Clear out the clutter for a fresh start to 2019

Taking cues from Marie Kondo – the organising guru that has become a household name thanks to her Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, people around the globe are starting the New Year by practising their folding techniques, sorting through their items using the KonMari method and asking themselves “does this spark joy?”

There’s nothing better than a fresh and clutter-free start to the New Year. We’re super inspired by Marie Kondo and with 2019 upon us, we’ve put together a list of items for you to clear out and things to do around the home and your work space for a productive year ahead.

The Kitchen

1. Clean out the fridge and check all use-by dates, then wipe down the surfaces with warm water and lemon.

2. Empty each cupboard, sort out its contents and wipe down the cupboards. If you find anything you don’t use, remove it and donate or sell it. While you’re here, check to make sure all your plastic containers have lids!

3. We all accumulate mismatched kitchenware and mugs throughout the years. Clear out the cabinets and work out which mugs you use and which ones you have forgotten about or are the only ones left standing from their set.

4. Replace the tea towels and dishcloths that have seen better days.

5. Deep clean the dishwasher with a mixture of bicarb soda and lemon or vinegar. Note: you can use your preferred cleaning method, however I like to use natural cleaning solutions and have listed these options.

6. Sort through the pantry for expired or untouched items. How many items have you accumulated over the last year that you’ve forgotten about? Have a look and sort through these items and use them to reduce your next grocery shop.

The Bathroom

1. Makeup brushes build up with product and become laced with bacteria, dust and dirt, so keep on top of them with regular cleaning. Give them a thorough clean with hot, soapy water and leave them out to dry.

2. If you can’t remember the last time you changed your toothbrush, swap these over. You should swap these every three to four months, or earlier if your toothbrush becomes frayed and worn to ensure sparking pearly whites.

3. Replace any old and worn-out towels with new ones. Towels may be needed at animal shelters so contact your local one to see if you can donate them, otherwise use them in the garage as rags.

4. Clean out the cupboards, get rid of any items if you can’t remember the last time you used them and wipe down the surfaces. Check the expiry dates on your products and replace any makeup or personal care items that have been hanging around for too long.

The Laundry 

1. Remove the clutter by sorting linens, towels and cleaning supplies into baskets or containers to optimise the space.

2. Clean out the dryer’s vent and ducts to remove lint build-up.

3. Deep clean the washing machine and clean out the filters – can you recall the last time you did this?

The Bedroom 

1. Flip your mattress entirely or by turning it around so you can balance out your body’s imprint.

2. Wash your linen and bedspread ready for the year ahead.

3. Clean out your wardrobe – can you even remember everything in there? Pull everything out of your wardrobe and sort through each item. If you haven’t worn a garment in the last year, why not donate or sell it?

4. Take a look at your accessories including bags, jewellery, belts and hats and sort through each item. If they’ve gone untouched for a long, long time, then it’s time to part ways.

5. Replace your pillows and mark them with the date so you know how long you’ve had them.

Pillows absorb the skin, hair, and body oil that your body sheds each night – not a pleasant thought, right?! Over time, this can attract dust mites and old pillows can develop permanent stains and become lumpy. This can impact your health and your comfort while sleeping, so you should replace polyester pillows every six months, however memory foam pillows will last you between 18 to 36 months. If you have some to replace, check to see if any animal shelters will accept donated pillows for the animals’ beds.

Your Workstation 

1. For a clutter-free desk, start by emptying your drawers, sorting through the paper that tends to pile up throughout the year, remove any unused stationery you’re holding on to and empty that in-tray.

2. Sort through that paperwork that’s piled up on your desk and if it’s not relevant, remove it. If you need it, file it.

3. Clean out your keyboard and wipe down your monitors.

4. Clean out your emails and file everything away.

5. Back up your computer and phone, clear out files you’re not using on your computer and remove any icons or programs that you haven’t used in the last year.


1. Clean out your bag. Get down to the depths of your handbag or back pack and clean it out for the New Year.

2. If you haven’t already, get your 2019 calendar ready and filled out for the year ahead.

3. Do you have a cupboard full of candles? Sort through any jars you’re saving or any half used candles and use them up or get rid of them. If you have some jars you want to upcycle, you can melt down the remaining wax and clean the jars out.

4. Remove all unidentified and expired medicine from your medicine cabinet or box. Check the dates and if it’s expired or you don’t need it, say goodbye. You can easily and safely dispose of these at you local Pharmacy so pack them up and pay them a visit.


Do you have any must do clear outs to start the year off with? Share them with us in the comments.



  1. John Ford says:

    I would really like to declutter my email inbox. Is there a quick way of doing this??

    • Erin Kavanagh says:

      Hi John,

      I’m going to try get an article put together for PC’s and emails to help with this so stay tuned!

      – Erin

  2. Stevo says:

    a useful list – thanks.

