5 things you can throw out right now if clutter is taking over your house

Monday, July 31, 2017

Even though Patrick and I just moved from our one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte to a two-bedroom apartment in Durham, I was adamant that less stuff needed to leave Charlotte than what came in. Both of us are terrible about hoarding things – for me, it's clothes and school supplies, and for Patrick, it's t-shirts and papers and media books from games he covers.

I read Marie Kondo's Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (CHECK?) earlier this year and use a few of her techniques, although I don't subscribe to her entire philosophy. (You'll never catch me emptying my purse every single day when I come home. Sorry kids.)

NOTE: whenever possible, PLEASE donate your gently used and still functioning items to a responsible organization. I usually donate to a thrift store in my hometown that supports women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Do your research. We also had a lot of success selling furniture on the Facebook Marketplace. Most importantly, don't throw something away that could be reused!

Clothes and accessories with holes or other major damage. 

If you've been hanging onto a shirt with a ripped seam or a pair of pants with a broken zipper and you haven't repaired anything yet, toss them. This also applies to socks with holes. You don't know how to darn a sock, I'm guessing, so toss them. You will probably never use those extra buttons, either.

Kitchen appliances and tools you've literally never used. 

My kitchenwares are very minimal because most of my stuff is still in storage, but consider each and every appliance and tool and gadget and Tupperware container you have in your cabinets. How can you minimize? If you haven't cooked with an item more than once in a year, I think that's a good barometer for sending it on its way to a new, loving home.

Clothes and accessories that you haven't worn or used in more than four seasons.

If you can't remember the last time you wore something, and it isn't very nostalgic to you, it probably can serve to go. My rule of thumb is six months, since most of my clothes aren't seasonal, but if you rotate clothes in and out for warm and cold weather, look at the length of the season – if you have a few sweaters you didn't reach for at all last year from October to March, what makes you think you'll want those sweaters this year?

Papers that you aren't ever going to look at again.

I'm looking at you, Patrick. This includes but is not limited to:

1) Magazines that you will never frame or read again. If you need or want to keep an article from a magazine, rip it out or find it online. (Why do we forget the internet exists when it comes to hoarding paper?)
2) Brochures, playbills and other items that you are keeping in a box. I know you want to keep your playbill from every Broadway show and your ticket stub from every concert you've ever seen and I am here for it. Frame them or put them in a scrapbook.
3) Manuals. If you need to figure out what is wrong with your microwave, you will Google it. I guarantee you that you will never read the instructions for putting together your IKEA bookshelf again.
4) Other papers, handouts, etc. from work, doctor's offices, puppy training that you don't need for your records. (And if you do need them for your records, scan them or put them in a file folder. Stop piling them up.)

Books that you aren't ever going to read again.

I am definitely a re-reader, but I won't re-read anything. It has to be a book that I really enjoyed or that brought about a real emotional response. So, for the most part, I donate books that I am unlikely to read again to the library. Most of the books on my shelf are books that I've never read! I do not subscribe to Marie Kondo's method of getting rid of books that you've never read – there's too much possibility there for me – but if you did read them and you doubt you will re-read them again, they can and should be easily donated. Be really critical of yourself when you do this – if you are not a re-reader and you aren't hanging onto a book for any sentimental reason, why keep it?

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What are your decluttering tips? Don't you feel fresh and lighter when you get rid of a big pile of things that you stopped using a year ago?


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