For those who love summer, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the first day of fall is September 23rd. And if you're like me, your home could use some serious decluttering.
Despite the popular "spring cleaning" term, this process knows no season. With another new season about to take over, now is the perfect time to evaluate the products and items in your home that have been neglected or unused over the season. When a home is free and clear of unnecessary items, you have more time to address issues that matter the most to you and can be considered "easy" home improvement. However, as some of us know, it can be hard to give things up. One study found that giving up an item you own lights up the same pain response in your brain as would be caused by a paper cut or drinking coffee that is too hot:
"Researchers at Yale recently identified that two areas in your brain associated with pain, the anterior cingulate cortex and insula, light up in response to letting go of items you own and feel a connection towards"
So it's no wonder we struggle with this. However, harmony in the spaces around you is often an important need for productivity and focus:
"Whether it be your closet or office desk, excess things in your surroundings can have a negative impact on your ability to focus and process information."
With that said, a good place to start with this sometimes painful and time consuming process is to check out our list of items you can donate, give away, sell or trash, and where to find them:
- Swimsuits you didn't bust out once this summer
- Socks that have long lost their mate
- All the sandals you didn't wear this summer
- Jewelry and accessories you haven't worn in months
- Any clothing or shoes your kids have outgrown
- All your worn out purses
- Summer shorts, capris, tank tops, dresses, etc. you didn't wear all summer
- Stretched or scratched sunglasses
- Any expired medicine
- Gunky sunscreens from summers past
- Unusable nail polish
- Any old shampoos and conditioners you won't be using anytime soon
- Anything in your freezer that is no longer edible and has visible freezer-burn
- Any cleaning supplies that you no longer need or do not like
- Chipped and non-sentimental coffee mugs
- All those to-go cups you don't use
The Garage and Beyond
- Get rid of any holiday decor you aren't going to utilize come winter (e.g. Christmas lights that don't work)
- Books and magazines you are not going to ever read or re-read
- Any toys not being used
- All hobby items you aren't using or interested in anymore
- Any sporting or camping equipment you've replaced/outgrown/don't use anymore
- Yard and garden tools that are taking up space
- Shred all your unneeded paperwork
- Begin to organize your tax documents
- Toss old receipts you don't need
- Any boxes you aren't going to use
- Recycle old cell phones/electronics/small appliances
- Any expired coupons, promos or gift cards
- DVDs you don't watch
- Any candles that can't be burned anymore, or get a candle warmer. We love this one.
Need more than just a seasonal cleanup? Another great tip from Lifehacker is to to get rid of one item each week until you only have the exact amount of items you actually use and need.