Declutter & Dispose Household Items

It’s easy for a house to get messy, but it’s also easy to declutter and get it clean. It just takes some determination and effort. However much time you have, there’s a spring cleaning method to fit your lifestyle and needs. Read on for different ways to declutter and dispose household items.

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Simple Ways to Declutter Your House

Preventive Measures 

Put it on a shelf: 

Organize things where you can see them to remind you what you have and what is actually getting used. This will make you want to declutter more often.

A house divided:

Use dividers and trays in your drawers, nightstand, kitchen, TV stand, etc. to declutter and stay organized. You can also use buckets for kids toys, outdoor necessities (sunscreen, baseball bat)

 Have a set place for things: 

Keep your house neat by putting things where they belong the first time. Keys should only be dropped off on the key hook, for example. Shoes should always get stored on the entry-way shoe rack. Mail goes in the inbox or outbox, so you can take care of it later. This will prevent the need to declutter constantly. 

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Year-Round Declutter Methods 

The 4-Box Method: 

Gather 3 cardboard boxes and a large trash can. Label each of them: one for “put away”, “one for “sell or give away”, and one for “storage”. Of course, anything needing to be thrown out goes in the garbage can. Room by room, force yourself to make quick decisions by putting clutter into one of the boxes or the trash can. Do yourself a favor by quickly selling or donating anything in the donation box (the idea is to get it out of your house quickly so IT doesn’t become clutter). If you don’t have time to donate it the same day, throw it into your car to get it out of the house. Storage boxes can be labeled with the contents and then put into the garage or attic. Bring trash to the curb that day so you don’t change your mind! 

Pick A Hot Spot:

Where’s the messiest area in the house? Is it the living room, the kitchen table, the hallway? Pick one hot spot at a time and be ruthless. Choosing one spot each day can make a quick difference without overwhelming even the busiest people. You can choose these spots at will, or make a list and check off one area per day. If you’re pressed for time (aren’t we all?), choose small areas like the coffee table or one bookshelf instead of trying to conquer a whole room.

Have A Mantra:

“Does this bring me joy?” (the Marie Kondo method) or “Is it necessary?” or “Would I buy this today?” are all good questions to ask yourself as you make a decision for each item. Pick one or two questions to ask yourself for every item that isn’t a quick decision. 

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Set A Timer:

Whether you have 5, 10, 15, or 30 minutes, you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done when you know you have a time limit. Put on your favorite music to zone in and make the time fly by. 

One A Day:

Pick one (or two or three) things a day to get rid of (give away or throw away). That’s at least 365 things per year! It can be big or small, but you’ll feel accomplished if you make this effort consistently. This is a great way to simplify your life and home. 

Closet Hanger Method:

Once every 6 months, turn your closet hangers in the reverse direction. When you use something and hang it up again, place it in the correct position.  At the end of the 6 months, see which items are still in their original reversed position – those are likely candidates for your giveaway box.

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Fill One Bag:

Grab a trash bag and move quickly through your home throwing away everything that is an obvious choice for the garbage. See how quickly your can fill it, and repeat this every month or as needed. When you’re trying to get in the mood to clean, putting on your favorite songs is always a sure way to boost your mood and make you work faster. This is a great way to declutter.

Work in Categories:

Make a list of all the categories you want to tackle over time. Your list might include your clothes, shoes, office supplies, kitchen cabinets, storage bins, drawers, fridge, freezer, toy chests, etc. Anytime you think of a category, add it to your list. When you have time, choose one thing on your list to check off. If you have other household members, delegate a task to them, such as going through the pantry to find all the expired food items. Kids can contribute with simple tasks like gathering all the shoes around the house and putting them all in one place (with their matching pair, of course!). Hire a house cleaning service to do the deep cleaning so you can focus on the items that involve more decision making.

Pick A Number:

This is a fun challenge to reduce your overall amount of stuff. For example, count the number of items you have hanging in your closet. Let’s say the number is 80 items. Challenge yourself to cut that down to 60 (whatever number you’re comfortable with), and start removing things from your closet. Set a reward to celebrate if you accomplish your goal! If you don’t meet the challenge, you’ve still made progress!

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Declutter & Dispose Household Items

Give Away or Throw Away

  1. Magazines and newspapers
  2. Paper scraps, wedding invites, save-the-date cards, and travel brochures
  3. Old rubber bands you have too many of
  4. CDs and DVDs you don’t enjoy
  5. Hair ties that have lost elasticity 
  6. Scarves you don’t wear
  7. Bills and receipts you no longer need (shred bills!)
  8. The backs of earrings (or half of a pair)
  9. Work-out bath mats and hallway rugs
  10. Accessories you no longer use
  11. Worn-out shoes
  12. Board games missing pieces
  13. Frequent shopper cards you don’t use
  14. Unused toys (kids toys or pet toys)
  15. Unused vases
  16. Outdated or broken electronics
  17. Old cables and wires you don’t use
  18. Old school books (donate to the library or schools!)
  19. Rusted jewelry or garden items
  20. Extra buttons
  21. Expired coupons
  22. Ticket stubs
  23. Extra tupperware
  24. Pens and markers that don’t work
  25. Old cell phones (donate them!)
  26. Old planners
  27. Extra kitchen utensils
  28. Hole-y socks
  29. Spare parts you don’t need
  30. Boxes
  31. Old manuals
  32. Clothes that no longer fit
  33. Old hangers that are bent or not fit to hang good clothes on
  34. Old shirts
  35. Old bras and underwear
  36. Purses, bags, or wallets you don’t use
  37. Old pillows
  38. Old prom dress (you can also sell your wedding dress online!)
  39. Damaged goods
  40. Stockings with runs
  41. Old makeup and nail polish
  42. Old toiletries
  43. Expired food or old spices
  44. Snacks your kids and pets don’t eat
  45. Leftover change (Don’t throw it away! Put it in a piggy bank or give it to a lucky kid.) 
  46. Gifts you don’t like

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Images via OneKingsLane, RealSimple