There are 63 days (or less depending on when you are reading this) left in 2023. If you want to declutter and let go of things, consistency is more important than intensity. If you only let go of one or two items a day for the rest of the year, you can easily complete this list.
Instead of starting a new year with the chore of decluttering weighing you down, get a head start by moving slowly and thoughtfully decluttering for a few minutes each day. Each of these categories and recommendations involve several items so by the end of the year, you’ll declutter and let go of hundreds of things. You’ll be surprised how much lighter your home and your heart feels by the end of the year.
Closet Items: you can reduce a significant amount of stress simply by eliminating items from your wardrobe.
We don’t realize how much of our emotional energy is attached to our physical clutter. I noticed this when I started Project 333. There were so many things in my closet that made me feel bad like, clothes that didn’t fit, things I paid too much for or things I got on sale that I never wore. I even had things with tags still attached. I didn’t have to actually let it go to experience the benefits either. I just hid it. Tiny wardrobe beginners notice a big difference when they hide the things that aren’t important to them, or things they don’t use.
1. Duplicate items.
2. Anything with tags still hanging.
3. Clothes that don’t fit.
4. Shoes that hurt your feet.
5. Gifted items you don’t like.
6. Things you haven’t worn in more than 5 years.
7. Formal attire you’ll never wear again.
8. Clothes you are saving for your children.
9. Expensive things. Just because you spent a lot on it doesn’t mean you have to keep it forever.
10. Any of these 33 items.
You may not notice the emotional weight the things in your closet carry until you get them out of sight. Declutter and let go, or simply hide the excess so you can experience the relief that comes along with it. Eliminate the physical clutter, and the mental clutter goes with it. For more support and inspiration to dress with less, read Project 333.
Digital Clutter: declutter and let go of the stuff on your phone, tablet and computer.
Even though you can’t see digital clutter, you know it’s there because you are paying for additional storage or having trouble finding things you’ve saved. These items are only taking up space.
11. Email. For a daily approach to email (to keep email clutter at bay), I recommend opening your inbox 1-3 times a day, clicking “select all” and then, at a glance, unselect anything you want to keep. Delete the rest. This will save you so much time and energy. If you are starting with hundreds or thousands of email, you can try this approach and spend a few minutes each day on the older emails or you can declare email bankruptcy and “Select all. Delete.”
12. Digital Photos. If you spend way too much time trying to organize your digital photos, consider my approach. I save all of photos in Dropbox. The only organization I do is by year so every photo I saved in 2023 lives in a folder called 2023. Every photo I took in 2022 lives in a folder called 2022. Many storage systems have tagging or other categorization available but unless you are a professional photographer, this is probably enough. You can easily delete duplicates and photos (like screen shots along the way). Don’t just simplify your photos, simplify your process.
13. Social Media: Unfollow people and accounts who make you feel bad.
14. Screen time: Declutter and let go of excess time on screens by setting boundaries or by trying these 15 tricks.
15. Remove email from your phone: Most of us don’t need email on our phones. Experiment and see what you think.
16. Remove apps from your home screen. Try putting all of your apps in one folder instead of seeing them all at once on your home screen.
17. Clean up desktops.
18. Delete podcasts you don’t listen to.
19. Delete downloaded music you don’t enjoy anymore.
Declutter and let go of kitchen stuff.
The kitchen is often the gathering spot of a home. When you declutter and let go in the kitchen, you make more space to connect, to create and to enjoy the heart of your house.
20. Spices, sauces and condiments you never use.
21. Coffee mugs.
22. Small appliances that never see the light of day.
23. Food in cabinets, refrigerator and freezer that you’ll never eat.
24. Duplicates (wire whisks, wooden spoons, can openers, measuring cups and spoons).
25. Decor that isn’t useful and gets in the way.
26. Food storage containers you thought you’d use and never use.
27. Any of these 17 things.
Declutter photos and paper.
With paper and photos, it’s not about getting organized. It’s about saving less. If the piles keep growing, ask these two simple questions. Most of these things to declutter are things that feel important but also things you never go back to.
28. Photos: declutter and let go of blurry photos, duplicate photos and photos of things you don’t remember or don’t want to remember.
29. Old newspapers and magazines
30. Anything you’ve ever ripped out of old magazines
31. Coupons or mailers you aren’t using
32. Children’s artwork and homework (save some but not all)
33. Bills, statements and receipts you can get online
34. All of that stuff in your filing cabinet you never look at
Saving photos and paper has become a secret hoarding project for most of us. How many photos do we need on our phones? This story of what I did with photos of my grandparents helps me remember that when everything is important, nothing is.
