10 Cleaning & Tidying Tips For the New Year


I am such a freshening up mood right now. Unlike last year where I let our pine garland hang around for awhile, it’s now down and things are looking fresh again. Although winter is undoubtedly the perfect time to hibernate and neglect some of your usual cleaning rhythms given that everyone and everything moves a bit slower, it does feel wonderful to do a few things to refresh your home for the new year. There are ways you can simplify and clean right now to help better suit your living space with your needs, so when you are home you feel inspired, grounded, and comforted. Here are ten tips to help you do this:


  1. 30 Minute Toss: Challenge yourself to set your timer for 30 minutes a day for one whole week to declutter and toss things you no longer need or use. Setting a timer makes this task a little less daunting because you are all done for the day once you hear the ding! Go through closets, medicine cabinets, cupboards, your craft areas, and places that end up being catch-alls for papers and junk. Take a big trash bag around and gather, gather, gather. Then take said bag to an open space like your living room floor and further sort what you’ve gathered into three bins. Store the bins in your garage or out of the way, and then each time your do your 30 minute toss for the week bring them out so you can sort. At the end of the week take your donation items to the thrift store, get rid of trash objects, and recycle everything else.
  2. Manage Your Dust Situation: If you have an old home like ours, you know very well how quickly dust can accumulate. Despite the lovely filters on IG, dust bunnies are everywhere in our home. Now is a great time to do a good sweep under things you normally do not get to like the heavier furniture. It is also a great time to following to help manage your dust situation: vacuum dryer vents, vacuum furniture bottoms, clean ceiling fan blades and light fixtures, clean out your fireplace, and replace air filters if needed.
  3. Set Up a Donation Bin: Set up a donation bin somewhere in your home for items to go that no longer fit. I am sure you could gather several things off the top of your head right now that you don’t regard as essential. Go get them and start a new habit. We have our donation bin in the linen closet on our second floor. I only hang onto children’s clothing that I love dearly, and everything else gets sent to the thrift store when the kids outgrow something. The same goes for toys, various household objects, and clothing I no longer wear. Having a bin in place makes this practice easy when I come across something I want to get rid of. When the bin is full, donate!
  4. Wood Conditioning: This time of year means dry and cracked everything, wooden spoons, cutting boards, butcher block, and furniture included. You can make this homemade wood butter (it’s just two ingredients) and go to town on anything that needs a good conditioning. It’s important to take care of the things we invest in so they last and keep working for us.
  5. Rearrange Your Furniture: As a chronic re-arranger, this is a fun one for me. What better time then at the start of a new year to rearrange your furniture to make your living spaces feel new and refreshed? Move a bed against a new wall, swap arm chairs, move your TV to another room (or get rid of it altogether!), create a play nook, and move little things around to make them look and feel renewed. If you are limited on space and your options small concerning big furniture, swap around smaller things like baskets, accessories, books, and wall photos etc. to create a different look and feel. Switching out bedding is a great example of a small change that can really affect the vibe of the whole room. You don’t necessarily need to move the big furniture, but if you can, go for it.
  6. Make a Creative Space to Unplug: I think every home should have a little nook where one can unplug and read or write without the tug of technology,  however podcasts and music being A-OK in my book. My quiet space is in our bedroom underneath a big old window for natural light. My desk fits right in there like it was always meant to be. Sometimes I sew, write notes, dig into my planner, journal, write this blog, whatever it is that helps inspire me outside of the fray of motherhood. Our home is my office so to speak, and it makes a big difference having a place of my own to just be if needed.
  7. Declutter the Entryway: Coming home should feel like a breath of fresh air, not a messy clutter fest. Invest in a few small baskets to house mittens and scarves and boots for the winter season, then hang only the essential coats on your racks. Put the rest of the coats and snow pants elsewhere, like a bottom drawer upstairs to get to if you really need them. If you have an entryway closest wonderful! Use that. If not, make the space that welcomes you home just that, welcoming. Add a candle, put some dried flowers in a vase, and keep a hook or two free. Try to keep this area an inviting one that is clutter-free.
  8. Pantry Clean Out: If you haven’t used it in a year, toss. Start the year with clean cupboards by wiping them down making everything visible so you know what you have on hand before buying nonessentials at the market. If there is food you have not opened but do not plan on using take it to shelter or a local food pantry. This would be a wonderful act of service to do with your little ones.
  9. Set Up Food Delivery: Food delivery is a simple way you can cut out a lot of stress during your week so why not take advantage of what’s out there in your local community!? Our family gets a weekly delivery from Shatto with local staples like bread, milk, cream, butter, chicken, bacon, and eggs. By using their delivery system we are supporting local farms and families that are dedicated to providing consumers with organic, wholesome food. If you live in the Kansas City area, I would check it out. I have also used Hy-Vee online delivery for pantry items and various CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for seasonal items like fruits and vegetables from local farms in the growing months. Here is a link to all the wonderful CSAs in the KC area. Some great options out there are Door to Door Organics is a great food delivery option too! With a little research, you too can save time and reduce stress by getting local food products delivered to your front door.
  10. Essential Oil Sanitization: Now more than any other time of year is it important to get rid of germs in your home. Clear the surfaces of your home and spray them with a essential oil based cleaner, my go-to is Thieves essential oil. Wipe everything down. Thieves oil a staple in our home and the concentrated cleaner is what I use in lieu of harmful chemicals when cleaning and sanitizing. It is a blend of rosemary, clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and smells just as wonderful as it cleans. You can treat your all-purpose cleaner like sanitizer spray as well and get the door handles, the air, furniture, and toys without having to worry about it being harmful for your little ones. I add one capful of concentrated cleaner to  my amber spray bottle and fill the rest with water. Sometimes I’ll add a few other drops of essential oils like citrus or lavender depending on the scent I want, but thieves alone is really great. Here is more information on thieves oil, if interested in learning about it.

