Is your house cluttered? Sometimes the easiest solution is also the hardest – deciding what things to throw away, donate, or repurpose. Read through and find out what to toss and how to get started getting rid of the mess.
Tricks to Clean Up the Clutter from Around the House
Do you have a “catch-all” drawer or spot in every room? I think we all might have one, and maybe you don’t mind the mess, or perhaps you just don’t vibe with minimalism. Marie Kondo might not be your cup of tea, but we could all use a little less mess in our homes. So pick one area to start attacking to create more usable space. Turn on some music or a podcast, grab some trash bags or bins, and label them things like, keep, sell, donate, trash, and recycle. Now, let’s get started!
1. Things to Throw Away: What to Discard In the Kitchen
- Extra grocery bags. Does anyone really need 400 of those? You can take them to a grocery store to be recycled.
- Your candy stash. Just get rid of those dusty chocolate bunnies! Chocolate can absorb smells anyway, it probably doesn’t even taste like chocolate anymore.
- Throw out that kitchen sponge. It’s time.
- Any chipped dishes or scratched plastic containers (chips and scratches harbor bacteria).
- Kitchen gadgets that you never reach for.
- Expired food in the pantry.
- Donate that bag of beans or can of tuna you know you’re never going to use.
- Old and expired condiments in the back of the fridge.
- Unmatched food storage containers and lids.
- Look for duplicates and eliminate – you know you have an extra casserole dish you keep saying you’ll use someday!
2. Things to Throw Away: What to Scrap In the Bathroom
- Old Liquid Makeup- the general rule of thumb here is to toss liquid makeup after 12 months, though things like mascara and eyeliner should be tossed after just 3 months.
- Any broken or expired beauty products. Check the little open bottle with a number printed on it. That’s how many months it stays fresh from opening.
- Broken makeup applicators.
- Leftover lotion and shampoo living at the bottom of the bottle.
- Old medications – bring them to your pharmacy or fire department for proper disposal.
- Your toothbrush, needs to be replaced regularly, especially after a cold.
- Expired sunblock and other lotions.
- The raggedy towels and washcloths no one in the house uses anymore.
- Toilet brush. Yup, just get a new one.
3. Things To Throw Away: What to Throw Out In the Bedroom
- Old running shoes- if they have an odor or have lost their shape, then it’s time for new ones.
- Unused purses, bags, accessories, etc.
- Perfume and cologne that is more than 2 years old.
- Any clothing that you have waiting to be altered or fixed. Give yourself a deadline, like if it has been waiting for more than a month, throw it out.
- Socks that are missing pairs. Keeping a few for dusting and cleaning purposes is fine if you actually use them.
- Clothes that don’t fit anymore. Whether they are too big or too small, you don’t need them!
- Clothes that are stained, torn or otherwise damaged.
- Old underwear! Did you know that you should replace your underwear at least yearly?
4. Things To Throw Away: What to Get Rid of Everywhere Else Around the House
- Broken toys equal unplayed with toys! Clutter also discourages kids from playing with toys, because it can be overwhelming!
- Clothes your kids have outgrown.
- The junk at the bottom of your junk drawer.
- Old cleaning supplies.
- Do you really need 12 decorative pillows?
- The bits and papers in your purse. Take a photo of something if you think you’ll need the info later.
- Furniture. Throw away unused or damaged pieces.
- The junk in your couch cushions. Lift them up, and clear it all away.
- Unread books- start a Little Free Library in your neighborhood!
- Read books. Unless you loved it and want to read it again, why keep it?
- Old magazines can be donated to your local doctor’s office.
- Leftover spiral notebooks. Rip out pages you’ve written on first.
- Paper bills and receipts. Scan, save, shred, and recycle.
- Empty boxes for appliances and products. You got a phone, but you don’t usually need to keep the box to keep the warranty.
- Old cell phones and batteries. Check online to find your local drop-off location. I have even seen some in grocery stores.
- Kids artwork and school work! Scan it. Save it. Keep one for the wall and throw away the rest.
- Knick knacks. Try to throw away one a day! You will be surprised at how many you have and how you won’t miss them.
- The filter in your vacuum. When was the last time you cleaned your vacuum?
- Wires and chargers that don’t belong to anything. You tossed that old phone from ages ago, and you still have the charger?
- The current batteries in your smoke detectors.
- Your air conditioner’s air filters need to be replaced every 30 days (depending on your unit and home, could even be more often than that)
- The broken pens, rogue pen lids, chewed pencils, and bits of crayons. Toss them.
How to Declutter if You’re Stuck
That was a great start! When you’ve gone through just one of the rooms in your home and found ways to make more space, you’ll wish you had done this ages ago. Now, for the next step. When you don’t know if you want to keep the item or not, put it into a box. Date the box and seal it up, and put it in the top of that closet you just cleaned out. If you see the box six months later and you haven’t opened the box, then you don’t need it. Your life will be so much freer without the clutter of things!
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” — Marie Kondo
Now That Everything Is Organized…
Keep going! Once you start throwing out all that stuff you don’t need, you realize that it feels really good! The results are addicting. No more hoarding! You’ll find yourself motivated to go through every room of the house, but old habits are hard to break, so maybe you need a little motivation to keep ditching the clutter.
1. Where to take the stuff that’s not garbage
- Local Donation Sites- do a quick search online, and you’ll find that churches and community centers in your area will often have a website where you can schedule a pickup. And you don’t need to load up the car- they come to you!
- Little Free Library- this is a fun idea that I noticed in my neighborhood in the last few years. Little Free Libraries are boxes you’ll find on your block where you leave a book and take a book. It gives you a sense of community and cuts down on books getting dusty on a shelf. Share it with someone else who will actually read it. You can look on their website to find a box near you. It’s a great way to make reading a positive experience for children, and it feels really good to pass along the books that you enjoyed.
- Consignment Shops- make a few bucks off those items that still have life left in them. You create an account when you drop off your junk, and you are promised a percentage of whatever they sell from your stash.
- Facebook Marketplace- like consignment shops, your trash could be someone else’s treasure, but here you keep all the profit!
2. Next, Keep this ultimate cleaning list where you see it every day
After you clear all that space, you just have to keep it up, which is much easier to do without clutter everywhere. I encourage you to start a cleaning routine. There’s the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” That goes for organization habits too! So, here is a list of 100 things to clean (that you probably aren’t). Print it up and post it somewhere that you’ll see it every day. Check it off as you go!
3. Then, Use Apps to help you stay organized
- Sortly – have you ever been at the store and can’t remember if you already have 2 containers of that spice in your cabinet? Sortly helps you create an inventory of everything in your home, and I think it’s really cool that you can assign prices for insurance purposes or so you can easily estimate a resale value!
- No Waste – I can always use more reminders! This app is full of inventory lists to check off, and you can set goals to create better organization habits. Also, you can set dates so you get reminders when food in your pantry is about to expire. I love that there’s the option to share info with your family and that you can even watch video tutorials.
- Keepsy – You know all those precious works of art your kiddos bring home that end up in a pile on your desk? Go ahead and frame some, toss some, but then scan the rest into this app! You can share those masterpieces with your grandparents and store your favorites for future use.