“Have nothing is your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful”

Tired of playing hide and seek with your keys, cellphone, and yoga mat? Maybe your number one resolution for the New Year should be decluttering your home. Don’t know where to start? Here’s our selection of tips and tricks to help you put your new resolution into action.

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  1. Start with the low-hanging fruit

There’s no need to make things hard for yourself by tackling the toughest tasks first. Start by cleaning that one counter, shelf, or drawer that’s a magnet for stuff with no other place to go. Beginning with an easy success in your decluttering process provides motivation for the long haul.

  1. Keep your tidy spaces organized

Once you’ve successfully cleaned out that messy drawer, think about using dividers or other accessories to help you organize it better. This is a great way to make sure everything has a place and that the mess isn’t back by Valentine’s Day! Use this type of solution for every space you declutter.

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  1. Put everything in its place

Always remember to put your things back where they belong once you’ve finished using them. I know it’s difficult sometimes, but you’ll see it’s worth it!

  1. Stop clutter at the source

Let’s face it—decluttering is a waste of time if you simply replace the old stuff with new. You’ll need to slow the flow of stuff entering your home. Before you buy something, ask yourself: DO I REALLY need this? Will I REALLY use it?

Get your family and friends to help by sharing in activities with you for your birthday instead of giving you more stuff. It’s a great way to avoid overloading your home and spend quality time with your loved ones.

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  1. Get rid of all your duplicates

We all have two or three versions of different things we thought would be really useful. But keeping duplicates is a recipe for clutter. Keep the best one and take any extras to your cottage or donate them to a charity!

  1. Follow the one-year rule

I know you keep telling yourself that you’ll use that tool someday or wear that shirt someday—maybe for Halloween. But if you haven’t touched it in a year, chances are that you’re not going to anytime soon. Get rid of all the things you haven’t used over the past year.

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  1. Use the reverse clothes-hanger trick

The reverse clothes-hanger trick is perfect to help you apply the one-year rule to your clothes. It’s quite simple: turn all the clothes hanging in your closet so that the hangers face back-to-front. For the next year, if you wear an item of clothing, return it to the closet with the hanger facing the correct way. If you try it on but decide not to wear it, make sure you put it back with the hanger turned backward—no cheating. Be prepared for a shock; you’ll find you own lots of clothes you have no use for.

  1. Don’t keep things out of guilt

We all probably have things we keep because they were gifts or because we paid way too much money for them at the time and feel guilty about getting rid of them. But I’m telling you, your home should only contain the things you love or use.

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  1. Digitalize your souvenirs

It’s great to keep a few souvenirs around, but if you find that they’re taking over your home, I would encourage you to take photos of them and then get rid of them. That way you’ll keep them around forever, without the clutter!

  1. Give back

While decluttering, don’t forget that stuff you’re getting rid doesn’t necessarily have to end up in the trash. If items are in good condition, pass them on to family, friends, or co-workers, or donate them to a charity!

Holiday season might be over, but giving back is important all year long. It makes others feel good, which makes you feel good, too.

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No matter which trick you choose to help you get started in your decluttering process—whether it’s one of these or any one of countless others—the goal is to take your first step with energy and determination.

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