Declutter To Reinvent: Cat Coluccio
Welcome to 2024!
I love this time of year. Christmas is done, but here in New Zealand where it is summer, the holiday season lingers well into January. Despite the laid back feel of January Downunder, there is still that energy and freshness that comes with a new year, making it the perfect month to kick off your decluttering adventure for 2024.
So how to begin? You know I’m a fan of clear action steps, and today I have 10 which will help you not only get the jump on January, but will set you up for a fabulous clutter-free and organized year ahead.
How To Declutter And Organize In January:
1. Visualize Your Ideal Space:
I write about the importance of visualization in my book 21 Hacks to ROCK your Midlife! Visualization is a key part of training for elite athletes for a good reason, so make some time each week to envision your ideal, clutter-free, simplified environment and life. This mental image will not only give you a clear picture of what it is you really want to work towards, it will guide and motivate you throughout the decluttering process, so don’t skip this step!
“Before diving into decluttering, now take a moment to jot down what you want to achieve.”
2. Set Clear Goals:
Before diving into decluttering, now take a moment to jot down what you want to achieve. Draw on that mental image from step one, and be specific in writing clear goals to achieve as you work towards bringing that image to reality! Whether it’s organizing your closet, clearing out the kitchen cabinets, tidying up your workspace, or streamlining your digital devices – set clear goals that you can tick off when completed.
3. Create a Decluttering Schedule:
Set aside dedicated chunks of time for decluttering sessions. It could be a few hours each week, short bursts daily, or perhaps the last weekend of each month. Consistency is key! Having a schedule keeps you accountable, helps prevent procrastination – something most of us struggle with at times – and when you aren’t feeling in the mood, seeing that decluttering session booked in your planner could be the prompt you need to get going.
4. Involve a Friend or Family Member:
Decluttering can be more fun when it’s a team effort! Enlist a friend or family member to join you. Not only does it make the process faster, but it also adds a layer of enjoyment and support to your decluttering journey. My precious best friend of over 20 years who sadly passed away a few years ago, was an organizing queen. Together we would attack my pantry. However before long, I would be relegated to passing the wine and providing the entertainment while she arranged things to her liking. When I moved house, having her help declutter my kitchen contents as I packed, then organize my kitchen while I unpacked was such a blessing. A friend is often easier to declutter with than a partner – there’s less chance of them being emotionally attached to the battered, ancient spatula your mother-in-law gave you 20 years ago.
“Not all decluttering needs to be by location, such as the lounge room, the pantry or the garage.”
5. Declutter by Categories, Not Locations:
Not all decluttering needs to be by location, such as the lounge room, the pantry or the garage. You might like to mix things up by following Marie Kondo’s advice and declutter instead by category: clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items, and sentimental belongings. Category decluttering can be a fun add to how you declutter and organize in January.
A great example of this is holiday décor. For the past decade, I’ve made a point of having all of my Christmas decorations down and packed before January 1st. I love the feeling of heading into the New Year with a clear environment, ready for what’s to come. Generally I do the bulk of the work, however this year my husband jumped in which was fabulous. While he coiled the strings of lights, I collected all of the décor from around the house, then culled any old, broken and unused items that were still lurking in the bottom of the storage tubs. It was a great feeling to see one less tub go back into storage, than what we had started the season with. Instead of focussing on a room, try tackling one category at a time – you might just find that you prefer decluttering this way!
6. Practise the 90/90 Rule:
If you haven’t used an item in the last 90 days and can’t see yourself using it in the next 90, now might be time to let it go. Applying this rule is especially helpful when you are on the fence about whether to keep or let go of a particular item. As the saying goes: “Use it or Lose it!”
7. Embrace the One In, One Out Rule:
This is one rule I personally try to adhere to all the time – particularly when it comes to clothing and shoes. This little gem is key to how to declutter and organize in January is! For every new item you bring into your space, consider letting go of something similar. This rule helps maintain balance and prevents clutter from accumulating again in the future. If you don’t want to undertake a massive decluttering exercise every year following months of inconvenience due to accumulating clutter – this rule is your friend!
“For every new item you bring into your space, consider letting go of something similar.”
8. Donate or Recycle:
As you declutter and create piles for the items you no longer need, consider donating those in good shape to charity or to friends. It’s a fantastic way to give back and ensure your belongings find a new life elsewhere. I’ve a number of friends with young families, and over the years, have happily passed on old beds, bookcases, computer desks, and more. They were thrilled as was I. It’s far more fulfilling to bless someone, than spend your time dusting furniture that is rarely used any more.
9. Establish a ‘Clutter-Free Zone’:
This is so important, as there are always times during the year where life gets chaotic. By designating at least one absolute clutter-free zone in your home—a sanctuary where chaos is not allowed – you’ll find that you have a place where you can breathe and also find inspiration to keep going with your decluttering journey. For me, this place is the studio my husband built for me last year.
Located at the back of our property, it has become my oasis, given that we are an intergenerational family and it’s rarely quiet around here! I walk into my studio every morning, and the sense of peace is bliss. I keep it clean and uncluttered, so I get that blissful feeling every single time I open the door!
10: Rejoice, Reflect and be Real:
When-ever you complete a goal in your decluttering schedule, be it large or small, it’s important that you take the time to celebrate. Tick off your goal with a flourish, toast it with your favourite tipple or whatever you do to acknowledge a job well done – this is the rejoicing part of the three Rs.
“Being real means you know that life happens – and so does clutter.”
It’s important then to reflect. What went well, what did you learn, and how are you going to maintain things going forward? This leads into the “be Real” part of step 10.
Being real means you know that life happens – and so does clutter. Be it your schedule, your devices or your physical environment – all have the potential to attract clutter. Being real means you know where your weak spots are, and you have a plan for maintaining those areas so they don’t grow into major sources of stress once more.
And that’s a wrap on how to declutter and organize in January! By following these action tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a clutter-free, life and environment. Remember, decluttering isn’t solely about discarding items; it’s about making room for what truly matters—be it experiences, relationships, or personal growth. So, let’s head into this new year with refreshed spaces and uplifted spirits – here’s to a year filled with joy, clarity, and an abundance of ‘spark joy’ moments.
About the Author:
Cat Coluccio is a qualified Educator, Personal Trainer and Life Coach – and a champion of midlife women. She is the host of the Rocking Midlife® Community and Podcast, and the author of a number of books, including 21 Hacks to ROCK your Midlife. Join my FREE 30 Day Love your Home Decluttering Challenge for 30 days of email prompts to help you fall in love with your home once more!
Cat is passionate about helping midlife women create fulfilling and purposeful lives yet understands how challenging it can feel to consider reinvention when your world is already so incredibly full. Hence she firmly believes that the first step to building the life that you desire in your next season, is to declutter and create space right now – be that physically, mentally or digitally.
Don’t know where to start with your decluttering adventure? Make sure to register for my 30 Day Love your Home Decluttering Challenge! It’s FREE and you can work your way through the daily emailed prompts at your own pace! What have you got to lose other than your clutter? Register now at www.loveyourhomedeclutteringchallenge.com