My January Declutter: What I Learned Purging My Entire House


Last month, I shared my organizing game plan with you. I decided to overhaul my entire home to start 2024 off on the right foot. That meant purging every drawer, decluttering each problem spot, and organizing and cleaning what remained. I’m happy to report that my January decluttering process is complete!

My Declutter Checklist – 10 Days Of Purging

What I learned decluttering my entire home

There are so many options when it comes to a decluttering process. You can do a little bit every day or some people like to take an entire month and get rid of five items daily. There’s no right or wrong way to do it! Your first step is to create reasonable goals for your own January declutter detox.

Our basement closet before purging the kids' toys
Our toy closet before…yikes!

I walked around my house and noted problem areas that needed some attention. I then divided up those spots into ten days to create my decluttering checklist. I made a video for all of the days and you can view them by clicking the links below.

These are just MY problem areas. Your list might look a tad different! The important thing is to write down the areas that need some attention so you can create a game plan.

What I Learned Along The Way

My best tips to have a January declutter process

While I knew I wanted to get the process done as quickly as possible, I didn’t put any time constraints on my challenge. Having the blog and my audience watching was a great incentive to keep the series moving along. You can watch all of my organizing stories right here.

My best tips for a successful January declutter

I didn’t do ten consecutive days, but instead I broke things down by week. I tried to tackle a few spots each week and some days I doubled up on areas – like the kitchen and the junk drawers got lumped together. Some spots were easier than others. The junk drawers took me only about 20 minutes to finish. It felt nice to have a quick win with those spots! Whereas the toys took both me and Finn three hours to complete!

Purging the kitchen of excess stuff

In the beginning, I was very motivated and flew through the first few categories easily. By the time I had to purge the pantry and refrigerator, I was ready for this January challenge to be over! So, I suggest pacing yourself and organizing your days so you stay motivated throughout the entire process and don’t spend too much time on any one category.

Make It Fun

My best tips to make the most of your decluttering process for January

One tip that I learned along the way was to make it fun. If I had a larger spot to work on, I would put on a movie or favorite TV show on my laptop. In other spots, I listened to podcasts or music to pass the time.

How we purged our kids' toys

The toy section was such a big category that Finn and I made an entire date night out of it for New Year’s Eve. It ended up being such a fun night and we were super productive. You can read more about that entire saga right here.

Instead of looking at these organizing projects as another chore, I did my best to make them fun so I had something to look forward to when working away!

Systems Need Upkeep

My best tips to declutter your home

The linen cabinet and laundry room were categories that I’ve tackled in the past right here on the blog. And while those spots looked great when I initially organized them, I quickly realized that every system needs upkeep. Stuff accumulates even when you already have a good organizational system in place.

I recommend giving every closet and drawer in your home a nice little refresh once a year. The categories that I’ve worked on in the past were quick refreshes where I only had a few small items to remove and bins to tweak. So get your system in place and then make sure to come back to those spaces at least a year later.

Donate Immediately!

Making piles to donate

I know I mentioned this in my last post with organizing tips, but I’m going to scream it from the mountaintops. Donate your items as quickly as possible. I feel like I drove around with a trunk full of stuff all January long. I was constantly adding more items to the pile and I kept putting off going to the donation site. Just get it done and remove those items from your home (and car!) as soon as you can!

There’s No Need To Buy Anything

Medicine cabinet after
Medicine Cabinet After

I didn’t buy one thing for this project. Not one bin. Not one basket. Trust me, you probably already have enough of those in your home already. The entire goal is to get rid of stuff, not bring more things into your home.

I will say that if you finish your entire January declutter challenge and find that you need to buy a few small bins or drawer organizers to keep your systems working, then go for it! Just please don’t buy anything before you get started. It’s not worth it.

How Do I Feel?

It felt so good to get these spaces organized and clutter free

I feel amazing. I can’t tell you how nice it feels to open up a drawer or cabinet and find what I need within five seconds. I’ve also realized how much my surroundings impact my mental health. I’ve always known that I prefer a tidy home because the mess can make me anxious. But the opposite is also true. The organized spaces make me feel calm, a little giddy and proud!

My family members have also benefited from my organization project. Finn says he keeps finding new spots around the home that look so much better because they have less stuff jam-packed inside.

What’s Left To Do

Now, I'm working to get my digital life organized and backed up

Halfway through my decluttering journey, I realized that I also needed to get my digital life in good condition. A few people asked how I organize photos and I said that I just back things up on the iCloud and my blog photos on a hard drive. I quickly learned that that’s not nearly enough. Oops!

A few readers suggested this course from Miss Freddy and I immediately purchased it. I’ve spent the past few weeks creating a backup system for my photos and videos. I’ve also started taking all of my old videos from DVDs, old hard drives, and thumb drives, and backing those up too! It’s been so fun to see some of these old videos from high school and college. I’ve had such a good time showing the kids my old dance videos.

It’s taking a good amount of time to sift through everything, but I have such peace of mind knowing that these important photos and videos will be backed up and saved.

I’m not done with the process, but I plan to do a full blog post of exactly what I did to get my digital life organized when it’s complete. For now, I highly recommend checking out Miss Freddy because I’ve learned so much from her and this digital course.

February Challenge Anyone?

My best tips to organize, purge, and declutter your home

I know the month of January is behind us, but it’s still the perfect time to give your whole house some TLC. There’s no need to wait until next year. The weather is still cold and gloomy and you’re spending lots of time inside anyway, right? I suggest using the start of a new year to focus on creating a more organized home. It will make the rest of the year that much better!

Catch Up Right Here

Here are all of the small spaces that I worked on to get rid of excess clutter since the start of the year…

Casey


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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