Chad and I have really put a focus on decluttering this year at the Clean My Space HQ. We’ve vowed to consciously reduce the amount of “stuff” we have around the house by being really critical of what bring in to our home. While this is great, we still have to go through all of our existing stuff and prune out things that no longer belong. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of 10 things that we’ve recently pulled out of our house in an effort to provide decluttering help and inspiration to anyone out there who needs a little nudge forward.
I recently found a big old box of old photos in my crawl space, and honestly, they are soooo embarrassing! I don’t want anyone to see them—I don’t even want to look at them! So the question is: why do I even have them? If you go through your pictures and have this kind of reaction, you can shred these ones and slim down your photo collection quite a bit. Obviously, keep the pictures that you do like, but you now have fewer albums, a smaller container, or even better—digitize them! This is a great way to hang on to the photos that are really meaningful to you without having the clutter.
Arts & Crafts
I’m a bit nutty when it comes to collecting DIY stuff like old soup cans, mason jars, or even candle jars (I have quite a collection!). I’ve found some great ways to upcycle my candle jars, but otherwise, I’ve decided to throw this stuff in the recycling bin and clear up my arts & crafts space. So, if you have a lot of DIY craft items waiting to be used, maybe it’s time to move on. Even if you have the best of intentions, if it’s been sitting around for months, and you don’t really have a use for that candle jar, it’s time to let it go—just recycle it.
I detest cold weather. But, even when it’s not winter, I still bundle up because I’m always cold. That being said, I wear a lot of scarves, and if I’m being honest, there are an abundance of scarves in my house. I’m willing to bet that if you live in an area with cold weather, you probably have a lot of scarves too, and there are probably some that you just never wear. We all have our favorites, and these tend to get the bulk of use. So, take these un-loved scarves and give them to someone who can appreciate them.
I’m sure you have an old can of cream of something soup sitting in the back of your pantry, or maybe some beans—wax, baked, kidney or otherwise. This is the time to go through your pantry and check for any foods that you’re never going to eat, or that have expired. Yes, even canned and boxed foods have a best before date! Once you’ve sorted through these, and assuming they haven’t expired, you can donate them at a drop off center (police station, fire station, shelter) or even your local grocery store. Most larger grocery stores generally have donation boxes these days. I’m sure your cupboards will appreciate that little bit of extra breathing space!
Now that (hopefully) you’ve decided to digitize your photos, giving yourself an endless stream of #TBT pictures, it’s also time to go through your phone and take a look at your photo collection. It’s easy to take 20 pictures of that super fancy dinner you had last weekend, but after the fact, you really only need one or two of the best ones. I’ve run out of space a number of times on my phone and had to do some quick purging, which can be heartbreaking. In these instances, the culprit has always been photos and videos. So, do yourself a favor and stay ahead of the game. Declutter the photos and videos on your phone and free up some space.
I think—actually, I know—my office could use a little bit of pen decluttering! For those of you who don’t know, I have a little bit of a pen obsession. I’m looking at you Muji pens! Even if you don’t have a pen obsession, you can probably do with getting rid of some of your pens, highlighters, markers etc. Whether you’re holding on to them from school, or from work, or went through an adult coloring book phase (super popular recently!), decide which pens you have duplicates of, constantly skip over, or those that just don’t work well anymore. These are the decluttering culprits, and you really have to say goodbye to them.
I don’t know one human that requires 500 paper clips. To be honest, I don’t know many companies that require 500 paper clips. Even though they’re in a cute container, there’s no need for me to have all of these paper clips, staples, and bulldog clips floating around. So, sort through your office supplies and ask yourself, “What do I need? What do I not need? What have I actually used?”. The truth is that in one calendar year, you’re going to use everything that you could possibly need to use in your office. So, if you have an extra 500 paper clips and you only used 12 in the previous year, maybe you need to do some decluttering. Office supplies hog quite a bit of space, so once you free yourself from the shackles of excess, you’ll feel a lot better.
Cables & Chargers
I’m not the cable hoarder in our house, that’s totally a Chad thing. I constantly stumble across cords and cables, and frankly, I often don’t know what piece of equipment they came from. So, here’s my new rule: If you have a piece of equipment that you’re actively using and it requires a cable, keep it and maybe one backup. However, any other spare cables lying around need to go. These things are just taking up space.
When we moved offices last year at Clean My Space services, I think we had six large computers that were simply sitting in storage. These were old, out of date PCs, that were literally just collecting dust. Bottom line, we needed some decluttering help here. So, I contacted our IT guy, cleaned all of the data off of them and then donated what hardware we could, and disposed of the rest. There are definitely DIY ways to wipe hard drives (as well as paid ways) and proper ways dispose of hardware. Trust me, once you get rid of old electronics, you start to find a lot of extra space in your home.
When seasons change, we start to think about decorating for the holidays. One of the things that we knew we needed to toss this year were old holiday decorations. We have some stuff that’s definitely seen better days. Or… better holidays, I should say. Either way, go through your stuff and identify the things that you pick over, or stuff you’re not so proud to display anymore. Everybody upgrades every year, a little bit here, a little bit there and you end up with a mish-mash of decorations over time. So, ditch the old stuff or the broken stuff, and only showcase your most beautiful holiday decorations.