Tips for decluttering in 2013

Chaya Kurtz/

It's about the time in January when the New Year's resolutions have been made, and subsequently broken. The resolution to stop smoking ended with that one cigarette. The resolution to go to the gym every day ended after two days of going to the gym. It's so easy to fall off the wagon when it comes to New Year's resolutions. Don't worry; don't beat yourself up; it happens to the best of us.

There is one self-improvement project that you could start doing now (or really, at any time of the year). It's one that will make you feel great: Decluttering. There does not have to be any judgment with decluttering projects. There is no personal trainer yelling at you, and no professional athlete running on the treadmill next to you making you feel bad. Decluttering can be a gradual, and totally guilt-free, feel-good activity. Now let's get to it.

I would like to see you declutter through a series of small decluttering projects. Each project should be small and manageable. Biting off more than you can chew is a sure path to giving up. However, the satisfaction of completing a small job can give you pride, excitement, and energy to move on to the next project.

Project 1: Sock drawer cleanout: The sock drawer is a great small project to start with. Just pull out all of the socks that do not have matches. You can then either repurpose them (stray socks make great dust cloths; stash them with your cleaning supplies) or throw them out. Easy peasy!

Project 2: Declutter the refrigerator:  This task is so satisfying! Pull out all of the food that has expired; that means check expiration dates. Then pull out the refrigerator shelves and drawers, and give them a good scrub. Put the shelves and drawers back in the fridge. Next, put the food you plan to keep back in the refrigerator in an intentional way. You can group things by type or size. You'll feel so good when you open the refrigerator and it looks like a mini version of a very well-organized supermarket.

Project 3: Purge the floaters: "Floaters" is my own term for stuff that floats around the house with no home. Take all of the items that seem to not have a home and put them in a box or laundry basket. Now, find homes for them. If you can't find a home for an item, evaluate if it is an item that you need to keep.

Project 4: Clear out a desk drawer: You don't have to organize your whole desk. Just start with one drawer. When you feel like it, organize another desk drawer. Slowly, your desk will become organized and free of clutter.

Project 5: Donate clothing that does not fit: I gained ten pounds after I got married (!) and I found myself with a closet full of clothing that did not fit. It was so frustrating to have to look through clothes that I knew I could not wear. A few weeks ago, I purged all of my too-small clothing from my closet. Not only did I free up space in my closet, I feel better about myself. My clothes fit and my closet is manageable, since I am not housing clothes of two sizes in it. I gave my clothes to a friend. You could donate yours to charity, or put them in your neighborhood swap shed.

These decluttering projects are projects that you can succeed at without much planning or time commitment. Hopefully, the success you enjoy when you complete these projects will get you on the road to a house and office that are free of clutter.

Chaya Kurtz writes for Electricians Networx: This article originally appeared at