Coasters are usually an inexpensive item and so we might end up purchasing a set (they are useful) or receiving a set as a gift. How many coasters do you have and, really, how many do you need. Gather them together and discard the stained and damaged ones before deciding on the right amount for your home and entertaining habits.
Clear out partly burned candles that you have no intention to burn again. Or, make a point to light a candle or a two to burn up these items that tend to collect dust.
If today’s task doesn’t apply to you: Make a point of using up something – a cleaning product, a cleaning product, the bit of rice or pasta left in the box.
Do you have potpourri that’s crumbly and covered with dust? Treat yourself to fresh potpourri if you want to keep this fragrant item on display. I have a basket with the roses my now husband sent me when we first started dating and I love stirring my fingers among the petals and enjoying the fragrance and the memory..
Fake flowers can hide years of dust that shaking or (likelier) tapping with a dust cloth can’t remove. If the flowers aren’t faded and visibly holding onto dust, and you enjoy them, enjoy them. Perhaps you rotate a vase of silk flowers, so they are seasonal.
However, if they have been sitting on a shelf and are just part of the background, you may not miss them. If they are connected to a warm memory, you could continue to display them or put them in a memory box, so they don’t continue to fade or collect dust.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Click on the button below to go to past day’s tasks and see if there is a task that you missed or could repeat.
Maybe you bought a new light socket to fix a lamp that instead got moved (damaged) into the garage. You saved old light bulbs to turn into cute hanging vases. Are you really going to turn those pallets into patio seating? And, when are you going to transform those PVC pipes into an outdoor sprinkler for your kids?
DIY supplies are different from hobby supplies in that you purchase these supplies for a certain project or hack that you have never managed to carry out.
Do the project, schedule the time for the project, or get rid of these supplies.
Bowls and baskets are wonderful for bringing together and creating a cohesive look for items that could otherwise seem randomly strewn across a surface.
However, when a bowl or basket becomes a catch-all for all those little things you don’t know what to do with or where to put, it stops being a decorative touch or finishing element to your room and décor.
Do you have bowls or baskets that collect paper clips, coins, pens, stamps, coupons, receipts, business cards, etc.? If it’s a temporary situation (you dump the contents of your pockets when you get home, but you sort through the stuff after dinner or during the weekend), then it’s probably not a problem for you.
If, on the other hand, stuff never leaves these catch-alls; or, you have multiple bowls and baskets around your home, this may be a habit to break.
Sort through your catch-all bowl and put stuff where it belongs … or, toss it all.
If you regularly receive flower deliveries, then you may have many extra vases; but, because you always receive a new vase with each bouquet, you don’t really need to hold onto all those extra vases.
If you feel like you should hold onto the vases, try keeping one each short, medium, and tall and you’ll be prepared for some spontaneous flower arranging.
Of course, if you frequently buy a bunch of flowers from the flower shop or grocery store, then you already know what size vase(s) you use and need.
If you rarely or never buy or receive a bouquet that doesn’t come with its own vase, you might decide that you don’t need to hold onto any vases. If you receive flowers and you don’t have a vase for them, you can always be creative and set the blooms in drinking glasses, jars, a pitcher, or a ceramic bowl.
Only if this doesn’t apply to you: Eliminate a snack that you are eating only because you are bored, or you need a break.
You may have received a gift basket, used the contents, and stored the basket for future use. Maybe you bought a basket for a particular decorative use. Baskets are bulky (and if they have handles, they may not stack neatly one inside the other) but they seem so useful … so, we hold onto them.
Use your 15-minutes of decluttering time today to gather as many baskets that you can find around your house. Do you have a tangled pile in the basement or out in the garage? How many of the baskets were you using intentionally (by which I mean that you purposefully put items in the basket as opposed to using it as a catch-all)?
You can use baskets if they meet your needs. (And if you bring one into use and find it doesn’t meet your needs, then stop using that basket.) If a basket isn’t moldy or dirty beyond what a simple cleaning will take care of, you can fill a basket with muffins and bring them into work, bring an assortment of small goodies to book club or a party, turn it back into a gift basket, or donate them.
Do you have prints, posters, or original art hanging on your walls that you no longer like? You don’t have to keep these items on display, even if someone gave you the piece as a gift.
Framed artwork that’s in good condition can be sold online or at a yard sale … or, donated if you want to eliminate it more quickly. You could post a picture online and see if anyone you know would like the piece, either free or for a fee.
What if that painting was done by someone you know? If the individual has died, you could ask other relatives if they’d like the piece because, otherwise, you plan to donate it. If the artist is alive, you could ask them if they’d like the piece returned to them.
Yes, this can lead to uncomfortable conversations and it may seem easier to shove an unwanted piece to the back of a closet. You could explain that you are working at downsizing your belongings and that you’ve enjoyed displaying the piece for years and, perhaps, someone else would like to hang the piece on their wall. Or, if you know someone who likes the piece, gift it to them and explain to the artist what you did (or not, you know how they’ll respond to this conversation.)
Remove one knickknack from a shelf or dresser-top that you realize you don’t like. Maybe it was a gift from someone or maybe you bought it years ago and it reflects a past interest.
You don’t need the item, particularly if you don’t like it or it has negative memories connected with it. If you are concerned that the giver of the item will be insulted, try moving the item to a box you’ve established for collecting donations. If the person doesn’t comment on the item’s absence, it probably isn’t that significant to them either.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.