Declutter Instantly In The New Year By Throwing Away, Donating, And Recycling

It’s a new year! That means another wonderful opportunity to refresh and really get moving on your organizationstart journey. In with the new, and out with the old, as they say! After the holidays, many new items have most likely entered your home.

It’s the perfect opportunity to go through the current clutter, with this simple list of easy things to either throw away, donate, or recycle. Go room by room, and get rid of unused, expired, worn out items. I think you’ll be surprised at how full your garbage can and donation bin are after you go through this list. Start here!

Go Through Your Bathroom Cabinets

I’m guessing that all the items in the bathroom, will be things you simply need to throw away. They will be old and expired items, that won’t be any good for donation. Here is a list of ten bathroom items that you need to check and see if they are still good and useful to you.

  1. Old Makeuporganized-bathroom
  2. Expired Sunscreen
  3. Old Perfume
  4. Dried Up Nail Polish
  5. Expired Medications
  6. Broken Brushes or Combs
  7. Old, Tattered Towels
  8. Old, Worn Out Hair Ties
  9. Exhausted, Can’t-Absorb-Anymore Bathmat
  10. Old Lotions and Potions

Refresh Your Kitchen

organized-kitchenWe need amazing functionality in our kitchens! They are often the hub of the house, and need to be practically organized and efficient. They are also where we prepare and often eat…FOOD! So, cleanliness is very important, and an absolute must for health and nutrition.

Kitchen items need to be frequently gone through, checked for freshness, and sorted out. As they say, one bad apple can spoil the entire basket! As well as, one spoiled dish in the refrigerator, can really make everything STINK!

Make it a priority to use all the leftovers immediately. Plan them into   your menu, so they don’t get forgotten in the back corner of the fridge. Be intentional!!

Here is an easy list to follow, to help you get through that kitchen in record time! Go through these items and either throw them away or add them to the donation bin.

  • Donate any unused kitchen tools (think that gadget you got for a gift two years ago).
  • Discard any plastic ware that is missing its lid (provided you have enough).
  • Toss any chipped plates, glasses and dishes.
  • Just throw away any broken appliances (they aren’t coming back to life!)
  • Donate unused/old cookbooks (Do you still use a cookbook?)
  • Throw away all expired canned goods (yes…they DO expire).
  • Get rid of all expired food in fridge and any spoiled leftovers. I know its difficult. You had great intentions of eating it for lunch the next day, or even transforming it into something wonderful for dinner. You hate to be wasteful. I know. But leaving it in the fridge to contaminate the fresh food, isn’t doing anyone any favors. Trust me. Toss it!

Create Space In The Bedroom

The bedroom may need its own afternoon to get through. Dig deep! Really analyze things here, and make sure you’rebedroom using them. Most closets need more space. Or is it that most of us have too much stuff?

The majority of people I come in contact with, and advise on organizing their closets, really need to sort and donate, sort and donate. I do have some other posts on this site with closet organizing tips, such as using shower curtain rings to help organize your purses/handbags, scarves, belts, and more! But…down sizing the items that truly are no longer of use, will really get you ahead of the game.

The clothes closet is no place for sentimentality. I’m serious. Just because Great Aunt Ethel gave you a sweater for your birthday the year she died, eleven years ago, and it was 2 sizes too small then, and you’ve gained weight since…is not a reasonable excuse to keep it hanging in the closet; taking up valuable real estate! It’s time to let it go. Past time really.

Just think about it; if you donate it, someone else will have the good fortune of owning it, it fitting them, and wearing it! Great Aunt Ethel’s sweater will be used and loved, instead of lonely; collecting dust and gobbling space in your closet! It’s time.

Here are several items to sort through in the bedroom, and either donate or just flat throw out…if its duty has been served.

  • Unused clothing. Anything you haven’t worn through an entire year of changing seasons. Let it go!
  • Sad and worn out bras. Yes. Even if its your favorite, super comfy one. I know, it was hard to find. It’s still time.
  • Old/broken jewelry. If it can’t be repaired, the sentimentality of it is all that’s left. (You may choose to save some).
  • Extra coat hangers (donate metal ones to the Dry Cleaners) Place extras in less full closets.
  • Old, won’t-work-anymore belts, wallets, etc.
  • Earrings without a match, unless you have an extra pierced hole!
  • Old shoe boxes. Let them go.
  • Stained clothing. You really only need a couple of outdoor play/paint/campfire outfits.
  • Clutter in the nightstands. These tend to become “catch all” areas. Really evaluate importance and usage.
  • Unused purses and handbags. This one hurts every time I have to do it. Just sayin’

If You Have Littles…The Playroom Needs Attention!

playroomHaving a place for everything, and having everything in its place, is a huge feat on its own. Especially in the playroom for our little ones! I’ve been sharing on this site, and will continue to share, fun and functional organizational tips and ideas for toys, craft supplies, and stuffed animals; but something that can get forgotten, is decluttering as our children grow and mature.

