I’m a firm believer in getting your new year off to a good start, which involves leaving all the clutter and mess back in 2021. Let’s explore the top things you need to declutter and organize before the midnight champagne toast, because 2022 is going to be YOUR year!
1. Your Files
It’s a good idea to keep all of your important documents and files in one place, both for organization and easy access in case of an emergency. Certain documents should live here forever — things like your birth certificate and passport. Others you can hold for some time, but toss after a few years like old apartment leases. Make sure to shred any documents with sensitive information like your social security or bank account numbers.
2. Your Refrigerator
Be honest: when was the last time you saw the very back of your fridge? Even if you do a weekly grocery shop, there are probably spills and forgotten condiments taking up space out of sight.
Begin by pulling everything out of your fridge and tossing anything that’s empty or past its expiration date. Next, wipe down the shelves and inside your drawers to get rid of old stuck-on food and funky smells. Replace all your food, and finish with an open box of baking soda or used coffee grounds to help absorb any odors.
3. Your Linens
I always purchase clean white towels and linens because you can toss them together for a bleach load to keep them clean and fresh. I realized I hadn’t actually purchased new bath towels since college (gross), so decided to splurge on some new ones. While my old towels were still fine, I couldn’t believe how dingy and worn-out they looked compared to my new, fluffy towels! Take a tour through your linen closet; if you can’t remember the last time you bought new sheets or hand towels, it’s probably time to invest in a fresh set. Consider donating any towels that are still in relatively good shape to your local animal shelter (they always need towels!) when you stock up on new ones.
4. Sneaky Areas of Your Home
You probably regularly sweep the floors and do your dishes, but when was the last time you gave your baseboards a good wipe-down? Giving the nooks and crannies of your home a good clean is good for your health and your sanity.
Some areas that could probably use a once-over include:
- Fan blades
- Air vents
- Dust ruffle
- The inside of your dishwasher
- Shower curtain
5. Medicine Cabinet
The only time I ever open my medicine cabinet is to grab floss or Advil. Chances are you have some expired medications on the high shelves that are taking up space. It’s important to dispose of old medication properly. The FDA recommends disposing properly of medication or dropping off any unused or expired medications at a take-back location, so check where the nearest one to you is located.
6. Kitchen Cupboards
Is there an unused ice cream maker sitting in the back of your cabinets that was gifted to you by a well-meaning aunt? Probably. Let’s face the music: you’re never going to use that waffle maker/baked potato cooker/panini press. Donate any appliances that still work and toss anything that’s broken/missing parts. This includes old cracked cups, Tupperware without lids, and grungy baking sheets.
Clean car, clean mind! (That’s the saying, right?) Your car is another black hole area where things disappear into a dark void, never to be seen again. A deep car clean isn’t something you can do on your commute to work, so make sure to carve out a little time to dive in.
Begin by opening all your car doors so you can peek under the front chairs and between the seats. There’s almost a 100 percent chance there’s at least one lip balm down there. Toss any garbage, and run any clothes/shoes/yoga mats you’ve left in there back into the house.
Many car washes and gas stations have vacuums you can use to suck up crumbs if you don’t have a cordless vacuum on hand. Don’t forget a quick sweep of the trunk! If you’re feeling really empowered, finish off with a car wash and new air freshener.