Decluttering can be a stressful task, and it always seems so daunting at first.
But have no fear! Here are 10 easy things you can purge right now. And who knows, maybe once you start with these easy items, it will motivate you to tackle other areas of your home!
1. Cookbooks. How many cookbooks do you own? And how many do you actually use? Most people that I talk to use cookbooks and recipe cards occasionally, but most of the time search online for recipes because they are more easily customized. Cookbooks may be taking up valuable space in your kitchen! If you are worried about whether or not you’ll be able to find specific recipes again, try photocopying them or taking a picture of them on your phone for easy reference. There are many cookbooks at local libraries, and often cookbooks have an online version anyway.
2. Extra hangers. Those extra hangers in your closet could be a bad influence! They are practically screaming at you, please fill me with clothes – and then next thing you know you are shopping again 😉 If you don’t want to get rid of all of them, you can just move them to another closet that is not used as frequently. But if you are willing to part with some or all, thrift stores and charity shops would love to have them! Wire ones can be brought to dry cleaners to be re-used as well.
3. Socks without matches. We all have them. The dryer definitely eats them. Have you been keeping them in case the pair will be reunited again? If it’s been more than a few weeks, it is probably not going to happen. If you don’t like wearing mismatched socks, they can be used as dusting “gloves” if you are wanting to give them an extra life, but otherwise it will be in your best interest to dispose of them rather than having them clutter up your laundry area.
4. Toys your kids don’t play with. Let your kids go through their toys and pick out the ones they don’t like anymore, or do it yourself! If they’ve been in a box in the basement for years, they are probably forgotten at this point. Instead donate them so a new child can love and enjoy them!
5. Appliances you don’t use. Maybe it was a wedding gift? Maybe you bought it because you had good intentions of juicing or making your own purees? Whatever the case may be, it could be taking up valuable space in your cupboards. Instead, donate these items to a thrift store, post on Kijiji or Facebook Marketplace, or donate to the KW Library of Things (if you’re local to Kitchener-Waterloo) so you can still have access to it if you decide you want to use it again!
6. Duplicated/blurry photos. This can be an easy task to do while watching TV or listening to music. Go through your photos – either in albums or boxes and take out the ones that are blurry, duplicates, if you don’t know the context of it or who the people are in it. We often keep and store all kinds of photos, but if they don’t mean anything to you, they probably don’t mean anything to other people either!
7. Expired medication. Go through your medicine cabinet and see what is in there. Medications often only have a shelf life of a year or so until they are ineffectual, so they are best to be disposed of. While doing this, take note of what items have expired and consider not purchasing them again, or purchase them in smaller quantities. Any expired medications/prescriptions/vitamins can be taken to your local pharmacy to be disposed of properly - they just prefer them to be in the original container so they know what the contents are. DO NOT flush them down the toilet or put them in the regular trash, as this allows those chemicals into our waterways.
8. Expired food. Go through your cupboards, see what food items have “expired”, and use your best judgement of whether you would trust eating them still. Most items are still good after the best before date listed on the container, especially if it hasn’t been opened. If you are still willing to eat them, make sure you put them on your menu for the week. If you not willing to eat them, compost the contents if possible (and safe to do so), and see if you can recycle the container – that way there is less going to the landfill. And make sure to not purchase that item again, or at least put it in a more obvious location so that you don’t pass over it before the due date.
9. Magazines/newspapers. If you like to have magazines and newspapers sent to your home, or if you pick them up at a store, often they are left lying around because you paid for them. But do you actually read them a second time (or a first?)? They can take up a lot of room, and they weight quite a bit on your bookshelf. Unwanted magazines may be able to be donated to local libraries or thrift stores – or you can try posting them online for free so you know someone will take them to read or do crafts with. Consider getting the online version of your magazine, or read it at the library instead.
10. Business cards. How often do you go to trade shows, networking events, or at an event and you come home with a stack of business cards? When I am decluttering someone’s space I find these all over the place! And often the client has no idea who the person was that gave it to them, or why they took it in the first place. Recycle the ones you do not need or remember. And next time you’re at a show or event, consider taking a picture of the business card, preferably with the person of booth in the background so you remember the context! There is a great app called Camcard that helps you organize and store contacts from business cards. I will often just follow the company on their social media rather than taking their card.