A friend sent me an article on the 26 items in your house that a Professional Organizer would throw out. I thought, hey, I’m a Professional Organizer. People ask me for help to throw things out. So, I was inspired to draft my own list. While I can easily come up with 26 common things to toss, I settled on 10. Cuz, 26 seems entirely arbitrary. Then again, so does 10?
To be very clear, as a Professional Organizer I would NEVER toss out ANYTHING without EXPLICIT CONSENT from my client. Your stuff is your stuff. Full stop. I would, however, gently encourage you to let things go that are no longer serving you or that you no longer need. So, with that in mind, here is my list of top 10 most common things that it might be time to toss!
A QUICK NOTE: I’m not suggesting that items to toss are all garbage. Obviously, whenever possible: reduce, reuse and recycle objects. Send them off to their proper places. Sell or pass them along if appropriate; one person’s trash is another’s treasure. Ask first before bestowing!
1. Outdated Technology
Although my husband may strongly disagree, old cables of unknown origin are safe candidates for the trash. You can recycle obsolete phones, computers and other outdated electronic equipment. Many of us are streaming music and videos with more up to date technology. Donate the old VHS tapes, CD’s and DVD’s that are lingering on your shelves or in boxes just taking up space.
2. Expired Stuff
I mean, this should go without saying but I’m guilty of hanging on to expired makeup and have a gloopy nail polish or two. Because it’s a pretty colour, duh. Properly dispose of expired medications at your local pharmacy, don’t flush them! Best before dates on food items are there for a reason-your health and safety. Toss or compost accordingly.
3. Storage Stackers
All the baskets and bins in the world won’t make you a more organized individual. You’ll just end up with more places to stash your clutter. Dispose of these potential “clutter caskets”. They are adding to the cluster. Lidless or stained food-type containers are good contenders for the recycling bin. Recently, I switched to glass containers and kept a small inventory of plastic ones for my kids to lose at school.
4. Pile o’Papers
Junk mail, expired coupons, takeout menus, meaningless business cards, catalogs (EXCEPT the current IKEA catalog, of course), stacks of newspapers, fliers and greeting cards (Which are a bit of an Achilles heel for me…) are all examples paper clutter that can easily be recycled. I do keep a few fliers on hand to line the compost bucket. Shred any paperwork containing confidential information to protect yourself from identity theft.
5. Kitchen Gadgets
I once bought a citrus zester with illusions of preparing perfectly garnished cocktails. I never used it. Turns out that a sharp knife replaces the need for many specialty utensils like: melon ballers, crinkle cutters and even garlic presses. It’s easy to get sucked into the latest fad kitchen appliance or tool that promises to make your life easier but you never use. I see you, electric can opener, juicer, bread maker, air fryer, yogurt maker. I see you. BYE!
6. Superfluous Decor
Empty picture frames, extra vases, ancient bowling trophies and the like-move it along. Old, sticky fridge magnets and tacky trip memorabilia-let that stuff go too. Knickknacks and bric a brac that no longer hold special meaning to you? I give you permission to free yourself of dusty tchotchkes.
You know what I’m referring to, that project pile. The stuff with missing or broken pieces. The clothing you’ve been meaning to mend for two years. Those things. There’s a fun quote about the “road to hell being paved with good intentions.” Give yourself a reasonable timeframe, if you haven’t completed the necessary repairs by that point or, it’s too expensive to fix, then let the stuff go.
How many keychains does one person need? Or water bottles, promotional mugs, calendars or logo laden notepads? On second thought, don’t answer that. What I’m getting at is, free items accumulate. Freebies aren’t really free, they take up space on surfaces and in drawers. Resist the swag or put it in a donation bag. Sweet rhyme.
9. Donation Doles
It’s time. That bag of donations chilling in the trunk of your car. Drop it off. When you are decluttering, include delivery and drop off in your plan. And please (PLEASE), if the donation bins are full then try again another day. Don’t place your bags on the ground. The charities are responsible for the cost of cleanup and can be fined; your objects are likely to be thrown in the landfill.
10. Guilt Gifts
Well-intentioned and thoughtful as they may be, it’s okay to say no to hand-me-down offerings. If you find yourself accepting them to avoid hurt feelings, that’s okay too. The object is now yours to do with as you see fit. You can graciously pass it along to its next home. The same goes for newly gifted items that you don’t want or need. Ditch the guilt and the unwanted item(s), respectfully.
Do You Have a Longer List of Things to Toss?
This top 10 most common things to toss list is a great place to start! If you are looking to make some bigger decisions on tossing unnecessary items right now, reach out to Kelly at (902) 209-3939 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s sort it out together! For more inspiration, check out: Getting Started-How to Begin Organizing
Yours in All Things Sorted,
Donation & Recycling Locations for Common Things to Toss
What’s recyclable in Nova Scotia & HRM:
- Divert NS-https://divertns.ca/
Clothing/Furniture/Appliances/Household Items. Please check with the organization(s) first to determine what they are currently accepting:
- Autism Nova Scotia-http://www.autismnovascotia.ca/
- Diabetes Association-https://declutter.diabetes.ca/donation-bin
- Big Brothers/Big Sisters-https://halifax.bigbrothersbigsisters.ca/clothing-donations/
- IWK Foundation-http://www.iwk.nshealth.ca/volunteer-program/donations
- Adsum House-https://adsumforwomen.org/donate-3
- Brunswick Street Mission-https://www.brunswickstreetmission.org/you-can-helps-brunswick-street-mission/donating-items
- Phoenix House-https://phoenixyouth.ca/ways-give
- Piper and Max-https://www.facebook.com/piperandmax/
- Thrifty Christie’s-https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Thrift—Consignment-Store/Thrifty-Christies-Thrift-Store-114520036644507/
- Salvation Army-https://salvationarmy.ca/maritime/
- Value Village-https://www.valuevillage.com/donate/what-we-take
- Parker Street-https://www.parkerstreet.org/
- Souls Harbour Mission Mart-https://www.facebook.com/shrmMissionMart/
- The Compassionate Closet-https://www.thecompassionatecloset.ca/
- Dress for Success-https://halifax.dressforsuccess.org/get-involved/donate/
- *Repeat Champions-http://www.repeatchampions.ca/*Donations of old trophies & plaques are currently on hold until 2021 due to Covid 19
Do you know of any others? Let me know in the comments below! *Disclaimer-I am not endorsing any of these organizations rather, making the information available so you can make your own personal decisions on where your donations & recyclable items can go! The choice is yours.*