January Declutter

Every January, I do a big declutter. I love it. I live for it. 

I get out trash bags and boxes, and I get after the toys, the clothes, the pencil drawer, the bathrooms...everything! I declutter like mad.

This all started 7 years ago when my mom came to visit while she was on a decluttering kick herself. She suggested I get rid of a few toys and a bulky coffee table that was not suited for our house. I was liberated by her suggestion. It had never occurred to me get rid of stuff we didn't care for. The concept of decluttering was a revelation.

Well, I have not been the same since. I'm addicted to decluttering, not irresponsibly, but as needed. Trust me, it's needed. With kids, the stuff pours in like the air we breath - clothes, party favors, birthday gifts, trinkets from school, goody bags from the dentist office, Sunday school papers, rock collections, hand me downs, books, sports equipment. You get the idea.

What's left after the big declutter is a home that feels homey and is full of all the things we love and actually use.

Don't tell my kids I got rid of some children's books this year that were the worst. The results, we read more! When our lovely, curated collection of books is out on the coffee table, it's much more appealing (to both kids and adults) than a bookshelf crammed full of sub par literature that came with a kids meal at Chick-fil-a!


 books out temporarily while I sort - most will go back on the shelf

It feels good to have what we love and love what we have.

It's okay to enjoy an item for a time and then part ways.

It feels good to have space. It's easier to clean. It's therapy. It makes for a more beautiful home in my opinion.

My biggest tip and strategy for decluttering is lay it all out there - whatever category you are tackling - and decide what you want to keep. I call this "shop your own stuff." What would you buy again today? What would the ideal be if someone gave you permission to be honest and just keep what you love and use?

Those questions give me freedom and help me decide what should stay and what should go.

What about you? Do you enjoy a good purge? Do you want to declutter but just can't seem to get a grip?

I'd love to continue this conversation. Please ask questions and I will do my best to be active in the comments.


  1. This is always inspiring!! (I agree about getting rid of junky books and toys - I have NO PROBLEM doing that). But what I'm not sure about: the million stuffed animals my kids claim they are attached to and sleep with. Changing the sheets on their beds is a nightmare (so I do it less) and making beds is just not even possible. How can we pare down their stuffed animals to look like your charming child's bed above??

    1. Margo, my toddler is so attached to all his stuffed animals, so they stay in the crib with him, but to make his bed, I neatly toss a big blanket on top of everything after the bed has aired. While not ideal, it looks better than an unmade bed, at least.

    2. Margo, I sneak away the stuffed animals one by one, the
      non-specials of course! More than half the time, my kids seriously don't notice. I put the animals in a storage box temporarily, and if enough time goes by I will do away with it. One child is particularly sentimental and has more than the others. The rest of my children seem content with 3-4. This is a tricky issue.

      Rotating is always a good option. We do this with toys and books.

  2. I love the idea of "shop your own stuff". I'm going to try that this next week. I do try to declutter but I frequently get caught up in memories and have a hard time letting go of things. I am hoping this phrase gives me great focus!

  3. I am with you. I can't think of anything I've regretted getting rid of. I love being able to find and use what I have, and I love giving away things that are good but that I/we are not using. It makes me happy, for instance, to think that someone can wear clothes that are perfectly okay and maybe even fit, but that I'm just not wearing. SB, do you use "storage" bins for things you keep? What kind do you like?

    1. Lynn, I use big Rubbermaid tubs for some storage of things like Christmas ornaments and sentimental baby clothes. Truly, I store so little that I only have 3-4 tubs of stuff. The clear ones are nice so you can see what's in there.

  4. I love decluttering! I keep a big shopping bag or box in a corner of the spare bedroom to collect things, and once a month, I drop it off at Goodwill. For things I still feel attached to but don't think I really need/want, I stuff it in a bag that I keep in the back of the closet. If I haven't needed things in there or thought of them in six months, they are gone!

  5. I love getting rid of the tiny things that we collect along the way like happy meal toys and books from here and there that are flimsy and not worth keeping. What do you suggest doing with a husband who NEVER wants to get rid of anything? I mean ever. Sometimes I throw stuff away that is not needed like a small candle votive or a kids toy and I find it later on in the house!

    1. Whitney,

      My husband is a former pack rat, so I totally get it! About an item showing back up after you have already gotten rid of it - I have learned the hard way that you have to get all the way rid of it. Put it in a black trash bag, take it to the street - get it where they can't see it. Do what you have to do. My kids are the worst about digging in the trash and getting stuff out.

      A couple more thoughts on husbands...

      I really think you can only win them over by example, dealing with your own stuff and definitely not getting into their clutter. This is what eventually won my husband over to the decluttering side.

      I have also learned that some people truly have a higher tolerance for physical clutter. It's like they don't see it and it just does not bother them. I've learned that it's best to err on the side of being gracious. This is something I have to practice with one of my children who just loves ALL the stuff.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...