Declutter and let go of journals and sentimental items
35. Journals. If you use your journals for anything other than memory keeping (like venting, processing, etc) shred or burn them on a regular basis. Definitely let go if you wouldn’t want someone else reading them. This is why I don’t save mine.
36. Sentimental items. Don’t start your decluttering journey here, but when it’s time, unless you are enjoying your sentimental items, release them. If it helps, take a picture of the item first, then let go. Less doesn’t mean nothing, so if there are sentimental items you can enjoy, display or actually use, try that too.
37. Your children’s sentimental items. You may save report cards, artwork, and other childhood milestones that your children can enjoy as an adult. That said, they may not want it. Give it to them at the appropriate age and honor their decisions.
Mind and heart clutter.
Our hearts and minds carry so much. It’s not always easy but so important to examine what weighs us down. For most of these suggestions, it’s a daily practice. You didn’t create the habits overnight so don’t expect to let go of them overnight either. Be gentle as you consider how to make more space in your mind and your heart.
38. Drama. Much of the worry, stress, overreacting, gossiping, and complaining we add to our day is unnecessary drama and it’s holding you back from enjoying your life.
39. Expectations you have for an adult that isn’t you. You can’t want something for someone more than they want it for themselves. This is not your job or your responsibility and it results in constant disappointment (for you and them).
40. Goals, hopes or dreams for the future that you’ve held on to but don’t really care about anymore. You are allowed to have new goals, hopes and dreams but you have to make room for them.
Habits you want to change.
It’s never too late to change a habit or let go of it all together. Simplifying your life isn’t always about physical clutter but removing the thing that remove you from life, like these examples below.
47. Staying up too late. Here’s how to put yourself to bed.
48. Drinking alcohol.
49. Refusing to rest.
50. Measuring your worth by your accomplishments.
51. Caring too much about what other people think.
52. Never putting yourself first.
Let go of the following to create more time for what’s important to you.
Whenever I think I don’t have time for (insert the thing I most want to do here), I remember Elizabeth Gilbert’s words, “You have to stop doing things you want to do so you can do the thing you most want to do.” This means that I have to let go of things, even good things. There are too many amazing, wonderful, interesting, compelling things … the good stuff. This means that we have to say no to some (I mean a lot) of the good stuff too. It’s why I’m so good at saying no to the “meh” stuff. I want to have room for as much of the good stuff as possible.
53. Schedule shaming. Schedule shaming happens when we tell ourselves, “I should be more organized. I should have more check marks on my to-do list. I didn’t do as much as everyone else. I am lazy and unaccomplished. I let people down. I am not good enough.” Let’s stop measuring who we are by what we accomplish.
54. Catching up. The illusion of catching up goes something like this: If I take a full day/weekend/week and abandon all the things I enjoy doing, I can get everything done that I feel guilty about not doing before. Then I will feel better, everyone will love me and all will be right with the world. The reality is that catching up never ends. There will always be more.
55. The habit of saying yes just because you aren’t busy. I shared this here and I think it’s worth repeating. So often we think we are obligated to do things when we don’t have something else to do. We are not. You are the only person who can protect your time and energy. That means if you want to have free time, alone time or time for whatever you want, you have to save some time for you. It might feel hard to say no but it feels worse to be completely overextended.
56. Pleasing others by disappointing yourself. notice who may be taking advantage of your need to please. This reminds me of the saying, “The only people upset about you setting boundaries are the ones who benefited from you having none.”
Even though it feels like we are pulled in a million different directions, we do not have to respond or devote any energy at all to most of the things that are saying, choose me! Save your precious resources for something precious.
Declutter and let go of all of that other stuff too.
Even the little things add up. These are the things that usually matter the least but they still get your energy and attention.
58. Odds and ends.
59. Anything with a permanent spot in your junk drawer.
60. Empty picture frames and albums.
61. Extra glasses or sunglasses you don’t use.
62. Books you’ve read or will never read.
63. Extra cords and chargers.
Turn these 63+ items into a decluttering checklist when you feel clutter creeping back in. If you want to declutter even more, try these 52 items or these 120 items, or the 30-day decluttering challenge. You can also learn how to simplify anything here. On your simplicity journey, think less about what you are decluttering and letting go of and more about what you are making room for. I’m cheering you on!