The first step to taking care of yourself and de-stressing is to make sure that your environment is in order. Seeing your house full of clutter can affect your mood negatively and make your personal space seem like a place you want to escape from, rather than something to look forward to coming home to. Organize a "throwing out" day every month to make sure that you don't have clutter building up. Here are some things you should consider purging from your home:
- Old magazines. Get rid of old magazines you have lying around because chances are, you aren't going to read them again. Find places where you can donate your magazines to such as child care centers, doctor's offices, nail salons, nursing homes, and libraries. If there's an article that really speaks to you, scan a digital image of it and keep it in your computer. Or keep a folder of magazine clippings if you like saving magazine articles.
- Receipts, bills, and documents. Throw away receipts for items that you aren't planning on returning, and ones that you won't need to use come tax time. If you're wary of throwing away receipts, you can make a digital copy of them with a basic scanner, a pricey specialized receipt scanner ($174), or a smartphone app ($2). See here for a full list of documents you should keep forever or temporarily.
- Clothes. Use the two-year-rule for clothes — get rid of apparel that you haven't worn in two years. Sell them to a thrift store (find a thrift store at thethriftshopper.com) or donate them to the needy.
- Books. Go through your bookshelf and gather together books you haven't touched in months and ones that you aren't planning on rereading. Be realistic and make sure you're ruthless. If you haven't touched it in a year, you're most likely not going to read it again. Sell the books on Amazon, Craigslist, or eBay. You can even trade them for something else on swap.com. You can always donate them as well!
- Medicine and vitamins. Take a look at your medicine closet and clear out drugs that have expired, medicine that has sat on your shelf for too long, or ones that you no longer use. First, check to see what the proper disposal methods are for the medication, and if you can't find any, check to see if your community has a drug take-back program. If there isn't a program near you, then the FDA advises mixing medicine with "used coffee grounds or kitty litter" in a container or sealable bag before throwing it away to make the drugs less appealing.
Read on for more.
- Makeup and perfume. Go through your beauty cabinet and get rid of makeup that's too old or that you don't use. There are programs out there that let you recycle your makeup, such as MAC, which has a program that lets you exchange six empty containers for a new eyeshadow, lip gloss, or lipstick. Kiehl's also has a program that gives you products in exchange for Kiehl's containers. POPSUGAR Beauty has a neat list of when to throw away cosmetics.
- Jewelry. Go through your jewelry and dispose of the broken costume jewelry and make plans to sell ones that you don't wear. For fine jewelry, look up appraisers from the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers. Once you have a quoted price, shop around at auction houses, estate buyers, pawnshops, and jewelers to see if you can find a better deal.
- Food. Go through your pantry and fridge and clear out items that need to be thrown out — the old, unused, and rotting. Do this weekly instead of monthly, just to make sure you don't have any unpleasant surprises!
- Some memorabilia. Many organizing experts advise to be ruthless and throw away memorabilia like cards and gifts you don't use. I agree, but I think you can keep some of them by perhaps creating some sort of poster with old cards or designating a small shoe box for memorabilia. Resolve to throw away anything that can't fit into the box.
- Notebooks. I don't know about you, but I have a ton of notebooks lying around. Take a look at them and throw out the ones that you no longer need. My notebooks are filled with notes from classes I take and notes from meetings.
- Old or unused electronics. Have an electric piano you don't use? Or maybe you just never got around to getting rid of your old laptop or cell phone.Sell your electronics on Gazelle.com,buymytronics.com, and nextworth.com. These sites are great because they'll quote you a price for the item you wish to sell. You can also sell it on sites such as Craigslist and eBay.