Time flies, indeed. After enjoying the Christmas celebration, we’ve turned the page and welcomed this new year with open arms. The months of December and January aren’t just for parties and reconnecting with friends, it’s also a time for resolutions and new beginnings.

What better way to make the most of the next 12 months than with a clean, organized, and healthy home? Many allot a day or more to go through belongings and clean every nook of the house to signify a fresh start. While it may be daunting at first, you can accomplish it easily (and efficiently!) with a few handy tips. Make decluttering and maintaining the home fun and manageable with these ideas:


1. Commit to a schedule

Don’t worry if you weren’t able to declutter before January 1 as you have the rest of the month to work on it. Do you need a weekend or a day to go through the house? Depending on the size of your home and the belongings you have, set a schedule and mark it on the calendar. You can also set a reminder on your mobile phone to make sure you won’t forget.

2. Make a concrete plan of action

How do you plan to accomplish your decluttering? Will you do it per area or are you going to focus on cabinets and drawers? For starters, you can follow the top to bottom rule wherein you clean the ceiling, chandeliers, and surfaces first before sweeping and mopping the floors. Whether you’ll try a new hack or you’ll stick to your tried-and-tested cleaning routine, don’t forget to set a time for the task at hand so you can track your progress. You don’t have to feel pressured by the clock – do things at your own pace, just don’t forget about Tip #3.


3. Have a goal in mind

A clear goal will inspire you to finish the task efficiently. Work toward achieving a bright and clean home where you can relax and do the things you love. In an article she wrote for Psychology Today, Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter says that “Messy homes and work spaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed.

Yet, rarely is clutter organized as a significant source of stress in our lives.” Would you look forward coming home to a gloomy, disorganized home? We’re sure you’d love to kick off your shoes and plop down on the sofa without having to worry about all the clutter you need to sort before calling it a day. A clean home doesn’t just promote wellness and positivity, it can also help you focus better.

“When people are in a clean environment, they are undeniably able to concentrate better and are therefore more likely to succeed,” shares Satoru Imamura, head of the Japan Cleaning Association in an article published by Japan Times.


4. Sort your things into three piles: KEEP, THROW, and SELL

Prepare three boxes or bins and label them accordingly. Doing this hack can help you check which ones you’ll return to your cabinets and which ones you need to discard immediately. Can’t decide if you’ll throw an item or not? If it’s beyond repair and if you haven’t used it in the last six months, chances are, you won’t be using them this year, too.

Chuck these in the bin and don’t think twice about it. Got plenty of items in the SELL box? You can set up a garage sale at home or give it to a friend who can make use of it.


5. You can always DONATE the things you don't need anymore

Decluttering can help you discover things you’ve totally forgotten about—an extra pair of running shoes, an appliance you’ve won in a raffle, or pair of jeans that no longer fit. These items can be donated and will put a smile on someone else’s face. Organizations like Segunda Mana, Habitat for Humanity ReStore Philippines, Philippine Toy Library, and the Philippine Red Cross are just a few places where you can bring your decluttered items.


6. Learn a thing or two from Marie Kondo

The life-changing magic of the KonMari method is undeniable. Just like how the Japanese cleaning guru taught us, you can make decluttering easier by asking yourself: “Does this spark joy?” whenever you pick up an item from your stash. If the answer is no, place it in the THROW pile and keep it out of your mind for good. Haven’t read Kondo’s best-selling book?

Thanks to Netflix, you can binge-watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo to get a dose of decluttering inspiration.


7. Let go

Various sources state that we find it difficult to let go of certain things because of its sentimental value and the memories attached to it. While it’s hard to part with an item you’ve had for years, it can be liberating to let go of things you’ve had since kindergarten. Think of it this way, you’re simply making space for new memories!


8. Invest in storage bins

Your decluttering will be useless if you’ll just stuff everything you’ll keep inside drawers and cabinets. Don’t scrimp on bins and organizers as these can help keep your things in order. Place one in each area of the home as catchall to prevent clutter buildup.


9. Practice Lagom

The Swedish concept of Lagom, which focuses on everything in moderation, can guide you in keeping the home spic-and-span. To practice Lagom at home, you need to prioritize the essentials and find space for things that serve a purpose.

Excess décor that can instantly turn into eyesores must be discarded so you can achieve a bright and airy home.

10. Make it fun and reward yourself

Cleaning the home doesn’t have to be boring. Play your favorite songs and don’t be shy to sing along as you go through rooms, cabinets, and drawers. Keeping things light and fun will surely make decluttering manageable. Once you’re done with the task, don’t forget to reap the rewards. Schedule a trip to the spa, see a movie, or enjoy a meal at your favorite restaurant. You deserve it!


Cielo Calzado Cielo Calzado

Cielo Anne Calzado

The author is a writer, editor, and content creator. When she’s not busy writing, she hoards books and reads until the wee hours of the morning. She also loves spending time with her dog, Chewbacca, and listening to K-Pop tunes. Follow her on Instagram: @cielly_belly or check out her random musings at www.hellociellybelly.wordpress.com.