5 Things Absolutely Everyone Should Get Rid of on New Year’s Day

published Dec 31, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

There’s something irresistible about a fresh start. The opportunity to reset feels like a breath of fresh air, especially after a particularly hectic or stressful year. ( I’m looking at you, 2020.) If you’re looking to start 2021 with a completely clean slate, the first step is to get rid of unnecessary items in your home.

That’s easier said than done, according to Jenny Hayes, Certified Master KonMari Consultant. “It is often more difficult than we think to let these things go,” Hayes says. “They’ve been our rocks that we’ve leant on for years.”

If you’re looking for a good place to start, here is a list of things absolutely everyone should throw out.

Expired Food Items

“Clean out the fridge and pantry of expired foods, things you won’t actually eat, and random stuff from gift baskets like the chutney or onion relish that you will never use,” suggests Andrea Walker, certified professional organizer and owner of Smartly Organized, LLC. This is especially helpful if you have resolutions around healthy eating, weight loss, and general well-being, but an assessment of your fridge, freezer, and pantry is always a good idea.

Unused Health & Beauty Products

Here’s the thing about unused health and beauty products: Odds are, if you haven’t used them in the past year, you’re not going to use them going forward. Specifically, says Walker, toss “all those items that were purchased with the hope that they would change your life but they caused a rash or other reaction; old make-up that you have replaced but didn’t throw out; any items that are essentially empty but you are thinking you’ll get the last drop out.” Walker says. “This can be hard since many of these items are pricey but if they don’t work for you they just take up space. Let them go!”

Superfluous Cleaning Products

If the area under your sink seems to be a black hole for cleaning products, most of which you don’t use, use New Year’s Day to go through them. “Take a hard look at what you have versus what you actually use,” Walker says. Edit out nearly-empty items, items you don’t like because of the smell or ingredient list, and any specialty cleaning products that are no longer are needed.

Old To-Do Lists

If you are passionate about to-do lists, chances are you have some lying around. “Let go of the past and reframe your mindset for the new year,” Walker says. “Start fresh with a new list with smart goals that support your 2021 vision.”

The same goes for unfinished tasks: “If a task or project has been floating on your to do list for the past year, you may want to evaluate why you haven’t completed it,” Deborah Gussoff, president of the NY Chapter of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals says. “How important is it really? You’ve survived the last year without completing it, so maybe it can be deleted.”

Clothing That Doesn’t Fit 

It can be tempting to hold onto clothing that doesn’t fit for many reasons, but it’s never productive. “Keeping clothes that are too big or too small does not help your self-esteem,” Gussoff says. Whether you’ve lost weight or the clothes in your closet are too small, donate anything that’s in good shape and toss the rest.