Every room in your house can be a magnet for clutter. It’s amazing how much stuff can accumulate over the years if you don’t take a good hard look at what’s in each room. Unless you’re a minimalist, decluttering your home isn’t a one-day project. Make it easier on yourself by doing one room at a time, but don’t just move stuff from room to room — get rid of it by recycling it, selling it or donating it. To get you started, we’ve got a list of items you should toss this second from every room in your home.
Expired Medications – Get rid of all the expired medications in your cabinet. In order to dispose of them safely, check to see if your local pharmacy will accept them. Health Canada has some other suggestions for safe disposal of prescription drugs.
Towels – Do you have shelves and cabinets crammed with towels and washcloths? Go through them and toss any that aren’t in good shape. Then, go through them again and pull out anything that’s tacky or duplicates. Donate what you can, bin the rest.
Travel sized toiletries – If you’re a frequent traveller, you’ve likely got a drawer of travel-size toiletries. You’re probably thinking that you will use them one day. Guess what? You probably won’t. Save a few for actual travel but get rid of the rest by giving them away to friends or neighbours.
Dishes – If you don’t plan to host 100 guests for dinner, why do you have dozens upon dozens of plates, bowls and cups? First, get rid of anything cracked or chipped. Next, eliminate anything that is orphaned from a set. And finally, only keep complete sets of dinnerware for the actual number of place settings around your table. If you ever need more, you can borrow from a friend.
Cutlery – As with dinnerware, get rid of damaged and orphaned cutlery and keep only a reasonable number of complete sets. Donate the rest. While you’re at it, do a purge of your utensils as well.
Appliances you don’t use – Can’t remember the last time you used your popcorn popper? Get rid of it. That George Foreman grill? Sell it. The blender? Donate it. Then, if you ever need anything that you’ve tossed, just borrow the item from that great neighbour of yours.
Old Magazines – The living room can be a dumping ground for all sorts of stuff, especially if you have kids. If you’re one of those people who buys magazines, flips through them and then promptly forgets all about them — this tip is for you. Magazines can pile up before you know it, so if they’re not from the current month, toss them into your recycling bin.
Remote Controls – In this age of electronic devices, remote controls have multiplied. One for the TV, another for the satellite or cable system, yet another for the surround sound, plus one for the streaming player and there’s also one for the stereo system. Worse, you can never find the right one and dealing with so many remotes can make your head spin. The solution? Toss them into storage and replace with a universal remote.
Knick Knacks – If you love to travel, you probably love to pick up souvenirs from your trips. Or maybe you collect porcelain figurines. Whatever it is, you probably feel the need to display them. The thing is, they quickly add to the clutter in your living room. The solution? Pick a couple of your favourites and store the rest away. Then, every few months, rotate in new favourites.
Boxes of random stuff – Probably the worst spot in the house for clutter is the basement. It’s also the hardest one to keep organized. The easiest solution? Purge! First, those boxes that are full of stuff you never use? Sort through them and sell or donate what you can. Trash the rest. It’ll take some time, but it’ll make a huge dent.
Unused sporting and fitness equipment – Ah, the graveyard of shattered fitness dreams. If you’ve got a treadmill, home gym or stationary bike doing permanent duty as a clothing rack, get rid of it. You’ll even put a few bucks in your pocket. The same goes for those dusty cross-country skis and forgotten tennis racquets: sell or donate. The amount of space you’ll get back in return will surprise you.
Old furniture – Pieces like broken card tables, ratty chairs and saggy couches often find a lifelong home in the basement, but they take up space and can attract vermin. If you’re not using it, get rid of it.
Old clothes – It should come as no surprise that never-worn clothes take up a ton of room in your bedroom closets. Even clothing you only wear occasionally contribute to that. Pick a weekend and do a major purge. Donate regular clothes to a charity shop and business clothes to a charity that provides decent clothes to those less fortunate for job interviews.
Books – Another place where magazines and books tend to multiply is in the bedroom. To keep things clutter-free, limit yourself to one book and one magazine per person on your nightstand.
Forgotten toys – Kids’ bedrooms are usually overflowing with old dolls, stuffed toys and games. It’s just more clutter that you should get rid of once and for all. Finding new homes for kid’s stuff is as easy as posting on Facebook or telling your friends. And who knows, you might find something valuable that you can sell for a premium on eBay.
Old documents – Old bills and receipts have a tendency to build up. Only keep what you actually need for tax purposes and shred the rest. Another option is to make scans or digital copies.
Cables and chargers – Got a drawer full of obsolete cables, wires and chargers? Toss them. Donate what you can and recycle the rest. If you ever need some odd cable, remember that you can find pretty much anything on eBay or Amazon.
Pens and office supplies – Do you have another drawer filled with pens and random office supplies that you’ll never use? Get rid of them. See if a local school or day care might take them as a donation. Otherwise, recycle if possible.
Empty bottles – They’re definitely not collectibles, but for some reason, many of us have collections of empty detergent, fabric softener and bleach bottles. They’re big and bulky and just get in the way. Do your self a favour — recycle ’em and reclaim that space!
Old socks and clothes – Your closet isn’t the only place where old socks and clothes gather. If you’ve got a bunch of orphaned socks toss them along with any old towels and clothing. Or, if you want to be more eco, use them for tough cleaning jobs first and then toss.
Anything that doesn’t belong – Have a good look in your laundry room. Do you see a bunch of things that don’t belong? If so, put them where they belong. Mop and bucket? Move those to the broom closet. Ladder? Basement. Step stool? Hall closet. And then institute a rule: laundry-related stuff only!