10 Things to Toss Today! (Part 1)

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Whenever we do a video about decluttering, inevitably the comment section fills up with comments which basically go something like: “Melissa, my place is a mess, I’ve never decluttered before and I’m freaking out and don’t know where to start”. It’s a reality, decluttering can be stressful—I’ve been there! So, we thought we would come up with a series called 10 Things to Toss Today! Essentially this serves as an easy way to begin the decluttering process; simply go through your house, find these 10 items, and if they apply to you, part ways with them right now. Use this as a jumping off point in your decluttering journey and see how far you can get with just these 10 basic items.

Free Samples

Free samples are not free. They actually come at a cost, and the cost is you have to find somewhere to keep all of them. My rule is this: if I get a free sample, I need to use it within 2 or 3 days, consult with my travel kit and if I’m in need of this particular item I’ll use it the next time I travel. Otherwise, get rid of it. So, if I get a hair product, I’ll put it directly in my shower and I’ll use it that day or the next day. If it’s a perfume sample, I’ll use it immediately. If I don’t like it, I get rid of it. I don’t hang onto it and hope I’ll like it one day.

pillows

Pillows

If you’re anything like Chad and I you likely have a stack of old pillows stashed away somewhere, just for “emergency” purposes. Like if we’re suddenly in desperate need of a pillow because we’ve ruined all of ours, or we have guests who need to sleep over for the night—which has never happened in the 7 years we’ve lived in this house! But, we still have a stack of old pillows. Take your pillows and drop them off at the closest pet shelter. They’re pretty much the only place that’s going to take used pillows, but they actually really like them and that’ll do you, and your closet, a service.

Random Boxes

Take a look around your house, specifically in storage spaces—closets, basements and the like. You’ll likely find shoe boxes, electronics boxes, or old jewelry boxes. You probably thought it was a good idea to hold on to the box at the time, and you were probably right (for returns, resale etc.). That being said, if you haven’t needed it in the past 6 months, it’s probably time to get rid of it. If you’re using the box to actually store something in, perfect, boxes are great for upcycling.

women's belt

Belts

Belts generally fall in and out of fashion, at least for us women. Unless you’re wearing a belt on high rotation, you probably don’t need it in the house. So, here’s what I recommend: look at your belts, keep a black one, keep a brown one, keep a fashionable one and ditch the rest. Decluttering FTW!

Hair Ties

Ladies, and men with ponytails, you’ll probably get me on this one—hair ties! I think I have maybe 40 hair ties kicking around the house? Chad would contend it’s closer to 400, but either way, they do have a tendency to float around the house and end up in various locations. The best thing to do here is to corral them in one spot, sort through them, and get rid of the ones that are broken or stretched out. Nothing is worse than having a stretched out, crappy hair tie, that’s going to snap on you. So do yourself a favor, and get rid of the bad ones.

hair products

Hair Products

Head up to your bathroom and declutter your hair product collection—shampoo, conditioner, styling products—the whole gamut! You probably have some stuff in there that you’re not using anymore. Or, if you’re like Chad, you may even have some empty bottles just sitting in the shower, literally just taking up space. Check all the expiration dates, and evaluate whether you’re even using them anymore, and if not, now’s the time to get rid of them!

Single Socks

If you’ve ever done laundry in your life, you’ve probably encountered the “mystery sock”. And the truth is unless you’re planning on using them for another purpose, (and there are a number of other uses for single socks!) it’s high time to throw them away.

Dish Towels

I don’t know about you but sometimes I get to the bottom of my dish towel pile and I pull out a Swiss-cheese-looking towel. And I end up keeping them just in case there’s any major cleanup emergency that we have in the house. But truthfully, we have good cleaning cloths and tea towels for just that purpose. So, go through your collection of dish towels, tea towels, and cleaning cloths and get rid of the old crusty ones. If you need to replace the whole bunch consider investing in some microfiber cleaning cloths, which not only work unbelievably well, but also last for a good long time.

