Most of us love the idea of decluttering, but it's tough to know how and where to start. Let's go through your home and toss a handful of items from each room. And by toss, I mean donate, recycle or dispose of properly.
Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, explains how clutter imacts us negatively: "One of my great realizations about happiness...is that outer order contributes to inner calm. But as much as most of us want to keep our home, office, car, etc. in reasonable order, it’s tough."
Rubin is right. Letting go of our things can be tough. She goes on to list eleven myths of decluttering to help us to break free of the clutter that crowds out calm.
Once we've made peace with why we hold on to things, it's time to work on letting them go.
Here's our room-by-room guide for what to toss:
- old spices and herbs
- expired foods
- nearly empty cereal and cracker boxes
- half (or more!) of the contents of your junk drawer
- mugs with chips or stains and those you don’t enjoy drinking from
Family room/Living room
- old magazines, newspapers and catalogues
- VHS and cassette tapes (Yes, they hold memories, but no, you probably won’t watch or listen to them.)
- random power cords (If you don’t know what they go to and you haven’t been looking for them, there’s a great chance you don’t need them.)
- knickknacks or tchotchkes that you don’t absolutely love
- nearly-empty shampoos and conditioners
- old makeup (Most makeup is good for twelve to eighteen months, except mascara, which should be tossed after three months.)
- perfume or cologne that you don’t wear
- expired prescriptions, over the counter medicine and vitamins
- clothes in need of repair or dry cleaning
- clothes you haven’t worn in the past 18 months
- books that you’re keeping on your nightstand to read one day (If you aren’t reading them now, put them on the bookshelf until you’re ready and clear up some precious nightstand real estate.)
- tired, worn and stretched out bras, panties, socks and workout clothes
- toys that your kids no longer play with
- books that they no longer read
- socks, underpants and other clothes they've outgrown
- anything that belongs in another room
- old greeting cards (Take a digital photo and recycle the card.)
- receipts for items that you know you won’t return
- bills (Scan them if you feel you must and then toss, or better yet, request electronic bills to save yourself from future clutter.)
- old paint
- baby products that you’ve held on to just in case (It’s likely that if you have another baby, safety guidelines will have changed and you’ll want to replace those items anyway.)
- those bags that you stuffed with things to be donated the last time you decluttered
It can be tough to let go of the things that we've acquired over time, but decluttering frees up space, makes your home more organized and can make a huge difference in your peace of mind.
More on decluttering
8 Modern decorating ideas
Declutter the playroom
Organise your home office