There you are! 10 things you can do this week or month to help you feel renewed and refreshed at home for the new year. Do you do any of these things already? What simple things are you planning on implementing into your daily rhythms and routines at home to help you out this year?


  • Janet Morgan - I already try to keep the entryway to our home tidy with baskets and the beautiful wrought iron wall wracks my husband makes, but I realized after reading this that it still feels messy a lot because too much ends up hanging up at one time. We have four children ( going on five!), and so this happens pretty easily, but I think we can still pare it down enough to make a big difference.
    Thanks for the inspiration!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Janet, the same happens to us and our hooks and it drives me nuts so I just give each of us a hook with one coat and call it good, that way when you walk in it’s not crazy overwhelming. And congrats on FIVE! Woo! x AmandaReplyCancel

  • Kristina - My goodness. Every time I read one of your posts I literally feel refreshed and motivated with new ideas to clean my home! Donation bin?! Why have I never thought of something so simple?! We usually do 30 minute powercleans, but I hate the rushness (is that a word?!) of it. I feel like everything just gets shoved into drawers and closets with no organization whatsoever so that there is the “appearance” of clean. Thirty minutes to exclusively sort said spaces is genius! Truly, your posts help me regain my sanity in what feels like a never-ending world of to-do lists. THANK YOU!!ReplyCancel

    • Eda - Haha, same here! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • admin - Kristina, thank you so much for sharing this with me! I am so glad to have helped in some way because I know just how crazy the sorting and decluttering can be. Sometimes just someone offering a simple but different solution to problems we encounter all the time can really make a huge difference. Andrew does this all the time with parenting! I’ll be like, why is this so hard for me and he will suggest another way to do something and boom! SO much better. I love that this space inspires and I thank you for not only stopping by to read but to comment as well. Happy New Year, dear! x AmandaReplyCancel

  • Eda - Dear Amanda
    Thank you for this post, I always love to read about your ideas on simplifying. I will make sure to try some of the things you listed. You mentioned the medicine cabinet and the craft area – do you still plan on doing blogposts on these topics? You mentioned them a few weeks back on ig i guess. I would love to see how you stay organized in these areas – and what you actually keep in them. Mostly because I want to transition our medicine cabinet into a more natural one. Happy new year from beautiful and sunny Bern, EdaReplyCancel

    • admin - Eda, the topic of simplifying is so fun for me to write about and I love that it inspires you. I have a little list of areas that get crazy and how we simplify them at home, those two being ones for sure. Our medicine cabinet is very, very simple and it makes things so much easier when we need to find something. I am going to be sharing those along with the dreaded junk drawer, closets, and how we keep on top of laundry areas. Our laundry is in the basement and is NOT pretty but I am going to share that anyway. And thank you for the reminder on sharing these things, you can look for them this later Winter or Early Spring! x AmandaReplyCancel

  • Flora - What a helpful post! I often read these posts around this time of year (and in spring, for spring cleaning) and I’m often left feeling a bit uninspired because the content is so samey-samey. But not this time. Your suggestions are genuinely useful, and varied too.

    I’m going to start by implementing your first time – using a 30 minute timer. I think I fail to clean/organise sometimes because I try do to the entire house at once, and what you’ve said about not being intimidate by doing it in small chunks like this really rings true. I’m actually looking forward to getting the bin bags at the ready tonight, thank you!


