Life during NaNoWriMo is a little messy. The whole house slowly builds up to disaster levels, making it very difficult to get work done. When the mess gets to me, I wander around (looking for ways to procrastinate) and find ways to feel like I’m making a dent without spending tons of time cleaning. So if you need a small way to make a little order in your life, here are ten things you can quickly clear away.
- Pens that don’t work.
There is nothing more frustrating than reaching for a pen only to have it not work when you’re trying to jot down some inspiration or take notes on a phone call. But it’s even worse when you forget the pen is dead, put it back in the pen drawer, and then do it to yourself all over again (just me?). Maybe not everyone has a pen stash like I do, but chances are you can clear a few pens away. I threw away seven. And I got to doodle instead of write for fifteen minutes. Bonus.
- Empty bottles/recyclables in the bathroom
I don’t know if your house gets this way too, but for us the room I’m least likely to take a recyclable out of is the bathroom. So an empty toilet paper roll, an empty bottle of vitamins, whatever–will just sit there until I do a deep bathroom clean every week. And it drives me nuts. Stop looking at it. Toss it.
- Old cosmetics/lotions or ones you just don’t like
While you’re in the bathroom, go through all the weird bottles and things that have accumulated over time. I’m really obsessed with using things up before buying new things, but if you have stuff you don’t like and/or things are over two years old, chances are you’re better off buying something new you actually like (and things like lotion can get pretty gross over time…)
- Ticket stubs/receipts you don’t need
I know it’s time to clean out my purse when I go into the bag for lip balm and come up with handfuls of receipts.
- Wrappers in the bottom of your purse/around your bed
If you like to snack on candies or chew gum, there’s probably a nice accumulation of wrappers somewhere that you haven’t dealt with yet.
- Expired coupons
This always happens to me. I have a pocket in my wallet where I keep coupons and more often than not I don’t use them and they just stay around until I finally go through them a month or two later.
- Socks with holes or lonely socks
I’m of the opinion that the home for holey socks is not in my drawers (or my fiancé’s), so when I find them, they get thrown out. And unless you like to mix and match your socks, it’s probably time to throw the lonely socks out as well.
- Old spices
Depending on the spice, it’s probably only good (potent) about 6-12 months. If you blindfold yourself and open up containers, can you identify the spice by smell alone? If not, you probably need new spices. I like to buy mine in bulk so I can buy exactly what I need.
- Expired condiments or alien fridge dwellers
Growing up, my family was very good at opening food items and less good at finishing them. As an adult, I’ve gotten better about this, but there are still random things that have to be thrown away at the back of the fridge. It is not the most fun job in the world to go through the fridge, but if you do it every week you won’t find moldy surprises.
- “Project” items
I like saving things “just in case” I need them for an art project (because who wants to buy something again?). Or I save something because someone else “might” have a use for it. But this is bad for storage and bad for my sanity. If you can’t throw it all out, maybe you can take a realistic look and downsize your collection? If you’ve had it for a year and you haven’t done the project (or even thought about it), chances are you’re not going to do it.
Have you been inspired to de-clutter your house a little? Are there any items that you could throw away right this second that I missed? Let me know in the comments.