Decluttering Tips for the New Year

Have you followed through on your New Year’s resolution to declutter your home? Perhaps you feel overwhelmed and don’t know how to declutter. Relax and take a few deep breaths. These decluttering tips should make it possible to achieve your goal.

By the way, you can be very tidy and still feel that the piles of stuff in your house are taking over. You may be the best worker at your day job, but you still feel lost as to where to get started with your personal belongings. As you declutter your home, consider the benefits of home storage vs a storage unit. Which storage method will allow you to keep what’s important to you while giving you some elbow room in your apartment, condo, or home?

Take a Realistic Approach to How to Declutter Your Home

The key to any change in behavior or environment is to be realistic. If you expect to declutter your entire house in a day on your own, that is not an achievable goal. If you set unrealistic expectations about how to declutter, you are likely to get discouraged and give up. Or you may feel overwhelmed by the expectation and never get started.

A realistic approach is to break the process into small, achievable steps. As you attack the various parts of your home, a system will help you stay on track. For example, follow these decluttering tips to a successful cleanup.

Decluttering Tips: Step by Step Toward Your New Year’s Goal

By following the same steps for decluttering each time, you begin to form habits that will help you move quickly and efficiently through the decluttering process. This systematic approach also creates a foundation for preventing future clutter. With our general plan for how to declutter, you can shape it to fit your needs and personality.

Step One: Identify your true objective. What matters most to you? Are you clearing room for a home office? Reducing your clutter to make way for a new baby? Reclaiming space after the children have moved away? Planning to redecorate once the clutter is under control? Establish realistic short-term and long-term goals that will make it possible for you to feel more accomplished every step of the way.

Step Two: Decide what to declutter first. Your system will begin with a plan of attack: which parts of your house are the easiest to declutter? The hardest? The most necessary? You decide your priorities. Some people start at the entryway and work their way clockwise through their home. Others tackle the most cluttered rooms first or the rooms with the most daily use.

Step Three: Start with one section of one room, not the whole room. Pick one closet, one cabinet, or one corner of a room. Remove all the clutter there. Then stop. Take a break or wait until the next day and then move onto the next section.

Step Four: Create a regular time of the day or week that will be devoted to this project. Put it on your calendar. When you are working, set a timer. An hour is a long time, and you may make a lot of progress. Some professional organizers suggest that you work for 30 minutes or 15 minutes and then stop. Some even recommend that you only work for five minutes. Only after a long break should you tackle the next time block.

Step Five: Pick a number. During each session, you will act on a specific number of items. This can be total items or categories. The 12-12-12 Challenge tells you that in each session you will identify 12 items to put away, 12 to throw away, and 12 to donate to charity.

Step Six: How you will do the actual work is also important. Some organizers advocate a four-box system while others use a six container plan. Do you want to sort with boxes, trash bags, laundry baskets, storage tubs? How many categories for sorting will work for you? Here are the most common ones:

  • Keep
  • Store
  • Relocate (to another room)
  • Give Away/Donate
  • Trash/Garbage
  • Recycle
  • Repair/Mend
  • Other

Step Seven: Do the actual work. Sort everything according to your system using your preferred containers. Stop a few minutes before you are tired, allowing you to handle step eight immediately.

Step Eight: Do not leave your containers sitting with things in them for days or all you have done is rearranged your clutter. Garbage goes to the trash can and recycling to the appropriate bin.

Rewards May Help You Keep Going

There’s fun in every task, if you are willing to find it. Each time you declutter a room, listen to your favorite music. Watch a favorite show or movie while mending clothing or repairing broken items. After you are done, find ways to reward yourself. For instance, get a treat after you drop off items at a charity thrift store. List items on an online marketplace and plan what you’ll do with the cash. Enjoy a long lunch when you drop off boxes at your storage unit.

If you want to keep your favorite collections or treasured belongings, consider a storage unit. Our storage unit sizing guide is free and easy to use.


Once you declutter your home, schedule five or ten minutes every day for putting everything away and making sure new clutter doesn’t accumulate. If you make decluttering a daily habit or ritual, you will definitely have achieved your New Year’s Resolution.




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