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Go minimal

Minimalism is the rage right now, and for good reason. Less clutter is good for the mind

I'm not talking about going crazy and getting rid of all your stuff, but decluttering this new year can give you a fresh start for 2019. Here are some ways to get started.

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Cut the cord

We all love our tech, but some of us have an obsession with keeping old tech that has no use anymore... like cords. If you can't find the device a cord goes to, toss it. For some more specific advice, check out 10 old cables you should keep around (and six to toss).

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Make room in your entertainment center

Ask yourself, do you really need that cable or satellite box taking up space in your entertainment center? Here are some tips on making the move to streaming services.

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Shred the records

It's time to shred and toss those receipts and documents you used to file old returns. You've probably heard that old saying that you should keep all your paperwork for seven years. For many, that's incorrect. 

According to the IRS, three years is long enough. The exception is if you file "a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction." That's the only time you would keep your paperwork for seven years.

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And the bills

Shred those old bills, too. If you really want to keep a copy, use a searchable scanner to make digital copies of everything. Then, turn on the e-bill option on your billing accounts so you don't get any more paper bills.

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Sort holiday items

Many people wait until after New Year's to put away their holiday decorations. If you're one of them, great! Go through everything and toss anemic-looking wreaths, tangled tinsel, broken ornaments and tattered tablecloths. 

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Pare down kitchen items

Over the years, you can get overrun with extra cups, water bottles and plastic storage containers in the kitchen. Go through and pare everything down to what you need and donate the rest.

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Consolidate gadgets

This goes for kitchen gadgets, too. For example, there's probably no reason to have a slow cooker and a rice maker if you have an Instant Pot. Donate the extras or give them to friends.

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Declutter your book shelves

I love books, don't get me wrong, but if you're running out of space, then it's time to purge. Pack up the books that people have gifted you and you'll never read. Then donate them to your local public library, add them to a neighborhood lending library or sell them on eBay.

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Donate furniture

Many people believe that you need to fill up each room to make it cozy, but too much stuff can just end up making a space less useful. 

Chances are, you could probably do well with less furniture in your house. Go through each room and ask yourself if you really need that side table or that beat-up chair. Is that credenza really necessary? Then, call your local charity and schedule a time to pick up all of your extra furniture. 

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Ditch the junk drawer

Most of us have a drawer somewhere in our home where we put random things. In my area of the country we call this a junk drawer. 

It's time to deal with the drawer. Rule of thumb? Throw out anything you haven't used in a year. 

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Toss condiment packets

The same goes for your condiment packet drawer (ya, I know you have one). Any sticky, corroded or discolored packet needs to get tossed. It's probably expired.

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Cull games

I love board games, but if they're missing pieces, either replace the pieces or toss them.

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Organize your console games

Don't overlook your console games. Ditch the broken controllers, cords and accessories. 

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Rein in the bathroom stuff

Go through your bathroom and toss anything that's expired or that you haven't used in a year. Here are 20 ways to declutter your bathroom.  

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Declutter the closet

Don't forget to tackle the closets, too. Here's your guide to cleaning out a closet in an afternoon.

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