Tips for Cleaning and Decluttering to Kick Off the New Year

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

As we are now firmly entrenched into 2023, resolutions have been made with the sentiment of “New Year, New You,” and sadly Christmas decorations have been put away. While you’re in the cleaning mode, the first of the year is always a great time to declutter and organize your home, office, or wherever might need it. It’s kind of ironic for me to write this article as I hold the title of the “Queen of Clutter,” rumored to be a pack rat, and just might have clothes in my closet from high school that I just know are going to come back in style. I hold onto so many things because there are usually a thousand memories attached to them, but I know I have to be strict with myself and get rid of some things while I clean.

This article might be cathartic for me and inspire me to get more earnest in my cleaning efforts. One of my resolutions is to organize and declutter my house — even my closet. Since I’m not the number one authority on cleaning and organizing, I have done quite a bit of research on decluttering and organizing tips to start the year off on a fresh start.

As I venture into the great unknown of my closet, I vow to work diligently to organize there, my bedroom, work station, and art studio. Believe me, I know these are tasks that no one loves but must be done. Just remember, I will be using these tips as well so that we can all start the new year with a clean slate and orderly life and home.

Here are a few tips to help you get started on these chores. Turn up your favorite tunes to help make your tasks more enjoyable and let’s tackle that clutter.

  • Start with a checklist and prioritize in order of places that need the most attention. You’ll get such a sense of accomplishment when you can mark those areas off your list.
  • Typically, many experts say to start with your closet. If you haven’t worn a garment or shoes in the last two years, it’s time for them to go either to the garbage, Salvation Army or other worthy organizations that gladly take in gently used clothes for those in need.
  • While you’re in your bedroom, tidy up your night stand, chairs or other furniture or workout equipment that have been turned into a catchall. If you’re like me, you might have a stack of books, a few snacks, sketch pad and other stuff beside your bed that should find a better place to reside. On your nightstand, it’s suggested to just have your Bible, the latest book you’re reading, and your journal. By minimizing clutter in the bedroom, you’ll be rewarded with a calmer, better sleep each night.
  • Usually, the kitchen is another top priority. If you take a methodical approach, empty out a drawer and find the utensils that you use most often. Either throw away or donate utensils that you never use and put rarely used items on the bottom of drawer. That way you can find what you need quickly and easily. Also, don’t forget your pantry. Get rid of outdated food items and organize your shelves with similar products together so that you can find them easier, such as make an area for cans of soup, a spot for canned fruit, etc.
  • As you approach your medicine cabinet and bathroom, toss any outdated medicine or unused toiletries.
  • Tackle the other areas of your home with the adage that there is “a place for everything, and everything in its place.” The clutter starts when we don’t put things back where they belong.
  • Set reasonable goals for yourself. Either spend a certain time limit to clean or pick a certain area of the house to work on as your duty for the day.
  • If you’re like me, my workspace and art studio most times look like they have been hit by a tornado, and I never can seem to find what I want when I need it. It’s been proven that organized workspaces increase productivity. Maybe some cute holders for your pens, pencils, or paint brushes and a storage bin that you can place on your desk to put items of priority in the top basket.
  • Try to downsize as much as you can so that clutter won’t begin to pile up again.

As you reduce clutter, you also reduce stress. Try not to get overwhelmed with the tasks. Just start small and work up from there. Decluttering will bring a sense of calm and peace to your mind and soul and will give you room for things that you use most.

To keep your home this way, try to do a little cleaning each week so you’re not overwhelmed with such a huge task again if your room and closet are anything like mine. Let’s make this a resolution that we don’t break this year.


Written by Judy Smith

Judy Smith has been a freelance writer and photographer for several magazines and publications around the South, including Social South Magazine, Our Mississippi Magazine, DeSoto Magazine, Deep South Magazine, Country Roads Magazine, among others. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Paralegal Studies, Master’s of Science in Mass Communications, and PhD in Communications at the University of Southern Mississippi. And Judy Smith is proud to forever be a Mississippi Girl.


Leave a Reply

What do you think?

Delta Watercolor Artist David Rawlinson holding Watercolor Demonstration and Art Talk at Pacesetter Gallery

King Cake

Annual King Cake Contest Begins at Ocean Springs Visitor Center