How to Throw Away Clutter

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Clutter quickly accumulates in a home when people attach themselves to an object or are determined to find a use for it someday. The problem for many people is that these items never see use, but instead take up valuable space in the home. Some people may form sentimental attachments with too many items, which often leads to a home overrun with stuff. When it's time to tackle the clutter, throwing away clutter doesn't necessarily mean just throwing it into the garage. Remove the clutter, so someone else can put your unused items to use.

  • Start by de-cluttering one room or one section of a room at a time so you don't become overwhelmed with the task.

  • Challenge yourself to throw away a certain number of items, whether it is only 10 items or 50. You may find that once you reach the designated number, you are inspired to keep throwing away more things.

  • Motivate yourself with a reward to throw away the clutter. The reward could simply be a favorite treat or a whole room makeover.

  • Designate a time frame to determine if the item is worth keeping, for example, if the item hasn't been touched or used in six months, then you will throw it away.

  • Put all items to be thrown away into one trash pile and one donation pile during the rough sort, just to get rid of what you do not use. After you have finished de-cluttering the area, further sort everything by categories to give to family members or items to donate to charity.

  • Convert boxes of printed photographs to digital files and store them on a computer, CD or DVD.

  • Make a scrapbook of sentimental items for each person in the house; the scrapbook might include awards, report cards, newspaper clippings or stamp collections. If an item is too bulky, take a picture for the scrapbook and then get rid of it.

  • Shred out-of-date documents such as receipts, bills, tax papers and bank statements and set them on the curb with the rest of the garbage. Sort paperwork that you will keep in a box file organizer so they don't clutter a desk.

  • Get rid of old magazine, newspaper and catalog collections. Clip articles of particular interest to you and put them in a scrapbook to take up less total space.

  • Test appliances and electronics that you no longer use to see if they still work. Donate working items to a local thrift shop; find an organization that will accept and repair items that don't work.

  • Take clean, gently worn clothing items to a thrift store or pass them along to someone who can use them. Heavily soiled or damaged clothes can be discarded in the garbage.

  • Pass children's old toys along to younger children in the neighborhood or donate them to a thrift store so another child can take pleasure in them.

  • Sell your treasures at auction or over the Internet to get some cash back. Books, DVDs, video games, antiques, collectibles and even furniture may fetch reasonable prices.

  • Create a box for items that you don't use, but aren't ready to throw away yet. Label the box with its contents and the date; if you haven't used these items after six months or one year, throw them away.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work with a friend or family member to help you make decisions about what you really need. Choose someone who can be assertive and reasonable, without causing you stress.

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References

  • Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images
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