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10 New Year’s Resolutions to Start Now: Decluttering and Clutter Prevention for 2024

The New Year is quickly approaching and with it comes a fresh start mentality that can be highly motivating to do some deep cleaning and clear out unwanted items. And, with the holidays and built-in extra time off from work, there’s no excuse to prolong a much-needed decluttering project. 

Getting rid of old clutter also represents letting go of the past year and embracing positive changes for the new one ahead, serving as a symbolic act of renewal. And perhaps most importantly, decluttering at the start of the year sets the stage to avoid accumulating more clutter over the next 12 months without dealing with it first.

Every New Year, people across the globe set resolutions for bettering their lives or others. After polling the internet, here are the top-voted New Year’s resolutions of 2023.

1. View Clutter Differently

View Clutter Differently
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Make a new resolution to change your mindset. One admitted, “A lot of it is a poverty mindset for me. When you grow up not always having the basics, it’s a hard habit to break even when you have enough because, in the back of your mind, there’s that lingering fear you might have to go without.”

“I’ve gotten much better about not buying shampoo and conditioner weeks before I need it. However, it’s still an ongoing issue to battle that mentality. I wonder if I’ll ever fully get over it. But, unfortunately, the current state of the world doesn’t help either. I’m trying not to store a mound of toilet paper, for example. But I’m scared of being unable to restock when I need it. Empty store shelves are a bit scary and reactivate that old feeling of having to go without.”

2. Clear Out the Junk Drawer by End of January

declutter drawer.
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The junk drawer is often a catch-all for miscellaneous items that have accumulated over time with no real home. Committing to clear out this drawer by the end of January allows you to declutter smaller spaces that can easily get disorganized. Properly organizing items and donating or tossing what is no longer needed will prevent this one drawer from becoming more of a cluttered catch-all in 2024.

3. Declutter One Room per Month

woman decluttering items.
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Breaking decluttering into manageable monthly chunks makes it less overwhelming. It’s a realistic goal to deep clean and purge one room each month so all rooms stay clutter-free by year’s end.

4. Meal Plan Weekly to Reduce Food Waste

Healthy Diet, Avoid Alcohol
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Planning meals in advance saves money by using ingredients fully before they expire. It also reduces trips to the store for unnecessary purchases.

5. Go Digital

Go Digital
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Prevent clutter by not bringing as much stuff in the house. Try a resolution to go digital. One said, “I’ve bought a few books over the past year for my course. But I try to get digital instead if available. I enjoy digital things now: computer games, books, and other media; even a lot of artwork is digital.”

“I’m also digitizing notes and files that I might need in the future but don’t need hard copies. Then, I shred or recycle the papers I don’t need.”

6. Donate/Consign 10 Unused Items per Week

mom and son donating.
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Donating a small number of unused items weekly is achievable. Slowly chipping away at clutter this way prevents it from piling up and ensures items find new homes instead of collecting dust.

7. Limit Your Shopping

Limit Your Shopping
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No better resolution than to try a no spend challenge. Committing to not purchasing anything new for a short time helps identify unnecessary buying habits and saves money. Honestly, sometimes, after a day or two, you don’t want what you thought you did anyway.

One explained, “I create ‘no buys’ lists by category quarterly. Instead, I choose categories that are personal weaknesses for me and carve out exceptions on an as-needed basis. This quarter, they are makeup, skincare, toiletries, clothes, housewares, and stationery. My exceptions are that I can replace toothpaste and athletic shoes as needed.”

10. Implement the One-in-One Out Rule

friends helping each other declutter.
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Implementing a “one in, one out” policy effectively prevents clutter from building up over time. With this resolution, you commit to not bringing a new item into your home without first getting rid of an old item. This could mean donating an old toy before purchasing a new one, consigning a piece of furniture to make room for something new, or selling a book to offset the cost of a new book.

Keeping your possessions at a one-to-one ratio ensures your space is not overwhelmed with too many things. It also encourages you to really consider whether you have room for and will use a new item before adding it to your belongings.

Create a Binder for Project Ideas

Create a Binder for Project Ideas
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Crafters rejoice in a New Year’s resolution to create a craft binder to organize projects. Viewing your project options together in one place allows you to strategically plan what you want to do next, and checking off completed projects from the binder keeps you motivated to work through each project by seeing progress made.

One crafter replied, “I have an issue with too many craft supplies and office supplies. So, I’m making binders to track the projects I want to finish to help me become more organized and use up stuff. I’ve been working from home for the last two years; if I still haven’t completed it, it’s time to let it go,” expressed one.

2. Gift Excess Items

 Gift Excess Items
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You may not love every gift you’ve received or every purchase you’ve made. Why not regift some of them? Can you make a New Year’s resolution to limit gift buying and reduce clutter by regifting?

Alcohol, small kitchen appliances, candles, and new clothing like scarves, gloves, and sweaters might work for someone else.

3. Don’t Put It Down. Put It Away

Don't Put it Down. Put it Away
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Consider a resolution to stop putting things down on the counter. Ensure that everything has a home. One said, “If you struggle to put away certain items, maybe they need the right home. But, because putting it back is the hard part, we should think about how to make it as easy as possible.” 

Another added, “Hooks were a huge help for decluttering. I put one of the nice silver Command ones right by the side door for keys/corded headphones and stuck a pair on the back of my front door for my backpack and favorite hoodie. It might be cluttered, but it looks much neater when stuff has a place to go. I also have over-the-door hooks on my closet for hoodies/flannel shirts/bags/whatever. Hooks. Hooks are your best friend!”

4. Have a Garage Sale

Have a Garage Sale
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Perhaps you can commit to one garage sale for the New Year. One reader commented, “My town has a townwide garage sale every May. I’m already starting to assemble boxes for a garage sale. Then I go to the grocery store to get empty boxes. I already filled one up and am eager to unload it.” 

9. Consider the Longevity of an Item

Consider the Longevity of an Item
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In the new year, one mom said that she is going to think about the longevity of something before making a purchase. She said, “My husband has a tough time with impulse purchases that make him happy momentarily. I love that he likes to be silly, but it has become such a problem. Then I have to declutter the mess.” 

“So we’ve been asking ourselves, “Will this be something we will enjoy for more than one year?’ ‘Will this be something our child will grow out of within six months?’ (He’s seven, so we are explicitly referring to toys) “Will this be something that will end up in a junk drawer?”

6. Use What You Have

Use What you Have
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One user noted their extreme love of crafting, “I’ve resolved not to buy any yarn, fabric, or sewing patterns. Instead, I will use my stash until there’s nothing left.”

We hope you enjoy this article inspired by a Reddit list of New Year’s resolutions about decluttering and clutter prevention

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