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5 Things You Can Purge From Your Home… Right Now

Even though I’ve never been to your home, I bet there are 5 categories of belongings that you could purge right now. And while I usually promote taking the time to organize an entire zone, cabinet or drawer, it’s always helpful to start small and maintain your collections of things. Purging these items can also be a great opportunity to get the family involved. I would even suggest setting a timer, turning up the tunes and making this a monthly task (incorporating alternating categories each time).

Magazines & newspapers   A tray is the perfect sized container to corral magazines and newspapers. The tray will set a boundary for the amount of magazines you can keep—and once the container is full, it’s time to purge. Another reason not to hang onto magazines—they’re not searchable. If you want to reference articles, rip them out and organize into a binder or better yet, find the article online and bookmark it for later.

Mismatched food storage containers  This is super easy and so satisfying. Pull out all your food storage containers and lids and match up everything that you can. Any lid and bowl that doesn’t have a mate, get rid of immediately. If something is warped or just looks like it has seen better days, let it go. Create a way to organize the rest by having a larger bin to group lids and try to stack and nest food storage containers when possible. Rubbermaid also has a really cool line where the lids snap together and the containers rest on top.

Lone socks & worn out undergarments  Make sure that all your socks have made it through the laundry cycle and lay the lot on your bed or a nearby flat surface. Again, any socks without a mate get tossed as well as any socks with holes or that have lost their elasticity (same goes for undergarments). You can always repurpose one or two of these socks for polishing leather shoes or dusting furniture.

Cleaning supplies  Cleaning supplies typically have a shelf life of 2 years so it’s always a great idea to roundup all your supplies and dispose of anything that has expired. I’ll also often find two bottles of the same cleaning solution that aren’t full. To save space, marry the two and properly dispose of the empty container.

Toiletries & personal products  Make-up, travel toiletries and personal care products expire quicker than you think. If it’s liquid, the expiration is going to be 6-9 months and pastes, cremes and powders will last longer (think 1-2 years). Try and store travel toiletries in a separate container so that it’s a cinch to pack and as always, try and use up your personal products before buying more. That way, you minimize the need for storage space and you’re apt to not have to toss things that expire before you get the opportunity to use them.

What are some other categories of items that you could purge right now? Let me know in the comments!

**Image from Flickr user bravenewtraveler under Creative Commons license


Beth Zeigler knew she was on an organizing path when at the age of 5 she was maximizing her closet space to function as a second bedroom for her dolls. Throw in her background of delegating tasks to her younger brother throughout childhood–and her transition to organizing developed quite organically. Check out her web site at Bneato!

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  32. Ash Johnson August 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    I really need to go through the closet that I keep all my cleaning stuff. I have tons of stuff that I bought when I first moved into my house 10 years ago. I just never think about that stuff being old.

  33. Ramona A. August 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    I SOOOO need help with magazines. I HATE to get rid of them for some reason 🙁

    • Tina A January 1, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

      Ramona what I do is flip through my magazines and clip out the Good Stuff 🙂 I will paste these in a scrapbook and put the rest of the mag. in the recycle bin.

    • sharon January 12, 2013 at 10:27 am #

      I take all my old magazines to my doctors office. If they don’t want them then the hospital would take them off your hands. How many times have you sat at the hospital looking at the four walls.

  34. Rosemary Bubnic June 13, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    I put the lids on the containers, before storing in a deep drawer. Then I don’t waste time trying to match a lid to a container!

  35. amanda roach April 28, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    isnt thtat the truth. i do this every few months.

  36. maryholypicture April 26, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    The best use of Christmas cash money was when I purchased a set of Rubbermaid food storage containers and tossed out all old, twisted, Chinese food takeout containers and other none matching holders. The cabinet is always in order .

  37. Ellen Delap April 26, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Love these ideas! Start with the easy stuff.

    I also like to declutter recycling. It can be an easy, big area to let go of. And then create a regular routine for this task.

  38. Kathleen April 26, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    If you have kids, you can pitch any kids’ meal toy. That’s a no-brainer when I’m clean out the toy bins!

    • Beth Zeigler May 23, 2012 at 9:50 am #

      I agree Kathleen! An easy decision when it comes to decluttering (wish there were more decisions that were no-brainers)!

  39. Mary Beth Elderton April 26, 2012 at 9:40 am #

    I just moved and got rid of my mismatched containers–this is a wonderful thing to do! I just put the pieces in my recycle bin and replaced them with an inexpensive basic starter set that came in a box from a discount store that I can add to as I need.

    • Beth Zeigler May 23, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      getting rid of mismatched containers feels so rewarding and takes no time at all–great job!!

  40. Sarah Ressler Wright February 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    I learned recently that Goodwill and Salvation Army will sell/donate clothing that cannot be resold to be used as rags overseas -which is a great way not to feel guilty about all the extra socks/not soiled undergarments 🙂

    This is where I found the information about Goodwill and rags; I haven’t asked my Goodwill yet, but am hoping that it applies to all Goodwils.

    • Beth February 8, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      That’s great news Sarah. Paperworks Studio is associated with Goodwill (they make greeting cards and stationary from recycled jeans and wool sweaters). My guess is they’re using some of these threadbare clothes as well.

    • Kate January 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm #


      Look at the national news sometime. A lot of citizens of Africa & Haiti are wearing our old clothes. They do not export clothes to be used as rags, Charities like Goodwill & the others bundle them & sell them to a middleman who goes through them & then exports to places like Africa. People can buy our used clothing cheaper than to buy them locally made.

      Saw a story on PBS years ago about textiles makers in Africa. Think of the bright cotton fabrics many natives wore few decades ago. How often do you see them now ? Think there were 9 textile manufacturers, now there are 2.

      How do you think the Air Jordan t shirts get over there ? There is money to be made, but our excesses had an affect on their economy.

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