You Ask, We Answer: What Should I Declutter in the New Year?
Happy New Year! As we here at Calcagni Real Estate welcome 2024, many of us will make New Year’s resolutions. If one of your resolutions is to declutter your home so it’s organized for the year ahead, you’re in good company. Here are some of our favorite easy ways to declutter your house to make things feel neat, organized, and less stressful for 2024.
Consider your coat closet
A coat closet, if you’re lucky enough to have one, can be a favorite feature in a home–especially during the colder months. But it’s also a space that can easily veer from well-used to out-of-control in a very short amount of time. To keep your coat closet highly functioning and well organized, it needs attention from time to time.
Begin by pulling out everything from the closet. Put outerwear in one pile, accessories in another, shoes in a third pile, and other stored items in the fourth pile. Then, tackle the outwear pile: Try on coats that still appeal to your style, making sure they are in good working order. Have other household members do the same. Whatever no longer fits or doesn’t appeal to you, put it in a bag to donate to a local coat drive, shelter, or thrift store. If you are holding onto items to pass them down to younger children, remove them from your coat closet and consider storing them in a dry, airtight storage container in your attic, basement, or garage.
Next, move on to the accessories pile. Pair up mittens and gloves; if there are items missing their other half, toss them out. Wash and donate any hats or scarves that are no longer being used.
Then, go through the shoes in your coat closet. Anything that’s out of season should be stored elsewhere; you’ll need all the room you can get for bulky winter footwear! Shoes that aren’t being worn any longer can be donated along with your coats and accessories.
Lastly, tackle any random items that have made their way into your coat closet. Put them in their rightful spot, or toss them if they are no longer needed or wanted.
Lean out your linen closet
Another great way to declutter for the new year ahead? Leaning out the linen closet. If you store personal care items in your linen closet, pull everything out and begin checking expiration dates. Pay special attention to medicines–including over the counter drugs–and toss anything that has expired. Next, check out any makeup or skincare products (including sunscreens) and make sure they haven’t expired; the warm, humid environment of a bathroom can turn products rancid, making them irritating to skin, eyes, and lips. Some products may have a little jar symbol with a number on it; this is the “period after opening” symbol and it will tell you how many months a product is safe to use after opening it (i.e., 6M, 12M, 18M).
Next, pull out towels, hand towels, and washcloths. Examine them for holes, tears, or stains. Repurpose any damaged items into cleaning rags, then re-fold and organize the shelves to make it easier for everyone in the house to reach what they need when getting ready for work or school in the morning.
Lastly, pull out any sheets and blankets. Repeat examining them for damage, and toss any that are ripping. Donate any blankets that are not in regular rotation when you make the bed or have company stay over. Fold sheets and blankets and store them neatly to keep your linen closet looking clean and organized.
Streamline your sock drawer
It may sound silly, but streamlining your sock drawer is a great way to feel organized heading into the new year! Pull all socks out and match all pairs. Check for socks that have holes or are losing their elasticity and toss them as necessary. Ditto for socks missing their mates.
If you don’t have drawer organizers, you may want to invest in some to keep your socks organized–but they’re not a must-have. Instead, you can organize your socks by type: athletic/work-out socks, wool socks, dress socks, “invisible” socks, fleece/slipper socks. Fold or roll your socks and put them back in the drawer, grouping like types of socks together.
Clean your bathroom vanity
Like the linen closet, when it’s messy, the bathroom vanity can be a source of stress on busy mornings when you’re just trying to get everyone out the door on time.
First, pull everything out of the drawer and wipe down the inside of the drawer with a cloth and warm soapy water or a mild cleaner, taking care to remove toothpaste, makeup, hair, or powder and dust.
Then, just as you did with personal care items in the linen closet, check items or medicines to make sure they’re not expired. Toss anything that has passed its expiration date, and get ready to organize.
Investing in drawer organizers can help, but you can also repurpose items you may already have on hand, like mason or jam jars to hold toothbrushes and toothpaste or small items like dental floss or contact lens cases. If you’re short on space but everyone in your family uses your bathroom vanity, consider designating a drawer for each household member or providing them with a shallow basket that fits into drawers and will hold their things. This can help everyone find what they need in a hurry, keep your vanity organized, and keep mornings running more smoothly in the new year.
Don’t forget your freezer
Last but not least, don’t ignore your freezer! When it comes to decluttering for the new year, our freezers are often overlooked–but they’re an important part of organizing for the year ahead. Pull everything out of the freezer and wipe it down with a cloth and warm, soapy water. Then, take a look at everything you’ve stored. Check expiration dates on prepared meals, and toss anything that’s expired. Take a look at soups and sauces, and keep in mind that their flavors will start to degrade in a couple of months. Consider eating them now, or putting them in your compost if that’s appropriate. Take a look at any meats you have stored in the freezer and consult this food safety chart to learn when to consume them, and when to throw them away.
With just a few quick steps, you can keep that resolution for a more decluttered and organized home–and that’s a stress-free start to any year!