Whether you’re just doing a seasonal cleanup or you’re clearing out in preparation to move, sorting through your things might seem challenging. There are, however, several things that you really are going to have to think about. Just get rid of them. NOW!

  1. Condiments. When your fast food, take-out, or delivery habit leaves your refrigerator cluttered with soy sauce and mustard packets, it’s time to do some sorting. And it’s not just those pesky little packages that can burst open in unexpected places. You probably have a cache of plastic utensils filling up drawer space too. Find a way to organize them or toss them out.
  2. Prescriptions. Whether you no longer need it or it’s past its date, keeping old medicine in the cabinet not only takes up space, it poses a risk to family members. Before you just flush them down the drain, though, follow the advice from the FDA on drug disposal.
  3. Unmatched socks. So, your dryer (or washers) eats socks. At least, that’s the theory because you knew you put a pair in and only one came out. The sock monster strikes again. In some homes, this phenomenon results in piles of mismatched socks, and there’s no reason to hang on to them. Turn them into dust mittens, cut them up for crafts, or toss them. 
  4. Paint. Saving a small amount of paint for repairs and touch-ups, if stored properly in an airtight container, is a great idea. But keeping partial cans of colors that you probably won’t ever use before they dry up is just a waste of space. And remember, paint fades over time, so you may not be able to use a bright color for those patches anyway. Paint is considered hazardous waste, so you shouldn’t just toss it in the trash bin. Contact your trash company for advice on where and how to get rid of leftover paint and unusable supplies.
  5. Old spices. No, not the cologne. Kitchen spices lose their savor and can ruin a great dish if used after their expiration date. Of course, not all spice jars have dates on them, so a general rule of thumb is two to three years. Spices last longer when kept in a dry environment such as air-tight containers that are closed up properly after each use. Often, you’ll find that half the spices that came on that decorative spice rack are not items you use in your culinary masterpieces. If you haven’t used them in a year, donate them. If it’s been more than three years, toss them. 

Even if you’re not prepared to sell just yet, including these clutter busters into your routine will keep things under control so that when you’re ready to make a move it’ll be hassle-free. When you are ready, ask your real estate or moving professional about other ways to quickly bring order to chaos.

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