One minute you have a sparkling clean house, and the next minute it’s overcrowded with stuff. Things. Junk.
To avoid becoming a candidate for a show like Hoarders, you’ll want to get rid of that unnecessary baggage that’s doing nothing but crowding your home. So, what should you get rid of first? And how do you make sure it stays away for good? Too much junk doesn’t just clutter your home; it ways down your mind. Here’s what you have too much of and need to get rid of now:
1. Utensils. Sure, utensils are useful and necessary, and it’s good to keep a few extras around in case of a
dinner party. But who said you need 30 forks and 8 spatulas? Donate the unnecessaries; if you really need more for a party, you can always buy plastic.
2. Cups/glasses/mugs. Like the extra utensils, you probably don’t need a plethora of cups. Their dense construct may make them hard to recycle or prevent recycling centers from taking them. Check if your local recycling center accepts them; if not, you can always donate.
3. Containers. Okay, so you need containers to store leftover food. But do you really keep 15 leftover dishes in your fridge at the same time? Plus, some of your leftovers may be missing lids, and there’s no point in keeping those.
4. Food. When’s the last time you went through your pantry? Expired, stale food should be tossed immediately. If you encounter anything you’re less likely to eat, search for recipes incorporating these items and cook a delicious “pantry clean out” meal.
5. Receipts. Keeping receipts is always useful if you want to return an item. But if that return window passed months ago, recycle the receipts.
6. Magazines/newspapers. We all know how it goes. “I’ll read it later,” we tell ourselves as we toss the magazine on the shelf. If you haven’t read it within 6 months, you’re probably not going to read it at all. Donate unused magazines to a nursing home, doctor’s office, or school. Don’t forget that you can read most magazines electronically.
7. Clothes. We hold on to old clothes for years because they come attached with special memories and we just can’t bear to get rid of them. But just think-if you get rid of clothes you’ve had for years, you can make room to buy new clothes! If you can’t bear to part with that adorable dress your daughter wore as a baby, hand it down to family and friends-or earn a little cash at a consignment store.
8. Hangers. Now that you’re getting rid of your old clothes, how about getting rid of those extra hangers? Donate them to a dry cleaner or a thrift store.
9. Electronics/gadgets. If you’re not going to need it, you don’t need to keep it. If it still works, try selling it at a garage sale or online. Make sure you recycle computers and printers at an E-waste collection site.
10. Medicine. Leftover pills not only crowd up your pantry, but they can be dangerous if your children access them. Look into disposal methods in your area; many communities offer drug disposal services. Do not flush medicine down the sink or toilet!
11. Toys. Fine, you can save a few toys for your grandkids. Otherwise, sell them at a garage sale or donate them to a thrift store. This is a great way to get older kids involved by having them pick out their old toys they’re willing to pass on to another child.
12. Linens/towels. Do you have more towels than you need? Do you have extra linens that don’t even fit the beds in your home? These are things you can easily donate or throw out.
13. Plastic garbage bags. They’re useful to keep around as trash can liners, to store food, and to wrap fragile items-but you probably don’t need as many as you have. Some grocery stores have recycle bins for plastic bags.
14. Makeup/beauty products. That ten-year-old lipstick, no-longer-dark mascara, and 20th lotion bottle just isn’t necessary. Throw away products that don’t work anymore, use up any half-used bottles, and give away products you’re not going to use to friends.
15. Books. There are so many places that take books: elementary schools, libraries, thrift stores, churches, and charities. Or donate them to another country that needs them through an international donation program.
16. Office supplies. First of all, go through all your pens and markers and throw out any that are dead. Next, see if you have any supplies you don’t use or that you have multiples of and sell, donate, or chuck them.
Getting rid of your extra stuff isn’t as difficult as you think. From recycling to giving to friends to donating to selling, you have plenty of environmentally-friendly options to put your old, used stuff into the right hands.