Start the New Year with Less Clutter

As every New Year begins, millions of people follow the popular tradition of making a New Year’s Resolution. Many of us resolve to change something that will improve our lives and make us happier for the year ahead. January is usually my busiest month with all those people out there that covet the idea of starting the New Year in a clutter-free home. This guide will teach you how to eliminate the clutter in your home room by room from the attic to the basement. Choose one space to tackle each day and set the timer for fifteen minutes. You always have the option of continuing longer if you feel the urge, but starting with fifteen minutes always makes a project feel more manageable. This guide also breaks each area down into small steps that can be accomplished quickly. Follow these small steps each day, and by the end of the month, you will have a clean, fresh space to start the New Year, and you will also have the experience to maintain a clutter-free home in the New Year.

Front Entry
The front area is the first place you see when you arrive home, and also when guests come to visit. It is essential to maintain a clutterfree environment here because you want to create the feeling of a peaceful and relaxing home for yourself and others. Donate old coats, boots, hats, or gloves that don’t fit or are no longer needed to a homeless shelter.

Find an alternative storage area for all out of season items to create sufficient storage for daily items.

Dining Area
Often people use the dining room table as a landing place for clutter. Sort through the items on your dining room table and move them to the appropriate area.

Not many people use formal dishware anymore. Remove any formal dishware, broken pieces, serving dishes, single pieces that don’t belong to a set or any other items you no longer use from your china cabinets or buffets.

Magazines and books have a way of piling up fast. Most magazine articles can be found online and can be saved digitally. If you would prefer to keep the pages from an article, tear out the article and file it in a special folder.

Recycle old magazines and donate books that you know you will not read again to your local library. Recycle all newspapers older than one week, and only the most recent issue of any catalogs you still receive. Most people order items online, so consider calling the company and canceling a catalog you no longer need.

Return all DVD’s and CD’s to their appropriate cases, and decide which movies you no longer watch. Music is easily accessed on our computers and mobile devices, purge all music CD’s

Office Area
File away any needed paperwork on your desk, and shred any paperwork that contains private information.

Take inventory of all your desk supplies and donate items you don’t use. Purchase drawer organizers to group like items together.

Evaluate your craft and hobby supplies, and only keep what you know you will use. Donate the rest to a local preschool or daycare in your area.

Take a close look at all the clothes in your closet. Take out the clothes that you haven’t worn the whole season and donate. Also, donate all the clothes that no longer fit. It is best to keep out of season clothes in a different storage area to free up space, such as under bed storage or a guest room closet.

Search through dresser drawers and donate clothes you no longer wear. Toss all old underwear and socks that don’t have mates, and keep only what you still wear regularly.

Look through jewelry and keep only your everyday jewelry or the jewelry you use for special occasions. Let go of all the jewelry that you haven’t worn in the past year. If any jewelry needs repair, take it to jeweler this week.

Clean out the drawers in your nightstand, and keep only what you use while you are in bed. Find an alternative storage area for other items. Clear off the top of your nightstand and only keep essentials displayed.

Check all old toys in children’s bedrooms, and donate or sell the toys that your children no longer play with. Toss all toys, games, or puzzles that have missing pieces. Also, throw out all toys that are broken.

Check under the bed and remove items you forgot you owned. This will clear up space for out of season clothes or shoes.

Linen Closet
Keep two sets of bedding for each bed in the house, so one set is on the bed, and the second set is in the wash. Donate extra sets or bedding you no longer use to a homeless shelter. Donate any old blankets to a local animal shelter.

Sort through all the paper piles on your kitchen counter, and throw out any paperwork no longer needed. Shred all paperwork that contains private information, and file the remaining paperwork. Create a file folder for paperwork that needs to be attended to immediately.

Clean out the refrigerator of expired food items and wipe down the shelves. Toss condiments that are expired, or you won’t use. Keep leftovers in the front of the refrigerator to ensure they are used or disposed of quickly. Inspect the freezer for any food that is outdated and dispose of as well.

Sort through the pantry and dispose of all expired food, or food that you know you won’t use. Don’t forget to review your spices using the same requirements.

Examine your kitchen cabinets for any dishes, serving pieces, multiple items, or old utensils you no longer use or need. Let go of all damaged or worn pots and pans, and keep only the pots and pans you use regularly. Toss all plastic storage containers that do not have matching lids and all plastic lids that don’t have matching containers.

Toss all appliances that are broken, and donate all appliances you haven’t used in over a year. Store all other appliances that aren’t used daily in the cabinets. Limit yourself to keeping only appliances used daily on your counter space.

Examine all your baking pans, and donate all multiple baking pans or baking items you haven’t used in over a year.

A majority of people find recipes online. Take a close look at all your cookbooks and keep only the ones you actually use.

Tackle the junk drawer and remove all items that belong somewhere else. Purchase small drawer organizers to keep like items together.

Check the medicine cabinet for all medications that have expired, or you no longer need and dispose of them properly.

Search the cabinets under the sink for any bath products you no longer need. Unused items can be donated to your local homeless shelter.

Toss all makeup that is expired, or you no longer use.

Laundry Room
Look through the laundry room cabinets and toss products you no longer need or use.

Cleaning supplies can multiply if you pick up a bottle every time you go shopping. Dispose of cleaning supplies you no longer need and take note of any multiples you have. This prevents you from picking up any additional bottles of the same cleaning supply.

The basement is usually the most cluttered area in almost every home. Start by removing ten items that you no longer need per day. Feel free to discard more items if you wish each day. This procedure makes clearing the clutter from this area not so overwhelming. Store like items together in durable plastic storage bins.

Examine seasonal decorations and toss all items that are damaged or broken. Donate any items you no longer use.

The garage is another area that many people struggle with keeping organized. The easiest way to tackle an overwhelming organizing project is to just start by removing all items that you no longer need or use. As with the basement, start by removing ten items you no longer need per day. Feel free to discard more items if you wish each day.

Store like items together in durable plastic storage bins.

Scan tools in the garage and toss all broken tools. Donate all tools you don’t use or tools that you have multiples of.

Attics tend to be overwhelming projects as well. Set the timer for fifteen minutes and start by just removing as many items as you can that you don’t use or no longer need. Of course, work longer than fifteen minutes if you desire each day.

Create zones to store like items together in durable plastic storage bins.

As a professional organizer, these are the secrets I use to tackle each area of any home I visit. Follow this step-by-step guide daily, and you will also learn how to keep control over the clutter in your home and realize that a clutter-free home is the one New Year’s Resolution that you will be able to maintain throughout the whole entire year!

THE ART OF ORDER, LLC has been tackling the clutter in homes all over the Washington DC metropolitan area for over ten years. The Art of Order, LLC evaluates each space individually and customizes a solution that will work specifically for your needs. Visit for more information.