We may think we’re constantly running on empty with no time to exercise, cook or see our friends.
But even if you have only five to 10 minutes to spare — maybe while procrastinating before getting ready for an event or waiting to be tired enough to go to sleep — there are a few things you can toss to make your life a lot more organized and efficient.
We tapped organizational expert and author Barbara Reich to guide us through the areas of our home that could use a little decluttering.
In the living room, old tchotchkes and mementos may be cluttering your shelves. Your cupboards may be overflowing with unused board games (or even worse, cassette tapes). Find a show on Netflix, and give your space room to breathe. Toss this now:
• Framed photos that aren’t in focus or relevant.
• Vacation mementos that no longer fit the space.
• Accessories that have no meaning or that are creating clutter.
• Board games that no one plays.
• Anything chipped or broken.
The real culprits of our unorganized kitchen? Higher shelves. Put on a podcast, and work your way from the top down, throwing out anything that’s no longer relevant. Toss this now:
• Any food-storage container missing a top.
• Any large appliance that’s never used or doesn’t work.
• Any food past its expiration date.
• Mismatched mugs that you’ve accumulated.
• Teflon pans that are scratched.
Our closets are periodically in need of a good cleanup — but there are other areas of the bedroom that could use some decluttering: excess bedding in the linen closet or mismatched items in the jewelry box, for example. Toss this now:
• Excess pillows on the bed.
• Clothing and shoes that don’t fit or are beyond repair.
• Anything received as a gift that isn’t used.
• Bedding that doesn’t fit the bed.
• Bedding that’s old and stained.
Medicine cabinets and vanities are real magnets for beauty products and medications that go unused. While it’s contradictory to throw out a perfectly good product, you know deep down whether it’ll ever be useful. Just be real with yourself. Toss this now:
• Medications past their expiration date.
• Toiletries and cosmetics that are past their expiration date.
• Lipstick in colors you’ll never use.
• Extra travel or promotion cosmetic bags.
• Any gift items that you never use.
The space where we enter and leave our home tends to accumulate a lot of clutter: mail, paperwork, magazines — not to mention the entryway closet, which is often filled with out-of-season and out-of-fashion items. Give this space a good cleanup next time you head out the door. Toss this now:
• Old receipts that aren’t needed.
• Newspapers and magazines that have accumulated.
• Coats or jackets that no longer fit, are out of style, or are beyond repair.
• Gloves without mates.