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Spring Cleaning How To: What Needs To Go In 2013
Spring is right around the corner; the time when we traditionally spring forward and start spring cleaning. Cleaning the house from top to bottom is not simply a matter of washing, polishing, and waxing. It’s a time to de-clutter. Consider getting rid of the stuff that’s spiritually weighing you down and taking up precious space. Just because you’re not a potential subject of an episode of Hoarders doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make some honest assessments of what needs to go. Even some memorabilia must go. The memories are in your head, not the possessions in your house. Read on for 10 items in your house you can throw away, donate, recycle, or sell.
1. STUFF IN THE JUNK DRAWER
The dreaded junk drawer—that repository where old batteries, tools, random scraps of paper, matches, dried-out ink pens, and anything that doesn’t really have a home go to die. When was the last time you cleaned your junk drawer? The Clinton Administration? Have you ever cleaned it? Go through yours and be ruthless, particularly getting rid of things that you forgot you had or things that have outlived their usefulness. Get little baskets from the dollar store and organize your drawer. Only save things that truly have a purpose.
I dearly love books, so I don’t say this lightly. If you have overflowing bookshelves, it’s time to take stock of what’s just taking up space. Are you really going to re-read that 20-year-old copy of The Firm? Be brutally honest with yourself. Personally, I don’t re-read fiction, so those are the first books I donate to my local library for their book sales. The only books I keep are non-fiction, and only if it has information I know I’ll use later. I will not be having more children, so my copy of What To Expect When You’re Expecting is out of here.
3. KITCHEN UTENSILS
It’s so easy to end up with drawers full of utensils that have only been used once or twice, if ever. Keep the items that you know you will use a few times a year like your Christmas tree-shaped cookie cutters or a turkey baster. But, if you haven’t used the utensils in three months, donate them. There’s probably a multipurpose tool or utensil you can use in its place. While you’re in the kitchen, consider donating some of those mugs. Even the biggest coffee drinker doesn’t need ten mugs.
4. EXPIRED MEDICATIONS AND VITAMINS
Old medications and vitamins are probably the easiest thing you can dispose of. You just need to check the expiration date and chuck it if it has gone beyond it. Please do so responsibly, though. Some medications should not be flushed down the toilet. If your pharmacy or community doesn’t have a drug take back program, the FDA provides information on how to safely dispose of the medications.
5. OLD UNDERWEAR
The reason most of us keep old underwear is that we know if we need to put the laundry off for a day or two, we have something clean to wear. That’s not an excuse to hold on to socks with multiple holes, ripped bras, or undershirts whose once-white color can now be described as “dirty dishwater.” Even if nobody ever sees your underwear, throw the old stuff out and buy more already. It will make you feel good.
6. OUTDATED ELECTRONICS
Most of us have an old cell phone or a first generation device that isn’t functional. Since you can’t use them anymore, say goodbye while you spring clean. However, you don’t want to just dump them in the trash. That’s not environmentally friendly. Your options here are to sell them for cash, donate to charity, trade for credit, or recycle with your community’s electronics recycling program. While you’re at it, get rid of all those cords you get every time you buy a new device.
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7. CDs AND DVDs
You have an iPod or an MP3. You have a DVR and a subscription to Netflix. There was a time when you did need to hold on to CDs and DVDs, but those days have passed as technology has advanced. You can listen to music and watch a movie on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. And for goodness’ sake, please do away with audio and VHS tapes. Pay a company to put the video of your wedding on a DVD, but that’s it.
Maybe the jewelry is broken. Maybe it’s no longer your style. Maybe your ex-flame gave it to you and it’s a reminder of not-so-good times. Whatever your reason for not wearing your old jewelry, clean out that box.
9. PAPER… ALL OF IT
I’d be willing to bet that paper items are the things that insidiously take over our homes. A computer printout here a magazine there and the next thing you know you’ve got a mile-high stack of paper and you find yourself saying, “I swear, I’m going to read that article.” Find the article online, bookmark it, and throw out that magazine. Don’t even get me started on 10-year-old receipts, bills, and statements. The best option is to look into online storage solutions. It’s a very good investment for documents you absolutely must have. If that’s financially out of reach, utilize Google Docs, take pictures with your cell phone, or buy a flash drive.
10. EXERCISE EQUIPMENT
Even if you exercise regularly at home, you might have some equipment you’re simply not going to use anymore. Maybe it’s your first set of weights or maybe an old Ab Roller. But you really should take stock of the ways that you’re physically active today. If you’re a runner, you may want to hold on to the treadmill for bad weather days. But if you don’t like biking anymore, donate that stationary bike.
Can you think of a few more things to get rid of? What items do you hold onto fondly every year that might make it to the trash as we spring forward? Share your ideas with us in the comments section below.
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Alexis Trass Walker lives in Gary, Indiana, with her husband and four children. She is a stay at home mom and writer who loves all things chocolate. Read more about Alexis on her blog lilliebelle.org or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.