10 Things to Declutter TodayTips for Downsizing
With spring in the air, many of us are looking to move into a new home. Whether you’re downsizing and deciding what to leave behind or you’re looking to begin fresh in your new condo, moving is an especially great time to let go of things you’ve been holding on to but don’t regularly use or need.
If you’re stumped on where to get started — or if it seems a bit overwhelming — here are 10 items to start with that will get you on a decluttering roll.
Despite our best intentions, we all have books hanging around that we won’t get around to reading again, which makes this a great place to start your decluttering. One of the most efficient ways to cull a book collection is to gather books from every room (including storage spaces!) and go through them all at once, Marie Kondo style. Bringing all of your books together will help you deciding which to keep because they’ll bring value to your new home and which to leave behind. Don’t forget to include your cookbooks in this purge. While it’s best to recycle dated reference books or books that are falling apart, sell or donate anything that’s in good condition.
- Duplicate Tools
Have you ever bought a tool to replace one you can’t find, or made a tool purchase without realizing you had something at home that would do the trick? Over the years, a garage, utility cupboard, or tool drawer can get filled up with multiples of tools—in fact, it’s not uncommon to find a few power drills, two hammers, a handful hand saws and a large assortment of screwdrivers when you move or are doing a massive decluttering. Take the time now to go through your garage and weed out any multiples. Pass them on to a family member who needs them or donate them to an organization that could use them. And if you’re moving into a condo like 390 On the River and away from on from lawn care and snow removal, be sure to find a new home for your mower and shovel!
- Duplicate Kitchen Items (and Ones You Never Use)
Many of us also tend to over-buy when it comes to kitchen tools, cookware and even small appliances. To declutter your kitchen in phases, tackle each segment separately, starting small with gadgets like corkscrews and garlic presses, before moving on to bakeware and small appliances. With a few exceptions—such as a couple of pairs of tongs and a couple of spatulas—most duplicates can automatically be put in the donate pile. Be sure to ask yourself if you’re really using items. If you can’t remember the last time you used it, you can almost certainly do without it.
- Dishware, Mugs and Water Bottles
Once you’ve tackled the kitchen tools and appliances, it’s time to assess your dishes. It’s easy to collect more mugs and water bottles than we need. Take a bit of time to evaluate any seasonal or special occasion dishware. If you love your wedding china, by all means, keep it, but if you’re short on space or planning to downsize, that second set of Christmas-themed plates might be something you can let go of.
- Old Cords and Electronics
We all seem to have a spot in our homes that’s designated as the digital dumping ground—a tangle of cords that are no longer needed, mysterious batteries, old cell phones, tablets or laptops that haven’t worked for ages. It’s long past time to get rid of it all. You can often recycle old cell phones at cellular retailers, and Best Buy recycles a wide range of cords, cables and electronics.
- Shoes That Hurt Your Feet
We all have those pairs of shoes that look amazing but are so ill-suited to our feet that we’re in agony within an hour of putting them on. The truth is, life’s too short for shoes that hurt, so let them go to someone who can wear them. If you’ve only worn them a few times, you can recoup a bit of your investment by selling them through consignment, an app like Poshmark or on Facebook marketplace.
- Product Manuals
There’s a reason we only get a quick set-up or assembly guide with products purchased these days—anything else is easy to find online with a quick search. If you’re still hanging on to any product manuals, check to see if the same documentation is on the manufacturer’s site and if so, let them go. Just be sure to file warranty documentation first. You can easily refer to the online manual or save a digital version to your computer or cloud storage platform of choice.
- Supplies for Abandoned Hobbies
We’ve all had lots of hobbies we’ve moved on from, and yet for some reason, the materials, equipment and tools tend to hang around in our homes, taking up space in drawers, closets or even entire rooms. Whether it’s sports gear, craft supplies or a beer brewing kit that you’re neglecting, it could be time to say goodbye to your crafty accoutrements turned dust magnets.
- Makeup, Bath and Skincare Products
There’s a reason makeup and skincare products have an expiry date. Bacteria builds up over time and ingredients go off—and that can really irritate your skin and eyes, and sometimes even cause infections. Mascara and liquid eyeliner should be tossed three months after opening. Foundation, concealer, cream blush, eyeshadow, lip gloss and nail polish are good for a year, while lipstick, eye liner pencil and powder blush are good for two years. Skincare products are generally good for one to two years after opening but check packaging for expiry dates and use your nose—you can often tell when a product’s ingredients are off. Don’t overlook your collection of decorative gift soaps or bottles of perfume or cologne either, counter your bathroom counter clutter with an organizer for more visually pleasing items you’d like to keep around while getting rid of anything that no longer suits you or your space.
- Your Giant Collection of Gift wrap and Gift Bags
Most of us don’t need more than a few kinds of wrapping paper or gift bags on hand at any given time. If your wrapping paper situation is a bit out of hand, it might be time to give some of it away to others who could use it. One roll or package of children’s birthday wrapping paper, one or two wraps for holidays and a neutral paper that could work for any occasion will have you (and your gifts) covered. With the addition of a few gift bags and tissue paper that works with all of them, you’ll be prepared for any gifting occasion.
Letting go of things you’ve been hanging on to can be tough. Give yourself time to deal with any emotional connection to objects but don’t be afraid to be ruthless. Simply ask yourself: Is this worth the space it takes up in my home?