Everyone has an area of his/her home that contains clutter.  If you are like most people we work with, almost every room needs a good decluttering (including our own homes!!!!).  It is very hard to stay on top of every space in your life; most of us work to keep our homes functional and safe.  Chances are if items are tucked away, we don’t feel the need to sort or organize them.  Being in the midst of a long, cold winter I thought I would take this opportunity to remind you of some of those areas of your home that might need a little downsizing attention while you are “stuck” inside.

Areas in the home that need downsizing:

  1. Cleaning areas.  I like to keep cleaning supplies in each bathroom and under my kitchen sink.  This makes cleaning up easy but often leads to too many extra bottles of glass cleaner, wood polish, etc.  It is also easy to accumulate way too many sponges, rags, etc.  Going through and consolidating bottles, tossing yucky rags and sponges is, well, cleansing!
  2. Laundry space.  How many single socks do you have in your laundry room?  This might be a good opportunity to look in your sock drawers and toss the mismatched “lost” socks.  Spray cleaners, dryer balls or packets, seem to multiply over the months.  Consolidate what you can and make a mental note not to buy more!
  3. Sewing boxes.  Single buttons, zippers, rusted shears, odd colored thread may be easy to toss.  Chances are you only need a small sewing kit to replace buttons or an occasional hem.  Donate unopened packages of binding, zippers, etc. 
  4. Utility boxes.  Opened packages of batteries should be bagged by size.  If any batteries are old or rusted, they should be tossed according to your town’s disposal guidelines.  Go through your light bulbs. Most of us have outdated light bulbs from light fixtures we no longer own.  Unopened boxes of these items can usually be donated.  Also lurking in your utility box(es) may be at least a couple of flashlights with rusted batteries or non-working bulbs. If you can give life back to your flashlights, you can put one in your garage, kitchen, and near your nightstand for emergency power outages.  Donate or toss the rest.  
  5. Toiletries.  I once worked with a dental hygienist who had an entire linen closet filled with floss, toothbrushes, and toothpaste! Many of the tubes of toothpaste were well past expiration, but we were able to donate several boxes of unopened dental supplies to a local food pantry.  How many travel-size shampoos, soaps and shower caps have you brought home from vacation and never used?  New bottles of toiletries, soaps, etc can find a home at your food pantry or homeless shelter.
  6. Home entertainment centers.  Albums and CDs can be sorted and, if in good condition, sold to local record stores.  DVDs can be brought to most donation centers. VHS and cassette tape are no longer donatable and will need to be trashed.  Check for headphones,  personal listening devices, and outdated video equipment that you may want to donate


Cleaning out these items will help you stay organized and may create extra space for you.  For example, downsizing items in an entertainment center may allow you to have a smaller cabinet and wall mount your TV.  Organizing cleaning and laundry areas may create more space for you to house other items like paper towels and toilet paper.  Whether you find more space to store items or just create less clutter, I know you will be happy with the results.