time to reflect and move forward. It’s a great opportunity to set new resolutions and goals for ourselves.
And it’s a great time to declutter!
If it’s been a while since you’ve sorted through your stuff and said goodbye to the things that no longer serve you, you might want to declutter for the new year.
Not only will it help you truly feel as though you’re starting fresh, but you’ll also find it easier to focus and make progress toward your goals when you aren’t feeling overwhelmed by your environment or struggling to find the things you need.
Not sure where to start? I’ve got you covered. From digital clutter to the ever-present junk drawer, here are some things to declutter for the new year:
23 Things to Declutter for the New Year
To get the fresh start you’re looking for, you’ll need to clear some clutter out of your way. Here are 23 ideas of things to declutter for the new year to get you started.
1. Your wardrobe.
Many people keep old clothes which have become clutter. Consider how often you wear each item. Are they adding value? If not, they’re just getting in the way, or even worse making you feel bad about yourself, and should probably be rehomed.
Sort through your closet and dresser drawers and get rid of anything you really aren’t going to wear again. Chances are, you’ll find more stuff than you thought.
And when you’re done? Ethically get rid of those clothes by finding a new home for that stuff! Sell it, donate it, swap it with a friend – just don’t send it to the landfill.
2. Your kitchen pantry.
The kitchen pantry is always a good place to tackle when decluttering. Things get shuffled around, shoved to the back, and pushed out of sight and out of mind that need to be dusted off and brought forward.
It’s also a good idea to check your expiration dates and get rid of anything past its prime – it might take a while, but spices, soups, and canned goods do eventually expire.
3. Your medicine cabinet.
Like spices, prescriptions don’t last forever. Every medicine out there has an expiration date, even the over-the-counter stuff you keep around to fight off a cold.
It’s a good idea to declutter your medicine cabinet and check those expiration dates a few times a year, but if you haven’t done it in a while, it’s a good spot to declutter for the new year. Make sure to check for appropriate ways to dispose of expired medicine.
4. Your makeup & toiletries.
Yes, even makeup and toiletry items have a shelf life. Things like lotion don’t seem like they should go bad, but eventually, they do. Old items can also collect bacteria so it’s a good idea to go through these areas in your bathroom from time to time.
Even if items aren’t spoiled, you’re likely to find products that you bought that you never use. If there is still a lot of usable product left, consider giving it to a friend or list it with your local Buy Nothing group.
5. Your subscriptions.
One thing you should declutter for the new year that most people don’t consider?
You can subscribe to virtually anything nowadays. From audio and video streaming services to meal delivery programs, and shaving kits, you can get pretty much anything with a recurring payment.
And since those recurring payments are out of sight and out of mind, we don’t think about them too often.
Take advantage of the new year as a time to review your subscriptions and declutter – or unsubscribe from – any you no longer need. You’ll eliminate clutter and save some money!
6. Your email inbox.
Digital clutter is absolutely a thing – and it can be harder to manage than physical clutter.
If you’re one of those people whose unread emails are in the thousands, you certainly aren’t alone. But you can take some steps to reduce your digital clutter. It will keep things a little more manageable, making it easier to find what you need and skip over the stuff that you don’t.
You might be amazed to see just how much of an impact a quick ‘unsubscribe’ session and a few inbox filters can make.
7. Your junk drawer.
Most homes have at least one junk drawer. Filled with the most random assortment of odds and ends you can possibly think of, it’s a place where lots of things go to be totally forgotten.
If it’s been a minute since you’ve looked through your junk drawer, add it to your list of things to declutter for the new year. Spend a few minutes getting rid of the stuff you don’t need, and find a proper home for the stuff worth keeping.
When you’re done, you might just realize you don’t even need a junk drawer.
8. Your desk drawer.
One more thing you should declutter for the new year? Your desk drawer!
This is especially true if you’re working from home.
Between all of the pens, pencils, binder clips, paper clips, extra staples, rubber bands, thumbtacks, and other random odds and ends that find their way in here, it can be difficult to keep everything organized.
And without organization, all that stuff quickly becomes a cluttered mess. Finding the thing you need becomes impossible. And what good is that?
If you don’t already have one, invest in a desk drawer organizer to keep the stuff you’re going to keep neatly separated and easy to find.
9. Your cords and cables.
Pretty much everyone has one: a random spot where miscellaneous cords and cables are hidden. We keep them around – sometimes without even knowing what they’re even for – on the off-chance something breaks and you just happen to have the right one to swap it with.
