Spring cleaning is getting quite the upgrade this year. Instead of putting it on our weekend to-do lists for weeks until we decide it’s summer, many of us are actually cleaning out our spaces and getting rid of items we don’t want, don’t use, or don’t need. Marie Kondo would be proud!
But for those of us with more than the optimal amount of clutter, not knowing where to start can derail the entire process. Instead of getting discouraged before you even start the project, pay attention to these items in your home and know that they can be tossed or donated without having to give it too much thought. Once you get these out, finding items to clear out will be a breeze.
1. Expired Makeup and Skincare
We all know to get rid of old makeup (and if you don’t, get to it!), but we often forget skincare has an expiration date too. Check the labels on your skincare products and keep a record of when they were purchased to make this step easier. Remember that sunscreen in particular can be basically null and void once it’s passed the expiration date.
2. Extra Items in Your Shower
Most of us like to have a few options when it comes to our shower items, but what about all those things you’ve stopped using that still take up space on those extremely small shower ledges and organizers? From half-used body washes, almost-empty shaving creams, and skincare products you swore you’d use but don’t, toss those and make space for what you actually use.
3. Broken Pens
You know when you grab for a pen and it doesn’t work? So, then you grab for another and that one doesn’t work? I’m known to tossing them to the side (pens come back to life sometimes) rather than just tossing them right then and there. Grab a piece of scrap paper and make sure all of your writing utensils are smooth and inky.
4. Expired Medications
Over time, medication can decrease in effectiveness if it’s kept for too long. Most medicines will have the expiration date printed right on the package, but if not, google the medication to see when it’s recommended to toss out.
According to the FDA, the safest way to dispose of medications is dropping it off at a drug take-back location; if there aren’t any near you, flush medications on this list or follow these guidelines if they’re not on the flush list.
5. Canned Goods You Won’t Use
Our eyes are definitely bigger than our stomachs at the grocery store sometimes, so we buy canned beans and corn and pineapples and tomatoes thinking we’ll “get to them eventually.” And maybe you will! I like to go through my canned goods by looking through recipes I want to try on Pinterest. If nothing I want to make calls for a can of peaches (and I know myself—I won’t eat them on their own), I’ll donate them.
6. Books You Won’t Read
Whether it’s been on your bookshelf for years and still doesn’t strike your fancy or you know you’ll never reread it, go through your book stash and get rid of anything that doesn’t serve a purpose anymore. Of course, books are decor too, but if they don’t make your shelves prettier, they can go.
7. Expired Herbs and Spices
When was the last time you went through your spice rack? Although they often come in small packages, they can derail your entire cooking process if you go to use the cumin in a recipe and realize it expired eight months ago. If they stop smelling like they normally do, it’s time for them to go.
8. Excess On Your Countertops
If you often notice your kitchen counters, desk, vanity, or bathroom counters get cluttered easily, you’re probably sticking the same items on them over and over again, such as mail, your skincare stash, notebooks, dishes, cords, and more. You might not be ready to throw those things away, but you can get rid of the clutter by giving them all a permanent home.
9. The Next Season’s Clothes
While it might sound right to declutter your coats, sweaters, and scarves right now, it’s actually a better plan (for your wallet and your wardrobe) to focus on the items you’ll wear in the upcoming season. Do those eight off-the-shoulder blouses you bought two summers ago still match your wardrobe for 2020? Do you like the denim shorts you bought last year, or are they uncomfortable now? This will help you plan your wardrobe for the upcoming season. When fall rolls around, that’s when you’ll want to see if your staple winter items from last year still make the cut. You might be bored of your sweater collection by now, but after putting them away for months, they might bring you joy again!
Also, this is a great idea if you like to sell your clothes on sites like Poshmark or in a consignment shop. People are looking for spring and summer pieces right now, so that is likely what will sell better than a pair of tartan trousers.
10. Tupperware Without Lids
We all have a stash of meal prep containers that the lids have somehow gone missing. If you can’t find the lid, wash it and put it in the donation pile. This is also a great project to help you start organizing the cabinets—win, win!
11. CDs and DVDs
OK, maybe you can prove me wrong, but I haven’t listened to a CD since 2014. While some might hold sentimental value (me @ all of my signed pop-punk albums from Warped Tour), some I bought at Target on Black Friday in middle school and forgot existed. Same goes for DVDs: if it’s a movie you can watch on Netflix or another streaming service, goodbye.
12. Earrings Without A Match
I have a tendency to keep earrings that I’ve lost one. IDK, maybe I’ll find it one day? Nope, you won’t.
13. Old Paperwork
Keeping a folder (or a few) of all the paperwork you might need at some point is a great idea, but those folders can get overloaded quickly. Go through what you have and really prioritize what you might need. A bank statement from 2012 might not serve you when you’re applying for a loan, just as you probably don’t need receipts for furniture you’ve had for years.
14. Accessories You Don’t Wear Often
How often do you go through your hair accessories, jewelry, scarves, and hats? While we might go through our clothes often, those other items might fall to the wayside when you’re decluttering your space. If you only wear the same five necklaces but have 12 in your collection or your hat collection is getting out of control, give those pieces a look. These are also items you can donate or sell!
15. Old Sheets and Bedding
Buying new duvet covers and sheets to brighten up (or cozy up, depending on the season) your space is fun, but what happens your collection is overfilled with sheets and bedding you’ll likely never use again? It’s good to keep a few extras (especially for guests!), but an entire linen closet full of bedding can be pared down.
16. Anything You Haven’t Used in Six Months
This is where the decluttering starts to take a turn. These may not be items you think of immediately, but pay attention to what you use and love, and what’s been sitting in its place for a long time. The mug that just doesn’t hold as much coffee as you need in the morning, the candle that always burns weird, the lipstick you never quite like on your skin tone—these items hide in plain sight and take up precious space in your home.