Once the festivities of New Year are out of the way (and the hangover that often follows it), the best part of New Year is the opportunity to set your resolutions. Who doesn't love a fresh start? You can shrug off all your bad habits, set new goals and see what you can achieve with just a little focus.
There are two key things you can do this January (or any other time of year!) to help you wipe the slate clean and kickstart your year: declutter and organise your home and then use the extra cash you find by selling off unwanted items to buy something you need or, ideally, put toward your emergency fund, pay down debt, or put towards another savings goal.
Whether you're ready to follow Marie Kondo and sort through every inch of your home, or just want to have a little clear out, the steps below will help guide you through your New Year (or just new you) declutter.
New Year Decluttering Step 1: Set Your Goals
If you haven't set yourself resolutions or goals for the year yet, it's time to sit down and spend a few minutes outlining the change you want to see this year, and don't forget to make some notes on goals for your home (since this is the first obstacle you'll be tackling).
Other areas of your life to consider for goal setting are career, family, relationships, financial, health and fitness, selfcare, skills, reading, and more.
Most people find that there is a direct correlation between how cluttered and messy their home feels and how in control of their life they feel, so once you've got your goals written down the next step is to clean, declutter and organize any space where you spend a lot of time.
New Year Decluttering Step 2: First Pass
Your next step is to pick a room in your home and get started. When you're ready to start cleaning and decluttering set up a few bin bags for things to throw away and things you're prepared to get rid of. If you have a hard time letting things go, create a pile for "maybe" items you can go back through later.
You'll find this process much easier if you know yourself well and start with the room you'll find easiest and most motivating to clear – for some this is the room that needs the least amount of work while others love diving into a problem area.
First, go through the room and clear out any junk (rubbish and things you know you can get rid of and aren't worth anything). If there's anything you know you want to sell, put it to one side for later. Feel free to clean (dust, vacuum, polish) as you go, but you can simply focus on decluttering your things if you want to.
New Year Decluttering Step 3: Analyse Your "Stuff"
The next step is the fun part (or the hard part if you're a bit of a hoarder!). Go back through the room and analyse every item in the room, focusing on things that make your space feel cluttered and items that are hidden out of sight, and come out of hibernation once a year at best.
With each item ask yourself:
- Why do I have this? (Gift, impulse purchase)
- Do I use it for its intended purpose?
- Does it work?
- Is it in disrepair?
- Does it have any serious sentimental value?
- Am I likely to use it again?
- Would someone else use it/buy it?
- Do I enjoy owning it, and if yes, is that because it makes my life easier/better, or just because I like owning things?
If the answer is a general, "no I don't use it" and it has no sentimental value, get rid of it.
You probably won't have to run through all these questions with each item, and once you get into the swing of letting things go you'll start to know at a glance what you need and what you don't.
New Year Decluttering Step 4: Throw Out, Donate, Sell
Now you need to take action – it's best to do this step for each room individually so you don't run out of steam and end up with piles of junk around your home that just get moved into a spare room or cupboard for later.
This step is simple: throw out all the rubbish, broken items, and things you are certain no one will want. (Recycle wherever possible!)
Next, analyse what's left for what to donate and what to sell. If you aren't sure if something is worth any money to you, there's no harm in putting it up for sale on sites like Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and eBay to see if it is. Separate what to sell (or try selling) and what you can take to the charity shop or donation bin now.
Finally, get selling! Ebay is great for selling unwanted items, remember; one mans trash is another mans treasure. Make your adverts as soon as possible so you, again, don't change your mind and put these things back where you found them. If you have a lot of items you may want to sell them in waves so you don't have to deal with a lot of enquiries at once.
It might seem easier to only list your items locally for the 'buyer to collect' but if you're willing to ship your items you'll have a much bigger market to advertise to, and thus likely get more money for them.
When they sell and you've received payment, it's time to ship! It's tempting just to package them up and take them to the Post Office, but this is the most expensive option and you'll likely eat into your profits by shipping that way. Instead, use our parcel shipping quote calculator to compare all the world's best couriers so you can maximize your profit and make your life easier, you can book online in minutes and then all you need to do is drop off the parcel or wait for a courier to pick it up. (Win-win!)
If you're not sure which is the best service to use, then don't worry we have you covered! Check out our blog post on how to choose the best parcel delivery service.
New Year Decluttering Step 5: Repeat
Repeat this process with every room in your house, your shed/garage, office space, and even your car. After just a few days of hard work the spaces you spend time in will feel much more relaxing to be in, you'll feel good about all the things you got rid of or donated, and you'll be a little richer!
It's well worth marking in your calendar to repeat this every six months, especially if you weren't able to let go of things you rarely use this time or know you have a habit of buying interesting things on sale that you don't ultimately need. Thankfully, our parcel comparison service makes it quick and easy to calculate and arrange shipping so you can declutter and make some money at any time of the year.