(Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by Acts Retirement-Life Communities.)
Clutter: it’s everywhere. Unless you live an incredibly spartan existence, you really can’t escape it. That’s why it’s so important to take time every once and a while to clear things out of your home. You need to gather all the items you don’t actually need, accumulated over the past few months or years, and get rid of them, whether that means donating them, handing them down to someone else, or just plain bringing them to the dump.
That’s easier said than done, of course. How do you decide what to keep and what to throw out? Do you risk tossing something that might have sentimental value? Will you regret it in the end? Don’t worry — we’re here to help. We’ve got the perfect guide for decluttering your home. Here are 10 things you can get rid of right now to make your house less stuffed with stuff!
1. Books You Won’t Read Again
We get it — books are awesome. They look lovely up on your shelf, they get that wonderful scent when you open the pages, and they transport you to others worlds. They also take up a lot of space. It’s time to purge your shelves of all those books you’re never going to read again and bring them to the book drop. Let them go and let someone else enjoy them!
2. Clothes That You or Your Family Has Outgrown
You ever try putting away laundry in drawers that are already packed with clothes? It’s impossible, isn’t it? That’s why you need to go through your wardrobe and phase out anything that doesn’t fit or is out of style. Donate your clothes, pass them down to others in need, or just toss ’em out if they’re unsalvageable, and you’ll regain loads of space.
3. Movies and Music on CD, DVD, or Anything Else
Whether you’re a music fan or a movie buff, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by packaging. As small as these packages are (remember VHS tapes? Whew!) they can still take up lots of space and lead to lots of clutter. Do yourself a favor and transfer them to digital, or at the very least toss out all those plastic cases and consolidate the discs themselves into compact storage folders to help you save space. You’ll see just how much room you reclaim once you toss out all those ABBA compact disc jackets.
4. Old, Expired Canned Goods
The back of your typical kitchen cabinet is a wasteland of forgotten canned goods. Peas, carrots, cream of mushroom soup — whatever it is, if it’s been there for months or even years, it’s time to get rid of it. You can donate anything that’s not expired so that it can sit in someone else’s cupboard, or you can simply dispose of it. This will free up your kitchen cupboards and provide you space for the cooking ingredients you use regularly.
5. Obsolete Gadgets, Electronics, and Appliances
Do you have a broken toaster oven in your garage that you never got around to throwing out? A computer monitor from the 1990s collecting dust in your attic? A vacuum cleaner that’s seen better days and now lives in your hall closet permanently? It’s time to say goodbye for good to all these broken-down gadgets and appliances. They’re taking up valuable space, they’re not doing you any good, and they never will again, so it’s time to jettison them. Either leave them at the curb or take them to your local electronics recycling center to get them off your hands.
6. Papers, Please
Sometimes it’s important to keep hard copies of important paperwork. Insurance policies, product warranties, and tax and medical records all fall in this category. Everything else, though? Toss them out. Boxes and boxes of paperwork that you don’t need takes up too much space. And don’t get us wrong; we’re not saying toss out everything your kid ever did in kindergarten. But do you really need every homework sheet? Keep the sentimental stuff like their art, and file the rest in the garbage can.
7. Faded Photos
Hold on, put down your pitchforks — we’d never suggest tossing out precious family memories. But let’s be honest here: old photo paper doesn’t last forever. You’d be better served transferring these photographs to digital where they can be restored and preserved for generations in a much more sturdy format. Not only that, but a USB stick takes up a lot less space than stacks of photo albums.
8. Knickknacks and Doodads A-Plenty
We all go around collecting little souvenirs during the course of our lives. Many of them end up cluttering the desks, shelves, cabinets, and surfaces in our home, and before we know it we’re awash in knickknacks that we really don’t need. You don’t have to throw every single one of these out, but you can certainly winnow them down so there’s not so many of them. You can place a collection of smaller ones in a keepsake box or frame them and put them up on the wall as alternatives to tossing them out, but if their time has come, you can safely let them go.
9. Large, Oversized Furniture
Nothing takes up space like a massive entertainment unit, bookshelf, or armoire that you don’t really use any more. An old, oversized couch or easy chair can also take up some serious room that you could easily reclaim if you got rid of it or replaced it with a smaller, more compact, and probably more comfortable one.
10. Anything Else That’s Not Nailed Down
When all else fails, if you don’t remember the last time you used something that’s currently taking up space in your house, consider getting rid of it. Do you have 10-year-old golf clubs collecting rust in your garage from that one summer you decided to take up the sport? An old sewing machine you were going to restore but never did? A bicycle from a decade before your kid left for college? Dust them off, donate them to someone else, or deep-six them. You’ll reclaim plenty of space before you even know it.
For more information on downsizing, decluttering, and retirement, read these articles by Acts Retirement-Life Communities:
- Can I Afford Retirement?
- What is the Average Cost of a Senior Independent Living Community?
- Surprising Retirement Fact
Acts Retirement-Life Communities is the largest not-for-profit owner, operator and developer of continuing care retirement communities in the United States. Headquartered in suburban Philadelphia, Acts has a family of 23 retirement communities that serve approximately 8,500 residents and employ 6,200 in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida. For more information about Acts visit actsretirement.org.
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