Declutter your space for the New Year

When the New Year comes along, many of us consider it as a chance to start fresh—or at the very least, revisit our unfinished goals from the previous year as we move forward. Doing so from a place of focus, calm, and less stress will certainly help. Decluttering your space is a good start as studies have found that “getting rid of excess stuff can benefit your mental health.”

If you want to welcome 2024 with less clutter and excess, if you finally have the time to check what you’ve got stuffed in your drawers or forgotten in those mega boxes, here are a few tips to help you declutter your space.

1. Clean up your workspace.

If your goal for 2024 involves sitting in front of your desk, working, creating, or crafting, best to get started here. Yes, you don’t have to tackle your entire home in one day or even one entire room. That can get overwhelming and you might not even start—or worse, not finish it and leave it more untidy than before.


Begin in your desk drawer where notebooks, pens, pencils, and other odds and ends are likely all piled on top of one another. Invest in a desk drawer organizer for easier sorting and put a catchall on your desk for small items. You can also find some inspiration on how the Common Room sisters, Roma, Maan and Selia organized a work desk they built.

2. Take out those art prints and memorabilia from storage.

We all have it, that box or drawer filled with art prints, postcards, stickers, and all sorts of memorabilia. Instead of simply storing them, find a way to put them up on display. Looking through them will also allow you to see which ones you can part with and will be more appreciated by friends. Either way, you get to free up a bit of storage.



A wall too bare? Stick those beloved art prints by your bed or in front of your desk with double sided tape or even washi tape. Take out those quirky Gashapon toys you’ve been hoarding from your Japan trips and arrange them on your shelf. You can also check how artist and graphic designer Gian Wong displays objects that inspire him in his home.

3. Sort all those cables and chargers.

They’re everywhere, jumbled up cables, chargers, cords, probably even a router or two from your old Internet provider. We keep them around even when we’ve forgotten which old device they’re for or ‘just in case’ we need to reuse that random cable for something else. Just-in-case scenarios abound when it comes to these electrical accessories, but most of the time they don’t actually materialize. 

When you sort through them, you can organize the cables and cords you plan to keep with a cord organizer or if you don’t have those, some trusty twine should do. Then let go of the ones you know you don’t really need (if you haven’t used them in more than a year and can’t for the life of you remember what they’re for anymore). Dispose of them properly: for old electronics that are still working, trusted resellers like HMR might take them, your telecom provider (both Smart and Globe) will likely have e-waste disposal programs for certain devices, or find an e-waste recycling group.

4. Organize your kitchen storage.

If you think there’s already a science experiment happening to all the bottles and containers of food you have at the back of your kitchen cupboards or fridge, it’s time to bravely face them. An uncluttered kitchen makes for easier food prep. 

Imagine the possible counter space you’ll reclaim if you put away the toaster, food processor, or other kitchen appliances you don’t use regularly inside an accessible kitchen shelf. Or the fact that you don’t have to guess how long you haven’t used that Korean Pancake Mix you transferred into a jar. Make sure you always label your containers so you don’t play a guessing game next time you do a kitchen  cleanup. 

5. Check if it can be repaired.

In your decluttering, while you sort out your stuff to keep, donate, or throw, also check what you can have repaired before you toss them out. As Maan Agsalud shows us in the condo tour of her home, before buying new things, consider having them repaired

The sofa she already had was perfect for her space. “The structure was still pretty okay, it’s just that it needed an upgrade. I had to have it reupholstered,” she recalls. When it comes to large (and often expensive) items, best to appraise them if you can have them repaired to save on money and not add them to the landfill. 

6. Check what you can upcycle.

After decluttering your work area, kitchen, or other spaces in your home, you’ll have a pile of items you probably wouldn’t know what to do with. You may want to keep them for sentimental value (like a vintage piece of clothing from your lola that maybe has stained through the years) or because you don’t want to add your plastic items to the 350,000 tons of plastic waste from the Philippines every year.

Roma and Selia show us that you can upcycle some of the plastic containers you have at home. Jordinand Aguilon of Glorious Dias shares tips and ideas on how to rework vintage clothing. For his own vintage brand, Jordi makes earrings and even wall art with old Barong Tagalog.


Beyond old pieces of clothing, home items, or other knick knacks you want to finally say goodbye to or maybe transform, the new year is also a chance for us to look inward and assess what we need to declutter from our own lives. Do we rework our old habits to achieve a goal? Maybe we can re-examine our intentions to see which ones still serve us and which ones we should leave behind. Whatever answers you arrive at, we hope this new year will be free from whatever it is you no longer need in order to move forward. 

Words by Mabel David-Pilar 
Mabel has been a writer and editor for many publications, including shelter and food titles and a book on the most endangered Philippine trees. She spends most of her time writing, illustrating, stalking Common Room’s online shop, and making ferments. Together with her sisters, she co-created to celebrate fermenting in the Philippines.