When it comes to the DIY route of decluttering, I’m a BIG fan of small, actionable areas to avoid overwhelm. Today, I have another super speedy method to get instant results – the 5-minute quick declutter.
This isn’t a brand new concept. In fact, you may have seen similar ideas on other blogs.
But today I’ll let you know how to dispose of these items in a responsible way. Because even with a quick declutter – the more waste kept out of the landfill, the better.
And remember, taking action (no matter how small) is the key to clearing clutter from your life.
Let’s get started!
Receipts are an incredibly easy to choice for a quick declutter.
They tend to build up in your purse, on kitchen counters and in every crevice of your car. Before we talk about how to safely dispose of them, commit to letting less receipts into your life. Say no to unnecessary receipts at the store. If you must keep them, create a super simple filing system to organize the few you need.
Have you heard mixed messaging whether or not you can recycle thermal receipts? These are the glossy receipts that don’t require ink in their printers. Thermal paper has contained BPA in the past and was therefore non-recyclable.
However, there’s been a shift in this product and it now doesn’t contain BPA. So you can toss all unneeded receipts – both paper and thermal – in the recycling!
Do you still have the box for your Instapot that you bought last year? Maybe you figured you’ll use it the next time you move.
How about Amazon delivery boxes? Your online shopping habit may save time, those brown smiley-face covered boxes are taking up precious space in your home.
Today, take five minutes and find all of those boxes, break them down, remove the tape (to put in garbage) and bring flattened boxes to the cardboard recycling bin.
Voila! You’ve just cleared space in five minutes flat.
Expired food in your fridge, freezer and pantry takes up space and crowds your shelves. This encourages a frustrating cycle of food waste. Take 5-minutes and check your food storage areas for items that are past due. Consider composting food scraps too.
To prevent future spoilage of food, here’s the golden rule I learned in my 20+ year career in the hospitality industry.
FIFO – first in, first out.
If you buy multiples of the same food, stock the newest behind the oldest. This will stop doubles of product being opened and expiring. This system is so simple and effective, it will reduce your food waste drastically.
Following FIFO also makes it easy to reach for the right one. As you declutter, put repeatable systems in place to keep the area clear. The more space your clear, the easier it will be to keep an eye out items before they go bad.
This is a tough category to declutter. On one hand, it’s a pretty easy job to scan your medicine cabinet and check the dates on bottles. You could clear a whole shelf in minutes!
But – you might be holding yourself back because you don’t how to get rid of it safely.
In Canada, you can bring unused medication back to pharmacies so they can dispose of it properly. The government website also notes that natural health products can be brought to pharmacies.
Medicine thrown in the trash is at a greater risk of leaching into water sources.
So please take a second and Google “return expired medicine” followed by your city and you’ll get a quick answer on where to bring it all.
Empty Bottles of Cleaners
Empty bottles of laundry, dish and all-purpose cleaning supplies slyly hide out in the back of cupboards. This makes them a perfect item to look for in your quick declutter.
Unless stated otherwise on the label, empty cleaner bottles go straight in your recycling bin.
While looking for empty containers you’ll probably find almost finished bottles too. This is a result not following FIFO, not having a place for items and keeping too much product on your shelves.
The safest way to get rid of these cleaners is to use them up! If you’re definitely not going to, offer to friends, family or local community groups. Keep those cleaners out of the landfill!
Then you may also consider switching to non-toxic cleaners. They take almost no time to make, you can refill the same bottles over and over – and when you add a few drops of your favourite essential oil they’ll smell even better than store bought! My favourite DIY all-purpose cleaner is simply water, vinegar and essential oil in a spray bottle.
What will you quick declutter in 5 minutes?
Here’s a friendly challenge. Now that you’ve read to the very bottom of this post (thanks by the way!) I challenge you to set a timer for 5 minutes and go do a quick declutter of your space.
Look for the easiest items to remove and act quickly and decisively. A clutter-free home requires small, consistent maintenance. Show yourself that you’re willing to make your cleared space dreams a reality!
Now tell me below – what can you declutter in the next 5 minutes?