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Do One Thing: Get Rid of the Trash

I’m constantly amazed at the amount of wrappers, tags, scrap paper, etc. that’s lying around my home. How do I have so much trash? Our family is quite small right now so I really can’t figure out how it happens. But, inevitably, piles around the house stack up and my purse is always full of things that should find their home in the trash can.

If you can even remotely relate, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. If you only have time to do one thing when it comes to cleaning, get rid of the trash. It’s not only a great first step in the cleaning process, it also helps declutter your surroundings which in turn, begins the process to a more organized life.

So grab a trash bag, take it with you around your home and do the following:

  • pick up scrap pieces of paper, tags, etc. that are not already in a trash can
  • empty small trash cans in each room
  • clean out your purse and bags
  • go though the mail (at least take everything out of the envelopes if you can’t process your mail immediately)
  • look through drawers and cabinets for items that should find a home outside of yours.

The last step is often be the hardest part. It can be tempting to keep plastic cups, jars, broken toys, 5 year old magazines, etc., but try to ask yourself if you actually use the item. Are you just holding on to it because you haven’t found the time to get rid of it? Because you *might* need it one day?

Think about it this way. If you have have 48 plastic cups in the cabinet for your family of five, there’s a good chance you’re using up some valuable cabinet space on things you rarely (if ever) use. Yes, you might wish you had those cups the next time you have 40 of your closest friends over. But, every other day of the decade, you’ll be thankful to have some additional storage space open!

Do find yourself overrun with paper and trash? Please tell me I’m not the only one!

  • QuatroMama October 18, 2010, 4:06 pm

    Great reminders! I’ve been clearing out my litter all week (in between cleaning up from my sickies).

    • iDreamOfClean October 19, 2010, 8:11 am

      Awe, sorry about you sickies :( You deserve a mom of the year award for all you’re going through!

  • LAURA October 19, 2010, 9:12 am

    I am so there with you. I have no idea how we accumulate so much trash. I do this all of the time I go through the house with the plastic bags I get from the grocery store and pick up random papers until it is full and throw away.

  • Giana October 19, 2010, 11:25 am

    It’s like you have a direct video feed to my house. I’m ashamed to admit the amount of trash we make, considering we’re a family of 4 (half of us being under age 4). Great tips! I just stumbled here…I think I’ll stay awhile!

    • iDreamOfClean October 19, 2010, 12:58 pm

      Well, it makes me feel much better to know I’m not the only one!! At least we have an easy way “accomplish” something for the day :)

  • Heather Adams November 30, 2010, 10:13 am

    Thanks for these great tips. I also think it’s a good idea to have 2 bags: one for things that can be recycled (e.g. where I live, we can put paper in our recycling bins to be picked up) and the other for trash.

    • iDreamOfClean December 1, 2010, 9:16 am

      That is a great tip!! Recycling is so important but I don’t do it nearly enough.

  • sophistimom April 14, 2011, 10:55 pm

    Oh, yes. I am always finding trash around our house. When we divvy up cleaning assignments, one of them is always to go around to pick up the trash. It’s usually my job, because I can sneak party favor toys and all the toys I can’t stand to look at into the trash, too.

  • Gem August 5, 2012, 8:50 am

    As we now have 2 recycling collections (god knows why it can’t all go in the same box but hey) so I have a normal rubbish bin and two of those hessian heavy duty shopping bags which I put the different recycling items in. Less time to sort when they get taken outside. Everything goes straight in the correct bin.
    Obviously this is after I empty all of the receipts/used shopping lists and other random stuff from my bag, onto the table. Must skip the table part!! :-)