Our feature today focuses on quick and easy clutter-busting ideas, the low-hanging fruit you can easily reach. Take advantage of the respite from the heat by decluttering these obvious suspects. Weeding out dysfunctional items is a cool way to begin organizing. Let me know how you are doing.
Start with the Kitchen
• To be safe, toss any expired food and dented cans.
• Match up your plastic ware. Recycle any missing tops or bottoms. When replacing, we recommend safer glass styles.
• Chuck the gadgets you never use that clog your drawers: the garlic press, garlic peeler, avocado slicer, strawberry huller and corn kerneler. A good multi-purpose knife is easier to use and clean.
• Toss old nonstick cookware. Teflon sends out toxic emissions that is known to kill birds. There are better alternatives out now.
• Donate cookbooks you'll never use. Those with complicated recipes and obscure ingredients. Keep the classics and favorites. There are many excellent website resources for recipes.
• Get rid of chipped dishes and cups. Food looks appealing on basic white sets from big box stores and they are an affordable commodity. Embellish for entertaining with pretty antique dishes from flea markets.
• Ditch the tacky florist vases. A couple of classic glass vases, one large, one small are really all you need. Let the flowers be the star.
Pare Down the Home Office
• Donate paperbacks you'll never read again to the nearest senior center. Keep the books you love, hardcover classics and beautiful coffee table books.
• Open and recycle old junk mail and charity solicitations you're not interested in. Shred confidential information and financial offers.
• Recycle outdated or broken electronics, old printers, etc. Large electronics stores will take them but be sure your information has been cleared off or the item is clearly unusable. Talk to me about other options.
* Ditch outdated media: Old programs, floppy disks, zip disks, cassette tapes, VHS, etc. These are just taking up space. Make sure sensitive information is not accessible.
• Recycle manuals for products you no longer own.
• Grocery store receipts are not tax deductible. Keep for one month to check against credit card statements and then recycle. Expired coupons, notices for past events, travel brochures. Recycle them all.
• Shred old personal bills. Read up on what you need to retain, or contact me.
Clear the Closets
• Toss stained or worn out clothes, fuzz ball sweaters and shoes that hurt.
• Donate clothes that don't fit or purchasing mistakes you'll never wear.
• Return wire hangers to cleaners. Joan Crawford was right. No wire hangers! Huggables save space and wooden hangars treat coats right.
• Donate linens and towels you don't use. Animal shelters welcome worn towels or sheets.
• Toss toiletries you don't use and cosmetics older than a year, especially mascara which can grow harmful bacteria.
• Safely dispose of dried up paint cans and old chemicals. Look at the guidelines online.
Now sit down with a cup of tea and relax. You've earned it.