Do you hear that? It's the sound of one huge, collective sigh of relief now that 2020 is finally coming to an end. As most of us hunker down for a quieter-than-usual week between Christmas and New Year's, now's the perfect time to clear our homes of the clutter that's holding us back. Even if you've already stress-organized every room in your house, there's a chance you missed a few items that should probably go before the new year begins. So, while you prepare to usher out this nightmarish year, here are 11 items to consider tossing along with it:
Sad, tired pillows
According to experts at Tempur-Pedic, pillows should be replaced after 1-2 years. If you've had the same one on your bed for a while now, it's probably time to invest in a new one. If you don't want to throw yours out, check in with your local animal shelter and see if they accept used pillows to put in their crates.
Everyone has a cabinet full of candles they liked for a while, then forgot about. It's time to make room for all those new holiday candles you've acquired in the last two moths. If you're looking to upcycle the jars, you can carefully melt the wax down in the microwave and pour it into a jar you're okay with tossing.
Old winter clothes and accessories
There's a good chance you came across a bin full of clothing and accessories from past winters that have gone untouched for years. Now's the time to donate it all. However, before you head out with boxes and bins in tow, be sure to check in with your location donation center to see how their hours or accepted items list may have been affected by the pandemic.
Once you've cleared your closets of old coats and clothes, you'll probably find you've collected a random assortment of mismatched clothing hangers over the years. Holding onto hangers of different sizes, shapes, and colors will keep your closet looking and feeling unkempt. Throw away or donate any hangers that don't match, and treat yourself to a new pack if you have extra items to hang up.
Random food in the pantry and fridge
Speaking of donating, if you have any boxed or canned food that you didn't end up using over the holidays, donate it to your local food pantry. And of course, check the back of the fridge for anything that's expired.
After you've checked the fridge, head to your bathroom and check the dates on every box and bottle. From shampoo and makeup to ointments and medicine, there's really no reason to hang onto personal care products once they've expired.
We all know the reality of collecting random mugs through the years. Some came in matching sets but most are broken now, some were picked up on trips, and others were gifts from grandma that you simply couldn't part with. But as 2020 comes to an end, there's no better time to let go of the excess. Tip: if it's cracked or permanently stained, it can go.
Did you know that you're supposed to wash your bathroom towels every two days? If not, they're probably covered in bacteria. Either way, after so many uses and washes, your towels are probably worn out. Get rid of any thinning, raggedy towels (you can recycle them as rags in your garage or shed) and invest in a new set.
Puzzles, toys, and games with missing pieces
Admit it—you did a puzzle in 2020, didn't you? Unfortunately, if you pulled out an old puzzle and found out there were pieces missing, the reality is: it will never get any less frustrating. The missing pieces are not coming back, so you should probably part ways with the puzzle altogether. The same goes for decks of cards, toys, or any other games missing essential playing pieces.
Empty gift cards
We've all done it: used a gift card online, discarded it in a random drawer to throw away at a later time, forgotten all about it, then rediscovered it months later only to wonder, "is there money on this?" For many of us this vicious cycle results in a stockpile of possibly empty gift cards that do nothing but take up space. Before the start of 2021, commit to checking the balance on these cards so you can finally ditch the empty ones. Most retailers allow you to check your gift card balance online. Use a marker to write the value on cards with a remaining balance, and say goodbye to the rest.
Unnecessary takeout menus
Last but definitely not least, get rid of all those crumpled takeout menus that are stuffed in your junk drawer or hung up on the side of the fridge. Only keep the menus you actually use, unless they're available online—then you should probably toss those, too.
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