The phrase “new year, new me” gets a lot of usage around December, and it’s a commendable attitude to take, but why stop there? Your house is a reflection of yourself, after all, so why not make some time to finally throw out all those old receipts and coats to make room for what you really need? Here are some tips on how to decide what should stay or go.
Unused Winter Apparel
Let’s be honest, if you didn’t wear it at all this winter, then you probably won’t wear it next winter(or the one after that). For some reason, we all hold on to seasonal clothes “just in case” even when it’s inconvenient to do so. Instead of keeping those bulky coats, boots, scarves, and gloves cluttering up your closet, or worse, boxes in the garage. Separate those in good shape for charity and toss the ones that are too beat up for anyone to wear.
Holiday decorations are some of the worst offenders in the “limited use, bulky storage” category. If you’re ready to part with your artificial tree, or if your lights already make for a sad spectacle instead of a cheerful one, then it’s time to move on. Again, separate the things that are still functioning so you can donate them, search for local organizations that can recycle what you have, and toss out the rest.
On the inside, the “new year, new me” mindset can help take care of the emotional clutter in your brain. On the outside, however, it means parting with Christmas cards, old toys that you haven’t thought of in years, family heirlooms from relatives you never met, and anything that sticks around despite not being all that meaningful (or useful). If you’re really sure that you’re sitting on something valuable, have it appraised by a professional – you might be gladly surprised. If not, however, say goodbye.
Holiday Leftovers and Pantry Hogs
It might be hard to get rid of grandma’s famous stuffing that she only makes once a year, but it’ll only keep in the fridge for so long. While keeping all those leftovers for later use sounds like a good idea, most of the time there’s really no way to finish it all before it goes bad (or it clutters up your freezer). Likewise, the New Year is the perfect time to pull out everything that went unused in your pantry; as with other things on the list, donate the ones that still have plenty of time to be eaten, and discard the rest.
Yes, it’s quite hard to let go of beauty products. Few things in life bring out the hoarder in us like makeup, but we sometimes hold on to the point where we don’t even know exactly what we have, and wearing old or expired products can lead to more harm than good. Take advantage of your decluttering rampage and get rid of them, you’ll appreciate the extra space!
Books of Accounts
The IRS requires that you hold onto your tax documentation for the last ten years (the first five in hard copy, in soft copy afterward, and even longer for unresolved cases), so keep the important stuff— like income reports— under lock and key. Things like monthly account statements are on the fence, depending on your circumstances, but letting them spend years in your accounts drawer is unnecessary.
Receipts for Important Purchases
As for proofs of purchase, everyday receipts you can part with almost immediately, but file the big purchases at least until their warranty expires. What are the big purchases? If it hurts to replace it, it’s a big purchase.
Contracts and Legal Documents
Things such as original copies of your Deed of Absolute Sale for a house, as you can imagine, have to stay far away from the “out” pile. Land titles, investment records, and government-issued documents are all things for which you should keep originals and a few copies at least.
When it comes to decluttering, you have to be a little cutthroat with all your stuff. There’s only so much space in your home, after all, and you need it available for what really matters. If you need some extra help getting your house ready for your New Year’s Eve party, however, why not get some professionals in to tidy up?