Before you go out to buy containers and label guns, consider how much extra stuff you have. By taking half a day (or a full 24 hour day!) to clear your house of all the extras you never use and will never need, you will actually have room for everything you do use and need.
I did a quick, unscientific survey among friends and at my house, and today I am listing the top 9 things that seem to multiply mysteriously:
1) Socks (and possibly underwear)
Do all your socks match? How many do you have? Do you reach for the same ones over and over again, leaving multiple pairs that are never worn? Get rid of all your socks that you never use, that have holes and that do not have a mate. Only buy socks you like to wear. Keep them in a large, shoe box-sized container, and when they start to overflow, immediately figure out which ones have to go. Now for underwear: find your favorite brand and vow to only buy that. If you are always overlooking certain pairs in favor of others, just get rid of the ones you don’t like.
I have six sets of queen sheets and only two queen-size beds. One is the guest bed. I’m narrowing this down to three sets, as the guest bed only needs to be changed a few times per year. I have 5 sets of king-size sheets and only one king bed. I’m keeping three sets because one set is flannel, which I love in the winter; the other two are Egyptian cotton sets that are extra comfy. I have eight sets of twin sheets and two twin beds. This is ridiculous. No more: two sets each, wear them out, replace. (Pillowcases may need to be replaced more frequently.)
Every so often, towels need to be replaced. But, for some reason, I always think I need to keep the old towels. Friends I questioned seem to do this, too. Really, let’s cut them up into rags— they just take up room in the linen closet.
4) Cleaning Supplies
There is a black hole under my sink. Some cleaning products go in and never come out. I know I’m not alone. Take every single cleaner in your entire house and place it on your kitchen table. Assess. You can clean most anything with a microfiber towels, not needing a spray of anything but water (for more on microfiber cleaning, click here). But, for cleaning agents, you probably just need an all-purpose cleaner, a window cleaner and possibly a scrub. Bleach and vinegar are good, too. Maybe some carpet cleaner with enzymes if you have a new puppy like I do. But all that other stuff and the bottles that only have 1/2 an inch left in them but are taking up space? Get rid of them.
Wow. Drawers and bags filled with makeup collected over the years. Women are known to keep makeup for 10 or 20 years. Get.Rid.Of.It. What do you use each day? Do you have a few needs for dressier occasions? Figure out what you use and don’t think about what you’ve paid for the rest of it. Unless you are a professional makeup artist, you do not need a large toolkit filled with products. And get rid of all those samples that you will never use. You will find you have so much space in your bathroom. Celebrate with a fancy new lipstick—one that you will use at least twice a week!
6) Hair Products, Body Products and Hair Appliances
How many cans of hairspray, gel, mouse, frizz control, body lotion, self tanning cream, cellulite cream (that doesn’t work), do you own? Stop being a hoarder and clear out those shelves, bins and baskets. Your mind will feel so much better not having to stare at these products each morning and night.
I bet you have every odd size, color and shape vase imaginable. You really just need a few clear glass cylinder, rectangle and square vases to get you through your vase requirements. If you have a special pottery one or one with sentimental charm, of course keep it. Get rid of all the rest, as they are just taking up space and gathering dust.
Do you have martini, margarita, tall boy, juice, red wine, white wine, port, and champagne glasses? Oh, and of course your everyday water glasses, plastic cups and coffee mugs. First world problems: we have too much stuff. Pick a stemless, short glass that you can use for wine, juice and cocktails. Pick a water glass that you can use for beer, tall cocktails, iced tea and water. Margaritas and martinis taste just as lovely in a stemless wine glass. Pare down and invest in glassware you really love, not lots of things you don’t even like that much or that you have to have an on-theme dinner party to use (you can rent glassware for those parties!).
Look at all the clothes in your closet and ask yourself how much you really wear? How much fits you? Hire a professional wardrobe consultant or enlist the help of a good friend with good taste and a quick, unfiltered tongue to help you clean it out. You will feel SO much better with a closet filled with only clothes that fit and compliment your shape and style.
Yes, some people have storage galore and dinner parties each weekend requiring closets filled with clothes and pantries filled with several sets of dishes and glassware. Most of us, though, will be happier with less. It’s fun to buy, but it’s oh-so satisfying to pare down.