Even for the most organized people, it is easy for clutter to take control of your home. There are always those things that seem to pile up (magazines, broken electronics, or clothes you haven’t worn in ages!) The space that you keep is a direct reflection of your mind space. If you have things in your house that you don’t use, they are taking up physical and mental space. Tossing them can help you to clear for the things that matter most to you. Here are some things that we see in our clients’ houses that are a great place to start purging. We know decluttering can be extremely overwhelming – so always remember we are here to help! Here are 30 things to toss today:
10/30 in the Kitchen
- Plastic Grocery Bags: You know not to throw them out, so you hold on to them in an ever-growing pile. Round them up and take them to a place that will recycle them for you. You could also use them as disposal for cat litter or doggie bags. It’s best to start using reusable bags for grocery shopping. (just make sure not to become a hoarder of these now as well!)
- Excess mugs: We give these as gifts all the time, you have more than you probably use. Pick a few of your favorites and toss the rest!
- Lidless Containers: just get rid of them. Any containers or lids that don’t have a match – toss into the stack of things to recycle!
- Takeout Menus: almost every single delivery place and restaurant have their menu online. You really don’t need the takeout menu shoved in that ever cluttered junk drawer!
- Plastic Utensils: Whether you’ve got extras from takeout orders or you have some from a party, ditch the plastic! It takes up space and is just horrible for the environment. In the long run, it’s going to be cost-effective for you to just switch to metal anyway (even for parties! You can always toss them in the dishwasher.)
- Open bottles: alcohol doesn’t stay good forever! Hard liquor has a shelf life of about two years (after that it starts to evaporate and change!) Red wine lasts about two weeks after opening, and white only lasts three days! Drink up.
- Expired Spices: your spices do eventually expire.
- Clean out your baking ingredients
- Here are some ways to organize spices in your cabinet, drawer, or pantry!
- Expired and Old Condiment Packets: You get enough packets for eight people when you order for two. Just throw them out. There is also no reason to have 10 different bottles of mustard. Check the expiration dates and toss any old bottles. Keep an overflow of extras in a nearby closet (or in your pantry if you have the room). This way, you always know what you have and what you need.
- Have a bunch of leftovers? Here’s how to keep them organized
- Damaged Dishes: Water can soak into a chip and cause bacteria to grow in your plates! Bigger cracks can also form when moisture gets into the cracks! Avoid donating these since they would still be a hazard to others, but just toss them in the trash.
- Novelty Appliances: If you have an InstaPot, you can ditch the pressure cooker and Crock-Pot. If you have any skillet, you don’t need a special appliance to make pancakes. Ask yourself the last time you used the appliance – if it’s over a year, toss it!
- Glasses With an Outdated Prescription: If the only thing wrong with your glasses is that they’re the wrong prescription, donate them! A person in need could be using them.
- Organizations like OneSight, Lion’s Club, or New Eyes, which take old glasses to distribute them to those in need. Glasses have different materials, so it can be hard to recycle them. Donation is a safe, and sustainable option. If you do have to dispose of them, however, make sure to separate the lenses from the frames. If you have aluminum frames, pull them apart for curbside recycling. Of course, make sure to double-check first by contacting your recycling center or local council.
- Old Toiletries: It’s time to ditch last year’s sunscreen (or however old that bottle with the label peeling off is!) since it loses its ability to work overtime. Similarly, you might not toss that ancient mascara because it was expensive, but using old eye makeup can lead to a nasty infection.
- Old Medication: We tend to hold onto these for fear of making a mistake of throwing out new pills, rather than a temptation to hold onto these for future maladies. The FDA has advice on what to flush. If not, they recommend tossing it by mixing in coffee grounds or old kitty litter and blacking out any info on your prescription bottles.
- It’s important to dispose of expired or unused medication as soon as possible to prevent others from accidentally taking or intentionally misusing them. To dispose of them safely, use this DEA Diversion Control Division search engine to find a certified disposal site near you (including some pharmacies). Your local law enforcement agency may also host periodic collection days. 30 30 30 30 30
- Old Towels: You can cut them up to use them as rags, or you can donate them to local animal shelters, who always are in need of these for bedding. 30 30 30 30
7/30 in the Office
- Old Cords: Technology becomes dates so quickly these days, it’s safe to say that you don’t need to hold onto your original iPod charger. Cords used to be kind of pricey, but with Amazon, you can get phone or tablet chargers for pretty cheap. Ditch those old ones you aren’t even sure work or are compatible anymore!
- Old Calendars: You really don’t need them. The second Jan 1 rolls around, ditch the old calendars.
- Product manuals: once you put your furniture together, you don’t need the manual. Ditch it with the box. For most electronics, you can find the manual on the internet.
- Old Receipts: unless it’s a tax-deductible purchase, you don’t need them. Make sure to throw these in the recycling and not the trash!
