30 Things to Declutter This Weekend
Author Christina Scalise accurately describes clutter as "the physical manifestation of unmade decisions."
Clutter represents procrastination.
We think, "I'll put that away later." Or "I'll find a use for that later." We avoid determining whether to keep or discard, thinking "I'll decide later." Inertia takes over, and pretty soon our homes are full of clutter. The clutter feels overwhelming, so we put off tackling it, because the job seems impossible. That's more procrastination, making the situation even worse.
It doesn't have to be that way. You don't have to be so bogged down and mentally exhausted. Here are 30 things you can remove from your home right now.
8 Things to Remove from Your Kitchen
1. Plastic utensils
You already have proper silverware, so you don't need the plastic stuff cluttering your drawer. Take them to work and stash them in your desk to use with your packed lunch. And next time, ask the restaurant not to put them in your take-out bag.
2. Condiment packets
Simply buy bottles of ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or hot sauce and toss all of those little plastic packets. Next time, don't take them!
3. Expired pantry items
Herbs and spices lose their flavor over time, flours don't perform as well after being stored for a while, and most canned and packaged goods have a "use by" date. If you haven't used a pantry item for six months, consider tossing it (unopened, unexpired items can be donated).
4. Mismatched and warped food storage containers
Take out all of your containers and match each one to its top. If you find loners, or pieces that are warped or stained, recycle them if you can. If you wind up with fewer than a half dozen usable containers, invest in a half dozen new glass storage containers.
5. Extraneous mugs
It starts innocently. You buy a cute mug on vacation, or someone gives you one. Then one day your cupboard is buckling under 27 mugs. If you drink hot beverages, you really don't need more than a couple of mugs. If you live with others, or regularly have a friend over for coffee, you might double or triple that number. Donate the rest to a thrift store.
6. Specialty glassware
Yes, you drink a variety of liquids such as juice, water, or wine. No, you do not need a special glass for each beverage. Stemless wine glasses are a versatile, durable, and modern choice, or you could emulate a Parisian bistro with these tumblers (there are larger ones for iced tea or lemonade).
7. One-trick ponies
Gadgets that serve only one purpose waste space because you can't use them often. Examples include avocado and strawberry slicers, a garlic press, hamburger patty molds, herb scissors, and the turkey baster. If you rarely use an appliance such as a rice cooker, waffle iron, electric kettle, or pasta maker, why not donate it?
8. Kitchen sponges
Yuck! These havens for bacteria do not belong in anyone's home. Wash dishes and wipe counters with a washcloth. Change the cloth every day – your normal wash load will barely notice the addition.
8 Things to Remove from Your Office
1. Dead pens
Do I really have to say this? Apparently, yes.
2. Mystery power cords
Generally speaking, old power cords can't be used with newer devices. Identify the cords for your current computer, phone, tablet, etc. and toss the rest (or recycle with hazardous waste, if that's available in your community).
3. Old cell phones, computers, printers, etc.
There's no good reason to keep tech you aren't using. You may be able to sell these items; otherwise take them to your hazardous waste recycler.
4. Newspapers and magazines
Are you still getting newspapers? Recycle copies more than two days old, and recycle magazines that are more than two months old. If you're serious about re-reading an article or trying a recipe, clip it and file it – but toss files after one year! My late father-in-law had more than 60 boxes of deteriorating clippings.
5. Last year's calendar
If you need to transfer important dates from one year to the next, set a deadline of January 31 of the new year to complete that task.
6. Greeting cards
A few cards have sentimental value, with a heartfelt message handwritten inside. Most, however, are polite and generic birthday, holiday, or thank you cards that lose their significance minutes after they're read. Recycle them.
Some receipts should be saved, especially if they represent tax-deductible purchases, items with a warranty, or clothes you still need to try on. Otherwise, toss them.
8. Old craft supplies
Unless you're an avid crafter, you are likely the proud owner of a dried-out bottle of glue, a "color your way to calm" book that you used once two years ago, the colored pencils you bought to go with the book, and other miscellaneous items. Donated usable stuff to an elementary school teacher or a family homeless shelter.
7 Things to Remove from Your Dresser and Closet
1. Old eyeglasses
When you get a new pair of prescription glasses, donate the old pair immediately. Someone else could be using them.
2. Mismatched socks
Put a small basket in the corner of your sock drawer for orphans. If you haven't found a match after one month, either toss them or use them for dusting.
3. Torn, stained, and stretched-out undergarments
4. Accessories you no longer wear
Donate items you haven't worn in a while, and organize and store those you actually like and use.
5. Clothing that no longer fits
If you've been hanging on to something for years in hopes that you'll fit into it again, odds are it's no longer even in style.
6. Shoes you haven't worn in a couple of years
Shoes should fit well, feel good, and look good. If your shoes are badly worn or stretched-out, no one should wear them. Toss them. If they can be repaired, set a deadline and have the work done. If they were never comfortable, donate them.
7. Frayed or stained towels and bedding
Animal shelters are happy to accept donations of old linens.
7 Other Things to Remove Now
1. Old makeup
If your cosmetics have changed color or consistency, or lost their scent, it's time to get rid of them. If they're over a year old, trash them. Don't replace what you don't use.
2. Old medications
Check expiration dates, and contact your pharmacy for disposal information.
3. Last season's sunblock.
Sunblock degrades in quality over time. Dump it.
4. Unneeded remote controls
Everything comes with a remote these days: iPod speakers, ceiling fans, battery-powered candles. If you don't use it, it belongs in hazardous waste recycling.
5. VHS and cassette tapes
If you have old tapes with content you love, but no machine on which to play them, have the contents converted to a digital format. Toss the tapes.
6. Product manuals
Manuals are useful, but today most manuals and troubleshooting suggestions are available online.
7. The clutter in your car
Trash old coffee cups, receipts, and used Kleenex. Recycle empty drink bottles. Put toys and reusable tote bags where they belong. Drop off or return the items that have been sitting in the car for drop off or return since last whenever.
Photo by Birgit Loit on Unsplash