During the cold winter months I love to walk into a warm and cozy home. One that is full of thick blankets, a warm furnace, and cheeseburger soup. But for so many of us, a cozy home is more than just warm blankets and delicious smells. It is also a space that is organized and free of excess clutter.
But after the holiday season it can be hard to find the desire to tackle the disorganized parts of your home. It’s cold, people are sick, and it is really easy to come up with a list of reasons why now is not the right time. The thought of tackling ALL of the unorganized spaces in your home feels like an overly daunting task.
If you feel this way you are in the right place my friend! You are not alone, I struggle with finding the motivation to conquer the mess during the winter months as well. But today I’m sharing with you seven things you can ditch right now to lighten the load and help things feel more spacious in your home. These seven things come from different rooms, which will allow you to see progress throughout your entire home. The best part? I recommend only spending 10 minutes on each of the jobs I have listed below. When you tell yourself that you will just work for 10 minutes things seem much more doable. And when the time is up you can decide if you want to keep going or wrap it up for today.
Maybe you won’t finish decluttering the entire space, but you can make progress in 10 minutes. And it can easily be the job that gets you moving and motivated to do more. Progress is better than never starting. Every time.
Note: when I say “ditch it” what I mean is, get it out of your home. This may mean giving it to a friend. Giving things to a local homeless shelter. Recycling what can be recycled and then throwing out what can’t be recycled or reused.
seven things you can ditch to reduce the clutter in your home.
- THE BATHROOM
It’s time to ditch the old makeup. Often we think of cleaning out the medicine cabinet and restocking what is expired. But makeup piles up. Broken palettes, decade old lip gloss. Things you NEVER reach for, but for some reason, they are still in the drawer.
HELPFUL HINT: Below is a general timeline for when to toss makeup items.
- Mascara after 4 months
- Lip Gloss after 6 months
- Liquid foundation, concealer, eye shadow and blush after 12 months
- Stick foundation, concealer, eye shadow & blush powder, lipstick tubes after 2 years
- If it is broken, or you don’t like it ditch it.
- THE LINEN CLOSET
Do you have sheets for a twin bed and don’t even have a twin bed in your home? Or more hand towels than you will ever use? Set a timer for 10 minutes and look through the linen closet for items you will never use and any that are worn to the point they should just be cut up and used as rags.
HELPFUL HINT: Create 3 piles: Keep, Donate, Cut Up For Rags
- ART SUPPLIES
Okay, this one makes me cringe because I have a ridiculus art supply. But this one is like your makeup drawer. You probably have a stash of items that are half used and will never be touched again. Set a 10-minute timer and pull out as many items as possible that need to go. Look for broken supplies, empty containers, notebooks and coloring books that have been used up. These go in the trash or recycling bin. Then make a stack of supplies that you have never used or know you will never use again. Give away or sell these items.
HELPFUL HINT: You can check with your local after-school programs, kids teachers, and Sunday School classrooms to see who can use art supplies. This is a great way to get rid of items that you know you will never use.
Alright, my fellow children of the 80’s and 90’s. Embrace it, you will likely never listen to your road trip mixtape again. And the CD of Destiny’s Child that is scratched beyond use is just taking up space. If your music is all digital now you should go through your CD and tape collection and have a heart to heart conversation with NSYNC. Grab a storage box and put the tapes and CD’s with sentimental value into the box. Anything scratched, damaged or with no sentimental value goes.
HELPFUL HINT: You can recycle old CD’s. They can’t go into your recycle box on the curb, but you can send them into places like like this one.
This is another one of those areas that we would prefer to just ignore. But all of those cords and cables? It’s time to give them a proper home. Your Blackberry charging cable? There is a very slim chance that you will have someone come to your home who will need to borrow this cable. Get rid of it.
Sort through them quickly by asking yourself these questions:
- Do I use this?
- Do I know what it belongs to?
- Do I need more than one of these?
Then head to a local electronics recycling center or big box electronics store to recycle the cords you no longer need.
HELPFUL HINT: Store the cables you will be keeping in one box, but make sure they are each wrapped up so they won’t be tangled the next time you reach for a cord. Straps like these are a great way to keep them organized.
- PAPER WEIGHT
Reduce the paper you have floating around your home. Set the 10-minute timer and gather as many papers as possible for the recycling bin and shredder.
- receipts you will never need
- bank statements (electronic copies are available to us at any time)
- expired coupons
- old newspapers
HELPFUL HINT: If you have kids in the home they can do this task at the same time. Have them sort through school papers and projects and decide what they want to keep and what they want to recycle.
Use your ten minutes in the kitchen to pull out dishes that can be donated and free up some valuable kitchen cabinet space. Look for these in your cupboards and drawers:
- your least favorite coffee mugs (the ones you never use)
- business promotional kitchen gadgets, cups & dishes (the plastic cups with your bank logo)
- never used dishes
- broken utensils and gadgets
HELPFUL HINT: It may be hard to pack up some of these items, especially if you know you paid money for them. But remember, if you haven’t used it in the last year you likely will not use it in the coming year. And the extra space in your kitchen will feel amazing.
Each day set a ten minute timer and tackle one of these projects. At the end of the week you will be so thankful for the extra space, and the feeling of calm and cozy that a clutter-free space brings. If you have kids at home I encourage you to have them help you each day. They can help you package up, shred and tear apart the items you no longer need.
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