How I'm Tackling My Three Big Clutter Areas in the New Year!

January 06, 2023

How I'll be tackling my biggest messes in the new year!

The Christmas decor is put away, the garage is cleaned up and organized again, and it's finally time to take care of my three biggest problem areas in our home!

I LOVE this time of year! I really enjoy our simpler, clutter-free home after the holidays. (Although I was way more sad than usual to take down all of the decor this year.)

Since I started incorporating the Konmari decluttering method years ago, I rarely do major, intensive purges anymore. Because of that giant decluttering (that took me months!), I now constantly monitor and get rid of things we don't need or use. 

Also, a couple years ago I worked on a few BIG projects that allowed us to create permanent homes for so many items around the house! 

When I did the mud/laundry room makeover, I created all of this new storage for laundry, cleaning and utility items: 
cyberspace blue base cabinets

And I completely decluttered and reorganized our garage and all of my tools as well: 
organized wood and tools in garage

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.
I may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links. 
See my policies and disclosure page for more information.   

Both of those spaces have been a godsend and have helped to keep our home more organized and clutter-free.

But I've avoided a few problem areas...or problem things that have piled up, for YEARS now. Some have always been an issue for me, and some I've pretty much ignored since we moved into this house in 2017. 

I thought I would share my vices in case you're considering tackling some of yours in the new year as well!

Let's start with the easiest one! 

1. Magazines and catalogs.

If you've read TDC for awhile, you know my love of home decor magazines and catalogs. I like to keep inspiring decor images and project ideas that I find, but I haven't taken the time to sit down and really look at them in a looong time.

My collection isn't as bad as it used to be -- Pinterest and Instagram has helped to curb my love of home decor magazines. I rarely buy them anymore, but you wouldn't know that by the piles I had around!

The other day I decided this was going to be one of things I was going to sort through once and for all.

I walked around the house and gathered the piles to put in one place: 
piles of magazines and catalogs

Putting like items together is one of the best tips I learned from the Konmari method. 

When you place them all together, it forces you to SEE that you have way too much of an item. If you declutter like items separately all around the house, it doesn't have the same effect. 

If you haven't tried this, see how it works for you!

It didn't take nearly as long as I thought it would to go through the magazines. One hundred and thirty later (!!), I only kept about 15 travel and landscaping magazines to reference later:
magazines laying on table

I had ten year old magazines in my stash. ๐Ÿ˜ณ It was pretty fun to rediscover a few that I've been featured in, as well as many of my blog friends as well. 

I tear out the images that I like and save them in a binder for reference. I probably just need to scan them and save to Pinterest, but that will be phase two. Ha!

That first clutter issue wasn't bad to fix! Why did I wait years to do this??

2. All the soft things. 

The next issue in our home is the bedding, blankets, throws and decorative pillows that I've been tossing into our guest room closet for years:  
messy closet with bedding

And a linen closet that is packed full: 
linen closet with wire shelving

Bedding isn't cheap, so I've always hesitated to get rid of duvet covers and blankets...stuff like that. I've held on to old bedding we used nearly 15 years ago! 

Does anyone else keep blankets just in case you lose power in a winter storm and need them?? NO? Just me? ๐Ÿ˜‚

It's happened...but is very rare. 

We all have our own odd reasons for holding on to certain items, right?

I've already started whittling this down to just a couple sheet sets for each bed and a few blankets, but I'd also need to rework these closets to work a little better for the large bedding and decorative pillow storage.

Stay tuned for the update on that!

3. Next up, the PAPER clutter.

Ughhhh. I've talked about my problems keeping the paper under control many times over the years. It's my clutter thing.

Even though it doesn't look like it from the picture I'm about to share, I have figured out a process that works for our family that has drastically reduced the amount of paper we bring into the house. 

I shared how to reduce your junk mail and paper clutter -- those tips have truly changed how we deal with mail and paper that comes into our home. 

The issue is the paper that was here before we started really utilizing those tips. ๐Ÿ˜‚ It's been hidden away in our one remaining "Monica" closet (Friends fans will get that reference!). 

My husband's office closet has had piles of to-be-filed papers, old papers from before our move, papers from his teaching career...just lots of PAPER that we have flat out ignored. 

I gathered the majority of them and again, put them all in one place so I'll be forced to deal with them: 

piles of paper clutter

I mean...this is going to take me forever. But when it's done we'll be in really good shape because of how we've learned to deal with paper clutter. 

I'm actually really excited to get this done and out of our house!

Clutter really does take space in your head -- it causes more stress than we realize. Once I get these remaining two problems areas done, I feel like I'll kinda sorta have the clutter in our life under control. :)  

Those are my three big ones, and I'll be sure to update you on my progress! But...I do have an honorable mention to add to this list. 

This one isn't a physical item, but it bothers me just as much, if not more than clutter laying around the house. 

