The start of the New Year is always an exciting time filled with resolutions to live healthier and happier for the next 12 months. One surefire way to do that is cleaning up and decluttering your home, as clutter takes up physical space, drains mental energy, and causes a ton of stress and anxiety. Eliminating clutter in each room is an impactful way to make a living space really feel like a calming sanctuary (Photo by Artem Podrez).

If you are struggling to figure out how to best declutter your home in the New Year, not to worry! In my experience as the Professional Organizer and Brand Ambassador of Modular Closets (DIY customizable closet units that organize any space in your home), I have discovered these helpful decluttering tips:

  1. Before Starting, Ask Yourself 2 Questions

There are two questions to ask yourself: do you have too much stuff or not enough space? If you do not have enough space, there are a few solutions. First, create a new closet system. Oftentimes, our spaces are completely underutilized and simply not designed properly. Many times, we have more space than we think. This does not mean you have to make a huge investment or start an intimidating construction project.

For example, just by changing your single rod closet to double hanging, you instantly double the space. The most transformative thing you can do to organize when you do not have a lot of space is to redesign the system. Modular Closets is just one highly effective system that is easy to design yourself or with their team and instantly transforms your space! Also, always utilize your walls when you do not have a lot of space — hooks are a great way to organize things such as hats, purses and necklaces.

If you do not have a lot of space, you have to honor and accept the space you have. You may need to simplify things a bit more and work on practicing the process of letting go of some more of your items. Things are not bad, as they create our environment and add purpose and meaning to our home. However, we have to honor the space we have and allow things into our space that don’t create clutter.

  1. Turn Decluttering Your Clothes Into a Game 

Who doesn’t love a fun game?! If you want to quickly declutter your clothes, turn it into a game by committing to accomplishing the task in one day no matter what. By setting the goal to finish the decluttering process in 24 hours, you will feel energized and inspired to get it done. On a practical level, the best way to ensure you get it done fast is by creating piles and categories. This is going to make it much easier to declutter and decide what you do not want anymore. In my own experience, this is the #1 way to declutter fast.

Another idea is to have a friend or family member help! Decluttering can be emotionally tiring physically and mentally, so it is always great to have support. Your friend may also want to keep some of the items you are looking to give away, so it’s a win-win for both of you!

  1. Take a Break if You Feel Overwhelmed

If you are feeling stressed out and overwhelmed while decluttering, pause and hit the reset button. Decluttering is both physical and emotional so there may be moments where you feel overwhelmed, and this is completely natural and okay. So first and foremost, please know it is okay to feel that way! If you put too much pressure on yourself to get it all done at once, you can easily burn out and take even longer to declutter your home.

Second, pause and step away for a moment. Sometimes all you need is a breather, a glass of water, and to step away from the clutter. Third, if you find the process overwhelming, set the timer for 15-minute increments so you can work within an allocated amount of time.

  1. Avoid These 10 Decluttering Mistakes

If you want to optimize the process of decluttering and cleaning up your home, make sure to avoid these blunders:

1.) You do not have to throw everything away.

2.) Be honest with yourself if you truly need that item.

3.) Do not let the object take over you. You control the object. Always remember that.

4.) Do not start the process until you have categorized it into piles.

5.) Do not declutter with everything still in the space. Empty out everything until the closet/room/space is empty.

6.) Do not throw it all away without seeing if you can donate it locally.

7.) Do not keep your clutter to have a garage sale UNLESS you have that garage sale booked in the calendar.

8.) Do not declutter without a goal and intention for your space.

9.) Do not declutter without a snack on hand 😉 It gets tiring!

10.) Do not be so hard on yourself. This process is a lot. The fact that you are working on your space to make it better is truly such an accomplishment.

  1. Follow My 8-Minute Rule to Keep Your Home Tidy

Keeping your home neat needs to be an ongoing, daily process, as it will prevent clutter and chaos from forming over time. Luckily, you can easily do this in less than 10 minutes a day! Just set a timer for 8 minutes and spend that time ridding counters of any clutter, picking items off the floor, and putting things where they belong. I like doing this before I go to bed, as it puts my mind at ease and completes my day. However, you can do it at any time that is right for you!

Whatever clutter you can eliminate in 8 minutes is fantastic. Also, this will eventually become a habit that you enjoy doing each day. And when it becomes a part of your daily lifestyle, your space will never get messy and chaotic. Remember, the goal is not to put every single item away (of course, that is awesome if that happens!); the objective is to put whatever you can away until the timer goes off after 8 minutes.

To Wrap It All Up

Ridding your home of clutter is an excellent way to live healthier and happier in the New Year, as messiness can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Optimize the decluttering process by first asking yourself if you have too much stuff or not enough space. Also, turn decluttering your clothes into a game, take a break if you feel overwhelmed, avoid 10 of the major cleaning mistakes I have seen others make, and follow my 8-minute rule. This will help you keep your home tidy and chaos-free in Year 2023 and beyond!

Christina Giaquinto is the Professional Organizer and Brand Ambassador of Modular Closets (DIY customizable closet units that organize any space in your home). Christina focuses on giving her clients the tools, methods, and techniques to transform their lives and homes through decluttering and organizing. She combines spiritual coaching and organizing to help her clients let go of things that do not spark joy and happiness. Her work has been featured on sites like Popsugar, Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Realtor, The Spruce and Yahoo.