Believe it or not, National Old Stuff Day is a real thing & it’s TODAY! Since I’m a professional organizer, here are some of my tips to help you declutter.
According to The National Day Calendar, today is designated as a day to “break out of the old routines and do something new.”
As a professional organizer, I think this is a great day to do some decluttering.
Now, I bet some of you just said:
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t know where to begin.
- But I might need it…someday.
- I got it as a present, and even though I don’t use it, I can’t get rid of a GIFT!
Here are 5 easy and (relatively) painless ways to declutter.
1. Throw out pens and markers that don’t write.
If you are like most people, you have pens, markers, and highlighters in cups, drawers, purses, in your car, and under the couch that have been used up or are dried up and refuse to write any more. Get a piece of paper and try them out. If, after a few tries, they still don’t write, toss them! This is a quick and painless way to get rid of the clutter! The above picture is from all of the pencil cups I grabbed from throughout my house. The tall cup sits on my office desk, the dog and koala ones are in 2 of my children’s rooms, and the clear one is from my kitchen, near the phone and command center. And yes, since everyone needs scissors for projects, we do keep them in various places, but we have also donated many as well.
2. Donate or discard your old books and magazines.
Okay, I’m going to put my librarian hat on for a moment (I have worked in libraries 27 years, so I do know a thing or two about books).
If you find your magazine basket(s) are overflowing with old issues that you have already read, or your bookshelves with books that you no longer want to keep, PLEASE bag or box them up and take them to your local library. Most libraries have a Friends of the Library group that either has an ongoing book sale area or hold once-a-year book sales. Many also have a free magazine exchange area you can drop off your magazines.
Both of these not only help you declutter, but benefit your community and hardworking library folks, too. One caveat, however, libraries seldom take REALLY outdated nonfiction books, so don’t try to give them the 25-volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica from 1970. Those can be recycled or used in a great craft project like these. But, if your local library doesn’t accept donations, you can also try donating magazines to hospitals or local preschools and elementary schools (to be used for cutting out pictures). For both books and magazines, try local nursing homes. Residents love new (and old favorites) reading material!
3. Vases and flower pots.
Do you have a stash of vases from bouquets long gone? How about those flimsy small pots plants come in that are gathering dust in your garage? Gather up all those vases and donate them at places like Goodwill or Salvation Army. The picture above shows vases I have boxed up and ready to donate for our community garage sale. I usually recycle my plastic pots or use them for seedlings, but here is a nifty idea on how to make a cute plastic pot outdoor wreath from Better Homes and Gardens.
4. Toss old makeup and nail polish.
I know, it is tempting to keep those awesome 80’s neon eye shadow and nail polish colors for when they make a comeback, but, my friend, it is time. Just toss it. Here is a great guideline on how long they keep. Don’t worry, if (and when) the colors come back in style, the beauty field will make more. I promise!
5. The weird plastic stuff in your kitchen cabinets.
Things like the 47 plastic spoons still in their plastic wrappers from various fast food trips, ditto with the straws still in their wrappers (but you could just save a few and keep them in the glove box of your car in case you don’t get them in your next fast food jaunt). Those spoons can be donated to local homeless shelters or turned into great crafts, like these: 10 clever crafts using plastic spoons.
Do you really need to keep ALL of those plastic butter tubs for leftovers “just in case?” No. No, you don’t. Save a few CLEAR ones and recycle the rest, or else you might be disappointed, like my son was before I could transfer the leftovers from a Christmas party into my own storage container at home. Take your Tupperware or other good quality plastic to Goodwill or Salvation Army. See if a local animal rescue could use them for food and water bowls. Check the local schools to see if they could use them for paint or glitter storage. Your cabinets will thank you!
So, take some time today to put these 5 ways to declutter to use in celebration of National Old Stuff Day!
Which ones will you choose? Leave me a comment and let me know!