Promotional Email

It’s always flattering to get an email from, you know, someone that really likes you… someone that wants to marry you… and give you all kinds of money! Although, they’re usually from Nigeria, and they’re usually a Prince! All joking aside, I’m constantly barraged with bogos, special offers and other emails that—I admit, I did subscribe to at some point—but I delete almost 99% of without reading them because I’m just not interested. An inbox full of junk mail each morning is also clutter—digital clutter—but clutter nonetheless. I recommend that you take one week and go through your inbox each morning and unsubscribe from all of the stuff you’re not interested in. It’s a bit of a chore, but a clutter-free inbox each morning is a nice way to start the day!

Shoes

When you open your hall closet you probably come across shoes that are old, or worn, or damaged, or frankly just out of style. You haven’t worn them for ages, but they sit there anyway being passed over each day. Free up some much-needed space in your bedroom and hall closets, and toss the shoes that you don’t wear anymore, and free up space for the ones that you actually love.

Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.

19 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve been one of those people (in my past life) that would pounce on storage boxes at Target etc. Since I’ve gone through all my storage boxes and got rid of STUFF, I no longer need storage boxes. Instead I just put away things in their rightful places. 🙁 🙂 🙂

  2. I need to declutter lots of things but definitely coffee mugs I no longer use. It annoys me every time I unload the dishwasher and run out of room for my good cups. Thanks for this video to help motivate me to get rid of them!

    • Donna, in the U.S. you need to keep them for 3 years from the date you filed the return unless you think you might be charged with tax fraud, then keep them for 6 years from the date you filed. Remember, you file the year AFTER the year in question, i.e. you FILE for 2017 on April 15, 2018. Another way to think of it is just to keep your paperwork for 4 years (or 7). If you live north of the border, check with Canada Revenue 🙂 . I now keep my stuff electronically, if everything crashes I’ll just throw myself on the mercy of the IRS — but it IS a good idea to keep stuff as it costs of fortune to get stuff later for your heirs. (Ask me how I know. 🙁 )

  3. Did you sneak into my house? Old pillows, towels, so many unused samples, old shoes and boxes. Why?? I have to get off the computer and do this right now!

  4. Melissa, great ideas for de-cluttering. Especially free samples for travel bags. My sister and I do this in our homes, but PLEASE STOP suggesting throwing everything out. MOST items can be donated somewhere. People just need to think about who could use them, like old pillows for dog shelters/rescues! Great idea, hadn’t thought of that one yet. Free samples can go to domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, or can be made into gift baskets for teens. You can also make zippie bags of certain samples (soaps, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, etc.) and hand them out to homeless on corners or medians. We can’t have all this waste in landfills, its just toooo much.

    • also dish towels that are old can convert to rags next before heading to textiles recycling which many towns have. There are bins at gas stations or random parking lots as you drive by that have bins that say “Clothing and Shoes” but are not Goodwill bins or “Salvation Army” bins, they are usually solid colors with no logos. Stop and look and some say on the fronts “for recycling” or “for textiles that need a second life” or something along those lines. They just require that you put all your old fabrics and broken shoes in plastic bags and knot them usually.

  5. I need ti de-clutter papers, I have a 3 foot counter completely covered with old mail, receipts, coupons, mail. I get rid of it and within 2 weeks family has piled counter up again. So frustrating. I we recently cleaned out my mothers house and I have approx. 30 bone china tea cups and saucers and about 1000 80+ years old, old pictures. What do I do with these???

    • If you don’t want the tea cups, you can donate them or you can pour candles in them and make gifts. I know some ladies have done that. Also, you could sell them! Many women want them for their collections or to use as gifts. What about a tea house locally? We have a tea room in town and they were asking for these when they opened. Look it up and see if you have one near you. As far as the photos, if you’re not sentimental or you have already picked through them for keepers, check with other family members who are doing a family tree or the family historian. They would want them to go through and they are very important to doing family history. Otherwise is there a local historical society near you or your mother’s house? They usually take them. Just make sure you tell them what family they belonged to. That’s important, too. Please don’t throw either of these away. Blessings!!!

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