It feels like the more we clean out our house, the more stuff we seem to accumulate. Whether it's out of necessity, sentimentality, or laziness, piles tend to multiply. To help you cut back on the junk, we've come up with a few tips on how to clean up that clutter.
Invest in a date book
I know I said tips to cut back the clutter, but this really is a great tip. There are some events that happen every year, like birthdays and anniversaries, that you really need to remember. At the beginning of the year, write down all important dates so you're not scrambling to find a last minute gift, or forget the occasion altogether!
- Don't toss everything in your closet
Regardless of the trend (or decade), there are some clothing items that seem to never go out of style, like a classic pencil skirt or tailored button down shirt. Because you won't have to constantly go through clothing based on the current trend, you will save time and money by keeping those types of items stocked. It's easier to add accessories to liven up a classic look than to buy a whole new wardrobe based on what's trending at any given moment.
- Family photos are always a hot commodity
While the influx of selfies may not be everyone's cup of tea, family photos and candid shots of special events are treasured keepsakes. Generations from now will be thankful to have tangible memories from their elders. Invest in albums that are archival quality to preserve photos for years to come.
- Don't throw away ALL that paperwork
If you've invested money and labor into your home, keep records to show it. Should you ever decide to sell your home, you'll be able to show any potential buyers what you've done to improve the home.
- When in doubt, Re-Use
If you're a crafting fiend, chances are you have a lot of stuff in lots of random places. Ribbon, beads, cardstock, even glitter, can all be stored in surprising ways. Have you finally finished that garlic powder? Clean out the spice container and store glitter! Are those Chinese takeout leftovers finally done? If it came in a plastic takeout container, wash it and store all of your thread! The options truly are limitless. (Check out our page on Pinterest for more ideas.)
- Make sure you dispose your electronics the right way
At this point, most everyone has had at least one computer in their possession. For those who have owned multiple computers in their lifetime, it's always a task to dispose of one. It doesn't seem like that big a jump from throwing a computer away to someone stealing your identity, so it's just better to store it ou of sight, right? WRONG! If any electronic or computer is still in functional, usable condition, there are many organizations that will take them as donations (after you've cleared out all of your personal information of course). If said equipment is no longer working, you can visit www.epa.gov to find out how to dispose (or recycle) it properly.
- Send unused toys and books to a new home
If your "big kid" is now too old for that lego set or you've read that book one too many times, it may be time to part with it. As long as a toy is in good, safe condition or those books have all their pages, donate them so someone else can love them.
- Those glasses can help another
Whether you've finally splurged on laser eye corrective surgery or just HAD to have those blue cat-eye glasses, you won't have a need for your old eyeglasses. UniteForSight.org or The Lion's Club will take unwanted glasses and send them to someone in need.
- Clean out that medicine cabinet!
Most everyone has a stash of medicine bottles somewhere, especially considering how expensive some medicines are. While you may be saving a few dollars you could potentially be risking your life. Most medicines just lose their effectiveness over time, but some can be dangerous. No matter how you dispose of it, make sure you DO NOT pour it down the drain, as it can be absorbed in the water supply and cause harm to others.
- You don't need all that paint
If you're anything like me you love to paint your home, so the likelihood that you have paint cans stacked to the ceiling is pretty high. Any paint cans or other flammable items that haven't been used in a year must be disposed of properly. Ask your local disposal/recycle center how to chunk it safely.
- Those stacks of papers won't make you appear well-read
It feels like everyone you know has a stack of old newspapers and magazines stashed somewhere in their home. While that knowledge may make you feel better about your stack, the truth it, it shouldn't. Help out Mother Nature (and the cleanliness of your home) and recycle it!
There is absolutely no shame in saving precious sentimental items, but if the majority of your clutter is based on laziness (no judgment here) take a few minutes and clean out a drawer or cabinet. Who knows? It might motivate you to clean out the guest room closet too. If it doesn't, that's ok. At least you de-cluttered that junk drawer. :)