2020 – a new decade and a fresh start! New Year’s resolutions have been made around the world for thousands of years and unfortunately for most of the time, few of us are successful in achieving our goals. One of the main reasons for this is that we set unrealistic goals with vague outcomes. Change can be overwhelming, but if broken down into small measurable steps, you’ll find you can succeed at your resolutions for 2020! So, start the decade with a clean slate by decluttering your home. Check out these simple tips to get you motivated and on your way!
1. New Resolutions – New Home 

For example, if one of your resolutions is to finally get your house in order and ready for sale, that can be a tall order! There are so many things to do that you may want to give up before you get started. But if you begin with one specific goal, you can tackle it and move on to the next. Whether you are planning on selling your home or just want to get organized, I suggest your first resolution for 2020 should be to declutter! Not only will it help make your home more presentable, it will also make you feel better! Clutter can be a huge source of stress and anxiety for many. Even the act of decluttering may seem too general, but we’ve broken it down for you by rooms and seasonal events to get you motivated! Pick one area each weekend or a simple project a few minutes each day and you’ll see the results quickly!

2. Seasonal Home Decluttering

The holidays are over. If you haven’t already, recycle your live tree. Chicago’s 2020 Tree Recycling Program runs January 4th – 18th at dozens of parks across the City. You can also recycle the lights that don’t work (you know you’re not going to find the one bulb that’s not working!). Take a look at your seasonal equipment and outdoor decorations.  Get rid of equipment that no longer works and cannot be repaired, etc. Before you buy new supplies, check what you have on hand.

This is also a great time to go through your holiday serving pieces and linens. You’ve probably accumulated a lot of extra items over the years. Get rid of any that are chipped or stained or donate the items you didn’t even use this year!

In addition, while the weather is still cold, go through your coats and winter gear. Donate items you no longer wear to your local homeless shelter or the Chicago Bears Coat Drive.

3.  Decluttering Garage/Storage Closet/Kitchen

Over the years, the garage and the cabinet under the sink seem to accumulate a variety of items – empty and half-filled cans of old paint, tools you’ve never used, old batteries, light bulbs, car parts, deflated or broken sports equipment, and cleaning supplies for specific uses, etc. As Marie Kondo,  the tidying expert and bestselling author, would say – “Do these items spark joy?” Probably not, so say goodbye! Counter space in the kitchen is a premium! Take a look at your small appliances. If you don’t use them once a day or even once a week, find a place for them in your pantry or a cabinet or donate them.  Also, how many coffee cups do you actually need? Time to free up some space and donate them. The pantry is another space that seems to collect lots of clutter – spices, canned foods, utensils, and the aforementioned small appliances. One of the easiest tasks is to start with your spice rack. If you’ve had certain spices for years, it’s time to clear them out, especially the ones you never use! Next tackle all those canned goods, miscellaneous types of oils and vinegars, dry goods, and plastic containers! Toss expired items and the things you can’t remember the year you bought them. If your Tupperware doesn’t have a matching top or bottom, put it in the recycling bin.  

4.  Living Room/Dining Room Decluttering

Does your dining room table double as a spot for mail, miscellaneous papers, bills, and magazines? This is one of those decluttering your home projects you could do for 5-10 minutes each day and it’s easy to see your results! Each day go through your mail. If you’re still getting bills, catalogs and flyers, go online and request to received bills and statements online. Request your name be removed from their mailing lists. If you still want to get their information, sign up for emails. For some reason, going through old papers can be paralyzing! There are so many, covering so many years! This is where small steps can be very beneficial. Grab a cup of coffee or a snack and set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Toss, shred, or file as many papers as you can in that time and then save the rest for another day. Do you have drawers filled with old cell phones, laptops, chargers, cameras, remotes, and electronic devices? What about those old TV’s that don’t work anymore? It’s time to let go. You can recycle or donate.  Make sure to erase your data from every device. Wipe the hard drive so it can’t be retrieved by anyone else.  

5. Decluttering Bathroom and Bedroom

One of the easiest ways to dispose of items is to check the expiration date! It can be so satisfying to fill a bag with items you no longer need or can use. These are also tasks that will take just a few minutes. First go through all your medications – prescription and over the counter. Put anything expired in a bag and take to a pharmaceutical drop-box located at over 20 Chicago Police Stations citywide. In addition, many pharmacies, including Walgreens, now have these drop boxes. Rush Medical Center also has them. Cosmetics also create a lot of clutter. While we all have our favorite blushes, lipsticks, and eye shadows, we really don’t need to save the containers with just a smidgen of make-up left. And, if you haven’t worn a specific item in months or even years, toss it! Doing laundry is also a good time to weed out extra items. Do you really need all of those towels, pillows, and extra sets of sheets? As you put clothes away, notice the ones you haven’t worn in months or years, as well as the items your kids can no longer wear. Pack them away to donate.

So, keep to your resolution – just a little each day or maybe a few hours every weekend and you’ll see noticeable results in decluttering your home. Tackling these small tasks will motivate you to do more and take on bigger projects. It’s a great way to begin preparing your home to sell and it’s a positive start to the New Year! Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year. May your home be filled with love, laughter, and happiness!

Need Help in Decluttering your Home and Preparing For Home Sale?

If you are thinking about selling your home and would like to talk with a professional realtor as to how to declutter and prepare your home for sale, give me a call.  I would be happy to help you assess what is best for selling your home.

Don’t throw certain items out with the trash.

The city offers a range of services to help residents reduce their waste. The city’s Household Chemical and Computer Recycling Facility  (1150 N. North Branch Street) accepts a variety of items, including household cleaners, oil-based paints, solvents, cell phones, compact fluorescent light bulbs, computers and related equipment. For items not accepted by the city, search Earth911. With over 350 materials and 100,000+ listings, it maintains one of the most extensive recycling databases.

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Good Luck Declutering Your Home and Keeping it in Sale-ready State!