That’s a whole lot of stuff to hold on to for a just-in-case scenario that doesn’t play out too often.
Before the new year, sort through all of those cords and cables – and let go of the ones you realistically don’t need to keep.
Spoiler alert – that’s likely most of them!
10. Your craft supplies.
Love to craft in your spare time, or have a kid who enjoys rolling up their sleeves and getting creative?
Chances are, you’ve got more craft supplies than you really need. Between all of the construction paper, glitter glue, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, stickers, and other miscellaneous odds and ends that can be put to good use during art projects, it can be tough to keep it all organized.
Take some time in the new year to evaluate what you’ve got and get rid of anything you know you won’t use again. It will make organizing your craft supplies much easier!
11. Your board game collection.
If you and your family love to play board games as we do, you might have a bigger collection than you really need. Go through your collection and keep your favorite games.
Make that overflowing game closet manageable by decluttering your games at least once a year and donating the ones you no longer play to someone who could really use them.
12. Your kitchen counters.
Counters are often a magnet for random household junk. They attract the items waiting to be put away and dealt with.
All of those dumped items take away from your counter space making it more difficult to work in there as well as making your home look cluttered.
Counters are a great area to declutter for the new year. It doesn’t take too much time and has a big impact on the look, feel, and function of your space.
13. Your drinkware.
Some people tend to collect different cups and glasses throughout the year – only to find themselves with a too-full cupboard and nowhere to store the overflow.
Others stock up on more water bottles than one person should reasonably own.
If you fall into either of these categories, you should absolutely spend a minute decluttering your drinkware. And don’t just throw away the ones you don’t need – you can donate any unwanted glasses, cups, or bottles to a local organization in need.
14. Your schedule.
A new year is a great time to re-evaluate your commitments. See where your schedule reflects your values and where it doesn’t.
If you are a people pleaser, you’re more likely to say yes and overcommit, which can leave you feeling exhausted and regretful. Take the opportunity now to declutter your schedule and create boundaries with your time.
15. Your fridge.
Does it smell kinda strange every time you open your refrigerator? Maybe you know this task needs to happen but you’ve been putting it off.
Start the year with a clean fridge. Declutter anything that is past its date or smells or looks bad. Once you’ve gotten the gross stuff out, wipe down the shelves with some cleaner. Then you can happily open your fridge without cringing.
16. Your phone.
Our phones get used a lot…probably too much. With all of the apps, tabs, and photos, phones can become a cluttered mess.
Take a few minutes here and there to work on deleting apps you don’t use. Eliminate those duplicate and blurry pictures. It may take some time to make your phone a clutter-free zone, but it’s well worth the effort.
17. Your shoes.
Life is too short for uncomfortable shoes. If you have shoes you never wear, shoes that are falling apart, or shoes that hurt your feet, do yourself a favor and start the year off by decluttering them.
Improperly fitting shoes can cause problems and pain in your feet. No matter how cute the shoe is, it’s not worth it. Clear that space up in your closet. Your feet will thank you.
18. Your books.
If you’re in the camp that thinks that books simply cannot be considered clutter, then I’m sorry to disagree with you. Even if you insist they are not clutter in your home, they can be clutter to other people.
From my perspective, books that are never used and sit on a shelf collecting dust for years have become clutter. Books are meant to be read and enjoyed and passed along to others to read.
If bookshelves filled to the brim with books are overtaking your space, the new year is a great opportunity to re-evaluate them.
19. Your feed.
If you spend any amount of time on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media platform, you know your feed can become cluttered.
Cultivate a feed that you feel good about by unfollowing, snoozing, or hiding the pages and people that aren’t adding to your life or your mental well-being. Social media can be a positive place, but it does require carefully curating your feed.
The tougher things to declutter for the new year
20. Your thoughts.
Do you often have to-do lists running through your mind and distracting you from your life? It’s time to declutter them by getting them down on paper or saved on your phone.
With all of the distractions in today’s world, mental clutter becomes a very real thing. The new year is a great time to get the clutter out of your head and create systems that work for you.
21. Your relationships.
Decluttering relationships is no easy task, but it can be a necessary one. While in some cases you may not be able to shut certain relationships out of your life, you can create definitive boundaries in order to protect yourself.
This year consider which relationships you want to invest more time and energy into, and also which ones have potentially become toxic that you need to distance yourself from.
22. Your past.
Likewise, letting go of your past is not easy. That is not to say forget everything that happened in your life, but rather, work through and deal with things if you need to. Prioritize your mental health.
