In 2020, many of us used our homes like we never had before. We converted them into home offices, schools for our children, gyms, and much more. Unfortunately, with all these activities going on inside one space, keeping our homes tidy may have become quite the challenge. We could all use a few organizing tips to help. 

So while we continue to spend much of our time inside until things get back to normal, it’s important we declutter our homes and start the new year fresh. 

To help you get started tidying up, we reached out to organizing experts across the country – from Dallas, TX to Boston, MA. They shared their favorite home decluttering projects for the new year. Use these quick tips to help you purge, create more space, and set yourself and your home up for a clean start in 2021.


Decluttering Projects for a Tidy Home

These home organizing tips are guaranteed to help freshen up your home and create more space. Give one or all of them a try! 


The neglected basement

My favorite home organizing project for the new year will definitely be our basement. Our storage room is so disorganized, I’m intimidated to even start. But I know how rewarding it will be to see everything categorized in labeled bins. It’s going to be worth the time and energy. – Oh So Lovely


The grimy garage

Organized garage.
This garage was remodeled with custom storage to function as both garage, workshop, and playroom for the kids during inclement weather. – created by the talented designers at Closet Works and closets.com.

If your car is not in the garage, you really should start here. Do you really want your expensive vehicle outside, exposed to the elements, while unneeded belongings enjoy the prime square footage of your garage? Besides, a garage organizing project is encouraging and satisfying as most of the items are large and progress is swift. – Ideal Organizing + Design


The unkempt kitchen 

Organizing tips for the open kitchen
This kitchen feels clutter-free and organized despite the open shelving. It’s all a matter of color, balance, and putting things back where they belong when you’re done using them. – created by the talented designers at Closet Works and closets.com.

My favorite home organizing project of the year is always the kitchen and pantry. After the beating it takes during the holidays, my kitchen and pantry are one of the first things I reset in the New Year. A fresh start for the heart of the home. – Neat Freak McKinney

Steps to organizing your kitchen pantry:

  1. Take everything out, sort, purge, and clean the entire space.
  2. Donate what wasn’t used in the past year.
  3. Add bins and drawer organizers and only put back what you absolutely use and love.

2020 was tough, so this year especially my favorite project for the New Year would be getting your kitchen and pantry in check! No doubt the MOST used space for most families in general, but last year was on another level. Don’t let the clutter of last year stop you from making a fresh start in 2021. – Project Neat

Countertops

To achieve a more clutter-free and open feeling in your kitchen, consider “batching” your counters or kitchen surfaces. Designate half of the counters in your kitchen as “clutter-free zones” where you cannot keep clutter. Consolidate the appliances you use regularly and wish to keep out on the other half. – Abundantly Minimal

Appliances

If you have a gadget or small kitchen appliance that you have NOT used during the pandemic, it is time to set it free! Do not clog up your kitchen real estate with the nonsense that you never use. You do not have to feel guilty about it either. Great Aunt Joan gave you that bread maker for your wedding gift ten years ago, so you feel tied to it for life? No thank you. Donate it. Then feel satisfaction in knowing that the new owner will be so happy making bread. – The Home Sanctuary

Dry Goods and spices

Alphabetize and check the expiration date of your spices as you take them out of their home base so you can easily see what can be consolidated, thrown away, or needs to be purchased.  Return the spices in alphabetical order so you can quickly grab them while cooking. Check dry goods for expiration and intruders then consolidate, throw away or purchase replacements. – DeClutter By Deirdre

Want to keep your pantry dry goods fresher longer? Transfer opened boxes/packages to clear plastic or glass airtight containers. Not only does it save you money in the long run, but it also looks very nice and uniform. – Neatly Nic

Organized pantry with dry goods stored in clear glass airtight containers.
Pantry shelving with adjustable shelves and open dry goods stored in clear, airtight containers. – created by the talented designers at Closet Works and closets.com.

Fridge

Decanting my condiments into squeeze bottles has created more space in my fridge and the bottles can even be refilled from bulk/zero waste stores or you can make your own condiments. Don’t forget to write expiry dates on a piece of masking tape with a sharpie and stick it on the bottom of the bottle. – Tiny and Tidy Co

Let your fridge get really empty every two or three months. This makes it easier to take everything out and clean the inside. Get rid of anything expired or unidentifiable. – The Betty Brigade


The overrun home office

Organized home office with custom desk and cabinets for storage.
This organized home office features two custom desks and built-in cabinets for storage. – created by the talented designers at Closet Works and closets.com.