I want to get all of the photos OFF my phone! Anyone else with me?? 

Last year I spent a lot of time going through and organizing our physical photos and mementos, so check out that post to see how I organized all of that (I love it!). 

But electronic photos are a different story. How many photos do you have on your phone or in the cloud? Let's take a look at mine: 

number of photos on phone
Now. This is nearly 17 years of photos...keep that in mind. Ha! That makes me feel a little bit better. 

And not only do I take photos of family and events and trips, but I use my phone a TON for what I do for a living. I'm always taking or saving photos. 

But it needs to be addressed. My plan is to set a goal for each day or week -- that I'll sort through maybe 50 photos a day. I find it easier to break down an intimidating number like that. 

Maybe I'll be done by 2033. 

And I desperately want to find a solution for the family photos -- like one of the photo books that have become so popular. 

I'd love to become one of those moms that has a yearly book know, perhaps before our son goes to college. :)

So if you've found a great phone-to-memory-book service you love, please let me know! 

I'll be sure to update you on my progress over the next few months. Do you have similar problem areas as me? 

Never miss a post by signing up to get posts via email. 
Email subscription form header
Your email:*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide


  1. I was wondering if you'd mention photos/videos. That's the one that is also dragging me down. And, it's so daunting that I can't even get started although I did use Takeout to at least back up all my android phone photos to my PC. Thanks for a great article!

  2. We are downsizing and we have VCR tapes plus DVDs thst I need yo find a good home verses just putting in trash.
    Do you have any suggestions

    1. I have a friend who lives in Section 8 housing. A lot of the residents cannot afford cable. If you live anywhere near that type of housing, perhaps you could donate there for the residents’ enjoyment.
      Or, check with your library.
      Perhaps, a nursing home would like them.

  3. A couple of thoughts on your bedding issue. Use those vacuum space saver bags. Or feel good about donating clean blankets to a homeless shelter. Also consider replacing your wire closet shelves with wood since you are so handy. They will look neater and easier to organize. I don’t know about you but I hate wire closet shelves. I always appreciate your tips and blog

  4. I use Dropbox for my business as well as personal documents and photos. For a reasonable fee, I get 2T of storage a year and it's all in the cloud. I have set up my phone to automatically sync my IPhone photos to Dropbox. So on a regular basis, I check to make sure the photos have uploaded to dropbox and then I delete most from my phone. I only keep my favorites or the photos that I may want to show someone on my phone but everything else is stored in Dropbox. And Dropbox has an app so I can easily access all 50,000 photos that I own, which are sorted into years with event subfolders so that I can easily find stuff.

  5. Oh the phone photos!!!! There is an app called Slidebox that lets you easily sort your photos into albums on your phone. So your main camera roll will still have them all, but when my camera roll got really out of control a few years back, that’s what I did - I gave myself a goal to sort through 100 a day! It only took a few minutes each day because you are just tapping on the folder where you want each picture to go (like I have personal, work, recipes, etc) before it shows you the next pic. Then when you go to print, etc, you can just pull up the correct album. Slidebox holds your place in your camera roll until you’re ready to sort again. After you get through the bulk of your photos, you may only need to do it once a week/month depending on how many pics you take. Or once a year like me ๐Ÿ˜‚

  6. I use for my photos, videos and documents. It is purchased storage which I own and it is guaranteed for at least 100 years or forever. You can designate family and friends to have access to view or even add. This way I know that all our family photos are protected from 3 generations past to the future. I also can create photo books. Every project you create, whether it is a book or an ornament is saved in your account forever. I'm currently sending in old VHS family tapes to be preserved digitally. After that, I will send in scrapbook pages from old albums to be scanned and kept in my account.

  7. Wow! These are all my clutter spots as well. My home looks tidy but I know where the clutter lies! I feel inspired, Thank you!

  8. Check out Mylio Photos. They have a great support team. Mylio allows you to sync your photos to many devices, and what you do on one device such as your phone, (delete, edit, etc,), will sync to all your devices. It allows you to make folders within folders as well as albums.

  9. Check out Miss Freddy on IG!! She has lots of photo organizing tips!

  10. I have blankets in my car. ๐Ÿ˜‚. And extra coat JUST IN CASE

  11. On the photo front...I was not good about creating albums each year, though I would do an occasional vacation snapfish album over the years. When each son turned 21, I made them a special Walgreens photo album with all my favorites of them over they years. Of course made a copy for myself as well. No guilt here. My parents had tubs of photos I just wasn't interested in going through, I felt like I already had enough in my existing photo tubs. My goal is to not leave many tubs of my memorobilia for my sons to sort through. If I didn't want to do it with my parents, I'm sure they won't want to go through mine! Fun post, thanks for inspiration.


If you have a specific question I will do my best to answer you back here!

You can find our paint colors and links to items at the "Our Home" tab at the top of my site.

THANKS so much for reading!