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Starting small is first step for cleaning house in the new year

The new year brings a new start, but experts say it's important to not try to do it all at once.

INDIANAPOLIS — From the garage to the pantry to the closet and the bathroom, many of us could use a hand getting the clutter under control in the new year.

Sometimes, getting started is the hardest part. So here are a few suggestions to help you out.

"The new year is a great time to consider de-cluttering your home. The best way to be successful is to start with one small area of your home, get that in tip-top shape, and that'll give you the motivation to tackle other areas," said Angie Hicks. co-founder of Angie's List.

Organizing experts agree with Angie, suggesting you start small to avoid getting in over your head.

"I always say if it's overwhelming, start small. Start with a drawer or a cupboard. Don't tackle those boxes of memories that you've been collecting of your kids for the last 18 years. That is generally the very last project that I would do because everything has an emotional tie," said Maria Baer, owner of Baer Essentials Home Organization.

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

To set yourself up for success, start with a spot where the items themselves will indicate whether they should be kept or tossed.

"Pantries are a great spot to start because things expire. Check those expiration dates, pitch anything that is past its prime and when you're wanting to get started with an organizing project, take everything out of the space," Baer said. "Literally everything. Wipe it all clean, start with that clean slate and determine what really deserves to be back in that space and, like I said, donate things, pitch things that no longer make sense for your lifestyle or where you're at."

Then, when you're ready to start filling the space back up be sure to do so with thoughtful intention.

"Final piece of advice is shop for containers last, once you know what is going back in that space," Baer said.

Seeing an organized and uncluttered finished product can give you the satisfaction and confidence to keep going. But you may still come across spaces that are too overwhelming to organize. In that case, don't be afraid to call in the pros to help you out.