February is a tough month here in Central New York. The holidays are behind us, weeks of snow and cold lie ahead, and the motivation brought on by new year’s resolutions is long gone. These long winter weeks are a great time to tackle some decluttering around the house, but you may find yourself sitting on the couch and binge watching your favorite shows instead.
The best motivation I’ve found for getting organized is seeing some progress. If I can have a few easy wins, I get excited about the space and order I’m creating and it gives me incentive to keep on going. Today I’m going to share five things that are easy to get rid of and will give you an immediate feeling of accomplishment. You may have forgotten you even owned this stuff! Picking just one of these to declutter will make a difference in your home and will give your winter organizing efforts a jump start.
1. Unused sports equipment – Take a look in the garage, basement, or the back of your closets for sporting goods that haven’t been used in years. Maybe it’s a set of golf clubs, old tennis racquets, or roller blades that haven’t seen the light of day since Y2K. If two summers have passed and you haven’t used them, odds are you never will again. If your items are in good condition, you might get a few bucks for them locally at Play it Again Sports.
While you’re looking for old sports equipment, take note of your sneaker collection. For some reason, many of us keep our old sneakers lying around even after we get a new pair. While it can be handy to have some shoes on hand for yard work, limit yourself to just one old pair and ditch the rest.
2. Extra set of dishes – I will admit this item is one I kept around for way too long. Many of my clients and people I’ve met in my classes have one (or more) extra sets of dishes taking up tons of space in their kitchen cabinets. Maybe it’s a formal set you inherited but never use because it can’t go in the dishwasher, or it was a great deal you got at the thrift store. Be honest with yourself about how often you use those dishes and if that frequency justifies the storage space it requires. If you’re only hanging on to it for sentimental reasons, keep one of the larger serving pieces and get rid of the rest. You don’t need all twelve place settings to remember holidays at your grandmother’s house.
3. Furniture in storage – Getting rid of big items like furniture frees up a lot of storage space in your home and it feels great! Ask yourself why you are hanging on to furniture you don’t have a place for in your home. If you’re saving it for someone, find out if they actually want it and in what time frame they’ll be able to take it. If it has sentimental value, take some photos and give it away to someone who needs it. The Rescue Mission will pick up items at your home, so why not make that call today?
4. Clothing in your old size – If your weight has fluctuated in the last few years you might be holding on to clothes that no longer fit. Maybe you’re working to lose weight and get back to a smaller size, or you're keeping larger clothing “just in case”. Why do we hang on to things that remind us that we are not where we want to be? I don’t want to spend any mental energy on these negative thoughts, and you shouldn’t, either! Ditch the too small or too big clothes and free up space in your closet and your mind for happier things. And if you do change sizes in the future, won’t you want a new wardrobe that is in style?
5. Ingredients you bought for one recipe – Check your pantry and kitchen cabinets for those random ingredients you purchased for a single recipe and never used again. They are just taking up space that should be dedicated to the supplies you need for the dishes in your regular rotation.
And speaking of recipes, take a look at your cookbook collection as well. Do you use them for reference, or have you moved on to online resources? I have found it’s much easier to search for what I want on sites like AllRecipes.com. Maybe you keep cookbooks for a handful of recipes you make regularly, or a few you plan on trying. Photocopy the pages or – gasp! – tear them out, put them in a binder, and donate the book to free up space on your shelves.
If you found these tips helpful be sure to subscribe to the Pretty Neat weekly email! You'll get a short and sweet message each week with my best advice for a more beautiful and functional home. Click here to sign up, and you'll also receive my FREE guide: How to Get Rid of Stuff!
Make it fab!