Your home should be an oasis, a place where you can relax and enjoy yourself. However, if you’ve accrued a lot of stuff over the years, you could start to feel like the walls are closing in on you. To help make your home more spacious and tidy, it’s a good idea to clear out clutter, but you don’t have to throw it all away. Here’s how you can make more space and a little bit of money at the same time.
Scan for books. If you have bookshelves, coffee tables or desks teeming with magazines, newspapers and books that you’ve already read, now is the time to get some new literature. More specifically, now is the time to donate old periodicals (some educational nonprofits or libraries keep them on file and will gladly take donations). After clearing out magazines and papers, trade in your used books for more used books at a book swap or secondhand literature store; just make sure to pick up a few titles that you haven’t read before.
Overhaul your closet. The sheer magnitude of this kind of project can make it feel overwhelming for most people. But you can tackle this task a little at a time. Once a week, take out several items of clothing that you haven’t worn in a while. (It may help to start at the back of the closet since that’s where most of your seldom used clothing ends up). Pack them away in a box that you can take to a used clothing drop off once it’s full.
Swap old electronics for new. For a little de-cluttering motivation, think of the new electronics you could buy if you were to get rid of the old ones. For example, you can trade in your standard DVD player for a DVR if you sell it along with other items around your home entertainment center that are just taking up space. CDs and DVDs are especially good to get rid of since most people have gone digital. You can sell these on a specialty site like musicMagpie (AD), which helps you make money off of them in bulk and cuts down on the amount of time it takes to get rid of them.
Organize your storage areas. While you’re clearing out, don’t forget to put some TLC into your typical storage areas. Linen closets, garages and cabinets especially require a time investment because this is usually where you put items that you don’t know what to do with. As a rule of thumb, if you find things in these areas that you haven’t used in six months–for example, workout equipment or extra linens–make it a point to sell them or give them away.
Donate food. Lastly, the kitchen is often overlooked when doing a clear out of clutter. But you’ll probably feel like your cooking area is a lot more pleasant for preparing meals if you can get to the ingredients that you need more easily. The best way to spruce up the kitchen is to throw away any expired items and to make a “care package” full of nonperishable foods that you can give to a shelter or charity.