A new year is about to begin, so begin fresh by doing an end of the year declutter not only of your home but your electronic life too! Wait?! I thought that is what Spring Cleaning was for.
While I also do Spring Cleaning, I save that more for the deep massive cleaning of the house, such as moving the refrigerator away from the wall and cleaning behind it, etc…
I like to start the new year by decluttering my life both offline and online. Don’t bring last year’s clutter with you into the new year!
Without further ado, here is what you should concentrate on:
Old statements & utility bills are just some of the things that can be tossed at the end of the year (make sure to use a good shredder and shred them)! I only keep the last month’s statement. Take the time to go through ALL of your files and toss the ones that you no longer need. For a complete list of papers that are ok to toss check out my article called Document Mound: What to Toss & What to Keep. It’s aimed towards military families, but it’s a great guide for everyone, not just the military. I would also suggest signing up for paperless billing everywhere you can, so there is less paperwork to chunk every year!
While you are at it, check over those bills and make sure you are not being overcharged, or consider finding ways to reduce the bill.
Sticky notes EVERYWHERE, or even worse scrap pieces of paper with notes. Make them digital and recycle the paper ones. It will free up clutter and allow you to be more organized. Either download an app, keep a spreadsheet on your computer or simply use the notes function on your phone.
I know you are probably thinking, Emails? Believe it or not, the sheer volume of emails can cause stress as you can see how many new emails arrive each day. It’s incredible how good you feel after you have cleaned out your email inbox. Before the new year, make it a point to do the following so you can start your brand new year off right:
Unsubscribe From Emails
As you make your way through your emails, unsubscribe from newsletters that no longer interest you. One surefire way to keep your email inbox clean and clutter-free is to stop unwanted emails from arriving in the first place! Once you have unsubscribed, look for other emails from the same newsletter/sender and delete those as well.
Create Folders & Sort
As you make your way through your email list you may find that there are emails that you must or want to keep for later on, such as recent orders you placed or account information. Now would be the time to sort those emails into other folders than your inbox so they can be easily found later and you will not have to see them in your inbox.
Delete Old Replies
Depending on how you have your inbox configured, you may have several replies to the same email. Keep only the latest reply (assuming it shows all previous replies) and delete the older ones.
Read, Reply, & Delete
Do you have emails that have been sitting in there that you have yet to tackle? Now is a great time to do whatever needs to be done, so you can delete those suckers!
I know this probably isn’t thought much about, but cleaning up your social media accounts and checking the security settings should be done at least once a year.
Check Security Settings. Social Media Networks roll out updates usually at least once a year. Take the time to go back through all the security settings to see if anything new has been added. I can’t count the number of times I see where friends have been hacked. So make sure that not only are your privacy settings the way that you want them but also your security settings are locked down to prevent a hacker from gaining access to your account. If you have questions about this, just comment below and I will try and answer them for you.
Clean Out Your Inbox. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, or another account; most have an inbox that allows other members to message you. Just like the inbox for your email, you should take the time to delete messages that are old and that you no longer need. If it is Facebook, make sure to also check your connection request folder and filtered request folders!
Remove Yourself From Groups. If you are on Facebook you may be a member of several groups (whether you added yourself to them or someone added you to them. Take the time to go through your Groups and remove yourself from any groups you are no longer interested in being a part of! Do the same with group Pinterest boards and any other social media network that offers this type of feature.
Delete Inactive or Unused Accounts. Maybe you signed up for Twitter but never used it. Or maybe it was one of the other million social media networks out there. Either way, if you don’t use it, now would be a good time to just delete it. It means less work for you later on and you don’t have to worry about constantly checking the security settings or it getting hacked!
No matter what holiday you celebrate, you probably have several unused items. If you never use them and they aren’t sentimental now would be the time to sell them (hey extra cash for the new year) or donate them.
Now would also be a great time to go through all of your clothing and your kid’s clothing (if you have kids). Either sell them for extra cash or consider donating them to a family in need! If you have some that you love but that are in need of repair, now is the time to get that done!
The holiday season is upon us and most of our kids receive an overabundance of new toys (I am guilty of doing this when they were younger). Go through their toys before the holiday season to make way for new ones. Trash broken ones and consider donating the good toys to a child or family in need this holiday season.
Friends & Family
Wait a second, you want me to declutter my friends and family? Is that even possible? Yes, it is! I know this may be controversial but sometimes friends and even family can have a major negative impact on our lives. It is ok to disassociate yourself from friends and even family members in your life that are a negative influence or are toxic. Only you can decide what constitutes a toxic family or friend, but set yourself free and move into the new year without their negativity.