Most of us simply have too much stuff, and we’re constantly acquiring more. As the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, many of us find ourselves making resolutions, eager to embrace a fresh start and create positive changes in our lives.
One powerful and transformative resolution is decluttering. The act of decluttering not only transforms your physical space but can also have a profound impact on your mental and emotional well-being.
It’s like hitting the reset button for your life, making way for new opportunities, increased productivity, and a sense of tranquility that’s often hard to come by in our modern, fast-paced world.
Figuring out what to get rid of can be overwhelming, so here is a list of things to declutter in the new year, or even before the new year if you want to start the year already feeling successful.
In this article, we will delve into the art of decluttering and explore which items you should consider decluttering for the new year. Whether you’re a minimalist enthusiast looking to streamline your possessions further or someone overwhelmed by clutter and in need of a fresh perspective, this guide will provide you with valuable insights and practical tips to kickstart your journey to a clutter-free and rejuvenated life.
So, let’s roll up our sleeves and discover the key items to declutter as we step into the exciting possibilities of the new year.
Resources to Responsibly Declutter Items
Part of the stress of decluttering is knowing what to do with the items, so here is a quick guide on how to dispose of items responsibly.
Clothing and Textiles:
Clothing waste is a huge problem world wide, and unfortunately most of what is donated to thrift stores is actually sent to other developing countries that don’t have any way to recycle these items either. There are a few places that will actually recycle textiles (fabric items) but it can be challenging to find them. Here are a few options:
H&M Recycling Program: You can take items to your local H&M store and they will recycle them. Call your local store just to make sure they participate.
For Days Take Back Bags: This company will send you a large mailer bag for $20, then you fill it with up to 15 lbs of items and send it back for free and they properly recycle the items.
Retold Recycling: You can also buy bags here and mail them in.
You can also do some research to see if someplace in your area will properly recycle clothing
Many chemical products such as paint, cleaners, aerosols, etc are not meant to go in the trash. Look for a local hazardous waste drop off center and see if they’ll take what you have.
Some places will give away usable items to the community such as paint and cleaning supplies.
Most electronics are also not supposed to go into the trash because the metals they’re made of are very toxic. Best Buy will take some electronic items, or you can usually take them to your local hazardous waste drop off center.
Many stores have drop boxes for cell phones, and some batteries can be recycled in drop boxes at home improvement stores.
Sell and Giveaway Locally
Another great option are local giveaway or selling apps. You can find local groups on Facebook or use an app like OfferUp and even Ebay.
I like OfferUp because if you sell to someone locally you don’t have to pay any fees and the buyer can pick it up from your home, or you can meet locally (I’ve met people at the post office and city hall).
Or there is the good old fashioned yard sale.
Questions to Ask Before and While Decluttering Your Home
It’s good to know exactly what your goal is while you are decluttering because it’ll keep you going if you start feeling overwhelmed, so here are some questions to ask yourself
Before you get started:
- What are my decluttering goals for this space or area?
- Are you aiming for a more organized home, more open space, future down sizing, increased productivity, or simply a sense of clarity and calm? Defining your goals will guide your decluttering process.
- What is the primary or desired function of each space I’m decluttering?
- Understanding the purpose of each area or room in your home will help you determine which items are essential for that function and which are not.
- What bothers me most about the spaces I want to declutter?
- Being clear on what exactly is bothering you about the space can help you stay determined when you start feeling uncertain and start trying to negotiate with yourself to keep things you shouldn’t.
- Am I ready to let go of items that no longer serve me?
- Decluttering often involves emotional attachment and letting go of the past. Reflect on your readiness to part with items that no longer align with your current life and goals.
While you’re decluttering:
- What items are most frequently used or needed in each space?
- Identify the items you use regularly and prioritize keeping them accessible. Consider whether there are duplicates or unnecessary items that can be removed.
- Do I have items that I haven’t used in the past year?
- The one-year rule is a common guideline for decluttering. Generally, if you haven’t used or needed an item in the past year, it might be time to let it go.
- Do I have multiples of the same item?
- Consider whether you have duplicates of certain items. Keeping multiples can lead to clutter and inefficiency, so decide which one to keep and which to part with.
- Is this item still in good condition and functional?
- Assess the condition of each item. If something is broken or no longer serves its intended purpose, it may be time to discard or replace it.
- Can I repurpose or upcycle items instead of discarding them?
- Explore creative ways to reuse or repurpose items you might otherwise discard. This can be an eco-friendly and sustainable approach to decluttering. Only keep items to upcycle if you are certain you will actually have time to do that project.