Personally, the first thing I tackle every New Year is my desk and/or home office and all things in it. I don’t just mean cleaning out the drawers. I’m talking about prepping the first few months in my planner (yes, I even bought one for 2021) and re-evaluating our budget to make sure we are on track with where we want to be by the end of the year. – The Fun Sized Life


Disorganized photos

Still finding boxes of photos you don’t know what to do with? I am taking the remaining physical photos I have and scanning and editing them to preserve and share with my family and friends. I am also soliciting family members for older photos to scan and post in a shared family album. – Sayess Photo Organizers

Digital frames let you declutter by organizing and displaying many treasured photos at once in a single slideshow. You won’t need to disassemble multiple frames to change your images. – Picture This Organized

Print photos should never be stored in a basement, attic, or garage – the extreme temperature fluctuations and dampness in each area can permanently damage photos. Loose prints can be stored in acid-free, archival, photo-safe boxes and kept in closets or other cool, dry places out of direct sunlight. Consider scanning the vintage contents of old photo albums to add to your digital family archive (and old albums can be stored in the aforementioned photo-safe boxes as well). – Past Present Pix


Organizing tips for the crowded closet

Organizing tips for a large walk-in closet
This closet features cabinet doors over several sections of storage so that less frequently used items remain dust-free. – created by the talented designers at Closet Works and closets.com.

Let’s all concentrate on making 2021 a healthier year than in 2020. A good closet design can not only make it easier to keep things organized, but it can also go a long way towards making our homes healthier by getting rid of the germs and dust bunnies that lurk in the corners of our closets. Use tight-fitting cabinet doors to cover hanging and shelving sections inside your walk-in closet when possible to keep out the dust. And don’t forget to maximize closet corner storage with a good rotating shelving system. – Closets.com

Walk-in pantry with the 360 Organizer rotating closet corner shelves.
This walk-in pantry features The 360 Organizer® rotating closet system. It makes the most of corner storage and maximizes the amount of kitchen storage available in the space. – created by the talented designers at Closet Works and closets.com.

Organizing Tips to keep in mind for a tidy home

These quick decluttering tips can go a long way while you’re clearing the chaos in your home. Keep them top of mind and you’ll be well on your way to a more organized and peaceful home in 2021. 


Before you start organizing, set your intention 

What do you want to accomplish? What’s your vision? How will it make you feel? Where will you store the overflow? Who can you donate it to?  – Savvy Zen Organizer


Try a ‘regret reflection’ exercise

Get a piece of paper and walk around your house. List anything you want to declutter but you’re scared you’ll regret. Then, be brave and declutter something you’re scared to regret throwing away. Our brains make us hold onto the strangest stuff because it’s trying to protect us. Is there something like a skirt you haven’t worn in years or a box that could be useful? Be bold and declutter one thing you are worried you’ll regret. In a month’s time when you’ve realized that nothing bad happened – you’ll be amazed by how free you feel. – Suzy Kell


Create a drop off station

Organized mudroom with built-in storage
The entry of every home is at risk of becoming a messy drop-off area. Avoid the clutter with a mudroom system like this one. This mudroom includes plenty of custom built-in storage to keep everyone in the household organized. – created by the talented designers at Closet Works and closets.com.

Everyone needs a drop-off station in their home. Preferably located near the front door. This is where your cell, keys, mask, and purse/wallet will stay until you’re ready to grab them again on your way out. Having this space and creating the habit of using it for its purposes allows for stress-free exits. – Organize With Lia


Organize with a three-tier cart

Carts are popular and for good reason. They can tuck into small spaces. They’re mobile. And they make smart use of vertical space. Use a cart in a kitchen to add storage, in kids’ rooms to corral books or craft supplies, or even in the bathroom for towels and toiletries. – That’s Neat! Organizing


Create negative space

Living room with asymmetric fireplace and wall unit.
This fresh living room has a clean and minimalist aesthetic and. a beautiful use of negative space. Interest was created and clutter minimized by using a custom wall unit to surround the fireplace with storage. The asymmetric design leaves an interesting negative wall area that’s a treat to the eyes. – created by the talented designers at Closet Works and closets.com.

The new year brings so many opportunities to start fresh. As a Professional Organizer, creating negative space for my clients is my top priority.  Decluttering your home and introducing negative space will not only give your eyes a place to rest, but it will immediately bring your stress level down. Give it a try! – Home Method Co


Get rid of gifts you are only keeping out of guilt

They don’t reflect your personal taste, style, values. Your only obligation to the giver is a sincerely expressed “thank you”. – Anne Lyons, Step1Organizing.com

A version of this article was first published by Redfin


Use these organizing tips for a healthier and happier new year.

There’s no other way to describe it. 2020 was a rough year for everyone. But 2021 is bound to be better! At closets.com we believe that being organized leads to less stress and a healthier lifestyle. And that’s something we could all use a little of right now.

We hope these organizing tips can bring a brighter and healthier new year to your home. Try them! We’d love to hear about your results. Use the comment box below and let us know how it went.

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