It’s probably safe to say most people are spending a lot more time at home these days! With Fall coming and the cooler, wetter weather on the horizon, there is even more indoor time to be had. While we’re all looking forward to pumpkin spice lattés, new Netflix shows, and the start of the holiday season, we should also take the opportunity to get rid of stuff. “Stuff” is an excellent catch-all term for items that just seem to accumulate over time and overstay their use and need. I look at the start of every season as a perfect time to clear out certain spaces around the house. These are awesome mini projects that should take no more than 1-2 hours each. Do one or two for a few weekends, and by Halloween you’ll have accomplished quite a lot!
- Expired or spoiled food
- Refrigerator/Freezer – You never know what amazing things are lurking in here. That jar of fancy peanut sauce you bought last year and used once. An alternative-oil mayo you were going to try but never got to. A pack of 100 tortillas from Costco that is beyond freezer burn. Don’t forget to do the extra one in your garage, if you’ve got one.
- Pantry – Same as your refrigerator! Check expiry dates on your spices, and make sure your baking soda, baking powder, and yeast are still active.
- Small kitchen appliances and gadgets
- Do you have items such as a juicer, bread maker, ice cream maker, steamer, waffle iron, fajita maker, fondue pot? You know what I mean—those specialized small appliances that do only one thing but take up real estate in your kitchen cabinets. Now is a great time to unload some of these. If you’ve got it in hand and cannot remember the last time you used it…it should go.
- If you’re like me, you’ve got a couple of drawers of tablecloths, table runners, placemats, kitchen hand towels, and dish towels. Get rid of ones you no longer like or use, and items with stains or rips. You can donate them, or cut them into rags and store with the cleaning supplies.
- Coat closet
- It’s the perfect time to go through your coat inventory. Get rid of those the kids have outgrown, team jackets they no longer use, things that are damaged or outdated. If you know you’ll be working from home for a long time to come, consider parting with your heavy commuter coat or business trench coat.
- Work wardrobe
- Many people have been working from home for several months. Some have returned to the office, some are doing a hybrid setup, and some are planning to stay working from home for the foreseeable future. Whichever your situation is, it’s a good time to reassess your work clothes. Maybe you don’t need all that formal business attire anymore. Or maybe you need more comfortable, Zoom-ready professional clothes. Either way, go through your clothes and shoes, get rid of certain items, and reorganize the others.
- Bedding and towels
- Your linen closet will feel refreshed and more spacious once you get rid of items that are too old, stained, or damaged.
- Bins or cabinets filled with decorative items—holiday, seasonal, miscellaneous—are always in need of a refresh every year or so. Donate it if it’s been in storage for years and not been used, if your colors and tastes have changed, or if they look a bit tired or off-trend.
- Electronics – Get rid of old tech (cell phones, unused printers or fax machines, tablets, PCs, etc.), unused or frayed cords and chargers, gaming consoles collecting dust, and random, unidentifiable electronic items.
- Makeup/skincare – Yes, makeup and skincare does expire! Anything discolored or funny-smelling should be tossed; these items are not for donating. Old nail polish that has hardened or separated should also be tossed.
- Medication – These definitely have expiry dates printed on them, whether they are pills, liquids, creams, or ointments. Discard safely.
Where to donate? Windermere has a helpful list for King and Snohomish counties. Otherwise, your local community centers, churches, or drop boxes will do. Decluttering is always helpful in creating a calmer, less stressful home environment—we could all use a moment of Zen!