Brighten your mood by clearing out the clutter in your home. Make it a once-a-month routine.
1. Old magazines – You aren’t going to read the old magazines you have lying around, so clear them out. You can donate your magazines to child care centers and nursing homes. If there’s an article that really speaks to you, scan a digital image of it and keep it in your computer. Or keep a folder of magazine clippings if you like saving magazine articles.
2. Receipts, bills, and documents – Throw away receipts for items that you aren’t planning on returning, and ones that you won’t need to use come tax time.
3. Clothes – Use the two-year-rule for clothes – get rid of apparel that you haven’t worn in two years. Sell them to a thrift store (find a thrift store at thethriftshopper.com) or donate them to the needy.
4. Books – Go through your bookshelf and gather together books you haven’t touched in months and ones that you aren’t planning on rereading. Be realistic and make sure you’re ruthless. If you haven’t touched it in a year, you’re most likely not going to read it again. Donate the books or sell them on Amazon, Craigslist or eBay. You can even trade them for something else on swap.com.
5. Medicine and vitamins – Take a look at your medicine closet and clear out drugs that have expired, medicine that has sat on your shelf for too long and ones that you no longer use. First, check to see what the proper disposal methods are for the medication, and if you can’t find any, check to see if your community has a drug take-back program. If there isn’t a program near you, then the FDA advises mixing medicine with “used coffee grounds or kitty litter” in a container or sealable bag before throwing it away to make the drugs less appealing.
6. Makeup and perfume – Go through your beauty cabinet and get rid of makeup that’s too old or that you don’t use.
7. Jewelry – Go through your jewelry and dispose of the broken costume jewelry and make plans to sell ones that you don’t wear. For fine jewelry, look up appraisers from the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Once you have a quoted price, shop around at auction houses, estate buyers, pawnshops and jewelers to see if you can find a better deal.
8. Food – Go through your pantry and fridge and clear out items that need to be thrown out – the old, unused and rotting. Do this weekly instead of monthly, just to make sure you don’t have any unpleasant surprises!
9. Some memorabilia – Many organizing experts advise that you be ruthless and throw away memorabilia like cards and gifts you don’t use. You can keep some of them by perhaps creating some sort of poster with old cards or designating a small shoe box for memorabilia. Resolve to throw away anything that can’t fit into the box.
10. Notebooks – Take a look at the old notebooks you have and throw out the ones that you no longer need.
11. Old or unused electronics – Have an electric piano you don’t use? Or maybe you just never got around to getting rid of your old laptop or cell phone. Sell your electronics on Gazelle.com and Nextworth.com. These sites are great because they’ll quote you a price for the item you wish to sell. You can also sell it on sites such as Craigslist and eBay.