Letting go of stuff you’ve fondly collected over the years may be hard to do, but a quick and dirty purge can help to kick clutter to the curb… sooner rather than later. Jumpstart your clean up by getting rid of stuff you’ve just been too lazy to trash. Leave the feel-good items like the Valentine’s Day poster your son made for you when he was in kindergarten and the “I-might-need-it-one-day” clutter like the collection of wine glasses you got for a steal for later.
- Junk mail/old newspapers/outdated magazines
This is a no-brainer, if it doesn’t serve a purpose, get rid of it. Why would you want take up value space in your home with trash?
And if that’s not enough to get you clearing out, fire officials warn that old newspapers, magazines, mail, and cardboard are fire hazards. Add to that the fact that a pile up of papers is an invitation to rats and other unwanted critters.
- Expired coupons and gift certificates. If they’re expired, you can’t use them anymore. This is straight up garbage. Get rid of them.
- Old books, old textbooks and encyclopaedias. Your great grandpa may have envisioned the education of future generations when he paid a handsome price to the encyclopaedia salesman who knocked on his door but, honestly, do kids these days even recognize the word encyclopaedia? Plus, the information is likely outdated and in the 21st century people Google what they want to know.
As for those old books and textbooks, if some day in the unforeseen future you get the itch to re-read any of them, hit up your local library, get an e-reader, or download it online.
Recycling bin and second bookstores await these oldies.
- Coat hangers from the dry cleaners. Please, for the love of all things environmental, gather and return them to your dry cleaner who will likely be thrilled to accept and reuse them.
- Mismatched, scratchy sheets that have long lost their thread count. Why, why, why are they taking up space in your linen closet? They are ugly, you no longer put them on your bed so use them for the dog bed or as drop cloths for your big “touch-up the paint on the walls party”.
- Useless pieces of kitchenware — old pots and pans, outdated appliances or that weird wiry thing you’ve never been able to identify.
- Old paint that matches your walls. You know, the old paint you’re hanging on to “in case” you ever need to do touch-ups. If you must, keep a tiny container of the paint so that you can take it to the paint store in case you ever need to do touch-ups.
- Old cell phones, batteries, battery chargers, and cable/ac adaptors. Take them to a Home Depot or Best Buy store for toxic recycling. Don’t worry about them crank calling Granny in Florida.
Local organizations like credit unions and supermarkets sometimes have time limited programs that will allow you to turn in items like old batteries. In turn, they donate the money earned from recycling the objects to various charities. Also check with recycling organizations in your area on how to dispose of these items.
- Travel-size soap, shampoo and other articles that people you’ve collected from hotel rooms over the years. Notice how you never use them? If you’ve been hanging on to them for years, ditch them now. If you must, make a small basket of a handful of things you might put in guest bathroom/bedroom or in your travel kit.
- Unloved DVDs, CDs, or VHS tapes that you haven’t listened to or watched in years. Who are you kidding? Chances are you’ll never get around to watching or listening to these oldies again. And, if you do get an itch to reminisce, turn to the Internet.
If they still work, donate them to your local library or school if the content is relevant. Donate them to an organization like Goodwill or the Salvation Army or dispose of them through recycling programs in your community that accept electronics and electronics-related items.