Decluttering Checklist

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Ready to start decluttering your home but don’t know where to start? Try this quick list:
 
  • VHS movies, CDs and other outdated technology. Nostalgic, maybe. Clutter? Definitely. Either have these items converted into digital formats, or get rid of them.
  • Old baby gear. Most cribs and car seats, for example, have expiration dates or dates the manufacturers recommend not using the item any longer for safety reasons. Wait for Babies R’ Us’ trade in events (twice per year) and get 25% off a new item, or, simply, take these items to a recycling center.
  • Unused or old spices. If you open the jar lid and you don’t smell the spice, chances are it’s time to pitch it. Spices generally have a two year shelf life, so if you have a bunch of jars in your cabinet, get rid of what’s not getting used.
  • Stuff that’s not yours. You’d be surprised how much stuff one can accumulate. Do you have friends or family members who continually leave things in your home? Or perhaps you borrow and forget to return? Designate a bin for other people’s stuff and empty it as often as possible.
  • Random appliances. Do you like to collect those cakepop, Panini, empanada, etc. makers but never use them? Perhaps a large plastic bin can be filled and stored in the basement, or maybe these items are best donated to friends who would find better use for them.
Still having trouble figuring out what to do with some of your stuff? Here are a few common obstacles while decluttering and some tips on how to work through them:
  • It was expensive. You may have paid a lot of money for something, but if it’s not getting used, then it’s taking up valuable space in your life. While decluttering, try not to think about selling these items. It’s more than likely that you will not get back enough of what you invested to take the sting of getting rid of the item.
  • It was a gift. Again, if it’s not getting used then it’s taking up space. The sheer presence of that item might actually make you feel guilty for not using it. Consider donating these items to those who will be able to enjoy them more than yourself.
  • It might be something I need later. This thought comes up often. From overbuying consumables or even storing furniture for the 50+ person party you’ll probably never have. And if you’ve ever said “I’m not sure what it is, but I might need it,” – chances are you won’t. Some like to live by the general rule of: “if I haven’t used it in 2 years, it’s out of here.”
  • It was an heirloom. This is likely the trickiest circumstance to overcome. Sentimental value often overtakes logical usability. If what you’re holding onto is taking up so much space that you can’t even enjoy the memories, perhaps find a new way to remember loved ones is best.