With the New Year still fresh in our minds, it’s easy to get wrapped up in trying to reach our goals and yearn for noticeable change within a month. However, this is not a sustainable way of finding the drive that it will take to actually reach those goals. Change comes with time and consistency, even with rest days and room for patience with yourself.
I find that decluttering allows me to make room for change and it tends to inspire me when I see blank space with potential. I have been decluttering for a bit now and now feel like I have a blank slate to build from. My organization helps things to run smoother and without all the extra clutter, things feel easier to access too.
Empty your inbox
Let’s start with something small that will help keep your digital clutter at bay. To be honest, your inbox probably needs a good sweep, so go delete those pesky spam emails that keep adding up!
If you’re looking to deep clean your inbox, check out my post on Spring Cleaning My Inbox which I wrote back when I initially tackled the bulk of my spam box. I’ve kept my inbox orderly since the time I wrote the post, so I’d say it’s worth a read if you’re not sure where to start.
Remember to block the spam addresses while you’re deleting their emails. This will save you from getting stuck in the cycle of simply deleting the emails when you could prevent receiving them in the first place! Now is also a good time to reconsider email subscriptions you signed up for and never used again!
Empty your call log/voicemail box
Staying on the topic of tech clutter, your voicemail box is probably filling up too. It’s good to listen through your recents and delete the older ones that no longer serve a purpose. The same goes for text messages, voice memos, and old notifications in apps you don’t use often.
While the space that these take up is not significant, it does add up over time and you may find that your data availability will increase after flushing out your phone’s cluttering messages and notifications.
If you’re really looking to clear out your phone of additional distractions, you can also lessen your following, delete infrequently used apps, and give your contacts list a refresh.
Clear out old files
This will be our last focus on the digital side of things, but it’s certainly not the only way to keep your computer in mind while decluttering.
Check out your Downloads folder and see how many old documents were used once and still linger. It’s especially easy for students to have an influx of documents on their computers if their professors provide material in advance.
I have been enrolled in online college courses for three years now and maintain that this routine helps with losing documents to the Downloads folder. At the beginning of every week, go through all of your courses and download all course materials before going back to your downloads folder and sorting them out from there.
Keep older documents in weekly folders so that when you click into your class folder the only documents available to you are the ones that are relevant. Once you begin completing assignments, begin moving them into that week’s folder and watch it work like a sort of to-do list within the folder!
You can even add ascending numbers before the name of the file if you prefer that they list in order of their due dates. This method works for students in classes where professors release work all at once and those that release it on a weekly basis.
If you receive all of your work at once, simply complete the steps above, keeping all of the assignments in their weekly folders. Next, empty the contents of the weekly folder into the class folder as needed. You can put them back in the weekly folder as you complete them and move on to the next week.
Make sure that you empty the Trash after you’ve finished deleting old documents/files!
Organize wellness products
If you’re anything like me, your drawers are probably full of half-used products that you either forgot about or simply didn’t need anymore. You might also have an extra drawer or two full of miscellaneous wellness products that never seem to find their proper place.
I’ve recently gone through all my old makeup and as someone who doesn’t wear it on a daily basis, I had more than enough that was expired and in need of being tossed out. I now only have the bare minimum as that is what I wear, while still allowing myself to be creative by keeping a variety of eyeshadows.
With all the new space in my makeup organizer, I filled it with miscellaneous items from my top dresser drawer. This gave me the inspiration to reorganize the drawer and I now have twice the space I did before. The domino effect was surprising, and it only took an hour for me to go through all the products and reorganize them by type.
Organize your linens
I never pass up a good chance to multitask when I can, and washing laundry is a great way to do just that! Toss all your bedsheets in the laundry before tackling one of the other ways to declutter on this list!
With your dirty laundry out of the way, now you can tackle what’s already put away. Is your current organization working for you? Consider what linens are kept together and how they are folded to make the most of your space.
If you find that your current organization is enough, take time to refold anything that has been disturbed. You’ll be surprised at how messy a few disheveled towels can look compared to when they are neatly stacked.
Donate unused pieces from your wardrobe
It’s also good to take a look at your wardrobe and be brutally honest about the pieces you are not utilizing. Donation centers gladly accept clothing when they have been maintained and are free from holes and stains. Socks are especially helpful for shelters as they tend to be donated less often than other articles of clothing. Be sure to check your local shelter’s regulations on accepting used clothing items.
A good rule of thumb for getting rid of an article of clothing is if you have not worn it three times in the past six months, however, there are exceptions. Seasonal items are better to hold onto, though they are easy to grow out of without realizing it until it is too late.
Check out what pieces got shoved to the back of your closet to make room for the pieces you currently wear often. Even if you don’t find yourself inclined to get rid of any, you may just find yourself utilizing pieces you haven’t given any attention to in a while.
Organize your desk and office space
As a full-time online student running a blog and small business from home, my office organization is in constant need of attention. It’s good to give these spaces a deep declutter every once in a while so that they continue to be an environment where work can get done.
It’s easy to quickly discard old paper, notes, and other clutter that can pile up. It’s also good to check which pens and markers may have dried since their last use as these add up very quickly and can be an annoyance later on.
I’ve got a post about how I keep my home office space organized called Staying Organized as a Full-Time Blogger which dives into my essential tips on keeping your desk from becoming a drop-off station.
Now is also a good time to clean your keyboard if you don’t do so regularly. Be sure to use a disinfectant wipe for the surface, and gently remove the keys (only if you know how) to get to the gunk that is inevitably building up underneath. I use my laptop and PC daily, so mine get wiped down weekly and deep cleaned at least once a month.
Clean out your car
Another place where clutter is bound to add up is your vehicle. Whether you’ve got two or four seats, a truck bed, or a big trunk, clutter is going to find its way into those spaces and limit how you can use the space.
Beginning with the front seat, clear out anything that doesn’t need to stay in the center console and glove box. As you work your way back, keep in mind the pockets on the back of the seats and those that are made into the doors. Empty all cupholders and wipe out the bottoms—they’re dirtier than you think!
Keeping your trunk orderly can be a difficult task as it arguably holds the most at any one time and often gets shuffled around from turns. The key to organizing your trunk is knowing the bare minimum that you need to keep, and trying to stick to that as closely as you can.
It’s always a good time to take a step back and see where change could be made for the better. If decluttering is calling your name, try your hand at one of the ways on the list above and see what it inspires you to do next!
What project will you start today? You may find that you surprise yourself with all that you want to accomplish once you’ve begun decluttering to make room for change!