It is amazing how quickly certain items can accumulate. You are blind to realize how many of an item you have until you have too many.
- Report covers: A few years ago we had 65 of them — yes 65! I ended up keeping eight of them for children’s reports for school and donated the rest.
- Pencil cases: You only need one per child and one spare.
- Pens: It drives me crazy if pens are one colour on the outside (e.g. red) but write another colour (e.g. black). I try not to even bring them into the house.
- Staples, elastics, paperclips and pushpins: Keep one small container of each and donate the rest.
Consider donating office supplies to charities. They often work on very tight budgets and may not have extra money for supplies for their own offices. Libraries, schools, and community centres may also appreciate the donation.
- Plastic cutlery, paper plates, and take-out trays: If you regularly use these disposable items for school/work lunches, keep a week’s worth handy and let go of the rest. You can use the “one-in, one-out” rule. As soon as you get a new one, toss an old one. If you may need them for picnics or parties later in the year, store them in a less frequently used area of the kitchen.
- Plastic Cups: Recycle plastic cups from amusement parks or sporting events. You really don’t need to save them to make a Beer Snake at the next cricket match.
- Food storage containers: Get rid of any that are stained, broken, or have missing or ill-fitting lids. About a dozen 500mL containers are enough for the average family of four. Choose identical containers with identical lids to keep things simple.
- Reusable shopping bags: Keep as many as you need for groceries. You may choose to use a few for carting around hobby and sports equipment. Charity shops, schools, or your local library would likely appreciate any bags that you are not using.
- Hangers: If you’re practicing “one-in, one-out”, there is no need for extra hangers in your closets. Keep a few for guests’ clothing and coats and maybe a few for your laundry room. Charity shops usually accept all types of hangers and many dry cleaners accept wire hangers. I always keep one wire hanger in my toolbox because at some point something valuable will roll under the refrigerator and I’ll need to undo a wire hanger to get it.
- Towels: Keep only the best ones and keep only those you use. The old ones can be cut into rags or donated to an animal shelter.
- T-shirts: It’s time to say good-bye to the worn out shirts with sports’ team logos and your favourite T-shirt from high school. Keep the best, let go of the rest.
- Cosmetic bags: A free cosmetic bag with every cosmetics purchase adds up to clutter. Keep one for the suitcase, one for your gym bag, and maybe a spare one. Donate the rest.
- Razors: Old, rusty, and broken razors should go directly to the trash. Say good-bye to any razor handles for which you no longer wish to replace the blades.
- Hair Accessories: Broken hairbrushes and combs that you’re no longer using can go directly into the garbage. Other hair accessories in good condition can be donated after they have been cleaned and sanitized.
Remember that if the item is not in good enough condition to give to a friend, it is best not to donate it to charity. Always check with the recipient charity to ensure they will benefit from the items you would like to donate. Keep clutter out of your space and look for even more items you can donate.