How to simplify your house with a free printable checklist of 31 items to remove in order to declutter your life.
It’s the beginning of a new year, and that means you have a fresh palette to create whatever life you have envisioned for yourself. There is something so exciting about a fresh start!
For most people, they create a LONG LIST of resolutions that they hope they will adhere to for the year when in reality most of those goals fall to the wayside within a few weeks (or a few days possibly hours in my case).
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If you are looking for a new method of setting intentions, you may want to check out my blog post “How To Choose Your Powerful One Word for the New Year”. I walk you through the process of choosing a ONE WORD focus for the year and also have free printables that make it a fun and easy process.
At the top of most people’s intentions for the New Year, is the ever-elusive goal of getting O-R-G-A-N-I-Z-E-D.
I must admit it’s a worthy, yet lofty goal because most people don’t know where to even begin their journey of decluttering and getting organized. And going it alone usually ends with frustration, stress, and feeling overwhelmed…which ultimately leads to a big fat failure.
If this is the year that you really want to declutter your life and get the possessions in your messy house under control, then I’m here to help you with a decluttering checklist for every month of the year. Within a few months, you’ll be a pro at living an organized life.
Having an overabundance of material items can consume more energy and cause stress in your personal life in ways you may not even be fully aware of.
The clutter and disarray in your physical space is a visual representation of your mental space. In the wise words of Gretchen Rubin (who also named a powerful book with the same name) “Outer Order, Inner Calm”. As cliche and simple as it sounds, it is true!
Living a clutter-free life is not only possible but easily doable if you take the necessary steps to get there…even if they are small steps, that’s still progress!
Throwing things away can be a challenging process because we often time have an unhealthy emotional connection with our belongings, but I can promise you on the other side of letting go of the “stuff” is less stress and more space and time for the things that matter the most to you…sounds pretty amazing, right?
So are you ready to start and get rid of the things that are holding you back from creating the simplified life you’ve dreamed about?
Well, I am here to help you along the way…I like to think of myself as a decluttering doula…helping you birth a clutter-free life!
Before we jump in, there are a few helpful tips that I think will make the process a bit easier and smoother.
A. The January decluttering checklist can be downloaded here so you can keep track of your progress. Print it out, hang it somewhere you can’t ignore it, and write down the things you’ve decluttered.
There is no better motivation to keep going than seeing the progress you’ve made! I’ve made a calendar version for you.
And also a checklist version, so choose whichever style works best for you!
B. This process of physical decluttering can feel overwhelming at times, so be patient with yourself. Take baby steps if that’s what you need. Simplify a little at a time if that is all you have the energy to do!
C. There is no hardcore time frame or steadfast order for this purge project, and if it takes a week or a few months, remember progress is more important than perfection!
If you miss a day, no worries catch up another day! There truly is no wrong way to do it, so make it work for Y-O-U!!!
D. Find “decluttering buddies”…whether it’s friends, neighbors, or family members, having a partner to talk with while you declutter your life is BEYOND helpful, plus it keeps you more accountable when you do it with someone else.
E. One of the best decluttering advice I’ve seen is “try not to buy new things” while you are letting go of old items and simplifying your life.
Allow your life to be free of extraneous “stuff” for a while to fully feel how your possessions may have been causing unnecessary stress and negative energy.
This is the time to create new habits that don’t involve the overconsumption of material objects.
F. When you are done with eliminating physical items that no longer serve you, get them out of your house ASAP. Have a designated area where you put the things that you’ve removed.
I recommend the garage to keep them out of sight and out of mind. You may want to bag them up and keep them in the trunk of your car so you can easily donate them while you are out running errands.
G. When you are having difficulty determining whether to keep or throw something away there are a couple of methods I use to help me make that decision.
i. In the philosophy on Marie Kondo (aka the KonMari Method), ask yourself does this item “Spark Joy”.
In essence, that means does it bring some type of value into my life. Do I either enjoy it or use it? If the answer is no, then it goes into the throw-away/donate pile.
ii. Another method I personally use during the decluttering process is the 20/20 Rule made famous by the Minimalists. Basically, they recommend getting rid of anything that can be replaced for less than $20 in less than 20 minutes from your current location.
