Don't wait for spring cleaning – these are the 4 spaces you should declutter right now for a more mindful start to 2023

These are the four spaces in your home that you should declutter right now for healthier habits this January

a kitchen with textured field tiles
(Image credit: Jessica Hansen. Design: Tandem Interiors)

Do you dread January? You might be glad to see the end of Christmas, but we can all collectively agree that the first month of the year often outstays its welcome. If you're looking to cure those January blues and make the time pass quicker, a bit of decluttering productivity might be the answer. After all, when better to introduce better habits than in the new year? 

If December is the month of indulgence, January is the month when we hibernate, retreating inside the comfort of our homes and hiding from the outside world. In doing so, however, clutter can easily accumulate. When it comes to having a proper sort out most of us put off the task until the new season with a mammoth Spring clean, but professionals say you ought to start decluttering right now instead.  

'January is a great time to declutter,' says Lauren Allen, founder of sustainable homeware organizational store Not a Boring Box. 'We generally have a good mindset about decluttering, getting organized, and setting up for the year ahead, making it more fun and enjoyable.'

So, if your New Year's resolution is to stay more organized and get rid of extra stuff, start putting that into practice. Here, we asked professionals which four spaces we should start to declutter around the home for a more mindful start to 2023. 

Lilith headshot for bio
Lilith Hudson

Lilith is an expert at following news and trends across the world of interior design. A strong believer that a tidy home is a happy one, she's committed to helping readers organize their spaces through sharing practical tips and guides. For this piece she asked professional declutters what to let go of in January for a more mindful start to the New Year. 

1. The kitchen 

A kitchen that has used decor to create coziness

(Image credit: Dave Wheeler. Design: CSA Architects)

For the past two weeks, your kitchen has seen a lot of use. If you cooked Christmas dinner for the family or hosted guests for a New Year's Eve party you'll probably find that this functional space has been left in a bit of a mess - in which case, it's a perfect place to start decluttering. 

'If you have been hosting guests over the holidays and this room has seen a lot of traffic, it will need some organization,' says Lauren, founder of Not a Boring Box. 'To kick off the new year with a healthy and nutritious approach to cooking, having an organized kitchen will also make preparing and cooking meals much easier.'

Start by looking at your cookware - do you have lots of duplicate items or pans that you no longer use? If the answer is yes, throw them out or donate them. Apply the same approach to your glassware, cutlery and dishes before moving on to decluttering kitchen countertops. Organizing one cupboard at a time and then rewarding yourself with breaks to make the task easier.

'You've just been entertaining, so you have a really good idea about what you actually use when you have the maximum number of people in your home,' notes Lucy Milligan Wahl, professional organizer and founder of LMW Edits. 'If you didn't use it during a busy entertaining season, you probably don't need it.'

2. Kids' bedrooms

playroom with built in bed

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

Kids love Christmas, largely because they receive lots of gifts. To help them make room for new toys, teddies and clothes, it's a good idea to give the kids' rooms a good declutter in the New Year. 

'Chances are your kids have seen an influx of clothes and toys in their bedroom so it is a good time to ensure everything is organized and put away properly,' says Lauren. It's best to do this alongside them so they can help make decisions - this will help them to form better habits and appreciate their presents and existing belongings.   

An afternoon spent decluttering before the start of the new term will help kids with the transition back to school, too. As organizer Melissa Gugni notes: 'The holidays are a great time to take an inventory of our things. Ask yourself and your kids, "Do those clothes fit? Do you still like that toy? Does that game have all of its pieces?"' If the answer is no, throw them out. You're bound to find that the first day back at school will be far smoother (and maybe the new stationery from Santa will come in handy!)

3. Your closet

A walk-in closet with a window and open shelves

(Image credit: Studio Peake)

Just as our kids' closets will need a refresh in the new year, so will our own. Most of us acquire new clothes over the holidays but even if you haven't, January is the perfect month to organize your closet

'You probably received some clothes or accessories for Christmas, and now is a great time to declutter your closet so that you can find new homes for your new stuff,' says Lucy. To do so, you ought to part with some older clothes first. 

If you're feeling up to a challenger, try throwing out two old clothing items for every new one you introduce. It doesn't have to be everyday items either. 'Perhaps it's time to prune worn gloves, slippers, or pajamas,' says Melissa. 'Toss the things that can’t be salvaged, donate the things that can be, and start the new year with a little less.'

4. Holiday decorations

A white living room with a fireplace with a wreath above it and a Christmas tree

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

With Christmas out of the way, it makes sense to declutter your holiday decorations as you take them down. You might not notice any change until December, but you'll have peace of mind knowing that you've sorted out more belongings (with less of a job to do next year). 

Because we don't see them throughout most of the year we tend to keep broken lights or decorations we don't use and they end up spending their life in storage. 'My rule of thumb for Christmas decorations is very simple,' says Lucy. 'If you didn't put it up, you don't need to keep it, and if it's broken, it's trash!'

'When putting everything away for the season, take the opportunity to think about what you are continuing to give space to,' adds Melissa. 'As Marie Kondo might say, does that oversized Santa with the missing eyes “spark joy”?  Was that ornament a gift that you never liked? Holiday decorations should make you and your family happy. If there’s something that you don’t like or that has a bad memory attached to it, it needs to go.'

The same goes for Holiday cards. Appreciate them while they're up in your home, but don't store them in a box forever more. 'They're fun to display during the season, but there's no need to keep them around.'

'Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff' book, Amazon

'Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff' book, Amazon 

Probably the biggest thing holding you back from decluttering is your sentimental attachment. With empathy, expertise, and humor, Keep the Memories, Lose the Stuff, by Matt Paxton helps you to let go of what all the stuff that no longer serves you, helping you to live in the present moment

Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.