How to Declutter for the New Year

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I always think it’s a great idea to do some major decluttering in your life at the beginning of each year. And I’m not just talking about cleaning our your room. I’m talking a complete purge of your entire house, your phone, your computer, your brain. Everything! Leave that ish in 2018.

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful” – William Morris

The Purge: House/Apartment Edition

#1: Clean out your wardrobe

Clean out your entire closet (and dresser) and separate everything into 3 piles: 1.) clothes that you wear very often (to work, going out, staples, rotation clothes), 2.) clothes that you don’t wear very often but are sentimental to you (what you wore on your first date, coat that your grandmother passed down to you, interview outfit, etc.), and 3.) clothes that you never wear, don’t fit you anymore, have holes/snags/stains, etc. And if something doesn’t fit into the 3 piles, put it in pile 3 to donate. People need these clothes way more than you do, plus that makes more hanger room for future clothes to buy! Same with shoes, handbags, jewelry, and other accessories.

There is also a really fun experiment you can try to see which clothes you wear and what you never wear, but it takes about a year to complete. Seasons, am I right? Hang all of your clothes in your closet with the hanger backwards (so you have to unhook from the back) and when you wear something, hang it back in the closet the normal way. After a year (warm weather, cold weather, snow, 100 degree heat, etc.) you’ll be left with all of the pieces that you didn’t wear for an entire year that are still hung up backwards… Then it’s time to get rid of them!

box of clothes that I’m donating
bags of more clothes that I’m donating

#2: Clean out the rest of your house

Clean out your fridge, your pantry, your spice rack and condiments. Get rid of excess plastic cups, chopsticks (are you really going to eat with chopsticks at home when you can easily just use a fork…?), plastic silverware from takeout bags, get rid of old cleaning supplies, and old makeup and hair/beauty products. Everything that you can look at and say, “if there was a fire, I wouldn’t mind losing this”, get rid of it. There are so many people in need that would be over the moon to receive these makeup samples and old throw blankets and shampoo bottles that you’ve been stockpiling but never use! Same with clothes you never wear but don’t want to get rid of “just in case”. Let’s face it, that “just in case” moment is never going to happen so just give the dress to a woman in need that will cherish it and it will be her favorite dress. Won’t that make you feel good?!

The Purge: Files/Documents/Papers Edition

#3: Clean out your filing cabinet

Now would be the perfect time to look through your filing system and get rid of everything you kept “just to be safe” but don’t actually need anymore. More often than not, you’ll look through the papers and think to yourself how silly it is now that you kept that. For me, I always keep a lot of receipts and return labels for stuff I order online. Well, a year goes by and the item is pretty used and/or the return time period has come and gone, so I just throw those away. Old tanning membership documents that you cancelled… Bills from an apartment you lived in 4 years ago… Bank statements from 2011… You don’t need them and no one will ever come to your door asking how much you paid for cable in 2013. So toss it

#4: Clean out random papers elsewhere in your house

Sometimes I hoard papers in junk drawers or in these three bins I keep under my bed. I found some old resumes that I printed out for a job fair when I graduated college. Well, 4 year later my resume has changed significantly, so I won’t be needing those anymore. Instruction manuals for things I already mastered using or instructions on how to build my coffee table. Don’t need! Old journals that I kept my to-do lists in. Bye Felicia

The Purge: Electronic Devices Edition

I think electronic devices are what need your attention the most. It’s easy to see material objects pile up in your house, but your phone and computer have so much storage that it’s easy to ignore the thousands of emails, photos, documents, downloads, etc. that you have built up over time. Ladies and gentlemen, start your devices!

#5: Clean up your phone

Look through every single app you have and get rid of the ones you don’t use or haven’t used in a while. You can actually go into settings and see the apps your use the most and the ones you never use. And don’t worry, the good thing about phones is that you can always reinstall the app should you ever need it in the future! Go through your photos and delete any duplicates or photoshoots when you only ended up using one photo. Delete any screenshots that you took to just send someone. You can also save these photos on your personal computer or to Dropbox to clean up space. Go through your “Notes” and delete old notes or notes that you don’t understand anymore. Delete old text conversations and contacts that you don’t need anymore. Go through apps that you have notifications for and clear those.

lol… Deleting this number

#6: Clean up your email

In Gmail, the front page of your inbox only shows 50 emails. Can you clean your entire inbox to show less than 50?! Create folders (“bills”, “do not delete”, “work”, “notifications”, etc.) and organize your important emails into the folders. Everything else you can delete. Keep the important “action items” in your immediate inbox, treat it as a to-do list or a reading list. And once you complete those email tasks, delete them or file them into a folder and keep your inbox nice and organized. Also be sure to clean out your spam folder and unsubscribe from as many emails as you can!!

#7: Clean up your laptop/computer

Go to Finder and delete/organize all of your documents in there. Old downloads that you don’t need anymore. Outdated resumes, cover letters, and applications. Anything that you can find in there that you don’t need anymore, delete it. Stuff in there that you might need in the future, organize it into a folder or just print it out and file it in your filing cabinet. Clean your browser history, cache, and site data to start fresh! And delete any photos or media that you don’t need anymore to make some extra storage room. And don’t forget to delete apps that you don’t use!

All of your material items that you’re getting rid of, you can sell the designer/name-brand/expensive stuff on Poshmark, Craigslist, Offer Up, Ebay, etc. to make some money back from it! And you can donate everything else and everything that you don’t sell to a women’s shelter, homeless shelters, veteran charities, the Salvation Army, or GoodWill. There are a lot of people out there that would benefit from your donations, plus you can get a “receipt” for your donations and use it as a tax write off!

I hope this post gave some clarity as to where you should focus on decluttering, what you should declutter, and what you can do with your decluttered items! I promise it will make you feel like a whole new person, plus when you give back you are doing a great thing for your community!!

Happy purging! 😉

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