It all seems to happen so quickly, it can be a challenge to keep up! Most of the time, we are all just thrilled that everything is in the playroom when company arrives! I get that. But…now is the time to be intentional and start off with a cleaner, less cluttered and less chaotic playroom.

Again, you’re probably adding new Christmas toys to the loot!  Time to throw away, donate and recycle or re purpose the little pumpkin’s treasures! Here is a list of items to go through, to give you some direction and get you organizing!

  • Toss dried out markers (good project for the littles to test them as you sort).
  • Re purpose broken crayons (remember making “stained-glass” by melting them between waxed paper?)
  • Throw out broken toys, they can just be dangerous.
  • Old, broken electronics
  • Games with missing pieces and parts
  • Old coloring books
  • Unwatched DVDs
  • Unloved stuffies (donate for a new home to love it).
  • Unused toys (set aside for a while, if they don’t ask for it or notice for two weeks…bye-bye, baby).
  • Books that will not be read any longer; this is a tough one for me. Books are difficult for me to part with. I store the most precious and loved ones in big plastic bins for me to give or read to my grandchildren (that I do not yet have).

I recently went through all the saved books I had. It was embarrassing. I joked that I’ve been a very organized hoarder! I had to convince myself that it was a HUGE waste of great literature to keep them all in storage, when other children needed to read them! I ended up selling a lot and bought myself a new smoker!! That was a WIN!

This gets you up and rolling on four major areas of the home.  I will post about more rooms later…I hate to overwhelm you; when you’re just getting so excited and doing so well! Please let me know if you have any questions I can help with and feel free to comment below!

Happy Organizing!




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Shelli Thomas


  1. Hello Shelli! Wow, I am inspired now! I am finding more and more I want to get rid of stuff. I have been culling through things that I know I will not use. When my mother died I inherited several containers of photographs. Do you have any suggestions not only where to store but how to handle that?
    And I so hear you when you said don’t hold on to anything just because it was given to you..especially if someone else can use them..
    So yes, no holding on to anything that does not suit me. Thanks for giving me the courage to do this!
    In peace and gratitude, ariel

    • Ariel!! I’m stoked at how you’re getting organized in so many areas of your life. That brings me such joy! Please let me know if you ever have more questions. I love it!
      Photographs are difficult. So many people feel like you can never get rid of a photo. I plan to write an entire post about this soon. But…you CAN throw away photos, or pass them to other family members. Maybe someone that doesn’t have any of the family pictures or it seems that most family has one “family historian” that treasures the photos and will love them! For the ones you decide to keep (and only quality photos and not 16 of the same day or person) I recommend either photo albums or photo boxes, whichever your space allows. Space is something to always consider ahead of time. Remember: photographs aren’t any good when sitting in a box, out of order, and no one knows who is in them. It’s a hard call; but I’m thrilled that you are wanting to take on the challenge! My husband and I just went through all of our photo albums and culled ALOT of them this Fall. He’d been wanting to get to it for years, but I was hesitant to get rid of pics from the kids’ childhood. We prioritized, and had the right frame of mind, and it was super fun and cleansing! Thank you for visiting again. Keep returning for more encouragement and courage. I love that your organizing!!

  2. Great tips as always, Shelli. I especially like your repurposing ideas. You also gave us several specific instances when we might be able to make a spare buck or two by selling items we simply will never use. I was also wondering about tax deductible donations. When donating useful items, do you know if most donation centers provide receipts?

    • Absolutely! I should have mentioned that. Thank you. The majority of donation places will give you a receipt to fill out the value of your items donated. Great question! Thank you for visiting again and for the comment. Keep coming back, and keep organizing!

  3. Great post and good timing as well, this gave me a few ideas for all of my grandchildren’s toys that are just cluttering up my son and daughter-in-laws house. Every year my son and his wife say to family, no more toys and guess what more toys. I am going to help my daughter-in-law go through the girsl rooms this weekend.

