Wednesdays are simplicity days at SimpleProductivity blog. I am taking a break this week, so please enjoy this article from the archives!
Originally published on 8 July 2009
Most people I know won’t embark on a big decluttering because they think it will take too long. I decided to put together a list of quick decluttering projects to get you started getting rid of the junk in little chunks of time.
5 Minute Decluttering
- Clean out your wallet. Get rid of old receipts, expired coupons, business cards and outdated pictures. Consider putting club and membership cards in a separate holder.
- Clean out your pen cup. Either at office or home, go through your stash. Get rid of anything that won’t write. Or anything you won’t use (like the pen with yellow ink)
- Purge your socks. Go though your sock drawer and toss anything that needs to be tossed. Don’t keep things with holes or without mates.
- Clean the place where you stash take-out goodies. Wherever you keep them, get rid of old menus, chopsticks, plastic forks and packages of condiments.
- Purge your magazines. If you have more than three unread issues of a magazine, recycle the older ones. Let’s face it, if you haven’t gotten to it in three months, you probably won’t get to it at all.
- Clean out your nightstand. Get rid of trash, dried up lotions, broken pencils and books you have been meaning to get to.
10 Minute Decluttering
- Clean out the center console in your car. Remove the change, wrappers, receipts and anything else that has collected there (Barbie shoes? Playdough? I’d love to hear what people find).
- Go after the kitchen sink. Remove anything from around your sink that you don’t use daily.
- Purge one bathroom shelf. Pick a shelf and clean it out. This may be a 5 minute job, but if you have extra time, put things back neatly after wiping it down.
- Clean one clothing drawer. Get rid of anything not wearable because of its state, or because you don’t like it anymore.
- Purge utensils. I swear my kitchen breeds spatulas. Get rid of anything that is obviously over-worn or broken. Remove anything you haven’t used. Remove as many duplicates as possible.
- Purge your media. If you have CDs or DVDs (or VHS tapes!) or video games you don’t use any more, clean them out! (Please remember it is a violation of copyright law if you get rid of the original media and use a copy you have made…if you still use it, hang on to the original media)
15 Minute Decluttering
- Clean out your medicine cabinet. Anything that is expired or no longer of use needs to go. Contact your local pharmacy for a take-back program, or contact your local hazmat location for drop-off instructions. Do NOT flush old medicines!
- Purge and clean one refrigerator shelf. Cleaning the refrigerator can be a daunting task. Do one shelf, pulling everything out, wiping it down and getting rid of old half-used stuff. You will be amazed at the difference.
- De-gunk your glove compartment. I think the maps must breed too. Purge outdated and duplicate maps. Make sure your registration and proof of insurance is handy and up to date.
- Purge under a sink. Under-sink cabinets become a dumping ground for all sorts of stuff. Clean yours out.
- Remove unused kitchen gadgets. Gadgets are fun and cool, but unless you actually use them regularly, get rid of them. The grilled sandwich maker looked cool at the time, but I used it maybe three times? Same with the deep fryer. Out they go!
- Purge your plastic. Plastic containers grow extra tops, which then consume other plastic containers. Match up what you have and get rid of the rest.
Decluttering doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Pick a small spot and declutter. By constantly decluttering small areas, we make long-term major progress.
Photo by simax105