Has your home been looking a little smaller lately? If so, it may mean that it’s time to purge your place of all the belongings you don’t need. Getting rid of items is the easiest way to open up your space, whether you own a home or rent an apartment, but it can also be the hardest thing to do. After all, where do you start? How do you determine whether or not you should throw a belonging away, give it away, or sell it? Unfortunately, this may mean being honest with yourself and taking a long, hard look at your habits before parting ways with a trinket. To make the decision a little easier, we’ve compiled a list of 15 things you can get rid of today to declutter your home and reclaim some space.
1- That chair or stool you don’t really use. You know the one we’re talking about! Over time, it’s become a storage space or a dumping ground for laundry. It’s taking up valuable real estate in your home, and if it’s not being used the way it was meant to, it’s probably best to get rid of it. By doing this, you may kill two birds with one stone: you’re both freeing up space and learning to put those wayward items where they belong!
2- Books, DVDs, CDs, and other media. If you own movies, music, books, and other media that is just sitting around, ask yourself when you last touched any of those items. Surely, in your vast collections, there are some you’ve never opened, and some you don’t even like. Save yourself some space and donate to those items to charity or give them to a friend. They may get a second life, and you’ll get back some shelf space for other things.
3- Clothes, accessories, and shoes. This category can cover a lot of ground. If you pile up all the worn-down shoes, ill-fitting clothes, formal wear you’ve only worn once, and never-used accessories, how much space do you gain? It may be a good idea to give these belongings away to create more space for clothes you’ll actually wear, and they can make the life of someone in need so much brighter.
4- Kitchen utensils and appliances, and electronics you never use. Old cell phones, still-packaged appliances, and never-used utensils can collectively take up a lot of space in your cabinets and drawers. Ask yourself how essential having these things around is, and you may find yourself getting back more space than you anticipated. Just remember to dispose of these items correctly!
5- Instruction manuals, old receipts, expired coupons, and old magazines. They may not look like much sitting on the table or hiding in a drawer, but all together, they may be taking up more space than you think. Some, like the expired coupons, have no value to you or anyone else. So just throw them away!
6- Expired food and spices. You may be able to easily tell what food in your fridge has gone bad, but it can be a little harder to tell in your pantry. Check out the expiration dates of all the boxed and jarred food at home, and your spices too: you may be surprised by what you can — and probably should — throw away.
7- Meaningless knick-knacks, souvenirs, and memorabilia. These items may be the hardest to get rid of, as you may be reluctant to throw away anything with a good memory attached to it. But you may find that, in some cases, you can’t even remember where they came from! Display the ones you want to keep, but put the others in a box in storage: you may not be able to part ways with them just yet, but you don’t want them taking up too much valuable space in your house.
8- The excess of arts and crafts items. This means items like that fifth pair of scissors, a nearly-finished roll of wrapping paper, and worn down colored pencils. Even if you have kids, evaluate how often your family uses these items and throw them away if they have fulfilled their purpose. These items are generally replaceable, and you can always buy new ones!
9- Broken things you’ve been meaning to repair. Unless the item is priceless and invaluable to you, if you haven’t fixed a broken item by now, it probably means that you are going to. Remove it from your home to create more space if you feel that you’re never going to use it again.
10- Take out menus. This is a big one! Millions of people have accumulated take-out menus in various drawers in their homes. Some may be from restaurants that they don’t like, and others may be from restaurants that may even be closed! Most menus can be viewed online anyway, nowadays, so do yourself a favor and chuck the paper ones in the trash.
11- Empty storage containers and boxes. Unless you move frequently, you may want to get rid of empty plastic storage containers and cardboard boxes that are taking up space in your home, and even in your garage. If you haven’t found a way to put them to good use recently, it may be time to think about throwing out the boxes and giving away the plastic containers. Know a student going away to college? They may need these items and would appreciate the donation!
12- Expired medications, makeup, and other products. You may be surprised by the short shelf life of some of the items you have in your bathroom cabinets. Expired items used on or in your body can be harmful to your health, so you may want to make it a habit to check the dates of those products every now and then and replace them as you see fit.
13- Wire hangers. For some unknown reason, millions of people keep wire hangers they get from the dry cleaner’s, but don’t actually like the way they look. They accumulate and can start taking over your closet — and you may not even have that many clothes to hang (especially after you’ve purged your wardrobe). Throw away those unsightly wire hangers if they have no purpose, and you may fit so much more in your closet, regardless of its size.
14- Old toys, kids’ clothes, and Halloween costumes. If you’re a parent, you may be reluctant to give away your now-grown kids’ belongings. After all, they can be college-aged and you’ll likely still want to hang onto them, thinking that maybe they’ll be useful in a few years, when your children start having children of their own. But right now, they’re just taking up space. The same goes for kids’ clothes: it’s more likely that they’ll be moth-eaten before they can be used again. As for Halloween costumes, if they haven’t been worn in years, it may be a safe bet that no one will be mad if you throw them away.
15- Last year’s holiday cards. Unless there was a special message included in them, you may feel like it’s safe to throw away holiday cards from previous years. Though holidays only occur a few times a year, they may be taking up space in drawers throughout your home. Go ahead and throw them away, if you’re comfortable with that — it’s unlikely anyone will find out!
These are just a few ways you can easily open up the space in your home without committing to major changes to the structure of your house. Still need some tricks? Check out some of the ways you can make a small room look so much bigger!
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