The other day I decided to tackle the messy desk in the kitchen. The one covered with sticky notes, ATM receipts, loose change, random bits of hardware, and a sizeable collection of pens, pencils and markers. I found more pens and pencils in the desk drawer. And another handful in the cabinet above the desk. As I began to sort through them, I found quite a few that no longer worked.
Why am I keeping two dozen dead pens in my desk?
I bet you have some no-longer-working pens lurking in your house too.
Maybe it’s time to get rid of them.
Maybe it’s time to get rid of these other items as well…
- Pens that don’t work. I tossed mine. (I even checked the ones in my purse and my car.) Now it’s your turn.
- Mystery cords. If you don’t know what it belongs to today, why do you think you will know next week? Mystery cords will remain a mystery. Get rid of them.
- Boxes, manuals, or accessories for items that you no longer own. I hope I don’t need to explain this.
- Clothes you no longer wear in public but keep for wearing around the house. If it’s too worn, ill-fitting, or out of fashion, why are you keeping it? Don’t you have nicer or comfier clothes you’d rather wear—one’s you’re not embarrassed to be seen wearing?
- Any DVD, book, magazine, etc you wouldn’t want a close friend to know you own. If the people who know you best think it’s inappropriate for you, why do you have it in the house?
- Stuff foisted on you by others during their de-cluttering projects. If you didn’t ask for it, and you don’t love it, don’t keep it around. And next time somebody says, “If you don’t take it I’m going to throw it away,” let them throw it away.
- Scented candles/soaps/lotions with scents you don’t enjoy. Not long ago I bought soap promising a clean lemony scent. In reality, it smelled awful. Crinkle-my-face awful! I threw it away. Unused. Why inflict such unpleasantness on yourself because you don’t want to “waste” a few dollars?
- The papers hanging on the side of the fridge since 2008. The ones that have been there so long you no longer see them. Enough said.
- Anything someone gave you because “you really ought to read/watch/listen to this.” If you haven’t touched it within the first week, return it or toss it. The giver may have good intentions. They may even be right. But you know, deep in your heart, you’re never going to do it. Why keep it around to inflict guilt? Exception: If you boss tells you to read it, you should probably read it. Stop putting it off and get it over with.
- Expired medicines. There is a reason for those expiration dates! The chemicals do not stay stable forever. They change into new compounds over time, rendering the drugs less potent, or worse yet, potentially harmful. [Don’t just toss medicines in the trash, though; they must be disposed of properly.]
- The pillow you’ve been sleeping on for ten years. One day in a flash of insight I realized my old pillow might be affecting my night-time allergy problems. I got a new pillow and voila! No more 3 am sniffles. In addition to collecting dead skin cells and drool, pillows get flat and lumpy over time. Why not treat yourself to a new one?
- Anything you bought to impress others. Art, music, food, that new sweater. Whatever. If no one in the household enjoys it, why keep it?
- That snack food you can’t resist. You know which one I mean—the one that calls to you from the pantry. All day long. And all night, too. Treat yourself on your birthday, but keep it out of the house the rest of the year.
- Things you need to return to the owner. Yes, I’m guilty too. Let’s agree right now to stop procrastinating and take them back tomorrow today.
- Magazine clippings, photocopies or books you keep because the information “might come in handy some day.” Once upon a time keeping such info made sense, but today there’s this nifty thing called the internet. Unless you have a specific use in mind, (like research for a book you plan to write) get rid of it.
That’s enough for now. I’ve got to get busy pulling all those old empty boxes from the attic–the ones from the VCR that died ten years ago, and that old TV set, …
What about you? Do you have other things in your house you think you would be happier without?
What’s on your gotta-get-rid-of-it list?