    • That’s wonderful!! Thank you for your comment. I hope that you found some fun ideas to get thing rolling. Let me know how it goes! If they are waffling on things, suggest to pull things aside for a small period of time, and see if they can live without them before actually getting rid of them altogether!

  4. Oh, Shelli how I needed to read this! Thank you for the great ideas. I was just looking at my room today and thinking it was time to get rid of things. It is so hard to declutter and overwhelming at times, but boy does it sure feel good when you are done. Thanks for the tips!

    • Thank you for the comment! I always feel like it’s so cleansing to go through and get rid of. I love it! If you are overwhelmed, just simply take one little area at a time. Start there, and continue little by little, setting small term goals. Before you know it, you’ll have the entire room completed and will feel fantastic!! Please come back for a visit, as I will continue to write about great ways to organize your life!

  5. I love this post! I have three little ones and our house seems to be shrinking by the day with the amount of clutter that piles up! I love the specific list that you created for different rooms in the house and will use them as a guide as I go room by room. Thank you so much for sharing, I will certainly be back to visit!

    • Thank you Jen! I’m super happy to hear that the lists will be helpful to you. With your growing family, keep coming back to visit for more organizational tips and ideas. Let me know how it goes!

  6. This is useful as I am trying to squeeze a studio apt into a very small room with a small closet. I can always use tips and tricks to do this. Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh good! I’m glad you found my sight then. Keep coming back to visit, as I will continue to share ideas for organizing in small spaces with you! Thank you for commenting!

  7. My favorite kind of post! About 15 years ago I was standing in a garage full of stuff. Couches, computers,desks,baby toys and cribs and who knows what else. Since that time I have scaled back and now how just the basics that I need to be comfortable. I donated most and trashed the rest. Now, in my 50’s I realize that decluttering can really simplify your life. My credit is better, my finances are stable and I can keep track and an eye on what matters most. Great read here!

    • That’s excellent! I love hearing those types of success stories. Thank you so much for sharing with me! Keep stopping by for more ideas, I appreciate the comments!

  8. You have some great ideas. i try to go through toys and clothes a couple times of year. Things can accumlate quickly. I am always trying to find a way to have more space for the things we need to keep.

  9. Shelli thanks for the reminder to clean out and declutter! It is a great way to begin the new year. Do you have any suggestions on what I can do with my lotions and products that are not expired yet I no longer use? I don’t like tossing things out if they are still good.

    • Hi Ashley. Thanks for the comment and great question! I’d recommend giving them to a friend or a young girl who loves lotions and is just learning how to take care of her skin. You can actually donate partial bottles, if they are not expired. Please come by again to let me know how it goes!

  10. Hi Shelli – there are some really great tips here. I have been trying to get on top of the clutter in my home for ages but it just never seems to come together – there is so much and it feels so overwhelming. I have a granny flat that I have been moving unwanted items to in order to have a garage sale but I keep pushing the date out as it is not ready. You are inspiring me to get a move along with my decluttering goals for 2018! What is the best way to get over that overwhelming feeling – where it all feels too much?

    • I’m so glad you’ve found my sight! There is great hope. I always recommend to set some short term goals, and just tackle those. Just start at the beginning. Where you first enter your home. Begin de-cluttering and organizing there, then move from each room you make a priority. Clean away clutter and unused and unwanted items first, then you can reorganize. Read through the rest of my posts, you’ll find all the answers you’re searching for! Thank you for the comment and great question! Let me know if I can help in any other way.

  11. Hi Shelli
    Well you inspired me yesterday and my son and I sorted the computer/study area where he does his online distance education. It had become the dump zone over the summer holidays and given school goes back Monday week I needed to get it sorted. I tidied up a drawer trolley and put all my documents and files I use daily to run the household etc. so it is no longer spread over the dining table. He sorted his desk and the computer desk. We shredded a pile of old documents, threw a number of old magazines etc into the recycling, and threw a large garbage bag of rubbish out! We only spent about an hour doing this but it felt so cathartic. Thank you for the inspiration. I will be back for more tips for tackling the rest of the house!

    • That’s FANTASTIC! I’m so happy to hear that you had such great success and that you did it with your son. that is excellent training for his future. I really appreciate you coming to report back to me also! I do hope you’ll keep coming back to visit and keep organizing!

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