I don’t know why, but there’s something about a New Year that makes me want to declutter the house. Maybe it’s packing up all the Christmas decor. It was so cozy and inviting when we first put it up, but after a few weeks it always begins to feel a little heavy and I’m ready for the space to be able to breathe.
Here are a few areas – both big and small – that I like to declutter:
Confession: I have more clothing than I actually wear. Why? Probably because I hold onto things that I “might fit into again one day” as well as items that “just need the right shirt to go with it” (even though I don’t currently have one).
Because of this, I’ve found it difficult to pick out something to wear even though my closet is filled with clothes. What I’ve started doing is this:
I turn all my hangers backwards (hooking it on the bar from behind). Then whenever I actually wear something I hang it back up the right way after washing. (If you just try it on & hang it back up, turn it the wrong way – you haven’t actually worn it!) That way I can see what I’ve actually worn in the last 6 months or year! It’s been quite eye-opening for me.
I know many people have started using “capsule wardrobes” where they have just a few main pieces that are interchangeable with all the others. This results in fewer articles of clothing with more options. I’m not quite ready to do that yet, but I know it works for a lot of people.
My theory is to only keep the pieces that Fit, Flatter, and make me Feel good.
This goes for shoes too.
My intentions in stocking up are good – really they are. But sometimes things just go unnoticed and unused and expiration dates come and go without me noticing. Now is a great time to sort through your canned goods and your freezer and pick out the stuff that’s no longer fit for consumption.
Move older (but still good) cans towards the front so you’ll be sure to use them. Make a list of what is in your freezer that needs to be used up and design your next few weeks of meal plans centered around using up those ingredients. Epicurious.com is a great website (and free app) where you can search for recipes by ingredient. Use their advanced search option to sort by cuisine, cooking method, and more. Allrecipes.com also has this feature.
While I do use cookbooks, many of my recipes get printed from the internet. I like to keep them all in a binder using page protectors. This way they are easily accessible and I can make notes in them with a good old fashioned pen. The tomato sauce splatters on the pages just add character – ha!
Every now and then I go through and clear out the recipes we got burned out on and replace them with new favorites. Going through the binder is also a great way to remind myself of recipes we haven’t had in a while – “oh yeah, I should make that again!”
You know that bottle of stovetop cleaner you bought that you thought would be all that…and it wasn’t? Might it still be residing under your kitchen sink? Now’s a great time to clean out the cleaning supplies and only keep the items you actually use. Just be sure to discard items appropriately according to package instructions and warnings.
This is where all the stuff goes when we don’t know what else to do with it. It’s where our giveaway pile resides. It’s where our seasonal not-currently-in-use stuff goes. It’s where all the “let’s keep this just in case” stuff goes. Can you relate?
Because this is where the random stuff we’ve forgotten about goes, it’s usually the easiest for us to purge (and make more room for stuff from upstairs – it’s a cycle, haha). Here are a few things to look for in your basement/attic:
- Empty Boxes
- I don’t know about you, but I often keep the packaging for small appliances, kitchen gadgets, toys, pots & pans, etc. While these can be useful if you’re planning to move, chances are you probably won’t need them otherwise – and they take up a lot of room! Time to recycle!
- Outgrown Kids’ Toys or Clothes
- Even if you think there’s a chance you might have more kids some day, it’s good to weed through it all. Items tend to accumulate beyond what we actually need. That little outfit that was cute but never got worn because the fabric was weird feeling? Let it go – you probably won’t use it for the next child either.
- Seasonal Decor
- Working on putting away Christmas decor? As you put things away, take note of what you didn’t use this year and ask yourself if you’ll really use it next year. If not, it might be time to let it go. Apply liberally to any holiday or season.
- “Guilt” Items
- Have you ever received gifts that really weren’t your style? Did you return them, donate them, or are they still in your storage tubs because you felt guilty about getting rid of them? Don’t feel guilty! Appreciate the thought the person put into it, but let it go! It’s a win-win – you’ll have more room in your house and someone else will have a great find at the thrift store! Chances are, the gift giver will never know, but even if it gets brought up in conversation, show gratitude but be honest. It happens and most people will understand.
- Similarly, if you have items passed down to you from family members, but those items mean absolutely nothing to you (or worse, they bring back bad memories), don’t let them weigh you down. First offer them to other family members who might appreciate having them, but if there are no takers, consider donating or selling the items. If you want to remember an item, take a picture of it before donating.
Finally, if you’re having difficulty deciding if you should get rid of something, try asking yourself these four questions:
If not, and it’s not an essential item you must have on hand (please don’t get rid of that spare tire for your car!) then get rid of it!
Do you enjoy decluttering or do you dread it? Let me know below!