Feeling the urge to purge as we approach a New Year/Spring? A Room-By-Room Guide to Declutter Your Home PLUS how to dispose and remove items responsibly or resell them to put some money back in your pocket! (**Article previously published on PTPA Media Inc.).
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!
**Disclaimer: this is NOT a cleaning guide. Anyone who knows me can attest I do not get my bliss from domestic duties. But, decluttering = less stuff to clean and less stress, and THAT is something I’ll happily get behind **
Despite the increasingly popular KonMarie method of purging, I started reading & applying the concepts of Marie Kondo’s book “Spark Joy” 3 years ago and (despite believing in the concepts of decluttering for well-being, hanging on to things that elicit the feel-goods, and the replace & dispose habit) quickly found the “category” method of decluttering & perfectly tidy drawers and cupboards a bit unrealistic for this season of family life (maybe in our empty-nester years!).
Instead, we still find room-by-room more manageable (as a mama of 4 kids under 10 yrs old, purging is my part-time job!) and apply this method at least a few times a year. Not sure which room to start with? Think about the areas in your life you want to improve this new year (Career? Love? Money?, etc.) then go read where those rooms are represented in your home & how to apply the concept of Feng Shui HERE
Here’s a room-by-room guide of things to purge for a clutter-free home, including responsible, eco-friendly disposal guidelines:
Declutter by Room Category
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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
– 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)
– 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 cleats/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
– Unused thread, yarn
– Old mattress
– Unwanted furniture (tables, chairs, couches, mattresses, bed frames, lamps, light fixtures)
Responsible Removal/Disposal Tips After You Declutter:
1) For textiles (clothing, cloths, bedding)
Donation Services (not endorsed)
Your Local Women’s Shelter
Dress For Success (Toronto)
Dress For Success (Worldwide)
Recycling Rewards (for Talize thrift stores in support of Children’s Wish Foundation)
*most services listed above have pick up options
Adult Clothing Consignment Stores (mainly for luxury/designer goods)
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:
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.
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.
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!