01 of 05
32 Things You Can Toss Right Now
One of the biggest reasons we hold onto clutter is because we’re not sure when we can get rid of stuff. Most items don’t come with an expiration date, and once we take something into our home, we tend to want to make use of it--even if we clearly have no need for it.
Decluttering should be easy. It’s simply sorting through your belongings and deciding which ones to keep, and which ones to let go of.
Decluttering means to remove unnecessary items.
Think about that definition. How hard can it possibly be to remove unnecessary items?
But it is. People get attached. They don't want to toss something they bought or were gifted of something they thought they'd need but never used.
Here is our ultimate list of things you can get rid of right now. You have our permission to toss, recycle, donate, consign or even sell these items (not the ketchup packets, but maybe some old electronics). You'll be surprised how much extra space you free up!Continue to 2 of 5 below.
02 of 05
6 Things to Get Rid of in the Kitchen
Continue to 3 of 5 below.
- Plastic silverware. Especially those packets with a plastic fork, knife and napkin. Unless you entertain regularly, or eat on the go, you don't need theses packets taking up space when you already have proper silverware in your home. Take them into work and stash them in your desk for when you need extra silverware for your packed lunch. Or, just recycle them!
- Condiment packets. This is my number one Why-Are-You-Keeping-This? item. You're not going to use these. Instead, buy a bottle at Trader Joe's, or your local market and keep it in the pantry.
- Leftovers more than 5 days old. Duh.
- Utensils or appliances you never use. You were gifted a set of plastic food storage containers when you prefer glass. Or perhaps you somehow accumulated a number of unitaskers that you never remember to use. Or you dreamed of cooking with your waffle maker every weekend, but now you realize you prefer pancakes. If you don’t use it, don’t give up valuable storage space for it. Either recycle it, donate it, or consign it.
- Miss-matched or warped food storage containers. Why do we hold onto these for so long? Do we think the missing bottom or top is going to find its way home? It’s not. Recycle it.
- Expired pantry items. That container of Hungarian paprika you had to have for that one recipe you made four years ago? Yeah, it doesn't taste the same anymore. Spices lose their flavor over time, and other pantry staples, like flour and sugar, don't perform as well as fresh ingredients.
03 of 05
11 Things to Get Rid of in Your Office
Continue to 4 of 5 below.
- Newspapers more than two days old. If you want to hang on to the magazine insert (I’m thinking the Sunday Times Magazine) for a week, fine. But everything else goes after 48 hours. You’re never gonna read it!
- Rubber bands. Why are you keeping these?
- Pens with no ink. The ink has run dry, and you’re not going to take the time to refill. Toss. Easy.
- Random cords you’ve been holding onto because you’re not sure what they plug in to. If you’re really not sure if you can throw it out, or, create a storage bin and label it "cords." But really, it’s safe to toss these.
- Magazines more than two months old. Exceptions would be issues you really, really love and refer back to often. Make sure you have these stored properly for the long term and not just hanging around in piles. Everything else, recycle. If you haven’t read it in two months, you’re not going to!
- Expired coupons.
- Old cell phones. There’s no good reason to keep these as they are likely outdated and just taking up space. Old cell phones can be donated to organizations like Cell Phones for Soldiers, which uses the proceeds from donated cell phones to send prepaid international calling cards to troops.
- Last year's calendar. People hang onto these, in the hopes that they will transfer important dates from one year to the next. You have until January 31 of the new year to complete that task, but if you take longer than that, recycle it.
- Greeting cards. Caveat: I keep greeting cards for a few weeks, then I recycle them. Most of them. Some I tuck away into a file box. Unless you are committed to storing your cards, it’s ok to toss them after a few weeks. You don’t expect anyone to keep yours, do you?
- Receipts. If you're already enjoying your purchase, it's time to dispose of your paper trail. Tip: Get out ahead of clutter by opting for digital receipts whenever possible.
- Old crafting supplies. Unless you're an avid crafter, you are likely the proud owner of a dried out bottle of glue, various spools of ribbon and other miscellaneous items. Get rid of the things that no longer work as expected, and donate other items to an elementary school art teacher or local YMCA.
04 of 05
8 Things to Get Rid of in Your Closet
Continue to 5 of 5 below.
- Mismatched socks. Keep a small basket on top of your bureau for miss-matched socks. If after a month you haven’t found a match, either toss them or re-purpose them as dust rags.
- Eyeglasses with the wrong prescription. Donate these immediately. Someone else could be using them.
- Accessories you never wear. How many accessories do you need? Donate items you haven't worn in years, and organize and store the baubles you actually wear.
- Old clothing that no longer fits.
- Extra buttons.
- Broken sunglasses. You say you’re going to buy one of those kits to fix them but you haven’t yet, so toss them.
- Shoes that you haven’t worn in five years. Bottom line: your shoes should fit well, feel good and have the right look. If they do not, donate or consign them.
- Old towels and bedding. Animal shelters gladly accept donations of old linens.
05 of 05
7 Things to Throw Away ASAP
- Old remote controls. Everything comes with a remote control these days: iPod speakers, my air conditioner, my fan. Why? If you don’t use it, trash it.
- Last season’s sunblock. Toss it. Sunblock slowly decays over time.
- Old makeup. Imagine slathering 2-year-old cream on your face? You wouldn’t do that. If your cosmetics have changed color, emit an odor not listed on the bottle (aka, lavender-scented), or have changed consistency, dump it. If you haven't used it in over a year, or if you can't remember the last time you used it, dump it.
- Old prescriptions and other medications. Check expiration dates. If it's past its prime, toss it.
- VHS and Cassettes. If you no longer have a way to play it, why are you keeping it?
- Takeout menus. With apps like Seamless and GrubHub, you have access to any and every menu of all your favorite take-out restaurants. Even if those services aren't available in your area, you'd be hard-fought not to find the menu you're seeking somewhere else online.
- Product Manuals. I know, I know. There's always that what if. What if it breaks? What if you can't figure out how to take it apart or remember how to put it back together? No problem–check the company's website for the product details.