There’s no hard rule that says you should start decluttering your home in the spring.
Getting organized is on top of most New Year’s resolution lists, and decluttering should naturally be part and parcel of that goal.
Productivity coach and professional organizer Clare Kumar of Streamlife and Professional Organizers in Canada, says people may steer away from this time of the year to declutter because of the weather.
“There’s a lack of energy and it’s so dark and cold, but certainly people have a drive,” she tells Global News. “Think about decluttering on a weekend morning … Don’t do it on a Friday night when you are tired and frazzled.”
Kumar says before you start hitting spaces in your home, have a clear idea of what you want to do with your time. She even suggests walking around the space and making notes of things that bother you.
“Start by looking at storage areas and editing those places first. You need to create spaces for things that don’t have a home to go to.”
She also suggests a PLAN (prioritize, liberate, arrange, nurture) format, in which you prioritize what you want to do with your time, and liberate yourself by letting go of pieces you don’t.
Arrange and organize the remainder of your space and nurture it going forward — you don’t want to keep falling into the same habit of collecting junk.
And if collecting things in your home becomes an uncontrollable habit that leads to hoarding, seek help from a professional.
Below are eight common household items people keep for several years. Kumar shares her tips on how to get rid of these items by donating, selling or recycling them.
How many old mobile devices do you have in your home? How many of them actually work? Kumar says people don’t like to get rid of old phones because they haven’t taken the time to wipe them out. And when phones don’t work, she adds people hold onto them in case they could be worth something one day.
Clear out your phones that work, either by recycling them (some cities will even pick up electronic recycling) or by selling the parts to a local repair shop. “If you’re really savvy, you can get rid of it while it is still worth something,” she says.
Cords and chargers
Like phones, many people also have a ton of chargers and cords sitting in closets and drawers. These can be from old phones, tablets, computers, televisions or just back-ups that have been piling up for years.
Kumar says if you have a lot of chargers or other cords, recycle them or just donate them to someone who could use them.
Clothes end up being the largest pile of unnecessary junk in your home because people can’t seem to let go of certain pieces, Kumar says. Even though we lose weight, gain weight or simply grow out of these clothes, some people hang on to them for years.
If you have high-end clothes in good condition that you never wear anymore, consider selling them at a consignment store or online through social media sites or apps like Carousell.
READ MORE: How to declutter and get organized
Consider donating the rest to a local shelter, youth home or even family or friends who may be in the need of a coat or winter boots.
Kumar says unless you are a professional photographer or you have some type of sentimental connection to the device, you probably have zero use of your old bulky digital cameras.
“Put together a digital photo album or journal … We’re often just looking for memory trigger,” she says.
Once you wipe out the contents of the cameras, you can recycle them.
A lot of us hold on to vintage or family heirlooms as keepsakes, and if you don’t want to let go of them, Kumar says you should interact with them in a different way.
For example, if you have a tea set from your mother sitting around in a box in the basement or garage, use it to hold makeup brushes or lipsticks. And if you have things that hold value to you personally (Kumar notes some people may keep parts of their first car or other “firsts”), integrate them with your workstation or use them as art.
Often we hold on to gifts because we’re afraid to offend the gift-giver, Kumar says. This is a notion we should let go of in 2018.
Donate it, sell it, re-gift it — whatever the item is, if it has no value or space in your life, get rid of it.
For any beauty junkie, it can be hard to let go of certain makeup products, even though they’ve been expired for years. In 2018, make it a habit to let go of fancy packaging, limited edition beauty tools and colours or trends you don’t see yourself wearing anymore.
If you have gently used products, you can also consider selling or trading them online. If you have something unused, donate it to a shelter.
Magazines and newspapers
Kumar says people end up with mountains of magazines and newspapers over the decades because they don’t have a proper system for filing them. It can also be hard to let go of print publications that don’t exist anymore.
Keep any magazine or newspaper clipping that holds nostalgic value to you, scan the ones sitting in boxes, and recycle the rest.