Written by John A. Anderson – Editor in Chief

We tend to accumulate a lot of unnecessary stuff over time.  Toss it, already!

John Mayer’s song ‘1983’ is awesome for a few reasons, but the end lyrics are thought provoking: “Whatever happened to my lunchbox? When came the day that it was thrown away? Seems I should have had a say, in that decision.”

Aside from my 300+ vinyl albums collection that my mom sold for $25 total in a garage sale after I had moved out—I’m still not over that one—it’s obvious that we tend to accumulate stuff.   Shopping is not just for necessities, it’s quite the pastime, and some even call it retail-therapy, so unless you have a process for culling the clutter, it’s going to sneak up on you. And, when you finally get around to it, you face a tough, sometimes emotional task. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a classic hoarder, ridding yourself of junk creep can involve a lot of mental toughness, resolve, and simply letting the past go.

If you’re not up to tackling it all in one massive effort, it may be best to start slowly with a consistent plan of tossing one item away per day. Stick to that for a month, and you essentially get rid of 30 things you don’t need. And, to be clear, “tossing” may mean trash, but in many cases, it could/should mean tossing it into a box in the garage to be donated or recycled.

Try these genius tips and quell the junk creep

15-Minutes A Day. Take 15 minutes every day to clean and organize. That may mean straightening  drawers, hanging clothes, dusting the bedroom, filing bills and receipts, and trashing trash. 15 minutes will perform wonders.  Try it for a month.

Joy or Junk?  Ask yourself if something brings you joy.  If it does, put it in a proper place. If not, toss it. Just because Mom gave you that sweater 5 years ago doesn’t mean you need to keep it. Simply be honest about whether things fit or whether you will really ever wear something again. Hold it up, ask if it brings you joy. If not, thank it for it’s ‘service’ and toss it in the donations box. You’ll feel free, and perhaps another will love it.

Sell it. Can you make some coin by selling old, functional appliances or furniture? If you think so, try it out on Ebay or some other local classifieds. Who knows? Of course, you can always organize a yard sale. This works well if you combine it with other neighbors.

Go Digital. Scan receipts and other key documents, including birth certificates, warranties, loans, etc. Cyberspace storage takes up so little room in your home! File away the important document stuff, and shred the rest.

Magazine Mayhem. Most magazines stack up pretty quickly. Whether you read them or not, your not likely to use them again. Keep a folder of favorite clippings, and recycle the rest.

Systemize. Establish a system to manage junk creep moving forward. Learn to quickly ditch useless items and things you know you don’t love. Have a donation box handy and fill it regularly. Every time you buy a new item, get rid of an old one. For mail, create a sorting system of “to do, to read, to file, to shred.”

And, if you really need help getting organized, consider hiring a pro-organizer. They will cost a bit, but pressing the organizing reset button may be worth it.  Go to the National Association of Professional Organizers website – www.napo.net – to find a person in your area. There are specialists in every field, from garages to computers.

Our friends at PopSugar.com have compiled a fairly useful list of 116 types of items that will take you about four months to dispose of:

  • The other side of a pair of lost earrings
  • Your dish sponge.  Ew.
  • Cards with no sentimental value
  • Receipts you don’t need
  • Ticket stubs
  • Socks with holes. Duh.
  • Old t-shirts
  • Leftover change
  • Dried flowers
  • Magazines & newspapers
  • CDs
  • Hair elastics that have lost stretchiness
  • Hair accessories you don’t use
  • Shoes that don’t fit or that you don’t wear
  • Extra photo prints
  • Little knickknacks (designate a bowl & fill it)
  • Kitchen things you don’t use
  • Cooking utensils you have two of
  • Tired bras
  • Stuff you never wear
  • Clothes that don’t fit
  • Gifts you don’t like
  • Old towels
  • Old makeup
  • Old toiletries & toothbrushes
  • Dry cleaner hangers
  • Expired or sample-sized toiletries
  • Extra buttons
  • Expired sauces
  • Toys nobody plays with
  • Expired medication
  • Dried-up nail polish
  • Bills you don’t need to keep
  • Expired coupons
  • Half-finished projects
  • Old paint
  • Old paperwork
  • DVDs you don’t watch
  • Snacks your pets don’t eat
  • Damaged clothing you can’t mend
  • Stained clothing you can’t clean
  • Old prom dresses
  • Scratched nonstick cookware
  • Old underwear or swimwear that’s losing its stretch
  • Outdated electronics
  • Rusty jewelry
  • Stockings with runs
  • Pens that don’t work
  • Clothing you’ve outgrown
  • Necklaces / bracelets with broken clasps
  • Cables and wires you don’t use
  • Worn-out sheets and bedding
  • near-empty bottles of cleaning products
  • Old buttons for clothes you no longer have
  • Worn-out bath mats
  • Broken electronics
  • Purses you never use
  • Old pillows. (Think about it!)
  • Worn-out shoes
  • Wedding invites
  • Save-the-dates
  • Wedding favors you don’t use
  • Old wallets that you don’t use
  • Broken kitchen equipment
  • Spare furniture parts you don’t need
  • Furniture manuals
  • Boxes
  • Unused vases
  • Extra tupperware you don’t need
  • Old mail
  • Junk mail
  • Travel brochures
  • Bobby pins
  • Old crayons / art supplies, & inkless markers
  • Random containers and jars
  • Unused stationery, stickers, and sticky notes
  • Ripped denim
  • Old artwork or old children’s artwork
  • Used and ripped envelopes
  • Broken or old iPhone cases
  • Old unused batteries
  • Extra and unused coffee mugs
  • Old spices
  • Address labels for your old house
  • Wrinkled ribbon and bows for gift wrap
  • Cards or gifts from exes
  • Frequent shopper cards you never use
  • Matchbooks
  • Old shopping bags
  • Old calendars
  • Old folders
  • Magnets
  • Clothes that are outdated or from college
  • Broken Christmas decorations
  • Christmas lights that don’t work
  • Frayed towels
  • Expired food
  • Computer cords, firewire cord, etc. you don’t use
  • Old and outdated software
  • CDs for old computer programs
  • Old cell phones
  • Hand-me-downs you’re guilt-tripped into keeping
  • Freebie  t-shirts you never wear
  • Old fortune cookie fortunes
  • Old bank statements
  • Old planners
  • Delete email subscriptions from sites
  • Delete emails you don’t need
  • Delete unwanted music from your iTunes
  • Extra buttons that come with new clothes
  • Games that are missing pieces
  • Old schoolbooks you’ll never use again
  • Papers you have backed up on the computer
  • Books you’ve read and don’t want to display
  • Cell phone covers you’re over
  • Old manuals to electronics
  • Cell phone accessories you don’t use anymore
  • Flatware, plates, & cups that don’t match your collection, plus dingy kids plates y
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