6 Quick Decluttering Fixes

Feeling as if your spring decluterring is losing momentum?  Try these for a quick fix – they should take under 15 minutes each:

1. Medicines

Bring all medicines in the house together to the same space. I like to separate the kids’ medicines from my own. Kids are clever – don’t just store in closed containers, store out of sight too so that they won’t be tempted to fiddle.

  • Look for multiples – I love to buy ‘just in case’ but hate it when I get home to find I already have a ‘just in case’. Store unopened bottles together.
  • Is it almost finished? Decide whether to keep or dispose of.
  • Check all expiry dates – eye ointments in particular often need to be discarded within 30 days of opening.
  • Check the packaging for information on safe disposal. Some may seem obvious but others may not. Recycle suitable packaging.

I did not know until recently that binning or flushing medicine was not always the best option as it can cause ground contamination or could be eaten by animals ‘on the other side’. Our local pharmacy accepts old medicines and disposes of it with their own expired items. Check here for more info on safe disposal:  http://www.all4women.co.za/60071/health/how-to-dispose-of-unused-and-expired-medication

2. Toiletries

Be brave – if this is a danger zone, you may need to set aside up to 30 minutes. We’ve all been there – half used shampoo bottles; courtesy travel sized products that we forget to take with us; unused baby products kept ‘just in case’.

Toiletries tend to last longer than medicines (shampoos and sunscreens up to three years) but usually don’t have expiry dates.

  • Check for any signs of discolouration or change in smell – these are often related to storage in high temperatures or in sunlight.
  • Keep what you will definitely use. If you haven’t used it in 6 months, dispose of it and recycle the container.
  • Don’t hold onto old razors!
  • See some helpful options for reuse at https://myzerowaste.com/2010/10/how-to-recycle-half-used-toiletries/
3. Magazines

I often keep these thinking I will let my kids cut from them. Of course, when I keep them we never use them, when I get rid of them we need them! I pass my old magazines on to my mother-in-law, who shares them with her friends. You can also donate them to your local doctor’s room, school or donation point.

4. Linen, tea towels table cloths, serviettes and towels

If you would be embarrassed for anyone to see these items because of holes or stains, donate or repurpose them. I use old sheets in my garage to cover heaters in summer and fans in winter.

5. Pet toys and blankets
  • Old collars and leads can be donated to the SPCA or to your local vet
  • Throw out unsightly gnawed/chewed toys, blankets and pillows and expired pet treats or shampoo
  • When you have time, wash blankets and beds (by hand with dog shampoo, not in the washing machine with detergents)
6. The kitchen clutter drawer

Every kitchen has one of these. The drawer that collects every homeless slip of paper/paperclip/newsletter/post/prestik/ etc. in the home. Return these items to their rightful space, recycle or bin them.

Beware of the “The Man Drawer” (thank-you Michael McIntyre for this warning – it has saved me from many arguments with my husband). Google it for a quick laugh.

A handy folder or concertina file can help to sort documents such as the torrent of school notices that come home with the kids (See clutterboxsa pinterest ‘paper filing’ board for some interesting ideas https://pin.it/brkqvwkf3nia4w ).

Plan to do two or three of these in a week, or block off time over a weekend where you can get stuck in.  You’ll soon be back on track!