4 New Year Decluttering Resolutions You'll Actually Stick To, According to Professional Organizers

Let 2024 be the year that you streamline your home once and for all

A white and beige minimalist bedroom
(Image credit: Joe Fletcher. Design by Buttrick Projects)

We're less than a week into 2024 and I guarantee you've broken at least one of your New Year resolutions - and let's be honest, the others will soon follow suit. 

Decluttering, however, is the one resolution I'm determined to stick to this year. After a Christmas season filled with abundance and clutter, like many of you, I'm looking to cut back and channel my inner minimalist. However, year after year this resolution comes about and quickly falls by the wayside. 

It's always difficult to know how to start decluttering - even more so at the start of the year when you've overwhelmed yourself with difficult-to-keep resolutions - that's why we've asked the professionals for their advice on how to make resolutions that stick. Here you can discover four decluttering resolutions that are so simple to follow that you'll be able to keep them. 

1. 'One in, one out' rule

Bedroom with textured panelled walls

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

Over the Christmas period we all acquire more stuff, but in order to avoid an overwhelming amount of it, professional organizers advise operating a 'one in, one out' rule.

It might seem ruthless but this is a simple lesson to implement and will prevent things from spiraling out of control while also streamlining the process of decluttering a room. 'Anytime you bring a new item into your home, like clothing, kitchen gadget, pair of shoes, and so on, remove an older item from your collection you no longer use or wish to keep,' says Rashelle Isip, a New York City-based professional organizer and productivity consultant at The Order Expert.

Having a resolution with one simple rule makes it much more likely that you will keep it. Vague resolutions without a timeline are easy to break, whereas this decluttering tip will hold you accountable for all your new purchases and keep your home ordered. 

2. Let go of damaged items

Something many people are guilty of is holding onto broken items. Whether it's because of nostalgia or sheer apathy, many people end up holding onto items that no longer serve their purpose, but it's one of the things professional organizers always advise clients to do first. 

'Instead of holding onto items that are hopelessly broken, damaged, or non-function, decide to remove these items from your home as soon as possible,' says Rashelle. You'll be shocked at how much space this will create in your home, and efficient rules with clear goals like this are key to sticking to resolutions. Simply go room by room removing anything that no longer serves you and reveal a clutter-free space in no time. If you struggle with decision fatigue, try a technique like the 12-12-12 rule to kick-start the process. 

3. Regular checks

Travertine side tables and upholstered armchair under staircase

(Image credit: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop)

The key to an organized home is keeping on top of things. One resolution that will change the way you declutter is conducting regular checks and audits. Having more regular and smaller decluttering projects rather than one big resolution will make the project a lot more manageable, meaning you're more likely to keep up with it.

'Make regular passes throughout your home to avoid “clutter creep” and maintain an organizational system,' advises professional organizer Jill Yesko Diana, founder of Discover Organizing. Doing this one zone at a time, such a decluttering the junk drawer before the rest of the kitchen, can be an easy task to slip into your routine.

Something to keep in mind during these regular declutters is what things bring you joy, says Jill. 'Being surrounded by people, places and things that represent our identity is important,' she says. 'When we sort through our possessions, we inconvenience ourselves with tasks that consume precious time. Living with less allows us to spend more time with people we love, creating a more joyful life.'

4. Work with (not against) your natural tendencies

When we make New Year resolutions they're often to challenge the person we were the year before but, as experts point out, this can be a recipe for disaster. Any technique that works our natural tendencies is a decluttering trick to avoid. To make lasting change we need to take our characteristics into account so it's easier to stick to our goals, says Amelie Saint-Jacques, from Amelie Organizes LLC.

'To create a resolution that you will keep work with your natural tendencies,' says Amelie. 'For example, if you always drop your keys somewhere when you enter the house and then have trouble finding them, designate a specific spot near the entrance (for example, a hook on the wall) and put your keys there every time. Don't try to make yourself go put your keys on the kitchen island instead, it won't work.'

If you're stuck on how to tackle your post-Christmas declutter and faced with a list of unobtainable resolutions, listen to the experts. These organizing tips will help you keep a tidy home in 2024 and beyond. 

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Amy McArdle
News writer

Amy recently completed an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London, with experience writing for Women’s lifestyle publications across arts, culture, and beauty. She has a particular love for the minimalist aesthetic mixed with mid-century furniture, especially combining unique vintage finds with more modern pieces. Her previous work in luxury jewellery has given her a keen eye for beautiful things and clever design, that plays into her love of interiors. As a result, Amy will often be heard justifying homeware purchases as 'an investment', wise words to live by.