New Year’s Resolutions: Cleaning Out

Everyone has this idea that the New Year provides you with a blank slate. A chance to start over. This is true, as long as you realize that you have to put in some effort to clear off the slate and make it blank. Before you dive in to 2012, eliminate the clutter and paperwork that is bogging you down. The New Year will look brighter if you take the time to let yourself start over.

Reference Material

Start your clutter purge by going through your reference material. If you find something that could be reviewed once, review it and toss it. Clear out anything that is obsolete—an instruction manual for your old phone, spring catalogs, material for projects that you’ve completed. Give yourself the room you need to collect more reference material this year. If you come across an item you haven’t used in 12 months, you don’t need it. Look through it one more time if you need to, and then clear up space for new material.


Get rid of the clutter on your desk. Process anything that needs processing, and throw out the rest. Once the paperwork is gone, start going through your supplies. Create an inventory of what you need if you are out (paper, new pens, etc.), then replenish your stock. Store any supplies you don’t use regularly to give your desk more surface area. Is there any equipment on your desk you don’t use? The space on your desk is valuable, so if you aren’t using something, find a different way to store it or get rid of it.


Look around your workspace. You’ve probably grown accustomed to the “stuff” hanging around. Think about the decorations and the artwork in your workspace. Is it enhancing your experience or has it become clutter? The New Year is a great time to rearrange and replace the extra stuff in your office. Maybe you want to start over completely and have a clean space. Or maybe you have new decorations in mind to put up. Either way, changing your workspace will give you a new sense of your work and help you start off the year right.


Having a clean home improves your personal organization and for many people diminishes daily frustrations. Cleaning out your home can be overwhelming, so you can take it a week at a time. Start with one room in the house, and pitch the clutter. Don’t forget to go through drawers and shelves—we all start to ignore these spots when they get too full or unorganized. When you know exactly what is stored where, you will have an easier time maintaining a clean home.


For the commuter, the car can become like a second home—comforting and chaotic at the same time. My husband and I recently bought a new car, and the feeling of having absolutely NOTHING stored in the car was liberating. Of course, keeping your car empty is unrealistic and often dangerous. But throw away all the papers, junk, and empty cups; gather up the loose change, reusable grocery bags, and toys; organize the jumper cables, emergency food storage, and the electronic equipment.

Clean Slate

Look back over the past year at all of the stuff you’ve accumulated. Doesn’t it feel good to clean it all out? You will certainly be collecting more stuff during the year, so allowing yourself space will improve your outlook and productivity in the year ahead.

Image by Salvatore Vuono via

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