Clutter tends to sneak up on you. Many of us wake up one day and realize we have too much stuff: that the basement or attic has gradually filled up with things we don’t need. In fact, finance bloggers have long spoken about the drawbacks of having too much stuff.

This might be the perfect time to get rid off stuff you don’t need, and start 2012 with a clean slate — or at least a clean closet.

Your first step should be deciding what to get rid of, and whether to sell it, donate it, or throw it away. The trash should be your last resort; selling and donating your items have financial and environmental benefits. Donating your things to charity comes with tax benefits— just be sure to keep good records of what you donate, and remember to ask for receipts.

And as Bargaineering points out, don’t forget about anything you may keep in a rented storage space. Not only can you make money or get a tax break on those items, but getting rid of what you’re storing can help you get rid of that monthly storage bill.

How do you reduce clutter in your house? Do you tend to sell, donate, or throw away these items before year-end?