43 Things to Get Rid of in the Next 43 Days
De-cluttering doesn’t have to be an overwhelming weekend activity. Attacking just one item a day makes the process so much easier.
Extra cooking utensils
Even if your drawer of cooking utensils is overflowing, it’s hard to keep track of which pieces you actually use regularly. Chuck any that are chipped, warped, or have peeling plastic. Put the rest into a box on your kitchen counter, says Novak. As you cook, return the utensils you use to their original home in your drawer. “After a week, anything in the box is something you’re not reaching for, and there’s probably a reason,” says Novak. Rummage through for any that you love too much to toss, but get rid of the rest. (Make sure you never buy these 10 common items for your home to keep it clutter-free!)
Fast food extras
All those extra plastic forks, condiment packets, and straws from fast food and takeout orders tend to pile up, sometimes turning into scrunched-up napkins or unwrapped straws. “Some people take these items intentionally, while others just let these freebies happen to them,” says Maeve Richmond, founder and coach of organizing company Maeve’s Method. She recommends picking a number, and capping your saved items to that, like keeping just three soy sauce packets in the kitchen or five napkins in the car. If you never intend to use them (especially the unhealthy condiments), ask the cashier to hold the duck sauce or plasticware so you don’t have to trash them as soon as you’re home.
Most of us have one grungy outfit on hand that we wouldn’t mind ruining if we needed to paint, garden, or do any other dirty work. “They’re not the most flattering, and there’s something else in your wardrobe that you’d probably rather wear,” says Novak. “You don’t have to hold onto them for that occasion that probably will never happen.”
Old papers and notes
You probably scribbled down names, phone numbers, and ideas when planning a trip or life event. “All the information we gather during ‘planning stages’ feels so important, it seems like you will never be able to let it go,” says Richmond. “But the truth is, when the trip or event is over, most of this information is old news.” Glance the information over before you toss it in the trash. Any important phone numbers or addresses can go in your phone, and a memory-filled item can go in a scrapbook or scanned for a digital album.
Those specialty appliances make it oh so easy to make cake pops, quesadillas, and ice cream, but they’re rarely worth the space. “All of that stuff was made in a kitchen before they had a special appliance for it,” says Novak. Get rid of any that you don’t use on a regular basis, or at least move them to another room in the house, she says. Make sure you use these 18 tricks to organize your kitchen.
Food storage containers
It seems like a waste to trash the plastic boxes that come with takeout, but those containers can pile up fast. Hang on to the ones you’d realistically use during the week—like the ones that fit in your lunch bag or are big enough for your typical leftovers—and trash the rest, especially if the plastic is peeling or warped. Better yet, invest in some microwavable glass containers, which don’t have the chemical risk that plastics do, says Richmond. “Somehow we don’t think we should be spending even a cent on something that we can get for free,” she says. “If it’s a day-to-day activity for you, by all means it’s a great idea to invest in something that’s great quality.”
“Travel mugs are the hot new thing to hoard,” says Novak. Between smoothie bottles, tumblers with straws, regular water bottles, and thermoses, those containers take up a lot of cupboard real estate. Pare down to only the water bottles and travel mugs that you actually use on a regular basis. Keep the one that fits in your cup holder, bike, and yoga bag, and let the rest go, says Novak.
Spices and herbs
Knowing when to toss sour milk or wilted greens is easy enough, but you might be holding on to spices and herbs too long. “They won’t expire in the sense that they won’t make you feel well, but they will lose flavor and potency,” says Novak. “Take a bit of the spice or herb in your fingers and crush it a bit. If there’s no scent, there’s no flavor.” If you’re ever in doubt, Novak recommends checking the site StillTasty, which lets you search for common foods to check their lifespan.
Old razors can cause health problems like razor burn and skin infections, especially if you keep them in a moist shower where bacteria grows. Replace any blades that you’ve already used more than four times.
Toss mascara after three months and products with SPF after six. For everything else in your makeup bag, a one-year expiration is an easy rule of thumb, says Novak. “It wouldn’t harm you necessarily—although it could, or cause blemishes,” she says. Write the date on a product when you open it so you don’t forget. Don’t feel the need to hold on for a full year though—throw out products as soon as they change consistency, color, or scent. Make sure you know when to toss out these 12 beauty products.