You don't need to wait until spring cleaning to declutter. In fact, the start of the new year is an even better time to simplify and get rid of things you don't need. "Stuff takes up space and energy in your life," says organizing expert Jennifer Ford Berry. "When you get to a point when you no longer love or use an item, pass it on to someone who will."
However, full-on home reorganization can be time-consuming and overwhelming. So to get you started, here are 10 things you can toss or donate right this second — without thinking twice.
1. The papers you saved from middle school, high school, and college.
You don't need your geometry binder from 10th grade. Go through your overflowing "memory box" of passed notes, cards, and notebooks and downsize to a meaningful "memory envelope." (Even better: Take photos of everything that matters and store them on a dedicated flash drive.)
2. The green eyeshadow you swear you'll use.
You likely have a makeup box filled with odds and ends that rarely, if ever, see the light of day — like free makeup counter items, Birchbox samples, products a friend gave you because they were the wrong color for her. If you haven't touched it in a year, you never will.
3. The necklace your ex bought.
Anything that you're holding onto purely for nostalgia but is no longer functional or used regularly should go. Sell old jewelry to a consignment shop or eBay for some extra cash and donate stuffed animals to S.A.F.E., so they can go to children in need.
4. One of your two coffee makers.
Go through your kitchen cabinets and seek out appliances you have more than one of, as well as those you rarely, if ever, use. Chances are you have too many gadgets. You probably don't need six spatulas or a billion Tupperware containers. Downsize to what you actually use on a regular basis.
5. The soup that expired two years ago.
While you're in the kitchen, clean out your pantry. Toss anything that's expired (check your spices too) and wipe down your shelves before putting the rest of your still-edible items back. Donate canned food you don't think you'll eat (and isn’t expired) so it goes to good use.
Read on for five more.
6. That amazing dress you can't fit into.
There's no need to hold on to clothing that's not your size and never will be your size — even if the article in question looks great or cost a lot. Seeing it hanging in your closet unworn will just make you feel crappy for not being able to squeeze into it. Donate it and embrace the relief that follows.
7. The scrapbook you never made.
Many of us attempt crafting with the best intentions. But if you don't have a dedicated room for cutting, gluing, painting, etc. — and if you tend to start projects but never finish them — you amass a ton of clutter. If it's been longer than six months since you touched your supplies, give them to someone who will use them.
8. The armoire that doesn’t work in your space.
Unless the piece is an heirloom or valuable antique, there's no reason to keep furniture around for "someday" when it will work in another apartment or house. Sell it on Craigslist and use the cash toward a piece that's right for your space.
9. That thing you bought online and hate.
Getting stuck with items you meant to return — and now can't because you waited too long — is frustrating. Just get rid of it. Saving it won’t put cash back in your wallet, and it’s a reminder of poor choices. Plus, it takes up space. Gone.
10. Your chipped mug.
Anything that's damaged should be tossed, no matter the value or sentimentality, because (chances are) you're not using it anyway. This means clothing with stains you'll never get out, cracked dishes, shoes with broken heels. If it can't be repaired — or the cost of repair exceeds the item's value — toss or recycle it!