Nothing promotes a fresh start like decluttering, which is why “get organized” remains one of the top New Year’s resolutions of all time, EVER and Marie Kondo–the Japanese organizing consultant–keeps selling copies of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Kondo says you must first put your hands on everything you own and ask if it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, gratefully get rid of it. Then, when you’ve released every item that doesn't bring you joy, you find a place for everything and put everything in its place.
All that sounds great, but…life! Am I right?! No matter your life path, life gets in the way. Laundry, cooking, self-care, relationships…it’s clutter (good clutter), too.
Below are some tips to tackle decluttering on your own, so you can step into the new year fresh and mess-free!
Where to Start
Kondo says to tidy by category, but (gasp) tidying by room can work, too. Either way you do it, you need to break those categories or rooms into even smaller entities. In your office, start with your desk, then work your way out. In the kitchen, start with the drawers, then focus on the cabinets, and so on.
When it comes to closets, I think back to my teenage years. My mom always used to say, “If you’re not going to take care of your clothes, we can toss them out.” Kondo agrees, in a way. She says to show respect for the things you own. Meaning are your clothes happy being crammed into the closet and dresser drawers? Or would they be happier if there were more space for them to breathe?
The next thing to consider aside from joy is nostalgia. This is where I often fall victim. I am personally connected to my things, my clothes, books, you name it. That makes it hard to let things go. Kondo says not to let nostalgia get in your way. I would argue that sometimes nostalgia equals joy, so I disagree with her here. I think you should do youwhen it comes to throwing away things that take you back to happy, or even sad times, and show you how far you’ve come.
One Step at a Time
One thing to remember is that even though you resolved to start the new year with less stuff, you can’t reorganize your life overnight. It took time to clutter things up, it will take time to declutter them. Celebrate the little victories and give yourself grace. Consider committing to spend 10 minutes a day picking things up around the house, rather than tackling things once a year. A great way to do this is to never leave a room empty-handed. When you consistently take time to put things where they go, you’ll find that clutter doesn’t pile up so quickly.
Are you planning to declutter in the New Year or do you never leave a room empty-handed? Share your tips and tricks with us to keep a clutter-free home in the comments!