How 7 Organizers Refresh Their Homes for the New Year

Even experts change up systems and looks from time to time

organized pantry

NEAT by Meg

The new year is a perfect time for turning over a new leaf, taking charge of your health or home. This is the year you are finally going to get organized and live your best life. So what if your home is already clutter-free and functioning well for everyone? Professional organizers don’t have as high of a hurdle as many of us when it comes to getting a streamlined pantry or curated closets. That doesn’t mean their resolutions list is missing a line on organization! Here are a few things some home edit experts focus on when the calendar flips to January.

Holly Blakey walk-in closet

Holly Blakey / Breathing Room Organization

Holly Blakey Takes Inventory

“I am a huge fan of just simple inventory-taking. You can’t do it all at once. But I am talking about slowly carving out time once a weekend or swapping out your Netflix hour for inventory on one spot in your home. It’s important to tell people that even as a professional organizer, I am not spending my weekends organizing. It’s actually why people outsource organizing. You have to be gentle with yourself and create an organizing plan that is practical and sustainable.

“Get a sitter on a weekend and go through your closet with a friend; have fun with the process. People sometimes have a hard time letting go of things. Someone else is going to use the clothes you donate or sell so much more than you will, so why is it still sitting in your closet?

“Also, I keep up with my systems. As a mom with little kids, my systems change. When my kids are getting older, our routines change, so keeping up with the inventory of your home and reassessing systems is important.” - Holly Blakey of Breathing Room Organization

Erica Thompson kitchen

Erica Thompson

Erica Thompson Imagines She's Moving

“Every year I create the same mental challenge: I tell myself I’m moving soon. Once my brain flips to that concept, the editing process becomes so much more effortless! What would I get rid of if I needed to move? Are there any kitchen shelves I’ve ignored, clothes I could donate, too much of something I’ve accumulated over the year that could go? Organizing is a natural part of my day and a continuous part of my life. There’s always something on my mind that I know can be stored better, refreshed, or edited.

“Do my systems work? Sometimes they do and sometimes it makes sense to move things around, get new storage systems and get rid of or replace things that have seen better days. I make seasonally appropriate clothing more accessible and shop my own closet to rediscover what I already have and put together new looks.” — Erica Thompson of Organization by Design

Louisa Roberts laundry

Louisa Roberts

Louisa Roberts Starts Small

“Organizing is a natural part of my day and a continuous part of my life. There’s always something on my mind that I know can be stored better, refreshed, or edited. In the new year, I’ll start with a few small areas. Our lifestyles and preferences change over time, and I think it’s time to reorganize my books, linens, and bathroom vanity." — Louisa Roberts of NEAT Method New York City

Shira Gill closet

Reprinted from MINIMALISTA by Shira Gill. Photographs copyright © 2021 by Vivian Johnson.

Shira Gill Takes a Break from Buying

“Typically after the business of the holidays, with all the stuff coming in, I spend January doing a purchase pause and not bringing anything new into the house. For me, that has a much greater impact than cleaning. Everything you bring in to home, you have to clean and maintain and organize. I often challenge myself and clients to do that for a month and see how it feels. It is a way to rediscover things you love that aren’t getting used.

“I also do a big cleanout before holidays with my kids. I tell kids we have to make space for new things. One in, one out, because our house isn’t getting bigger. It’s easier to get them to let go when new things are coming in. We do a toy edit and donate toys and books and games, and I’ll clean out my whole pantry. By the time I get to the new year, my house feels like it’s ready for that fresh start. It's a gift I give myself ahead of time.” — Shira Gill of Shira Gill Home

Joanna Wirick pantry

Joanna Wirick

Joanna Wirick Reflects and Makes a Plan

“For me, the new year is a time of reflection and action. First, I look back at the organizing habits and systems I implemented over the past year to see what worked and what didn’t. I also think through the spaces that aren’t quite 100% and what I want to do differently in them.

“Second, I get specific on what I want to take action on. Although I’m already organized, each year brings new situations and rhythms. It may be a new home, the arrival of a little one, or a new job. Kids may be making the transition to middle school or high school which requires a whole new set of habits and routines for the family. Talk through these rhythms as a family and decide what needs to change, so everyone can stay as organized as possible. 

“So although I don’t set a broad organizing resolution, I definitely see the new year as a way to celebrate the previous year and to welcome all that’s to come.” — Joanna Wirick of Joanna Organize

Laura Cattano bathroom

Laura Cattano / Organizational Design

Laura Cattano Deep Cleans and Restyles

“Like a very clean person is always doing a little cleaning here and there in their home, as a naturally neat and organized person, I am always doing quick editing and reorganizing as things come in or out or if I feel like the space is slightly off energetically. 

“For the new year, I like to refresh my habits that may have been overlooked at the end of year (which is a very busy work time). I give my space a deeper clean, restyle shelves if needed and get back to the florist for fresh greens and flowers, which always brightens the space as well as my mood!” — Laura Cattano of Organizational Design

Meg Markland gardening tools

Meg Markland / Neat By Meg

Meg Markland Tosses What's Expired and Outgrown

“I already have all my organizational systems in place, but they always can use a refresh. For my bathroom, I usually toss any old makeup products and wipe down my drawer organizers. I love to empty out my refrigerator, throw out expired condiments (even organizers have the occasional expired condiment!) and wipe down the shelves. In my son’s room, I usually box up any outgrown clothes to send to my sister.” — Meg Markland of Neat by Meg