It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you live, or who you live with. We all want a tidier home, and even more so, a home free of clutter. But how?
One quick Google search, and you’ll find a million tips and tricks that practically promise to get rid of the excess that is bursting from your homes once-and-for-all.
This recent surge in minimalism and living could be largely influenced by Marie Kondo, the Japanese master of tidiness. She swept so many stressed-out homeowners off of their feet with her 2014 bestseller, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. A woman who mixes minimalism with meaningfulness, many took her strict (and a bit kooky) advice for paring down their homes. I did. I folded my tee shirts so that I could see them all, I organized one room at a time, I did everything she told me to, except the part where she instructed me to roll my socks up like sushi — that I just couldn’t get into.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a pretty tidy person to begin with. But I’m also a lifetime member of the I’m So Overwhelmed I Don’t Know Where To Begin Club. And that means that I need small and achievable goals to get me started on any big project. I go to the grocery store and buy lots of food to cook for the week, and then make toast for dinner because who can decide when you have so many choices? (Most people, I realize)
The whole point is, you can get a lot accomplished by starting with a little. I wanted to get rid of all of the excess in my home, and so I took some time to figure out where all of my extra “stuff” that I accumulate comes from. And then I came up with this list, a general rundown of the things I pitched, and why you should too.
You really can get rid of a lot with just a little help, I know it! And while you’re doing all of this life-changing decluttering, remember that one person’s trash really can be another’s treasure, so go ahead and donate things, too.
5 Things You Can Easily Get Rid Today
Things that are expired
In your fridge and pantry, yes. But also in your hall closet, on your coffee table, and in your junk drawers. Face it, if you haven’t carried over birthdays and important dates on your new calendar by the end of January, it’s time to toss last year’s calendar. Also, If you’re anything like me, you get confused over what to do with batteries and end up keeping them for far longer than they ever worked in the first place (Hint: Take them to a local recycling facility).
Magazines. Keep your living room from looking like a waiting room and toss your magazines after a couple of months. And if you haven’t read them by then, you may want to consider unsubscribing. If you can’t bear to say goodbye, an e-subscription might be a smart way to go.
This seems completely obvious, right? And yet so many of us have multiples of things that we certainly only need one of. Now, there is a difference when these items have individual purposes; I have a pair of kitchen-only shears, as well as scissors that I use for arts and crafts and other non-food tasks. This makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that my mom has three Swiffers. Three!
After all, how many sets of sheets do you really need for the guest room? Probably not five. A couple things I found myself seeing double vision of included: shower heads, bike pumps, and ice trays. I had five ice trays, even though I have an ice maker.
Things you haven’t used in the last year
It’s true. If you haven’t used it in any of the past four seasons, you probably don’t need it. When it comes to decluttering your closet, many organizational gurus suggest this very useful technique: turn your hangers the opposite way on the rack. When you wear something, set the hanger back the correct way. At the end of the year (or season — no reason to let a turtleneck hang there all summer), the still-backwards hangers are the items that aren’t serving you a purpose anymore.
Things that are broken or mismatched
Another that seems like a given, but getting rid of things that don’t quite work anymore is easier said than done. If it’s something that was a bigger investment, say, a snowblower, make a serious plan to get it fixed. If it’s a pair of drugstore glasses, donate or pitch them.
This also brings us to the part where we talk about the most out of control aspect in nearly everyone’s lives: Tupperware. Take some time to go through and find out what you can do without. Whether it’s missing the top, or a size you’ll never use, filter through your plasticware and keep only what you really need — nothing more.
Things that aren’t even yours
Did your neighbors lend you a gardening tool that you never returned? How about your mother-in-law’s cookbook you borrowed last Thanksgiving? The easiest things to get rid of are the things we don’t even own in the first place, and you probably have more of them than you think. And it goes without saying that those mementos you’re still holding onto from your high school sweetheart are ready to be recycled, as well.
Did you find this list helpful? I’d love to know what you got rid of!