Declutter to Destress


A New Year brings the opportunity for a fresh start, not only in regards to our health but also our environment.  Take a look around your home; is it just overflowing with stuff? As New Yorkers, we know the value of real estate so why do we fill it up with clutter?  Here are a few decluttering techniques that will help you destress for the New Year.

Start in the kitchen! 

  • Go by the expiration date, not the sell by date to decide whether or not to toss those goods.  The sell by date is a marker for grocers to keep track of their perishable inventory and the expiration date is for you to know when it might be time to discard an item.
  • Did you know that spices lose their flavor over time? Because many spices contain essential oils, they can also go rancid. 
  • Next clean out your fridge – out with the mold and in with the new! Just remember to keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible in order to preserve energy and retain the cool air that promotes food safety.
  • Now that you’ve created some space, rearrange your kitchen for a more fluid cooking experience. Are your measuring tools easily accessible? This will help with portion control. When it’s time to restock your fridge and pantry, make sure to store the fruits and crudités front and center, and hide the junk food in hard to reach places.  If you have to get out your step stool to get those cookies you are more likely to opt for the easy to reach fresh berries. 
  • Want to really save space and reach your health goals, do away with all bottled and canned single serve beverages like soda and juice and fill up that Brita with all natural zero calorie water. 

Small changes like these can make a big difference in influencing better choices. Consider how much more likely you’ll be to make a home-cooked meal versus ordering in (again) if your kitchen is clean, orderly and chock full of delicious natural foods. 

Most people make New Year’s resolutions about their future selves but hang on to the past by hoarding clothing they haven’t been able to fit into since high school, which is-let’s be honest-kind of cruel. In The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin, the author started her happiness journey by giving away all those clothes that made her morning dressing routine such a headache! Separate your clothing into three categories: keep, donate, and toss.  Keep anything that makes you feel great, donate anything that is way too small or way too big, inappropriate for your lifestyle, or that you have not worn in over one year.  Holding on to clothing that is either way too big or way too small can really mess with our minds, “Maybe one day I will fit back into my jeans from high school”, “Maybe I will gain all the weight back and need my larger clothing”.  Do away with those clothes and mind games.  Take a look at your workout wardrobe.  Do you have holes in your sneakers, tears in those running pants- it might be time to say good-bye.  And for upcyclers, you can turn clothing from the toss pile into cleaning rags.  

Isn’t this liberating? Up for more? Here are a few other areas that could use a nice decluttering: your inbox (email and mail), book shelves, bathroom, work space, tools, cabinets and storage space.  Whenever possible, donate rather than toss. 

Declutering not only frees up your space but also your mind, allowing you to focus and devote energy to the goals you want to achieve in the New Year. Without stuff that just gets in the way, you will be better able to assess and plan for your next challenge. Free your mind and your body! 

Co-Written by Debi Zvi RD, CDN & Alanna Cabrero, RD, CDN

Photographed by Debi Zvi 

Edited by the Tamara Cabrero