For many, one thing that marks the holidays is plenty of food to go around for everyone. Tasty treats, delicious desserts, and family members and friends want you to try...
So often, items will gather over the years that are no longer useful or have no real purpose in the home. Clearing those out can feel freeing and create more space for things that are needed or loved. Some items are easy to clear out, while others can be harder to part with, but starting with the easy things can help prepare you for the more challenging items.
Get Rid of These Items and Declutter Your Home!
Start in the Kitchen
Begin with the kitchen, as this room gathers many items that aren't needed but accumulate anyway. First, throw out any food items that have expired from both the fridge and the pantry or cupboards. Once food has passed its expiration date, it may still be safe to eat, but it will not have the taste, texture, and nutrition that it once had. Next, move on to old take-out menus, the collection of single-serve condiments, and the collection of plastic silverware or any disposable chopsticks that come with them. If you still pack lunches or picnics, keep a few sets of plastic silverware if you must, but toss most of them and napkins that you won't use as well. Next, move to the small kitchen gadgets and tableware. Anything that you haven't used in at least a year or two can go, as well as broken or chipped dishes that you don't use and any coffee mugs that haven't seen daylight in a year.
Old food containers or those that are missing lids, along with covers that have no container, are suitable for disposing of as they aren't useful. Stained containers that you don't use, those that are broken or damaged can also be removed and clear up space for you to easily grab the ones that you do use easily and quickly.
While going through this process, you are likely to find many other items that you have no use for. Newspapers, coupons, flyers, old mail that is no longer needed, and plastic grocery bags are all items that are easy to get rid of as they are taking up space without adding any value. As they continue to gather, they add up and take up more space. You can safely assume that there will be a continued stream of these items coming into the home so that they will build up again.
Update Your Medicine Cabinet
Once you have completed your tour of the kitchen, the medicine cabinet is a great place to go. Throw out any expired medication, both prescription and over-the-counter. They both lose their effect, and it can be a risk to your health to take expired medicines.
While you are already in the room, address expired self-care products, any of the almost empty shampoo bottles that you won't finish, and any old makeup or oral care products. Keep only what you use and will continue to use. Cleaning products that you have changed that have been half-empty for a year because you like a different one better, they can all go too, someone else might prefer those brands. Old towels that aren't soft, don't fit your color scheme, or have rips and holes can be tossed or recycled.
Scan Your Electronics
Electronics can be a whole day or two for themselves when you decide to get rid of them. If they do not work, throw them out, you won't fix them, and often it costs more to fix obsolete tech than to buy new. The cords that go with them will likely free up some space to add to your favorite collection.
Any movies, shows, or music that you no longer enjoy or use can be donated or sold. Generally speaking, if you haven't reached for it in a couple of years, you probably won't, and if you have VHS tapes but no VCR to play them, tapes but no tape deck, you won't be able to use them. These items are not bringing enjoyment to your life, and passing them on can help bring joy to someone else. Cell phones, small kitchen appliances you don't use, any power tools or vacuums, and other electronic supplies that are broken, not being used, the wrong size, or do not complete the tasks that you need can all be disposed of or passed on to free space within your home.
It's Closet Time
Clothing does need to change with seasons, size changes, and fashion evolving, so it is an item that will regularly be cycled through and can be removed from the closet as they become unworn. Items that have not been worn in the past year are less likely to be worn within the next year and can be gotten rid of. Seasonal items may require two years as they depend on weather patterns and uncontrollable changes. Still, if they do not fit well and have not fit for an extended period of time, then it's time to let go of that item. In the case of items that have been outgrown, it can help release the pressure of trying to fit in it again. This not only helps create space within the home but also within your mind.
Clear Those Bookshelves
Perhaps one of the harder for avid readers, it is time to address the books within the house. If it is outdated or the information is no longer valid, it is time to get rid of them. Often old resource books, school books, and other educational books will become outdated as new information becomes available and research makes new discoveries, making them obsolete. In addition, books, both fiction and non-fiction, may be outgrown, become damaged, or no longer fit your preferred reading genre or style and are simply taking up space within your home without bringing any value. As you pass these on or throw them out, you will have more space to easily locate the book you want to read or add new books you are excited about.
Want a more space-efficient method of reading? Consider e-readers!
Toys and Kids Items
If you have aged past having children in the house all the time, give yourself permission to get rid of broken toys or games with missing pieces. If you haven't played them in the last year or so, and they are not likely to be played again soon, it is acceptable to get rid of them in the best way for you.
When getting rid of items, you can throw them out, pass them on to someone else, donate them to those who need them, or sell them and use the money for something you need. Sometimes the first step is to remind yourself that it is ok to get rid of things that aren't serving a purpose for you anymore.