Check the condition of your winter hats for holes; make certain they didn’t suffer during their last run through the washing machine and still fit properly. Although I have multiple pairs of gloves, I have one winter hat. Weird?
Check your gloves and mittens for holes and make certain they are ready to do their job on a cold morning. Decide how many pairs you need and donate the rest. (When I get chilly, my fingertips turn blue; so, I own a few pairs of gloves – heavy ones for snow shoveling, fingerless gloves for cool days, fleece gloves for being outside in the winter, and those weird stretchy gloves that cost a dollar for fall days … and for wearing under the fleece gloves when I need another layer.)
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Eliminate an item of clothing or an accessory that you’ll never wear again, whatever the reason.
Whether they are fashion boots, rainboots, or snow boots, check the condition of the items you own and make certain they are ready for the colder weather. Do you have multiples of similar types of boots that you don’t need?
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Check the condition of your shoes and/or sneakers; consider if you make use of the items that you own.
Eliminate belts that don’t fit, are in poor condition, or aren’t in style
If this doesn’t apply to you: Eliminate a snack that you are eating only because you are bored, or you need a break.
Buy your makeup from a department store and you may find yourself developing a collection of makeup bags that were free with purchase. Use some to organize the items in your handbag, gather a small bag of art supplies for kids to take with them on drives or waits in doctors’ offices, keep one or two in your suitcase for travel items, organize craft items, or donate them.
If this doesn’t apply to you: consider if you need all the tote bags or shopping bags you have in your stash.
Clear out these items that don’t currently fit or that have holes or runs in them. I know, you’re holding onto them to wear under pants, but if there is the chance that you’d grab the item to wear with a skirt, why leave yourself open for a frustrating morning trying to find a pair of pantyhose that’s in good condition?
If this doesn’t apply to you: match pairs of socks, check the condition of your underwear and any other functional accessories.
If you have a favorite sports team, then you may have a baseball cap with the team logo. You may also have some caps as souvenirs of vacations, of different teams you were a member, and even a variety of charities. If you wear baseball caps, do you wear all that you own?
If you prefer to keep the caps as keepsakes, do you display them or store them in a memory box? If they aren’t worn or organized but are here-and-there throughout your home – some in a closet, others in a storage box, and another in a drawer – are they really that important to you?
If you do wear baseball caps, do you regularly rotate among them or wear the same one until it falls apart? For me, one baseball cap is too many, you may want three or a dozen
Whether you wear sneakers to work in the yard or workout at the gym, check that they aren’t falling apart – inside or out.
If you have multiple pairs of sneakers, do they have different purposes? (A sturdy pair for walking and a cute pair for wearing to cookouts.) If sneakers are your fashion statement, do you wear, or at least enjoy, every pair of sneakers that you own?
If you are holding onto worn-out sneakers, ask yourself when you plan to wear them. If your answer is that you want to hold onto them ‘just in case,’ consider that you probably won’t wear them.
If this doesn’t apply to you – Pick a time of day when you’d normally scroll through social media and choose to do something else. Take a walk (even if you just go into another room), get a drink of water, color, read.
If you haven’t gone in search of your sunglasses for a while, you may be surprised to discover they haven’t fared well over the winter. Damaged lenses make it difficult to see and a broken earpiece is uncomfortable.
If these are prescription glasses, see if there is a warranty that will cover the replacement of damaged components. If you picked up your sunglasses at the drugstore or department store, you’ll need to replace your sunglasses … unless, of course, you have other pairs around the house that are still in good condition.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Use your 15-minutes of decluttering to get rid of five emails (from your inbox or archived in a folder).
Do you keep your old wallet when you buy a new one? Do you switch between wallets and so really use two or three (or more)? If you’ve already bought a new wallet, you don’t have to hold onto the worn-looking one you replaced.
Also, if you had purchased a new wallet but realized it didn’t work for you … so, you replaced it with a newer wallet, you don’t have to hold onto the mistake.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.