    However, for the advice on the expired or identified medicines, they should always be handed in to your local pharmacy for proper disposal. Throwing them out in normal garbage is irresponsible. The pharmacy will be happy to accept them.

  3. stephanie says:

    hi Erin

    lovely post. Only one thing to say – choose certified organic bedding, pillows, mattress and clothing. The earth needs as many people as possible to stop using plastic, foam, polystyrene etc.

    And buy certified organic food and biodynamic food as the producers look after the soil, a double benefit to the earth and us.

    • Erin Kavanagh says:

      Hi Stephanie,

      This is a great point. I am definitely trying to do this more and more to ensure disposal is easier down the track and help the environment.

      – Erin

  4. Pedro says:

    How about some tips on decluttering our PC & Mac hard drives?

  5. Fran Hoad says:

    I have a small build-up of mould around the edge of the shower floor. I have tried Jif and used about two thirds of the bottle until it was well caked on. Then I use the “Hurricane Spin Scrubber” and implemented all three brushes but again no joy. I’ve got bi carb and vinegar – should I
    try that or will try anything you can suggest that will get it off. I believe the tiler might have used silicone around the edges – do you think there is a cleaner for that?

  6. Dian G says:

    Fran Hoad – EXIT MOULD definitely worth a try (experienced with rental fridges washers etc and only thing that did tge moukd exit job!)

  7. :Louise Kershaw says:

    “Mould Away” from Aldi or
    “Exit Mould” from Coles or Woolworths should do the trick. Simply spray it on, leave a minute or two then wash off.

  8. Shirley Garnett says:

    Hi Fran,
    The best trick I know to get rid of mould in the bathroom. Is a teasooon of oil of cloves in a 500 ml spray bottle of water.
    Spray over all tIles, glass and shower curtains. Wait 10 minutes and rinse off. You will need to scrub any mould that remains.
    Now, spray again with oil of cloves and leave. I leave it on and it discourages further mould growth

  9. ChrisM says:

    Hi there … lots of very good tips and ideas …. after each one I’d like to see some disposal ideas … I understand polyester pillows can be washed, I do that, plus put them in the sun for a say … they do FILL up landfill!! And have you seen how much clothes are going to landfill, its an EXTRAORDINARY amount and op shops are getting overloaded and not taking anymore … so not sure on this one … have fun …

  10. Jean says:

    I read that diluted vinegar with water sprayed onto mould will eventually kill the mould. I am now spraying my shower with it and I think the mould is slowly fading. Also scrubbing with bicarb and vinegar is supposed to be used as a cleaner. The article I read said bleach does not kill mould and can actually make it worse.

  11. Douglas Clifford says:

    January 26, 2019, at 8:17 am
    How about some tips on decluttering our PC & Mac hard drives?

    Yes PLEASE!

  12. Susie says:

    Try 5mls of oil of glove to 150 mls of water in a spray container. Spray a generous amount of the oil of clove solution onto the mould. Allow the solution to do it’s work for 15 to 20 minutes the mould should have partly desolved and you can remove the remainder with soapy water. You may need to repeat the process to fully remove stubborn mould but this solution usually works.

  13. Liz says:

    “Clear out the Clutter” from iinet . . . I was expecting advice re our computers, and would eagerly devour that advice.
    The rest of the advice was welcome too, but the computer advice is what i really need.

    • Erin Kavanagh says:

      Hi Liz,

      Thanks for the feedback we will keep this in mind and see what we can put together!

      – Erin

  14. Avril says:

    It is really great to recycle items and clothing to a local opportunity shop, but please remember they do not have time to do your dirty washing or just remember “would you buy your particular item from their shop?”. Thanks

  15. Jane says:

    I would like an article about cleaning up laptops. Windows. Especially about privacy and getting rid of my details on site I no longer visit. Thanks

  16. Vicky says:

    I understand the need to declutter but an important part of this is to consider where your ‘clutter’ will go.
    Simply throwing stuff in the bin is NOT the answer. (Think carefully about recycling, reusing, giving to others less fortunate, etc)
    And maybe it’s time to rethink the stuff we bring into our homes and workplaces, in the first place. Look at the catalogues the shops entice us with- there’s an awful lot of plastic that, after the fad, will be fairly useless or has a limited life.
    I would say CONSIDER your CLUTTER.

    • Erin Kavanagh says:

      Hi Vicky,

      This is a great point you’ve made. I definitely think its important to consider not only if you need the item but how and where you will dispose of it. I like to opt for recycling, donating and selling items where possible.

      – Erin

  17. SuZi says:

    I read recently that even worn-out clothes can be taken to charity shops as they will pass them on to textile places for rags etc. Of course you would need to wash them.

  18. Jean says:

    Thank you Suzie, I will try the oil of cloves for mould.