8 Lifestyle Tips For Starting Over Fresh

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smiling woman at home

Are you ready to learn how to start over in life?

With the holiday hubbub and recent political upheval behind us, you might have had enough chaos for a lifetime. 

So, take this moment as an opportunity to do a few things you rarely take the time for — things that will help you get organized, simplify your workload, and become more productive.

Say good-bye to last year and get ready to face this new year with a clean slate.

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The first step in learning how to start over in life, you must declutter and refresh your physical space.

1. Create a donate, discard, and recycle zone.

Many people experience a fierce desire to declutter, organize, or reorganize and refresh their spaces when January comes.

In The Minimalist Home, Joshua Becker says, "Never organize what you can discard." Even if you're not pursuing a life of minimalism, chances are, you have things that are no longer meaningful or useful to you.

A professional organizer will often set up a series of boxes for you labeled "donate, discard, or recycle." These are the building blocks of a "purge zone," which will help you as you go about your own home edit.

Make good use of all those shipping boxes by lining them up in a little-used room or space. For me, it’s the dining room.

Start looking at your rooms with a critical eye. When you see something that’s broken or no longer of use to you, put it in one of those boxes.

Have one (or more) for recycling, one for donation, and one for giving things away. As they get full, make a plan to take them to their next destination — out of your house.

Create this space this week and you’re ready for your January project.

2. Review your work-from-home setup.

It’s been over 10 months now since many of us started working from home full-time. Since this may continue for a while, maybe it’s finally time to perfect your setup.

Take this week to take stock of that space and think of ways to make it work better for you.

Is your chair comfortable? How’s your zoom background? What about a second monitor?

Improving your space can improve your productivity.

3. Be your own real-estate agent.

Imagine you were putting your house on the market. What might you need to do to get it ready to sell?

Walk from room to room with a pen and paper and write down what you might need or want to do in each room.

Purge out the hall closet? Paint the bathroom? Fix a broken light fixture?

This can be a roadmap to household projects for the new year and beyond, whether you're moving or not.

The second step to starting over is to declutter and refresh your digital world.

1. Clean out your inbox.

With all the online shopping, you probably find yourself with increased inbox clutter. You may not make it to inbox zero, but you can get a little closer if you take a little time to delete and unsubscribe.

If you're a Gmail user, you can use their handy "unsubscribe" feature built right into some messages.

You can also use a service like, which will suck up all that marketing emails into one place for you to mass-unsubscribe. Or if you prefer, collect all of them into a single email you can look at when you are ready.

(Beware: sometimes creates conflicts in Gmail. If you notice any important emails going into the trash while using it, consider uninstalling it.)

For mass-deleting, use the power of search. Type in those companies you hear from constantly in the search bar, then select all, and delete.

Your productivity and focus can really be improved without all the distractions of junk mail.

2. Clean out your phone.

Clutter builds up in cellphones, too. Give yours a little clean-up by deleting apps you don’t use.

Delete screenshots and other photos that you only needed once.

Maybe change your background or lock-screen photo to something new that makes you smile.

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3. Manage your passwords.

If you use a password manager, this is a good time to download and print all those passwords onto a good old piece of paper and put it in a safe place. Most have this option.

If you don’t use a password manager, maybe it’s time to try one. I can’t live without mine.

The last step to start over in life is by refreshing your inner world.

1. Do a "brain dump."

Get a legal pad, open a doc, or grab a stack of index cards, and just empty out all the things rattling around in your brain — projects, goals, big ideas, small ideas, unfinished business, five-year plans, friends you’d like to reconnect with, incomplete projects, etc.

No dump item is too big or too small. Don’t judge yourself or feel like you have to take immediate action on any of it.

This is a powerful exercise that will not only clear your head, but open your eyes to things that are important to you and allow you to look ahead.

You might be surprised at how relaxed and inspiring this activity might be.

2. Look back, and then look ahead.

Take a minute: What did you hope to do last year that you didn’t or weren't able to accomplish?

Whether you just didn’t get around to it or COVID got in your way, forgive yourself and ask if that's something you still want to accomplish. If so, what’s the very first step you need to take?

Try one or two or all of these suggestions this week, and maybe when life churns back into full steam, you will be ready.

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Anne Lyons is a professional organizer and productivity consultant who wants to help you put your life in order. For more information on how she can help you, reach out to her at her website. January is Get Organized and Be Productive Month, a.k.a., GOMonth. 

This article was originally published at Step1Organizing. Reprinted with permission from the author.