We get it: Getting rid of your stuff is hard. Not only does it take time and effort, but then there are so many emotional connections to contend with, too. But some things are so trivial, they’re not worth saving. So if you crave more space, but aren’t game for some soul-searching, ditch these easy-to-purge items first.
1. All those unused hangers
Admit it. You’ve got way more than you need, and the sight of them makes your closet seem even messier. Let your clothes breathe by recycling most of the hangers you don’t use (especially those wire dry-cleaning ones, which leave dents in your favorite blouse). If you need to restock, it’s not a pricey investment, and you can buy the sturdier, tidier kind. We like Huggable Hangers, a Good Housekeeping Seal holder, for their slim, non-slip design.
2. That pile of unopened bank statements
These days, all important information can be accessed online, and it’s not great to leave sensitive documents lying around. Assuming you’ve found and opened the important stuff (like tax documents or your new credit card) shred the rest.
3. The plastic utensils that came with last night’s take-out
You’re storing these ineffective knifes and forks for … what, exactly? In case you suddenly lose your everyday flatware? Or for that hodgepodge dinner party you’re planning? A box of matching plastic forks and knives won’t break the bank when you need them, and will get used up before they can clutter your cupboards if you buy them just before party time. (And next time you order take-out, ask that they not include disposable utensils!)
4. Those stacks of magazines and catalogs
We know, you’re totally going to make that tasty-looking asparagus dish you earmarked, and you’re sure you’ll get to the store before that coupon expires. But, really … you won’t. But there’s good news! More magazines and catalogs will fill your mailbox next month, with new deals, recipes, and articles abound. (And asparagus went out of season months ago, anyway.)
5. Mismatched plastic containers and lids
If they don’t have a mate, they won’t magically find one anytime soon. And stop saving loose pieces “just in case.” Plastic food containers are meant to last, but not forever, and they’re cheap to replenish when you’re ready.
6. Any makeup that’s collecting dust
If there’s physical evidence that you haven’t picked up that eyeshadow in months, it’s time to toss. They’re eating up space for items you actually use, and what’s more, it’s not healthy to use too-old makeup.
7. Your least favorite coffee mugs
Every house has a curious collection of mugs, thanks to souvenir shops, school events, and well-meaning gift-givers. And the least-loved ones steal real estate from that nice, matching set you purposefully picked out, once upon a time. Donate the ones you don’t use as often.
8. Anything that was originally a “gift with purchase”
You wanted the perfume, not the leopard tote and travel hairbrush that hitched a ride with it. Sure, they were free, but that’s not a reason to hold onto what’s essential garbage. Find a donation bin or yard sale table for your unused freebies. (We’d file wedding favors and school fundraiser raffle prizes in this category, too.)
9. Your kids’ artwork
OK, this one stings a little. But you don’t need every toddler original your kid churns out. Hang your favorites, take photos of stuff you just don’t want to store, and recycle the rest. There will definitely be new little masterpieces tomorrow.
10. The leftovers of failed hobbies and habits
Remember when you were going to knit scarves for everyone for Christmas? Or when you vowed to write in a journal every evening? Give that barely used skein of wool and nearly blank diary to someone who will actually use it. And if the mood strikes again, you’ll be more inclined to stick to it if you have to dip into your savings to restart.
TELL US: What’s your best purging tip?