8 Things to Declutter Before the New Year

By Victoria Q

This is probably the busiest time of the year. Christmas had just passed, and the new year is coming soon in less than a week time. The house is in disaster. Toys are lying around the living room, books are everywhere on the desk, and Christmas decor is sitting around every corner of the house especially Christmas wrapping paper, Christmas trees, empty cookies containers, and Christmas cards.

Seeing our house in this condition can cause us to feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start and how to clean the whole mess. Since the New year is just around the corner, we don’t just need to “clean” the house but to “de-clutter” everything in the house, to welcome another new year of our lives. We don’t want to head to the new year with a messy and cluttered house.

De-cluttering the entire house sounds like a lot to do but trust me, you just need a bit of focus, determination, and time. And, I’m going to show you how and where to start.

1. Expired Pantry Goods

We all know that pantry goods, especially canned food, can last for a long time such as a year or two. So, we don’t even bother checking before using them. But just before we know it, the canned food has already passed its expiration date. I’m pretty sure there must be some hidden behind your kitchen cabinet now. Start with taking all pantry goods out of your pantry and checking each label. Toss anything that has passed its expiration date or anything that is no longer can be used such as dented canned food. While you’re at it, wipe down the cabinet and drawer. Also, make a note of what pantry goods you have on hand to make holiday grocery shopping easier.

2. Christmas Related Things

Now is the perfect time to sort through your Christmas decor as the festive season just ended not long ago. Put away those you use and get rid of anything that’s still sitting in the storage box that you didn’t use this Christmas. This also means there’s a very high possibility that you’re not going to use it the coming Christmas. Why keep them when you know you don’t use them anymore? It can be holiday lights that aren’t working, old wrapping paper that can’t be reused, or any gift bag that’s ripped.

3. Expired Makeup

Shout out to all women out there, this is the most crucial area that we have to de-clutter before moving to a new year. We sure love makeup, and there are probably plenty of expired makeup products hidden behind the makeup bag or drawer. Some were used a half year ago, some might only be used once, and some are still in their original packaging. I know it’s hard to get rid of them, especially they cost a lot. Giving out to someone who needs, is better than keeping them aside when we don’t use them. So, be honest and ask yourself whether you really need it. You can’t just tell yourself “Oh, that’s a very expensive eye shadow palette, I must keep it”. Girls, honesty is everything here.

4. Emails

You don’t want to head into the new year with a cluttered inbox filled with unread emails. Get started sorting through your emails one by one, read thoroughly and take action. Delete junk mails, respond to emails you’ve been meaning to, and make decisions which emails to keep and delete. You’ll feel a lot lighter when you have it all sorted out. Aiming for a zero Inbox is not impossible, even if you have 500 emails there. All it takes is a bit of focus, determination, and time.

5. Bills, Statement and Other Mail

After you paid your bills and reviewed paper documents that come in the mail, especially bank statements, you generally have no use for them anymore. It’s time to shred these papers and clear up your desk. Since many documents are available online nowadays, take this time to reach out to providers and request your bills and statements sent to you via email instead. It is a lot more environmentally friendly and saves your time to de-clutter the paper documents.

6. Expired Medicines

Medicines are not like supplements, which we take every single day without failing. So, we probably don’t even remember what medicines are lying around in the house. Taking expired medicines can be risky due to a change in chemical composition or a decrease in strength. Certain expired medications are also at risk of bacterial growth and sub-potent antibiotics can fail to treat infections, leading to more serious illnesses and antibiotic resistance. Just go through your medicines and toss anything that is past its expiration date. Also, don’t keep any antibiotic that couldn’t be finished even if it’s still haven’t passed its expiration date. We’re not supposed to take antibiotics without prescription as it can cause an infection to become more powerful.

7. Old Clothes

One thing that we absolutely hate and have trouble de-cluttering is our closet. Maybe you have many expensive and branded clothes you’re still holding on to, maybe your best friend gave you a piece of clothing on your 21st birthday, or maybe you bought a beautiful dress with the first money you earned. We tend to give too much meaning to our possession and that’s what makes us sentimental getting rid of them. If you have trouble trying to figure out which piece of clothing you wear and which ones you don’t, here’s one trick you can do. Move all your clothes to another room and hang them back in the closet when you really wear them. Do this trick for 6 months. After 6 months, go back to the room and get rid of each piece of clothing that you haven’t been wearing for the past 6 months.

8. Photos in Phone

Do you remember when was the last time you go through all photos on your phone and laptop? Photos are meaningful. They capture the best moment of our lives and become a part of our memories – the food we tried, places we have been to, and people we love. They said humans may change, but photos remain forever. This is one of the reasons why we are obsessed with photos and have a hard time deleting them. So, what can we do? Go through every photo and put them into different folders such as Trip to Australia, 2020 Christmas Party, Anne’s Farewell Dinner and so on. Sort them into categories so it’s easier to find when you want to look back. Also, delete those duplicate photos and any photos that look very similar to others.

I’m sure your house will look a lot better, welcoming a new year by following the guides above. Take your time and focus in each area. When you feel stuck and overwhelmed during the process, walk away, make a cup of tea, and relax for a while. Take a walk outside if you can. Then, come back and continue where you left. You’ll feel like a rock has taken away from your shoulders after seeing the house in a clutter-free condition.

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