One of the things I love about the New Year is that we get a pass for all the bad habits we had last year and automatically get a fresh, clean slate. It’s the perfect time to change things up, try something new, and put our best self forward.
A great way to start the New Year is to get rid of things we don’t need or use and gain extra space. Places that are neat and organized make us feel calm. Couldn’t we all use a little more calm this year?
Take my Decluttering Challenge. The goal is to declutter one of these rooms each week this month. You might even get through one room in a day! Have fun - this is a wonderful cleansing experience. You will feel sooooo good when you’re done!
Sunscreen – 6 months
Lipstick and lip gloss – 2 years
Face makeup – liquids - 6 months; powders – 2 years
Liquid eyeliners – 3 months
Cream eye shadows – 6 months
Pencil eyeliners and powder eye shadows – 2 years
Mascara – 3 months
Hair products – 1 year
Perfumes or fragrances – 2 years
Nail polish – 1 to 2 years
Old or broken eyeglasses or sunglasses
Worn or incomplete sets of towels
Take out menus – you can find most menus online
Outdated spices and condiments
Mismatched storage containers
Faded or chipped coffee cups (or just too many!)
Plastic stadium cups and excess water bottles
Extra sets of salt & pepper shakers
Utensils, gadgets or appliances you don’t use
Cooking or baking pans you don’t use
China or glassware you never use
Worn or unused tablecloths or placemats
Recipe books you never use
Leftovers more than 5 days old
Belts & scarves you don’t wear
Jewelry you don’t wear
Clothes that don’t fit
Shoes or boots you haven’t worn in the past year
Coats that don’t fit or you never wear
Unused or outdated workout clothes
Cheap, wire or plastic store hangers
Old, worn or incomplete sets of bedding
Last year’s calendar or planner
Pencils without erasers
Pens and markers that don’t work
Address books – transfer to your computer or phone
Mystery power cords
Old briefcases and extra laptop bags
Lanyards and name tags from conferences
Unused electronics and cords
Old computer program cd’s
Printers that don’t work
DVD’s you don’t watch
Old remote controls
Old cell phones
Old backpacks, duffle bags or extra suitcases
Unused sports equipment (tennis rackets, scooters, roller blades, etc.)
Games and puzzles
Toys your kids have outgrown
Broken or excess stadium or beach chairs
Travel maps, books or brochures from trips you have already taken
Touristy knick-knacks you bought on vacation
Magazines you have already read
Framed artwork that is dated or you will never use again
Craft supplies for projects you never started or will complete
Fertilizer, pesticides – keep no longer than 2 years (some may leak or corrode containers)
Paints and stains usually are not labeled with expirations dates. The average shelf life for these products are listed below along with clues to tell you if paint has gone bad.
Water based latex and acrylic have a shelf life of 10 years. If it has been subject to freezing, it may not be usable. Test by stirring and brushing onto newspaper. If there are lumps, the paint is no longer good. The paint is good when the liquid and paint blend smoothly. Examine the paint after stirring it to ensure it is one consistent color.
Solvent-based oil paints – 15 years. If you can stir it, it’s probably okay to use.
Paint Disposal: Solidify latex and acrylic paints with cat litter before throwing them away. Mix one part paint and two parts clay-based cat litter and stir well. The paint should solidify in about an hour. For unwanted alkyd and oil-based paints, check with your local or state environmental protection officials for dates and locations of toxic waste collections.
Donate Your Used Goods
Give what you don’t need to those who need it most. Donating gently used items helps others, gives you a tax deduction and simply makes you feel better. Here is a comprehensive list of Donation Resources.