Does it spark joy?

After what’s felt like seven months of winter, it appears our longing for spring is coming to fruition. With warmer days on the horizon, it’s a great time to start decluttering any unwanted or unused items that may have accumulated over the months (or years).

Thanks to the recent success of Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, many have jumped on the decluttering train. While the series has raised issues of donation centres like Goodwill and Value Village receiving more inventory than they can handle, the show does openly address a major contemporary issue in capitalist culture—overconsumption. After watching the series myself, it inspired me to identify and let go of those physical things no longer serving a purpose in my life.

Of course, not everything on this list is realistic for everyone. Moreso, they are ideas of how you can simplify and streamline your life. After all, spring is the time for new beginnings and a fresh start!

Here are 15 things you should declutter right now:

Be Reasonable neon sign with folded clothing Victor Garcia on Unsplash


1. Winter shoes – This past winter was rough. If your boots barely made it through, perhaps it’s time to let ‘em go. Alternatively, you could go old school and try getting them re-soled.

2. Fall or winter clothing you didn’t wear – If you didn’t wear it last fall, chances are you won’t wear it this year either. Save your closet the stress and just donate, swap or sell what you can.

3. Books and magazines – Unless you’re really a die-hard fan (talking to you, Potterheads), it’s highly unlikely you’ll want to re-read the same books. Rather than letting them collect dust, look to give them to a friend, community library or donation centre.


computer setup on white wooden table with desk suppliesSlava Keyzman on Unsplash


4. Stationery – Old pens, hundreds of paper clips, and how many boxes of staples? If they don’t work, recycle ’em. If you don’t need ’em, donate. It’s as simple as that.

Visit a campus recycling box to dump your used pens and pencils.

5. That junk drawer – Tackle your all-the-things space by finding a home for random items. My best approach to this would be dumping everything onto a table and just start sorting.

6. Paper-pile up – All of the manuals, bills and receipts can take a toll on your filing system. If you’ve got a paper problem, take photos of what you absolutely need, and shred the rest. In the future, opt for digital receipts when you can!

7. Mystery cords – We’ve all got piles of wires that just don’t seem to have a home. Could it be a Gameboy cord or the charger to your old LG phone? Whatever the case is, take this time to dispose of and recycle your cords responsibly.

8. Tech and batteries – Besides fond memories of the BBM days, there really is no reason to hang onto your old BlackBerry or other devices. Just make sure you’re disposing of tech responsibly as the chemicals and batteries can cause some serious environmental harm!

Battery recycling bins are located at all campuses for your convenience.

9. Greeting cards – Let’s be frank for a sec. How many times have you received a card from a coworker or distant family member with nothing but a generic “happy birthday” or “congratulations” sentiment? Hang on to the ones that matter and have the courage to recycle the rest. I promise they won’t notice.


assorted fragrance and beauty products

Charisse Kenion on Unsplash


10. Beauty products – If you’ve got five shampoo bottles and old face creams kicking around, just get rid of them.

11. Cleaning supplies – Take a look under your bathroom or kitchen sink. If it’s cluttered with spray bottles and aerosols, take 15 minutes to go through them and see what you use and what you simply don’t need. Just make sure to dispose of them responsibly.

12. Towels – Are you one of those people who insist they use a clean towel every time they shower? Not only is it wasteful to wash things used once, but it also can cause a pile-up in your linen closet. Save yourself the pain and just keep the towels you know you’ll actually use.


plates and bowls stacked on a shelfBrooke Lark on Unsplash


13. Cups and mugs – Do you fear for your life every time you open your kitchen cupboard? You may be suffering from mug overload. Go through your drinkware and see what you actually use on a daily basis. You’d be surprised at how much space and dirty dishes this can save.

14. Fridge and freezer – Old barbeque sauce, frozen pies and expired baked goods. These are just some of the things you should be looking for as you sift through your fridge, freezer and pantry. Look to finish food up and if you can, donate what’s applicable to a shelter or food bank.

15. Single-use plastics – This one’s an ode to Earth Week coming up March 25-29. If you’ve got a stash of plastic cutlery, spoons and condiment packets hanging around, make a conscious effort to get rid of them and refuse them when you can! It’s 2019, and there is no excuse for using single-use plastics.

If you’re looking to reduce your overall waste and be a little kinder to the Earth? Why not take part in Humber’s Office of Sustainability Zero Waste Challenge starting Monday, March 25 through 31. It’s free, and you can win some pretty sweet prizes just for creating less trash.

For more resources, check out Humber’s Office of Sustainability for more ways to reduce your impact.

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