Clutter is one of those things that makes us less happy, even if we think we’re hoarding things we love, might need, or just can’t bear to part with. An excess of clutter can exacerbate anxiety and depression, among other things, and so most of us try our best to keep it to a minimum.
If you’re in the mood to do some clearing out as the weather changes, here are 21 things you can get rid of right now.
21. Plastic shopping bags.
If you don’t have a bag of plastic bags in your garage or in a closet, what are you even doing with your life? That said, you don’t need to save all of them – it’s simple math, as far as how many you use in a typical week, and how many new ones get delivered with your groceries.
Come up with a number and only keep that many on hand.
20. Extra cooking utensils.
We’ve all got a bucket or drawer that’s so stuffed with cooking utensils we can hardly get things out of it. Experts suggest taking them all out, and immediately tossing any that are chipped, warped, or peeling.
Leave the rest in a box on the counter for a couple of weeks, returning them to their rightful place after you use them. Anything left in the box after that time period, you likely don’t need.
Keep “specialty” things you feel you need, but get rid of the rest.
19. Reusable bags.
We also have bags of reusable bags, even though some of them are crumpled or a handle is torn or we discovered too late they don’t hold nearly enough groceries.
Evaluate which ones you love and always choose first, and donate the rest.
18. Fast food extras.
Forks, condiments, straws – they pile up, and even if it’s tempting to take free stuff, the truth is, we rarely use them. Keep a small baggie for emergencies, and don’t add anything to it until it’s gone.
One way to stop them from building up is to ask the restaurant not to include them in the first place, if you know you’re not going to use them.
17. Gift bags.
It’s tempting, but you don’t need to keep and recycle every single gift bag you receive. Keep only the ones that are generic enough to work for most occasions.
16. Painting outfit.
If you’re holding onto ratty old clothes on the off-chance that you’ll need them for painting or yardwork or the like, that’s fine – but make sure you don’t have an entire drawer full of stuff you’re only going to wear once a month (or less).
One ratty outfit should suffice.
15. Worn out bath mats.
If your bath mat is raggedy, the rubber peeling off the back, do yourself a favor and buy a new one. They’re not expensive, and it will freshen up your bathroom in more ways than one.
14. Old papers and notes.
Most of us have scraps of paper and even whole notebooks lying around, filled with outdated information, phone numbers you no longer need, to-do lists that have been completed.
Don’t leave them piling up – throw them away when you’re done.
13. Gift wrap.
Like with gift bags, only keep the stuff that’s generic, or that you’ll definitely use again.
The rest of it can be donated, perhaps to a library or school for art projects.
12. Specialty appliances.
Your waffle maker, your griddle, your crock-pot – you don’t need to trash these things, but it is helpful to clear a secondary space to store them, so they’re not cluttering an every day workspace.
If you can’t remember the last time you bought a new one of these, yours is nasty.
They’re cheap – throw out old ones and put a new one on your monthly recurring order at Amazon.
10. Food storage containers.
Only keep the ones that fit in your lunch, and that you have lids for, and you actually use.
In reality, and when you can afford it, ditch all of the plastic for glass – and if you pack lunch on a daily basis, reusable baggies are a great investment, too.
Give yourself a couple of laundry cycles, or maybe a month or two, to locate a missing sock, but don’t hold onto them forever.
8. Travel mugs and water bottles.
You’re wasting a whole shelf with these things, aren’t you? And you always use the same two or three?
Do yourself a favor and put the rest of them in your next garage sale.
7. Expired medications.
Go through your shelf or cabinet and clean it out.
There’s plenty in there just collecting dust, and worse, it won’t be effective if and when you ever need it.
6. Spices and herbs.
Check StillTasty for the common lifespan of your spices and herbs, and give that cabinet a cleaning out – you know it needs it.
5. Old sheets.
If you’ve upsized mattresses, or no longer have crib or pack n play mattresses anymore, there’s no reason to keep those sheets in your linen closet – someone else will probably love to have them.
4. Rusty razors.
Not only can they cause health problems like razor burn and skin infections, old razors don’t give you the close shave you need.
Buy new ones (and don’t keep them in the shower, where they’re more likely to grow bacteria).
3. Unworn clothes.
Here’s a trick: when you swap out your summer for winter clothes, put all of the hangers in “backward.”
Every time you wear something and hang it back up, turn the hanger around.
Next spring, anything that’s still on a “backward” hanger gets donated.
2. Old makeup.
You can Google expiration dates for makeup, but most things are no longer good after about a year.
A good trick is to write the date on a product with marker when you open it so you know when you should throw it out.
1. Expired batteries.
You’ve likely got a drawer (or two) full of junk, including loose batteries. Check corrosion and expiration dates, and get to tossing. Your drawers (and your sanity) will thank you.
I’m going to start a list, because these are some great ideas!
How do you decide where to start your de-clutter? Share your tips with us in the comments!