- Office Supplies: even with a lot of us working from home these days, are you really going to go through 30 post-it note pads? Keep a few and when you see you’re starting to run low, go grab some at the store. OR keep a drawer or container in a closet full of excess supplies. You really won’t need any more than that! Donate any extras to a school teacher or non-profit organization. Still have a bunch? Here’s how to use office supplies to help organize your home.
- Books: If you’ve read it and don’t reference it often, chances are you don’t need it. Host a book swap, find a Little Free Library or try to sell them at a ½ Priced Books for some extra cash (they will donate for you whatever they can’t take to resell!) Other options are donating to local schools, prisons, or shelters! There are also a lot of great organizations that have nationwide drop off locations (Better World Books, Books For Soldiers, and Books For Africa). You can also try selling them on sites like Amazon or BookScouter, especially if you have textbooks. If your books are beyond hope, rip out the pages, and recycle the paper.
- According to Earth911.com, you can recycle the entire book if it’s a paperback, but if you’re trying to dispose of a hardcover book, you’ll need to remove the cover binding before recycling them. If your book is wet (or if the papers are discolored), just toss them.
- Old Phones: You’ve upgraded, yet that old phone has languished in the junk drawer. Are you creating a museum of outdated tech? We didn’t think so. Here’s how to get rid of it.
- Before getting rid of your old cell phone, first, delete all of your personal information using a factory or hard reset option. (Check the manufacturer’s website for info on how). You’ll also want to remove or erase the SIM or SD card. Then you can trade-in, donate, or recycle your device — usually right at the store. For example, AT&T runs the charity Cell Phones for Soldiers that donate devices to troops overseas. You can also look for e-cycling locations in your area using this database, including private recyclers, nonprofits, and other programs.
- Unmatched Socks: Everyone has a sock drawer with at least a handful of single socks that lost their partner somewhere along the way. Maybe the laundry gnomes got to them, or maybe it was the family pet. Either way, the only reason to not toss single socks is to get crafty and repurpose them.
- Old Workout Gear: There’s no reason to get rid of perfectly good clothing or accessories, but athletic gear wears out faster. For example, replace your sports bras every six months. Running sneakers are good for about eight months. You can use yoga mats and water bottles for several years before it’s time to toss them.
- Big or Small clothes: Follow this rule of thumb: If it’s more than two sizes in any direction, chances are it’ll be out of style by the time it fits. Don’t let college-era clothes take up precious closet space (or brain space). Similarly, ditch anything you don’t feel great in, or isn’t comfortable! Shoes are a great example of this. They might be cute, but if they kill your feet – chances are you are always going to opt for a different pair.
- Wire and Plastic Hangers: We keep a few since they’re handy for random household use, but they stretch out clothes, so they’re not ideal for sweaters or shirts. Don’t worry, you can recycle them! While plastic is better than wire, they can stretch out your clothes! Donate them when you switch to velvet hangers for slippery items and wood hangers for jackets.
- CD Collections: There are arguments to make for hanging onto these, but anything that you don’t love can go straight to a thrift store. Anything you do love? Take a day to upload it to your computer.
- VHS Tapes and DVDs: The technology is phasing out. You don’t need to toss all of your favorites, but you could easily clear up some space in your house by dumping the movies that are available to stream. Don’t fall for that eBay urban legend that certain tapes command a ton of money. Many thrift stores refuse these donations, you can recycle your VHS tapes with e-waste.
- Dated Magazines: We give you permission to save a couple of prime vintage copies; otherwise, recycle the entire stack. If your collection goes back to include issues from the early ’00s and above, it might be worth putting issues up individually on eBay. Especially if you browse them for some hilariously outdated advice.
- Unused Craft Supplies: You heard that knitting can be great for de-stressing, so you threw yourself into it, but haven’t touched your supplies in months. Either you knit, or you don’t. If you’re leaning toward “you don’t,” donate these excess supplies to a local senior center.
- Here in the Kansas City area, take them to Scraps KC or a local elementary school!
- Dead Batteries: It’s such a tease when you need new batteries for the remote, and none from the junk drawer actually works. Don’t make yourself go through this experience ever again. Here’s how you can recycle batteries.
- You can recycle batteries of all types. According to Duracell, regular single-use alkaline batteries (such as ones that power our remotes) can safely go in the trash everywhere except California; however, a more eco-friendly way of disposal is to recycle them at community programs, workplaces, or nearby recycling centers that accept them.
- You should throw out rechargeable batteries (such as ones in cellphones and other electronics), as they may contain hazardous chemicals. To find a nearby recycling site for all types of batteries, be sure to check Call2Recycle and Earth911.com — and before you recycle them, make sure to place non-conductive clear tape over the ends or the terminals of the battery to ensure safe recycling.