We stayed home this holiday season and our biggest gift was the time to do some purging at our house. We're not quite done yet, but we have a good start and it feels great! We have lived in the same place for 15 years, the longest we have lived in the same home… it's amazing how things build up!
Thinking about getting rid of some of your stuff but don't know where to start? Here are some things you can get rid of starting today…
1. Magazines – do you have stacks of magazines that you haven't read? If they have been sitting there untouched for two months, it's amazing how liberating it can be to accept that it's ok to get rid of them without reading them, like a literal weight has been lifted. Consider donating them to a retirement home, doctor's office or school. If you simply can't throw them without at least taking a quick look, try flipping through and tearing out articles or recipes to read later and putting the rest in recycling.
2. Kitchen Utensils – are you having trouble opening and closing your utensil drawer? I know our utensils seem to multiply while we are out! Here is one way to figure out what you really use… toss everything into a box, then pull things out of the box as you use them. Put the items you use back in the drawer and donate the items that don't get pulled out.
3. Coffee Mugs – coffee mugs are another item that seem to collect, from free promotional mugs to gift mugs it's not uncommon to find 20 mugs in the cupboard. Save your 4 favorites (per person) that you actually use and get rid of the rest, even if they were gifts.
4. Vases – if are you are collecting vases from gift flower bouquets, you still have time to get rid of them before Valentine's Day adds to your collection. I read a suggestion that had never occurred to me… take them back to the florist!
5. Food – I am embarrassed to admit how many cans and boxes of food, and condiments in our refrigerator expired not months, but years ago… shows how long it had been since our last purge!
6. Spices – spices may not go 'bad' but they do lose their taste over time… when they lose their smell and taste bland it's time to dump them
7. Receipts – the first few years you save receipts, etc for tax backup is easy… but after 7 years it's time to start tossing. Check with your accountant, but in general materials that support your tax returns can be tossed after 7 years.
8. Unread books – most of us have favorite books we keep coming back to… and also have some books we have purchased and keep intending to read that never make it to the top of the 'read' list… these are the ones to donate for someone else to enjoy.
9. Clothes – I remember a highlight of my older cousin's visit from several states away every summer when I was growing up was the box of clothes she would bring for me. Donating to friends and family is a great way to recycle kid clothes, but what about the clothes that have been in your closet for years without wearing? Just give them up and give them away.
10. Kids' Artwork – most kids create many masterpieces every week, if not every day! take photos of the ones you don't want to frame or keep forever and keep a digital 'art gallery'… it also won't show signs of aging over time
11. Medicine – check your medicine cabinet for expired prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, this is another place where we were surprised by how long ago some things had expired. We obviously don't use a lot of bandaids… when I removed the backing on one in our closet not long ago to apply it, everything disintegrated… even bandaids don't last forever! Check the FDA for safe disposal of medicines… it's not the same for everything, they even suggest mixing some with unpalatable substances such as kitty litter!
12. Linens – most of us have way too many towels and sheets, we may not even have the beds the linens fit anymore… keep two sets of sheets per bed
Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results – Twin Cities Realtor