Clear the coffee table of all but the items you truly want to store or display on this space.
You noticed last year that you needed a screw to fix your folding table but is it still waiting to be fixed? And, are your folding chairs battered looking? Are you up for painting the chairs? Are you really going to follow those directions you saved for covering the chairs? Could you offer the chairs for free – suggesting they go to a crafty future owner who is willing to paint them?
If you need a folding table and/or chairs, can you borrow them instead of buying them? If you own some that you no longer need, can you find a neighbor or family member who would be glad to receive them?
It’s easy to identify furniture that kids have outgrown; however, don’t discount furniture that adults have outgrown as well. As an adult, you may have outgrown the need for a piece of furniture – the rack for the CDs or DVDs you’ve donated or sold; the folding chairs that used to accommodate the extra relatives when you hosted holiday dinners; the bed that belonged to your son who now lives in another state in his own home.
Question family and friends who live nearby if they’d want any of the items you have. Sell items that you think you can make money on; donate the pieces; or pull them to the curb with a “free” sign.
If a chair is unsafe to sit in, or if it will leave streaks of rust on someone’s clothing, or someone’s clothing could get caught and torn on a screw or a crack, it may be best to be proactive and toss these items.
Decide whether you need to replace these chairs. If you don’t host outdoor parties, you may not need new chairs. Save yourself the money and the time spent cleaning and storing the chairs.
If this task doesn’t apply to you: Remove an item from your closet that you haven’t been able to wear for five or more years. If it is a sentimental item, take a picture of it … or move it to a memory box
I know, you just need to replace the socket on that lamp or to get a new shade, so how long have you been telling yourself this? If you’ve moved the lamp to the basement, attic, or garage, do you really plan on fixing that lamp? Did you replace it?
Maybe the lamp isn’t broken, it just doesn’t suit the room or your use any longer. Why not donate the lamp to someone who can use it? You may have had the good intentions to use the lamp in another room or to fix it, but if that hasn’t happened, release it.
If this doesn’t apply to you: Toss three things from a junk drawer.
Are you surrounded by decorative clocks as well as plainer, more functional clocks? Do you have clocks you never look at or that don’t work? When you change the time for Daylight Savings, do you wonder why you have so many timepieces?
Unless collecting clocks is your thing, reduce the number of clocks you have in a room, keeping your favorites.
Are there pieces of furniture that you no longer use that you’ve relegated to the attic, basement, guest room, or shed? Do you have pieces in the rooms you use that are worn out or no longer used?
Send out a few emails or texts to see if any friends or family can make use of the useful pieces. Post the items on Facebook or Craigslist or a smartphone app that let’s you post items for free or for sale. On a sunny weekend, put smaller pieces by the side of the road with a ‘free’ sign.
You can also call charities. However, when I did this for some of my parents’ furniture, the driver evaluated the pieces and wouldn’t take what he thought wouldn’t sell in the thrift store.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.