Let go of negative self-talk or patterns of behavior that are holding you back in your life. Sometimes letting go of clutter is dealing with the emotional clutter you’re carrying and working to let that go.
A new year before you is the perfect time to focus on things you’ve pushed aside, but know in the back of your mind that you needed to address. Let go of those burdens and find freedom in a fresh start.
23. Your unrealistic expectations.
Whether the unrealistic expectations you’ve been holding onto have been of yourself or of others, the new year is an opportunity to let those go as well.
Go easy on yourself and be willing to forgive others. That is not to say allow toxic relationships in your life. However, sometimes our unrealistic expectations of others negatively impact relationships that could otherwise be healthy and good.
If you have perfectionist tendencies, it can be particularly challenging to let go of what you expect of yourself. Remind yourself that no one is perfect and that your best is good enough. It won’t always be easy, but it’s a worthwhile pursuit.
What will YOU declutter for the new year? Leave a comment and let me know!
The new year provides a great opportunity to clear out the junk and start over. Don’t let your stuff hold you back from focusing on what matters and enjoying your space!
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I read your photo decluttering article, then looked at your archiv d 2021 decluttering tip for household – for me the shoes, books and email immediately hit home and made me think, so my 2022 resolution s to start there, and work on the photos a few hours a day and hopefully get it under control – I’m retired so I’m going to make a book for each of my children (and maybe for a relative or two) for next Christmas. I think a year should be enough time. Thanks
Thank you for this list. Some of them I never thought about.
Thanks for this useful list. I have been working on decluttering for a while now but it’s good to be reminded of areas I have visited lately. I am working on my sewing room now as a priority so I can get more quilt projects completed this year.
Every day there are several decluttering articles. That is great! Your list was wonderful! Years ago I bought a book on decluttering. I have started reading it several times. These short articles help me so much more. I have pared down my clothes, gotten a lot of areas looking good by finding a place for the important things, and organized my pictures and news articles into categories. I hope to make a lot of progress in 2023 by getting rid of 2023 items during the year. Thank you for all you do. Ann D
Wow Day 2 of the New Year and already half way through the clutter! At least my own-now to get hubs going!
I started de cluttering spring last year. It was such a liberating feeling. Donated what I could My mother in law died in June and I had to completely empty her home. She was 89 and had lived in the home over 50 years. I learned so much. It took over 6 weeks of round the clock working to sort thru everything. I am now finishing my own decluttering. I will complete this by end of 2023.
Do you have any tips for managing a partner who hoards things like cords just in case? He is happy in his messy side of the study but I cannot bear to look at it.
Yes, I have this post that talks about that: https://www.thesimplicityhabit.com/declutter-spouse-want-to/
This is so helpful & so far I’ve done my kitchen, tidied my work stuff that’s at home, general paperwork & clothes & it feels great. My spare room is my big challenge which feels really daunting but hoping doing these smaller wins will help. Thank you for all you do. Sue
I am in the process of decluttering my cabinets, there is only 2 in my household and I spend 4 days a week at my daughter’s. Both my daughter’s work 10 hour midnight shifts so I take care of my grandchildren 12,10 and 6 and my grandpups over night, and it’s easier to do at one location closest to the school. So I don’t need 12 every day plates, cups, ect and many were never used or very old and worn so I was given a set of 4 new so out with the old chipped worn and unused and in with the minimal but new.
My email was totally decluttered for me. My phone deleted everything somehow. Now I go through everyday and delete everything and only read the most important (maybe 2 out of 50!)
I’ve tried unsubscribing to things and I just don’t think it works. I still get half the things I unsubscribe from 🤷🏼♀️
I feel that pain. It is so frustrating to try numerous times to unsubscribe and still get the emails. I start making them as spam when that happens.
This article “23 Things to Declutter” feels like a wakeup call I needed.
I plan to randomly select one of the ’23 Things’ a session, and finally get it done.
As I read through the list, the cords and now photos, are my challenge.
With the passing of both my parents, my sister and I are donating many artifacts. I’m not keeping their massive travel collections of photos art, and artifacts. I’ve been gifting my high school media center with artifacts to decorate and they are so well-received. This way I see them, and they are not crammed in the attic. I hope one day the guilt of passing treasures they loved so much won’t bother me as much. It can be tough at our age to let go. There is a definite emotional component to this process. Thank you so much for Theo permission and blueprint to continue in my path.