By nature, most people have pack-rat tendencies. We might be organized about it, but chances are good your cupboards, bins, baskets and other storage spots are pretty darn full. If the idea of decluttering fills you with dread, try starting small. According to the experts (designers and professional organizers), most people are guilty of overdoing it with specific household items—and you’ll probably be surprised (and guilty as charged). Here are eight things to declutter immediately.
- Office Supplies. It seems strange, but even folks without a home office seem to be up to their eyeballs in office supplies. Random pens and pencils, multiple pairs of scissors, highlighters, Sharpies, graphing paper, and the list goes on. These days, people generally tend to work digitally, so give yourself some breathing room by recycling the paper, donating the extra scissors, and tossing the dried up/chewed up pens.
- Spare Bed Linens. Surprise—you really only need two bedding sets per bed, maybe three if you have kids. That way, you’ll have one on the bed, one in the wash and a third for any emergencies. Think of all the storage space you’ll free up by clearing out those cupboards! Be honest with yourself—if you’ve held on to sheets “just in case,” it’s time to swing by the nearest donation center.
- Old Towels. Towels have a lifespan, and most people have more than their share of threadbare towels taking up valuable space. It’s fine to keep one or two handy for cleaning up big spills or toweling down the dog, but stacks of stained and worn towels should be taken to the local pet shelter immediately.
- Throw Pillows. Oh yes you do! It’s so easy to keep adding pillows to the pile, but there’s a fine line between “stylish” and “too much.” Here’s an easy way to determine whether you’ve gone too far: any throw pillows that make it hard to sit down means you’ve tipped into too-much territory.
- Random Vases. Generally, you don’t want to hang on to the vases that come from the florist. Instead, spring for a few statement vases with varyings heights and shapes. They work as standalone pieces, and you’ll have options in the event someone gifts you a bouquet.
- Stacks of Old Magazines. Piles of magazines that you’ve already read create visual clutter and serve as a magnet for dust. If you put them aside because you wanted to save the recipe or take a second look at that pair of shoes, clip what you need and recycle the rest.
- Mismatched Mugs. Are your cupboards full of chipped mugs you don’t use? If they’re still serviceable, donate them. Your home should be filled with things that delight you, and chances are good that souvenir mug isn’t one of them.
- Gift-Wrapping Supplies. If your hall closet could double as a gift-supply store, take note. Unless you’re regularly wrapping presents and really, truly need that selection of gift bags, wrapping paper, tissue paper, bows and ribbons, be ruthless about paring back.
The Bottom Line
While there’s no need to go full Marie Kondo, clearing out these items can have a big impact. Make some breathing room, both literal and figurative, with this kind of targeted decluttering and see if you don’t feel better! It’s the kind of thing we tend to reserve for moving day, but it doesn’t have to be that way.