With spring cleaning season still in full swing, we’ve been talking about organization and cleaning a lot lately. To help you figure out the decluttering process more easily, we’re doing a room-by-room ditch/donate walkthrough. If you feel like you’re drowning in “stuff,” make a commitment now to get rid of at least one item (or one type of item) in every room in your house. Remind yourself throughout your purge session that the things in your house are just that—things. What really matter are the people, pets, and memories that live there. This project shouldn’t take too long if you’re in one of those purging moods. If it’s harder for you to say goodbye to things, it might take you half a day or so to complete.
When it comes to cleaning and decluttering, we almost always start with the kitchen. This is where we tend to amass a lot of stuff, whether it’s kitchen tools and small appliances we never use or broken dishes we’re holding on to for sentimental reasons. Start by checking out the cabinet or drawer that holds all of your storage containers. Like most people, you probably have a few containers that are stained, cracked, or missing lids. Toss ’em. Next take stock of your small appliances and kitchen tools. Do you ever even use that garlic press? The pastry cutter? The toaster oven? If the answer is no, ditch it! The next one’s a bit harder. Take a look at all those cookbooks you’ve collected over the years. How often do you reach for them? If it’s not often at all, put them in the “donate” pile.
Beauty products tend to pile up and get lost in the depths of bathroom drawers and cabinets. Empty your storage areas and toss any products that are expired, discolored, or leaky. Make sure to get rid of expired sunscreen and medications too. Prescription medications (especially controlled substances) should be disposed of properly. Next, toss any old or broken brushes, combs, toothbrushes, and hair accessories. Then get rid of your rattiest, holiest towels.
Get rid of any clothing that doesn’t fit anymore or is uncomfortable. If you haven’t worn it in six months to a year (depending on seasons), donate it. Check your shoe collection next. Try them all on, and donate any that are no longer comfortable or relevant. Next, rifle through your jewelry box. Get rid of anything that’s broken and not worth fixing or just isn’t your taste anymore. If you have precious metals to get rid of and want to get a few dollars for them instead of just giving them away, try a shop that buys gold and silver. Then move on to one of the most overlooked spots in the bedroom: the nightstand. Check for old papers, wrappers, medicine bottles, and other pieces of clutter and trash or recycle them.
Play Room or Kids’ Room
If the kids aren’t good at letting old things go, you might have to do this one when they’re out of the house or at least otherwise occupied. Start with art supplies, tossing any broken crayons, dried-out markers and paints, and coloring books or drawing pads that are full. Get rid of toys that are broken or aren’t age-appropriate, puzzles that are missing pieces, stuffed animals that don’t get played with, and any books your kids have outgrown. Anything that hasn’t been played with in about three months should probably get the ol’ heave-ho. Find a children’s home or shelter that would enjoy giving them all a second life.
Toss old chargers, obsolete phones, outdated discs, dead batteries, dried-up pens, and mystery cords. Recycle old papers, receipts, and business cards. Decluttering your work area leads to a happier, more productive workday!
Garage or Shed
There’s pretty much a guarantee that there’s old paint, oil, or other chemicals lying around in your garage. If they’re past their prime, they’re just taking up valuable storage space. Learn how to dispose of these items properly. Move on to unused or broken tools and sports equipment. Deflated soccer balls? Gone. Rusty beach chairs? Out. Bikes that have been outgrown? Bye bye! Make a point to go through your seasonal decorations if you have time. Donate what you don’t love or haven’t used in a while.