Clutter isn't merely a state of a closet; studies show clutter affects your state of mind, causing anxiety and depression in homeowners feeling suffocated by their stuff. You may have to bite the bullet and toss items you haven't touched since iPhone 1. Or, you can repurpose things currently unloved and unused. Here are things you should toss or up-cycle today.
Things to Toss or Repurpose Today
Treasure to Trash: 15 Things To Toss or Repurpose Today
Within two years pillows used every day lose their stuffing and become thin and bumpy. Fold your pillows in half, and if they stay folded, it's time to toss. Or, pull feathers from down pillows and add to your compost pile, where they will decompose into rich garden soil, or birds will use them to feather new nests. Cut up foam pillows into small squares and use as packing material for delicate items.
Mattresses stay in good shape for 5-7 years. After that, they begin to lose support, hurting sleep and backs. You can donate mattresses with some life left in them. Or remove mattress springs and use as a garden trellis, wall art, or a bulletin board.
Fire extinguishers eventually lose power; smoke alarms become clogged with pet dander and pollen. That's why you should toss the every 10 years, sooner if annual inspections turn up an unsolvable problem. You can repurpose fire extinguishers as vases for tall flowers; or turn them into lamps. If your old smoke alarm has radioactive particles (usually a label warns you), don't just toss them in the trash; return them to the manufacturer for safe disposal.
Even if old paint hasn't dried into a solid block, after a couple of years the color most likely has changed and won't match your walls. Many municipalities let your put cans of dried latex paint in your recycling bin. But oil-based paint is considered household hazardous waste and should be taken to your local hazardous waste center.
If your old bed and table linens are frayed, yellowed or stained, it's time to show them the door. Or tear into strips and add to your compost pile; fold sheets and lay them on a garden path to keep down weeds (cover with mulch); cut into cleaning rags; or sew into lampshades and hankies.
It's where perfectly good items go to die. You can toss the entire contents (fast but wasteful), or take an hour and organize. Throw crumbs, dust, bits of paper, and the odd apple core in your compost pile. Collect scattered rubber bands into a ball, which will bounce sky high and can erase shoe scuffs from floors. Old film canisters and pill bottles (washed) are great containers for tacks and nails. Twist bits of ribbon around an old toilet paper tube for handy storage.
Every year people in the U.S. throw away millions of tons of old and outdated electronics. You've probably got a TV or VCR you'd rather live without, too. You can send them to the dump to declutter your home, or donate to charity. Many companies will buy back old cell phones, or you can repurpose them as dedicated alarm clocks or media players.
Unused coat hangers are a closet eyesore. Bring wire coat hangers back to the cleaners; toss extra plastic hangers into the recycle bin; and get creative with extra wood hangers. Use them as cool coat hooks, necklace holders, and towel rods.
Finally say goodbye to that chest of forgotten and broken toys. Put away those you'll pass on to grandchildren, but toss cars without wheels, board games that are missing parts, and stuffed animals without stuffing. Give unwanted toys in good shape to charity, swap with friends, or sell in a yard sale.
Rugs past their prime must go. But where? If they're in horrible shape, cut them up as runners for garden paths or place under backyard play equipment to cushion falls. Cut out parts that aren't too bad and use as mudroom mats.
File cabinets are so last century. Scan important documents, and store them on the cloud; place the most important ones, like car titles and house deeds, in a small, waterproof box; then toss the paper you'll never touch again. You can repurpose old file cabinets to hold extra pots, pans and linens.
If you've got more chairs than space to store them, give them to charity or to young adults setting up first apartments. If one is particularly interesting, hang it on the wall as an objet d'art or extra storage.
We've all got side tables partially refinished, yard sale finds never repaired, and skeins of yarn never knitted. Get real and toss those project you'll never complete. You can donate extra yarn to charities that knit blankets and hats for the homeless.
Get rid of "fat clothes" that make you feel bad every time you open your closet door. Donate, swap, or sell them to someone who considers them skinny clothes and will wear them all the time.
Toss or repurpose leftover party decorations. Use party napkins for everyday; cut cardboard party hats into gift cards, and use deflated Mylar balloons as wrapping paper.