It’s easy to accumulate numerous unneeded items, especially when getting caught up in the chaos of everyday life. Organizing and decluttering usually don’t make the top of your to-do list when you’ve got a slew of other things to worry about such as career, family, friends and yourself.
This doesn’t mean you should neglect organizing all together because if you do, over-accumulation can quickly become a problem, and one that affects more than just the way your home looks. After a long day at work, the last thing you want to come home to is a messy or dirty house. It will only increase your stress level and create more work when all you want to do is relax and unwind.
While you should have a few minutes set aside each morning or night to do small household chores and keep things under control, there are also things you can eliminate completely to make your life easier, instantly. Read on for ten things to get rid of to make your home feel instantly cleaner and healthier.
1. Clothes You No Longer Wear
Yes, it can be difficult to let go of certain pieces, but if you don’t wear it, feel free to let it go. Donate it to someone else in need so you can feel good about the purge. Whatever you do, don’t hold onto old clothes you know you’re not going to wear. They will only take up your time creating space for them, and create dust, clutter, and even a nice home for bugs if you keep them piled up for long enough.
Pay close attention to things like old bridesmaid dresses, costumes, free t-shirts and whatever it is you held onto the last time you cleaned out your closet.
2. Loose Papers, Magazines, and Newspapers
If your desk is covered in loose papers that don’t have a home, either store them away, convert them to digital or shred them. In today’s day and age, most people save many important documents digitally not only to help the environment but to save space. Throw away or shred any old paper files you have, especially if you have digital copies. If you don’t have digital copies, scan them into your computer. Files can be more secure this way than if you keep them in a file cabinet, however documents such as passports will still need an organized storage location.
Try to get in the habit of saving files digitally instead of printing automatically. You’ll be happy you did when you realize desk organization is no longer a task on your to-do list. Form the same habits with catalogues, magazines and newspapers that accumulate over time. If you’re already done reading them, recycle them. If you’re not purging them regularly, they’re probably outdated. They create unnecessary clutter and continue to pile up if you don’t make a strong point to get rid of them. If they aren’t terribly outdated, donate them to the library, hair salons or doctor’s offices. You should also jump on the digital age bandwagon and read your news and entertainment online. This will save you money, space and time in the long run.
3. Old and Expired Food
This is one thing you likely don’t check as much as you should because most people think food stored in jars and cans can’t go bad – they can. Your refrigerator and pantry probably contain several outdated canned goods, condiments, spices and other items that need to be discarded. This will create more room for other things and lighten up the clutter that’s often inevitable in these spaces.
If a canned good is less than two months past the expiration date, dump the contents of the can down the garbage disposal, then rinse the can and dispose of it. If a canned good is over two months old, throw the entire can away immediately because bacteria and fungus can grow inside of the can at that point.
4. Take-Out Items
That drawer you have dedicated to take-out condiments and plastic silverware – it’s time to toss its contents. Be honest with yourself, are you really going to use plastic knives and old mustard packets?
There’s no reason to continue to collect these items that have no use after your take-out meal is gone. Sure, you may have thought if you save extras you will use them with your next take-out meal, but you’ll only receive more. Therefore, it’s an endless overflow of take-out junk you don’t need. Get rid of your unneeded collection, and repurpose the space to free up for more important items.
5. Old Stickers
Stickers are always an annoyance, whether they’re stuck on the zucchini you’re trying to wash or the bottom of a gift you want to give, stickers are annoying – period. They also create chaos and make things look dirty, even if they aren’t – especially if you’ve tried to pull it off, unsuccessfully.
Maybe your kids went sticker crazy on a window or maybe the refrigerator. Either way, it’s time to remove stickers for once and for all. First get yourself a bottle of Goo Gone – it will become your best friend. Have patience when removing stickers because it isn’t always a quick process. Use rubbing alcohol, ice or masking tape to remove stickers from glass surfaces, then Goo Gone to remove sticky remnants.
6. Old Makeup
Makeup is another one of those things that can quickly and easily accumulate, and before you know it, you’ve got an extensive collection. You probably only use the same five things every day, so weed through your makeup collection.
First, throw away anything expired because it has no place on your face. Then get rid of things you bought but know you’ll never use. If you have a friend you can give it to, even better, but keeping it just in case will only create clutter.
7. Old Spices
When’s the last time you checked your spices? More specifically their expiration dates? Spices, like all other foods, expire, and they’re less noticeable because they usually last for a long time. Then there are those times you bought spices for one dish you found on Pinterest, then never used them again. Bet they’re expired.
Take time to go through your spices and remove the outdated ones, but you don’t have to trash them right away. There are plenty of things you can do with expired spices. Brew your own potpourri, create a handmade soap or use old spices to deter bugs and animals.
8. Broken Items
Whether it’s jewelry, ornaments or some other item that’s been broken for more than a few months – it’s time to throw it in the trash. Yes, it can be hard to separate from items you were once attached to, but if it’s broken and you don’t have a specific date planned to get it fixed, let it go. You have no use for it anymore.
If it’s a sentimental object like your great-grandmother’s wedding ring, that’s a different story, but that necklace you got two years ago at the mall – say goodbye.
Everyone knows boxes can be expensive, but unless you have a basement or lots of extra storage where keeping an abundance of extra boxes makes sense, toss them. Otherwise boxes can take up lots of extra space that could be used for other things, and they’re also prone to mold and mildew.
So, if you aren’t planning to move anytime soon, shed the excess baggage. Donate them to a charity or an organization, sell them online, post them to a message board or ask your neighbors if they have use for them.
10. Cords and Chargers
Somehow, it’s all too easy to end up with loads of cords and chargers over time, half of which you probably don’t even use. Go through your collection, and discard cords and chargers you don’t use. If you don’t know what they are, even more reason to dispose of them.
You can even find a place to donate cords, like Best Buy, where you can drop off extra cables and chargers in a special kiosk just inside their front door. There’s also an option to check with family members and friends to see if they have any use for them.
It’s easy to clutter up your home and neglect simple things that can make all the difference. Maybe you aren’t even thinking of such things because you’re too busy with your day-to-day life. Now is the time to take notice and action before things get out of hand.
Consider the ten things above that can instantly make your home feel cleaner. They’re easy to tackle, especially if you get started and stay on top of them over time. Start with your closet and donate anything you don’t wear. Next, tackle your makeup drawer, then your spice rack and canned goods.
You don’t have to do everything all at once, but if you assign yourself one task every day and knock it out, or when you move, you’re sure to have a cleaner home in no time. More order at home decreases stress in your daily life, which makes you happier.