- How can I organize and store items effectively?
- Consider storage solutions that will help maintain your newly decluttered space. Organizational tools and systems can make a big differ
- Will getting rid of this item free up space for something more important or valuable to me?
- Think about the potential benefits of decluttering. Removing non-essential items can create space for things that truly matter to you.
If you want more tips, read how to organize your life in one week. But on to the list of items to declutter.
Things to Declutter In The New Year
1. Old or ill fitting clothes
Donate, sell, or discard clothing items you no longer wear or need. See my guide on how to responsibly discard clothing above.
If you want to sell your clothing, schedule a time to take photos and list the items online so that they don’t just sit there for months.
Declutter worn-out and uncomfortable shoes.
3. Unused or broken jewelry
Donate any jewelry you don’t like and toss anything that is broken or worn out.
4. Unused or expired cosmetics
Toss old makeup and skincare products.
5. Expired personal care products
Check toiletries, lotions, and grooming items for expiration dates. If you have items that are unopened but you don’t think you’ll use them, check with your local women’s shelter to see if they can take the items.
6. Old, worn-out bedding and linens
Replace or donate bedding you no longer use. Bedding can be put in the recycling bags I mentioned above.
7. Worn-out towels and rags
Replace or repurpose old linens. Some animal shelters will accept old towels.
8. Expired coupons and receipts
Clear out old coupons and receipts from your wallet and drawers.
9. Unused, unwanted or duplicate kitchen gadgets and appliances
Declutter kitchen gadgets that you rarely use or that have duplicates. Evaluate whether you need multiple blenders, coffee makers, etc. Sell or giveaway things that are still usable.
10. Unused, broken, mismatched, or duplicate kitchenware
Clear out excess pots, pans, and utensils. Replace or discard chipped and mismatched dishes.
11. Excess vases and containers
Declutter your collection of flower vases and storage containers. If you like the shape of something but not the color, consider painting items to make them more your taste so that you’ll actually use it.
12. Expired pantry items
Check your fridge and pantry for expired food and spices.
13. Expired medications
Safely dispose of expired prescription and over-the-counter drugs by checking what your local law requires. Some fire stations and pharmacies will take expired medications.
14. Expired or unneeded cleaning products
Many of us have half-used bottles of cleaners taking up space in our cupboards that are likely expired or just no longer needed. You can take them to your local hazardous waste drop off for proper disposal.
15. Old magazines and newspapers
Recycle or donate reading materials you’ve finished with and won’t look at again.
16. Excess paperwork
Shred or digitize documents you no longer need. Some office supply places will shred your items for free.
17. Old and unread books
Donate or sell books you won’t read again. Libraries will usually take books or you can see if there is a Little Library in your neighborhood.
18. Unwanted movies and game
If you want to sell movies, OfferUp is a good way to do that, or donate them to the library. Unwanted games can go to the thrift store.
19. Broken or unused toys
Donate, sell, or discard toys your children have outgrown or no longer play with.
20. Unwanted gifts
It’s better to pass along gifts you know you won’t use rather than hold onto them out of obligation.
21. Unused exercise equipment
If you haven’t used it in a while, consider selling or donating it.
22. Outdated electronics, cables, and chargers
Dispose of old, non-functional devices responsibly. Check with your local government to see where you can recycle items.
23. Pens and office supplies
Just tossing out dried out pens and markers can feel good, so go through your office supplies and see what can be discarded.
24. Junk drawer items
Tackle that messy drawer filled with random odds and ends.
25. Excess holiday decorations
Streamline your seasonal decorations if you feel like you have too much, if you haven’t used it in several years and don’t see yourself using it in the future it may be time to donate. Just make sure not to give away sentimental items without checking with the family.
26. Unused hobby supplies
Reevaluate hobbies you no longer pursue and donate or sell related materials. I used to make jewelry but after I hadn’t touched my supplies in about 10 years I sold them on Offer Up and made someone else very happy.
27. Unused or broken furniture
Get rid of furniture that is broken or doesn’t fit in your space. If it’s still in good condition, put it on OfferUp.
28. Broken or defunct tools
Get rid of tools that are beyond repair or that you have duplicates of.
If you want a guide to print out at home, check out the Tidy Life Checklist
I hope you found this list of things to declutter helpful. Remember, decluttering doesn’t mean you have to throw everything away. Many items can be donated, recycled, or sold to someone who might find them useful. By decluttering, you’ll create a more organized and peaceful living environment as you enter the new year.