It’s a pretty cut and dry way of removing the excess stuff that can be replaced if needed and eliminates the “just in case/one-day” idea that holds up back from releasing things we know are perpetuating a cluttered life for ourselves.
So, when you don’t know what to keep, use these two approaches again, and remind yourself that your home is LIVING space, not STORAGE space!
* Footnote – when I say “toss” and “get rid of” I really mean find a new home for those items. There are SO many incredible, worthwhile charitable organizations who would love many of the things you no longer need, and I will share some donation ideas and recycling locations in my list!*
Now it’s time to get to the good stuff…your list of 31 things to declutter from your life during the month of January.
1. UGLY CHRISTMAS DECOR – We all have it, yet we have a hard time letting go of it. That tattered and frayed Dollar Store Santa hat, the old, melted evergreen scented candle you never use. As you are de-decorating the holiday home decor, get honest about the items you know you’ll never use and add them to the donation pile.
2. JUNK MAIL & HOLIDAY CARDS – There are many things that get neglected during the busyness of the holidays, and the pile of junk mail is one of those…time to grab the recycling bin!
I know we are all tempted to hang on to all those beautiful Christmas cards, but honestly, what are you going to do with them long-term? Put them in a box never to be seen again? If you have some that you just don’t want to part ways with, take a picture and add that image to your “favorites” folder…you still have the picture, but not the physical part to store.
3. OLD GIFT WRAP – As you are putting away all of your wrapping supplies, do an audit of what’s really worth keeping. Worn-out gift bags and overly wrinkled tissue paper…please put them out of their misery!
4. ITEMS TO BE RETURNED – It’s almost a guarantee that there will be some holiday gifts that just didn’t work or fit, get them OUT OF YOUR HOUSE! Make a pile of the items to be returned in the front seat of your car so you don’t forget to get it done.
These “return items” also include anything you may have borrowed from a friend or family member. All of those things are clutter taking up precious real estate in your home.
5. OLD BOXES – There is something innate in at least half of the population (or maybe more) that we think we need to hang onto the boxes our new possessions arrive in. I’m guilty of it too! Also, don’t forget cereal boxes, shoe boxes, and Amazon boxes all fit into this box category.
I can guarantee you, that once you’ve used the new items you received as gifts, you do not need the box…it’s one of those “just in case” items you will never use!
This also pertains to excess delivery boxes…if you need an Amazon box for anything in the future, I can say with certainty you can find one easily either at your doorstep from an upcoming delivery or from a packrat neighbor or friend. Let go of the boxes!
6. PAST INVITATIONS – All those holiday events are done, so should their invites be…time to recycle them!
7. UNWANTED SUBSCRIPTIONS – This is the perfect time to look at your monthly and yearly subscriptions and evaluate whether they are worth keeping or not!
We just checked out our supply of razor cartridges and realized we basically have a year’s supply already so needless to say, we canceled that subscriptions service! No need to keep accumulating and paying for more.
8. WORN OUT WORK OUT CLOTHES – Most of us start off the year increasing our frequency of exercise…be sure to trash those pit-stained workout tops or leggings and sports bras that have saggy elastic. Time to toss!
9. PRODUCTS WARRANTIES – Got new gadgets for Christmas? Either register them with those product warranty inserts or recycle them.
10. EXPIRED MEDICATIONS – New year…new date. Check out those expiration dates for supplements, medications, and vitamins. Be sure to dispose of them responsibly by visiting fda.gov for safe disposal information.
11. OLD CATALOGS & MAGAZINES – They’ve been replaced by this great little invention called the “Internet”…maybe even try to opt-out of them all together to save more trees!
12. UNWANTED TRAVEL SIZE TOILETRIES – I think it’s human nature to want to stockpile these adorable little “freebies” or maybe that’s just me. But if I’m honest with myself, I never end up using them!
13. OLD BILLS & RECEIPTS – Opt for paperless instead…saves resources and no clutter!
14. WORN OUT TOWELS – Time for a towel refresh…get rid of any that are worn out, soured, or stained. Most animal shelters will be thrilled to have them as a donation, so it’s a win/win!
15. BAD SCREENSHOTS & PHOTOS – Spend a little time deleting old screenshots and photos that are terrible…I don’t know about you, but my camera roll is filled with them!
