Man hands reaching out for help from a big pile of woman clothes

Decluttering can be a large undertaking, which makes it about the last thing on everyone’s to-do list. Perhaps you’ve been thinking of donating old clothes to charity or cleaning out the basement, and those are great places to start but won’t actually make a lasting difference in the amount of actual stuff you have.  The simple truth is this: there are certain things you should go ahead and give the old heave-ho to now that you may not recognize are cluttering your space.  Once these things are out, the rest will be easy!

Obsolete Technology

Everyone has old computers, CD players, VCR’s, 300 pound TV’s and maybe even some Beta-max lying around.  Channel Elsa and just let it go.  These are complicated things to dispose of, but getting them out of your house will have a big impact. Most electronics can be recycled or disposed of in an eco-friendly way, check in your community to find the right resources.  Also, make sure to wipe the hard drive before you give away computers to protect your private information.  Often, computer stores or office supply stores will do this for free.

Old Files

You got the memo that we live in the 21st century, didn’t you?  Well, in case you missed it, welcome to the age of electronic storage.  If you’ve got old files lying around, go through them!  Decide what needs to be kept and chuck the rest in the garbage.  The keepers can be scanned and saved to your home computer, this way they’ll be easier to access and better protected!  Remember that tax returns only need to be kept for 7 years, so you can get rid of the 1994 tax return you’ve held onto.  It’s ok!

Bedding and Mattresses

Go through your linen closet; old towels and sheets that you no longer use, don’t match your new décor or are simply worn out need to get the boot.  Any pillows that can be folded in half and stay that way need to go to that big pillowcase in the sky too.  And that wonky hip you’ve been complaining of for the past year or so?  It’s probably just your mattress.  If you’re mattress is over 10 years old, go yourself a new one.  10 years is about all you’re going to get out of even a high quality mattress.

Fire extinguishers, Smoke/carbon monoxide alarms

You should replace these things about every 10 years, so throw out the old ones and get some new ones if they’ve outlived their usefulness.  Not to mention that newer models will have more sensitive and better technology, so periodic replacement is a must.

Medicines and Vitamins

Remember when you had your wisdom teeth out in 2002?  I’m sure you’re glad that’s behind you, but the medicine you got when you had it done needs to go the way of the Dodo bird.  Check the expirations on all your medicines (both prescription and over-the-counter) and get rid of everything that has expired.  Call your local pharmacy to see how to do this safely.

Makeup and Nail Polish

You would be hard pressed to find someone that doesn’t have one of these items in their medicine cabinet that is dried out and useless.  Don’t be that person.  Give these items the boot.

Coat Hangers

Bet you didn’t think about this one, did you?  Coat hangers are just kind of around, and they tend to reproduce and multiply in dark closets while no one is looking.  Think about how many you actually need and then get rid of the rest.

Books, CD’s, DVD’s, Records

This one could get painful.  Not many people want to get rid of these, and for good reason.  But, tastes change, so go through all of these things and get rid of the stuff you know you’re never going to read, listen to or watch again.  Donate them and let someone else experience the joy these items once brought you.

Anything Chipped or Broken

You know that “I Have A Case of the Mondays” coffee mug you have?  Yeah, that’s a good one.  But it can only be superglued so many times, and the large chip lessens its comedic impact.  Items have sentimental value for sure, but anything that is broken or useless needs to vamoose.

Excess Furniture, Rugs or Chairs

This is the big one, as they often take up the most space.  Sure, furniture can be repaired, reupholstered and repurposed, but you need to really come to terms with if you’re ever actually going to do that.  It’s ok to admit that it’s never going to happen.  Now, get it out of your house and donate it or take it to the dump.  If something is too nice for you to feel right about throwing it out or just giving it away, you can always try to sell it online, on sites such as Craigslist.

Now, take a deep breath of that uncluttered air.  Don’t you feel lighter now?  Happy de-cluttering!

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