Organizing Ideas

Get organized: what to ditch, donate, store and keep now

Get organized: what to ditch, donate, store and keep now

Image: Debi Treloar

Organizing Ideas

Get organized: what to ditch, donate, store and keep now

From filing old magazines to tossing out expired makeup to lightening up your closet, here's how to declutter your home and stay organized this year. 

New year, new home — well, sort of! You don’t have to up and move to find yourself in your dream home. Simply take stock of your current home and figure out how to make it look and function better. How? Getting organized is the first step!

We’re here to help you make (and keep!) your 2018 resolution to finally kick your home into gear. By taking an inventory of all the stuff in your house, you can decide what to ditch, donate, store and keep. 



Image: Donna Griffith


1 Expired or forgotten pantry items
The real goal here is to be more conscious about sell-by dates and not to let food go bad in your fridge or cupboards and to only buy what you need. Find something that's past its expiration date or been hiding in the back of your pantry for who knows how long? Get rid of it — pronto.

2 Old cosmetics
If you have old tubes of lipstick and mascara lying around, it may be time to get rid of them. Makeup does have an expiry date and besides creating clutter in your home, old cosmetics also don’t work well and can irritate your skin. Lipsticks should be ditched after about a year whereas things like foundations, primers, blush and eyeshadow are usually good for about two years after being opened. 

3 Newspapers & magazines
Unless there’s a really compelling reason to keep them, toss those old newspapers and stacks of magazines. If you’re keeping magazines for the recipes or other ideas, see if the information can be found online and bookmark it for future reference, or tear our the recipes and create a DIY recipe book.

4 Old receipts
General wisdom states that you should hold on to old receipts ... but not forever! The Canada Revenue Agency recommends keeping your tax records and corresponding receipts for at least six years, beginning at the end of the tax year they’ve been filed for.

5 Singles that should be doubles
It’s natural to hang on to that odd sock or earring in the hopes that its mate will turn up. But after a reasonable period of time has passed and you haven’t found the missing companion, toss the sole survivor.




Image: Jason Hartog


1 Gently used baby items
It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate when you have a baby! And they change and grow so quickly that before you know it, you’ve got piles of clothing and toys they have outgrown. Wash and clean items that your child no longer needs or uses and donate them, so children in need can enjoy them.

2 Old sheets, blankets & towels
Once your sheets, blankets and towels start to get threadbare, it’s time for new ones. But you don’t have to toss the old ones in the garbage. Places like animal shelters always welcome old linens.

3 Small appliances you don't use
Maybe you bought a waffle maker thinking you’d whip them up for breakfast. Or maybe someone gave you a bread maker as a gift but you never use it. Don’t let small appliances take up valuable storage space in your cupboards. Donate them and make room for things you actually use.



Image: Stephani Buchman


1 Seasonal decorations
Carefully box, bag and store all your Christmas decorations and tuck them away someplace safe, ideally a basement or storage closet where they won’t get in your way. But don’t stop there. Organize and store any other items you don’t use year-round, whether those are heavy throw blankets you only use in the winter or paper plates and plastic cups and utensils that you only use in the summertime.

2 Seasonal clothing
If you want to lighten up your closet, then organize it by season and store what you’re not wearing. During the wintertime, fold and pack away all your summer clothing like shorts, light tops and dresses. Consider using a storage container that can be rolled underneath your bed for easy access if you’re looking for something. Your closet will feel much more organized and easier to navigate.




Image: Debi Treloar


1 Sentimental items
In your haste to rid your home of clutter, don’t let sentimentality fly out the window as well. Carefully consider each item before you ditch or donate it. Be sure to hold on to sentimental items that you and your family will look back upon fondly in the years to come. Don’t be rash in your purging or you may regret it!

2 Anything that brings you joy
In her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo says, “Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.” Granted, your vacuum cleaner may not speak to your heart but it’s a necessity so tossing it isn’t an option. But following this basic principle when it comes to lots of other items around your house will help you to create and cultivate a curated space that’s free from junk.


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Organizing Ideas

Get organized: what to ditch, donate, store and keep now