16. EXPIRED SPICES & SEASONINGS – Check out those expiration dates in your spice cabinet. Need help keeping track of seasonings you need to replace? I’ve got a printable spice cabinet inventory checklist for you here!
17. OLD JEWELRY – If you haven’t worn it in the last two or more years, give it to someone who will use it and love it! If it’s broken, tarnished or just plain U-G-L-Y, pass it along. Maybe someone else will want to fix it or make it into something new!
18. BOOKS YOU’LL NEVER READ – Resell or donate them to your local library or school. Or you can even host a book swap with friends…the possibilities are endless!
19. EXPIRED ITEMS IN YOUR WALLET – Simply take 10 minutes to look through your wallet…get rid of anything not necessary…old gift cards, receipts, rewards program cards, large amounts of cash (just mail it to me LOL!).
20. OLD MAKEUP – Yep, makeup has an expiration date too…if you have had it a while (6 months+), especially makeup used on your eyes and lips, it’s probably time to replace them. While you are at it, toss the stuff you know you’ll never wear…no need to hang onto unflattering makeup!
21. OWNER’S MANUALS – I know this will be a hard one for a lot of people, but think about it…when’s the last time you actually used an owner’s manual after you knew how to work whatever item that goes with it?
Anytime something isn’t working for me, I either Google it or watch a YouTube video to see how to fix it. If you too are in the “Google It Gang”, it might be time to part with that giant box of owner’s manuals.
The internet has almost every manual known to man online too if you need to look up something specific to your product.
22. EXCESS COAT HANGERS – These sneaky little devils are in about every closet of my house…especially those wire ones from the dry cleaner. Get rid of any excess hangers you’ve been hanging on to…my dry cleaner reuses them, and I bet yours does too!
23. LONER SOCKS – It’s just a fact of life…we all keep the solo sock just in case we find the other one – bad news… it’s not gonna happen.
More bad news, it will only show up once you toss the matching one!
Good news…socks aren’t expensive and you can buy new ones!
24. UNNECESSARY EMAILS – The new year is a great time to clear out your inbox. Worried you might need that important email one day?
Make digital folders to store and organize your digital information. Now opening your email won’t feel so scary and overwhelming!
25. PURSE CONTENTS – Tackle your purse in three easy steps.
i. Take purse and dump contents
ii.. Look through contents and declutter anything not necessary.
iii. Put used and needed items back in the purse…easy as 1, 2, 3!
26. UNUSED CHARGERS & CORDS – If they don’t belong to any electronics you currently own and use, you don’t need them… and while you are at it, come to my house and take mine too!
It’s the one thing my hubby just can’t part with!
27. LIDLESS TUPPERWARE – Oh I know you have some random lids that don’t fit anything, and probably some warped and stained Tupperware that can go with it…into the trash!!
28. UNUSED TOYS & GAMES – The holidays usually mean getting new toys and games. In with the new, out with the old…donate your unused toys and games to a worthy cause…there are so many great children organizations that would love your donations!
29. THE GLOVE COMPARTMENT – 5-year-old ketchup packet anyone? Wadded-up restaurant napkins? Used face masks? Broken plastic utensils? Yep, I found them all in my glove box…and now they can be found in.the.trash.
30. THE JUNK DRAWER – Don’t be scared of this notorious cluttered space…it does not have to look perfectly organized, just do your best to get rid of the things in there you don’t use and relocate the items that don’t belong. Remember progress > perfection
31. ANYTHING NEGATIVE – Decluttering your life doesn’t only mean your possessions…take a moment to do a calendar audit and opt-out of any time commitments that don’t bring you joy.
Got toxic people in your life? It might be time to add some space in your relationship with them.
Is your work-life totally consuming all of your time? Maybe it’s time to set new priorities and find greater balance and a new healthy focus in your life.
And there you have it…that officially concludes the 31 things you should purge from your life this January!
I’m already working on February’s list of ways to reduce clutter, so be sure to opt in to my email list here and get it delivered straight to your inbox!
I’d love to hear what was the easiest to let go of and what was the most challenging (AKA my hubby and his computer cords)…let me know in the comments!
Until next time, cheers to a decluttered life and no longer being a member of the “too much stuff” club, and cheers to you!