a ROOM. BY. ROOM GUIDE TO Declutter Your HomeSpring is almost here, and with it comes the urge to purge and rejuvenate.  De-cluttering has amazing benefits for a positive mindset, clarity and calmness, as there’s a direct link between reducing physical clutter and clearing mental clutter. Plus, less “stuff” means less to clean and fuss over.  A huge win for all!

Here’s a room-by-room guide of things to purge for a clutter-free home, including responsible, eco-friendly disposal guidelines:

1)      Bedroom:

          Free-Up closet space by removing anything you, your spouse/mate or your kids haven’t worn in a year or more and anything that has stains or rips.  Sort items into 3 piles: 1) to sell; 2) to donate; and 3) to dispose or reuse. Lightening the load in your closet and those of your kids makes it easier to make outfit decisions and showcases the things you all actually love to wear.

          Gather old/unused purses, ties, shoes and belts

          Get rid of unused shoe boxes, shopping bags and broken hangers

          Ditch the junky jewellery, including un-matched earrings, worn down or broken pieces 

          Tidy up dresser drawers, removing unworn undergarments, tees, tanks, mismatched/unused socks, lingerie, swimsuits, maternity wear, and whatever else is cluttering your drawers

          Remove clutter from nightstands and refill with things you love to use before bedtime (hand lotion, lip moisturizer, writing material, your favourite book)

 

2)      Linen closets

– Remove old or never used towels, blankets, pillows, pillow covers, sheets, comforters, duvets and table cloths

 

3)      Bathroom

          Dispose of any expired prescriptions, medicine bottles, pills, and sunscreens

          Throw out very old or unused make up, brushes, toothbrushes, hair accessories, lotions, and other personal care items

          Get rid of unused or deteriorating bath mats/towels

 

4)      Kitchen

          Check your fridge for expired condiments

          Purge expired canned goods from your pantry

          Get rid of containers missing lids or caps

          Throw out chipped plates or glasses

          Sort through cookbooks and donate any unused ones

          Remove kitchen utensils you no longer use or have more than one of

          Get rid of broken appliances

          Remove dish cloths and dish towels you never use

          Clear out unused or non-working pens, elastics, and other unnecessary stuff from your junk drawer (come on, we all have them!)

          Throw out old/unused cleaners

 

5)      Office

          Remove books, magazines and pamphlets that aren’t being read

          Ditch old warranty manuals, expired coupons, old school notices, old calendars

          Throw out dried up pens, broken pencils and non-working office supplies

          Remove unused software and electrical items

          Sort through old bills and shred those no longer needed; start signing up for paperless billing

          Remove email clutter and bulk unsubscribe to services you never use but clutter your inbox (Unroll.me is great for this)

          Recycle unused file folders, notebooks and other paper goods

          Shred old receipts and deactivated credit or points cards

 

6)      Playroom

          Dispose of broken/damaged toys

          Remove unworn play clothes, outgrown books

          Pitch dried out markers, broken crayons, dried up glue

          Get rid of games, puzzles and sets with missing pieces

          Box up unloved stuffies (if in good condition, donate to a children’s charity or other cause)

 

7)      Garage

          Pitch old, dried up paint, chemicals and cleaners

          Curb-side outgrown kids’ bikes, outdoor play items and sports equipment (there’s always a kid around the block that could reuse them)

          Dispose of broken or redundant tools and gardening items

          Get rid of old/unused holiday and décor items

 

8)      Mudroom/Front Hall Closet

          Remove unworn scarves, mitts, caps, toques, and anything mismatched like mittens

          Old/faded or unworn coats, snow pants, ski jackets need to go

          Pitch broken umbrellas, sunglasses and miscellaneous accessories no longer used

          Purge outgrown shoes and sports gear like cleets/knee pads

          Let go of unused knapsacks and lunch bags

 

9)      Miscellaneous Things to Pitch

          Unused newspapers

          Surplus craft supplies

          Old batteries

          Misc. electronics

          Collectibles/memorabilia that’s lost its sentimental value

          Trophies, medals

          Old text books, assignments, projects, essays

          Old detergent/cleaning supplies

          Buttons

          Unused thread, yarn

          Old mattress

          Unwanted furniture (tables, chairs, couches, mattresses, bedframes, lamps, light fixtures)

 

Responsible Removal/Disposal Tips:

1)      For textiles (clothing, cloths, bedding)

Donation Services (not endorsed)

Your Local Women’s Shelter

Dress For Success (Toronto)

Dress For Success (Worldwide)

OFCP

Recycling Rewards (for Talize thrift stores in support of Children’s Wish Foundation)

Clothesline

Salvation Army

Kidney Clothes

 *most services listed above have pick up options

 

Adult Clothing Consignment Stores (mainly for luxury/designer goods)

The Upside

Lab

Designer Swap

MCOUTURE

Alternatively, have a garage sale or host a mom-to-mom sale in your community.  Use the funds for a great family outing, or donate to charity.  More on kids’ goods resale options discussed in #3.

 

2)      For Furniture/Light and Household Fixtures

Some furniture can be repurposed/upcycled for alternative use, or placed on consignment at a store to earn some cash.  Alternatively, Habitat for Humanity has numerous ReStores locations you can donate items to, supporting environmentally conscious shopping of things that would have ended up in a landfill.

In the GTA, there is also a wonderful program with Furniture Bank for those in need.

 

3)      For Toys/Kids’ Stuff

There are lots of great programs and businesses that will take your pre-loved kids’ goods in re-sellable condition and put some hard-earned money back in your pocket.  A great alternative to sale boards on Facebook and Kijiji which can be time-consuming, full of hassles and not necessarily the safest option. 

Here’s a list of great programs and companies across Canada and around the GTA for consignment/resale of your pre-loved and too good to be through kids’ stuff: 

Clothes only

Little Saturday Market (GTA)

iSpy Children’s Resale Shop

 

Toys/Gear/Clothes

Boomerang Kids

Merrily Merrily

Once Upon a Child

 

Sporting Goods

 Play it Again Sports

 

4)      For Books/Magazines

Donate to a doctor’s office, hospital, school, book bank, daycare, library or similar establishment

5)      For cleaners/paint/toxic or combustible goods

Make sure you follow proper disposal guidelines from your municipality and demonstrate environmental care and respect.  Alternatively, donate usable paint to a charity that does building/home construction, such as Habitat for Humanity.

6)      Documents

Be sure you don’t dispose of anything you could be asked to provide for tax purposes at a future time (educate yourself on your provincial/federal statute of limitations laws).  Also, anything with personal information should be shredded.  Identity theft is prevalent. 

7)      Electronics

Research any local electronic recycling programs in your area or rebate programs offered by electronics stores

8)      Recycle all that can be recycled versus throwing in the trash.  Enviro-friendly purging is the goal.

9)      Check with your town about special item pick up dates so you can curbside some goods, like broken furniture, old mattresses, etc. and save yourself time and/or a trip to a disposal site.

Make it as enjoyable as possible by involving the whole family.  Pick one room per week and set realistic family goals to get it done.  Dream up some family adventures you might be able to do with any money you make off re-sale items. 

The benefits of a clutter-free home extend to all family members.  Make a habit of undertaking this simple room-by-room system once per season and living clutter-free will no longer seem impossible.

Happy purging, guys!