It’s pretty easy to accumulate clutter, especially the longer you live in your home. There are some common things that people hang on to that they shouldn’t. Even though it’s tempting to hang on to all of your old items in case some miraculous event arises where-in they suddenly become useful again, all they really do is take up space.
In the Kitchen
Start with obvious “trash” items in your kitchen, looking at things like appliances that are broken or never used. Sure, that trendy single-serve blender might’ve sounded good in theory, but be honest with yourself in regards to how often you’ll actually use it. The same goes for broken appliances you keep telling yourself you’ll fix, too.
It’s not just appliances, either: sort through your tupperware and food containers, matching lids with their counterparts. Almost everybody has a plethora of mismatched containers. Maybe you have lids galore, with only a few plastic containers (mysteriously) remaining. Maybe you have enough containers to hold a 4-course meal, but only a handful of lids to match them. Whatever the case, if the lone contenders can’t be matched with anything else, then throw them away, or recycle them if possible.
The final common offender in kitchens are old canned goods, spices, and condiments. These things do stay good for a long time, but not forever. If you find you have a lot of these just collecting dust, then it’s time for them to go. If the canned goods are unopened and haven’t reached their expiration date, donate them. Otherwise, throw them away. This will help de-clutter your cabinets and pantry, and will help increase available storage in your kitchen.
Closets, Bathrooms, and Desks
Other easy ways to regain storage quickly is to go through closets, bathrooms, and desks. To continue the theme of de-cluttering consumables, go through your toiletries and figure out what is bad and what you no longer use. here comes a point when you’ve acquired too many toiletries for you to realistically use; whether you bought a new shampoo and discovered you hated it, or if you just have a collection of five-year-old hotel samples in the back of your closet, they’re only acting as clutter.
From there, on to the non-perishable clutter: start with clothes, shoes, and accessories. A good rule is that if you haven’t worn something in over a year, get rid of it, because the chances are that you’re not likely to wear it again. If you’re really unsure about some pieces, try boxing the clothing up and storing it. If you don’t care about it enough to go open the box and get it out to wear again within a year, then you don’t care about it enough to keep it.
Odds and Ends
Now that you have the clothes out of the way, it’s time to move on to broken or outdated technology. If you still have all five of your old cell phones, complete with their chargers, consider donating or recycling them (or at least the first four of them). This applies to old cords and adapters too. Technology is always moving forward, so there’s really no reason to hold onto old things with the intent that you’ll use them in the far-off future.
Once you’ve handled expunging useless tech, take a moment to check through those same areas for extraneous papers. As far as paper goes, everyone has bits and pieces of paper laying around that have little importance but a great impact on the tidiness of your space — this includes, but is not limited to, little memos that you forget the significance of, wedding invitations from your fourth cousin’s wedding three years ago, old magazines, and warranties that have run their course.
This segues nicely into de-cluttering all the materials from hobbies you’ve abandoned, you didn’t like, or that didn’t take off. Admit it — painting sounded cool in theory, but you may have quickly discovered that you weren’t as good at it as you’d hoped. That’s okay; stick with what you enjoy, but if you don’t commit time to the hobby anymore, you may want to clear out its clutter.
There are two more areas you can de-clutter, although they won’t apply to everyone, and some won’t be willing to do this. First, go through all the books in your house. No matter how good your intentions were when you bought those books you thought you’d read, there comes a time when you’ve had them long enough that the probability of the chance you’ll read them becomes slim to none. Even if you have read it, if you read a book you didn’t like, the odds are that you won’t read it again. Donate those books, and you’ll feel better, and have more space.
The last thing you can de-clutter are a lot of your old children’s items. Some things are great to keep for sentimental value, and memories. However, things like baby clothes with stains, outdated (unsafe) baby cribs and car-seats, and every piece of art your child has ever made, need to be cleared from your home.
De-cluttering doesn’t have to be hard or emotionally taxing. Quickly sort through your items using “sell”, “donate”, and “trash” boxes. You can do your whole house in a day, a room a day, or even a room a week. The important part is that you keep an eye on the items in your house and fight back against the ever pressing clutter that somehow appears in homes. If you’re particularly pro-active, keep this checklist in mind and as you go through your day, de-clutter items here and there that fit these criteria as you come across them.