  • Elizabeth - Absolutely feeling like this this year. In years past I have been one to let the Christmas decor linger to try to hold on to the spirit, but this year I was over the clutter of Christmas a few days after the 25th. My husband is a teacher and had the week between Christmas and New Year off so we decluttered and cleaned all week. It felt amazing and so refreshing! I have started to get very good at purging and tossing unused items. Something about being home all day with little ones just makes you want to have less to worry about, less to steal your attention away from watching them grow. One thing I am struggling with and was wondering if you and/or others could chime in on what they do. I have pretty much been pregnant and/or nursing for the last 4 1/2 years. I have items of clothing that haven’t seen the light of day in years purely because I don’t fit into them pregnant or they are difficult to nurse in. There is nothing wrong with them, some of them I like, none that I am in love with. So do I hold onto them for the “someday” day when I will be able to wear them or pitch because what are the odds of wanting to wear something that is 5, 6, 7 years old when the time comes? My thrifty German upbringing is butting heads with my minimalistic nature, haha. Happy New Year to you and yours!!!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Elizabeth, I too have thrifty German roots haha. My grandmother holds onto EVERYTHING and I have a tendency to want to do the same with certain things like you. Happy New Year to you, too! x AmandaReplyCancel

    • Joann @ Woman In Real Life - Elizabeth, I work from home now but I still have kept some of my “office” clothes. I don’t love them but I won’t be able to start over completely if I go back to the workplace. So I put them in a couple of rectangular lined baskets on the top shelf of my closet (stacked on each other) so they aren’t taking up space on my hangers. Maybe you could toss some and keep your faves?ReplyCancel

  • Larissa Kelsey - HI Amanda! I need your help – my daughter had the stomach bug last week, then I got it yesterday, and today it seems as though she’s coming down with it again. She has different symptoms than the first time, but now I’m on cleaning mode! My friend said to use bleach, but know you use a cleaner with vinegar. I’d prefer to use something with vinegar as the fumes aren’t so strong in the house. Should I add anything to this to help combat these germs? Thieves? Tea tree oil? Any help would be appreciated. We also have a diffuser, so if you think we should add something to that let me know! Thanks in advance!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Larissa, diffuse thieves! I make a cleaner with 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 distilled water and then some thieves. You can use lemon too but I’d start with the good stuff to kill germs. If you have a steam mop, put some of that oil on the pad and clean your floors. Tea tree is good too. I’d wash all bedding and put a few drops of thieves in the compartment with the detergent too. Adding any anti-germ oils is beneficial. Clove is a good one too! Good luck mama. x AmandaReplyCancel

  • Hayley - Thanks for the tips! I was feeling a little humdrum after being inside all week because of the super cold temps, but now I’m excited to get to work on the house tomorrow during naps!

    I’d love to see a post sometime on how you approach your kids’ wardrobes (and your own). We’re trying to keep it simple here, and only hang onto the things we love & use – and attempting to keep most of the basics gender neutral so we can use them for future babes – but in an old house with hardly any storage, I still feel like we’ll be buried alive in a mountain of off-season and outgrown clothing!ReplyCancel

    • admin - Hayley, good idea. Our wardrobes are really simple to make things easier to find. The boys have a dresser and Stella hangs everything but pants. I have one small closet for hanging and then a few dresser drawers. I think if you haven’t worn it in a year, donate. Have fun sorting! x AmandaReplyCancel

  • Joann @ Woman In Real Life - I like your idea of putting a concentrated cleaner in a spray bottle with water! I usually use vinegar and water for counters and tables, but that would be good for a change.ReplyCancel

  • Allison - I am 100% in this zone with you. In Austin, spring kind of starts in January (which I realize it completely rude to mention to a Midwesterner…sorry). Everything feels ready for a fresh start. PS, I have lavender envy. Just yesterday I tried to find a bunch or two at Whole Foods and Trader Joes’s to no avail. So lovely!ReplyCancel

  • Eco-Conscious Cleaning and Home Care » Homesong - […] Cleaning and Tidying Tips […]ReplyCancel

  • karla - Hi Amanda. I love your blog and you inspired me so much. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and life.I am going to make my own cleaning products following your recipes, but when you say you add one capful of concentrated cleaner, which recipe do you mean?ReplyCancel

  • Aika - Great cleaning tips! I find this really helpful since I always love to see my surroundings clean, especially my room. I will try the 30-minute toss because I usually spend more than five hours decluttering and cleaning my room.ReplyCancel

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