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10 Things that need to be decluttered from your life

For most people, the word reorganize brings nightmarish visions of an endless weekend cleaning out the garage. But reorganizing doesn't have to be a vast undertaking every time. Rather, it’s taking on bits and pieces every day to help achieve a simpler, stress-free life. Here are 10 small projects that will help you begin chipping away at the clutter in your home.

1. Mugs

The perfect gift for grandparents, employers, co-workers, teachers, parents, friends, distant relations, and strangers. Mugs are the easiest gift to give but also the hardest to get rid of.

DONATE: Be realistic with yourself and keep only the mugs you use weekly. Dusty mugs that haven’t felt the warm embrace of coffee in years should be packed up for garage sale fodder.

2. Receipts

In general the IRS will only audit as far as 3 years back, or in some more extreme cases 6 years. But hey, holding on to that takeout receipt from 2003 may just save your life someday if you go to a restroom and they forgot to restock the toilet paper.

SHRED: Keep your receipts and tax info in clearly-labeled folders by year. Anything older than 6 years toss in the shredder.

3. Expired prescriptions

All those piles of old, expired medications simply waste space. They either will no longer work properly or can be dangerous to your system.

TOSS: Scratch off all personal info from bottles before disposing of any out-of-date prescriptions. And remember to always keep all your medications out of the reach of pets and children.

4. Coupons

While I’m all about getting an extra-large pizza for half-off, there is only so much couponing one can do. It really comes down to how highly you value your time vs. getting a good bargain. It can become a real gas waster to go out of your way to purchase random items just because they’re on sale.

USE OR TOSS: Only keep coupons that are from stores you frequent often, or offer a seriously killer deal that you know you’ll use. Keep these in a folder and remember to toss out expired coupons. Put the remainder of unused coupons to rest in the recycling bin.

5. Old cleaning products

I recently removed brown sludge from a cupboard where an ancient cleaning bottle had at last succumbed to age and spilled its guts on all its surroundings. Unlike wine, cleaning products do not improve with age and should not be kept beyond two years or unless otherwise specified.

TOSS: When purchasing cleaning supplies make sure to clearly label the purchase date on each bottle. Stock the new bottles behind the old ones. And if you haven’t used a cleaning product in two years, its time has come.

6. Loose change

Hide and Seek champion. It’s in your car, your couch, your wallet, your cupboards, your pockets, and everywhere in between. And you complain you have no money.

SAVE: Place a container in a central spot of the house that is easily accessible to every member of the family. Designate the change to go towards pizza night or adventure money.

7. Almost-empty shampoo bottles

That cold, dark recess in your shower that has become a graveyard for an assortment of half-used shampoo bottles. Unfortunately, most of these bottles still have life left and do not appreciate the early burial. Or maybe the bottles are used up, but if you’re like me, they get tucked away and quickly forgotten.

USE UP OR GIVE THEM UP: Before you open that new bottle of shampoo you’re dying to try, finish up all your old bottles first. If you no longer like one, be it the scent or that it doesn’t work on your hair anymore, it’s time to give em’ the boot.

8. Tupperware from the dark ages

You know exactly what I’m talking about. That Tupperware that you got as a wedding gift 30 years ago, that is now composed of all lids and no containers. The towering stacks of cheap plastic cups. Or my favorite, the once-clear Tupperware container that now has permanent food stain rings in it. Need I go on?

TOSS: Give them a one way ticket to the trash can and don’t look back.

9. Magazines

This is why Pinterest was invented. To be a hub of ideas and inspiration without any of the clutter. If you find an article you cannot live without, clip it and put it in a binder. But keep in mind many magazines now have online archives, so clipping really isn’t all that necessary.

RE-EVALUATE: Look at all the magazines currently coming to your mailbox. Keep the truly useful, unsubscribe from the superfluous, and put the remainder in the recycling bin. For those of you still desperately clinging to bins and bins of decorating magazines, take a moment to look around your house. Are the stacks of magazines helping you make your house beautiful? Or are they simply taking up space?

10. Cards

Happy Birthday! Here is a sparkly birthday cake on cardstock with a sappy generic poem overflowing with best wishes from the card company. While I’m all for keeping a well-thought-out letter or loving note, a signature on the common greeting card doesn’t strike a chord with me.

SORT: It’s not necessary to keep every card you’ve ever received from the dawn of time. Take an evening and sort out the ones that have true sentimental value from the ones that need to wish the trash can a happy birthday. The ones you’ve chosen to keep should all go in a folder, binder, or bin. Keep them all in one place for future access.

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