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How to know what to throw away and what to keep while spring cleaning – and an expert’s thoughts on what to sell!

Here's what you need to do to declutter your home this spring

Spring cleaning. Those two words have either put you into an anxiety-filled spiral or have you reaching for your cleaning supplies. For us, it has us ready to get back to our minimalistic roots. You naturally accumulate things over time, especially during the winter when all of those holiday gifts add up.

It’s likely you feel overwhelmed when you open that extra closet and see that it is, in fact, stuffed to the top instead of empty. Or maybe you’ve caught yourself staring at your closet and wondering if you’ll ever wear that bridesmaid’s dress again. Answer: You won’t. Whatever the case, we have a few tips that may help you. Don’t stress if you don’t know what to throw away and what to keep. Let’s get into spring cleaning: Keep-it-or-toss-it edition.

Person writing a list
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Start by making a list

First things first — make a list. This might seem silly, but what if you completely forgot to check the drawers? Did you go into that guest bedroom and check that closet? You don’t have to write down every drawer in every room, but  a basic list is helpful.

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If you go into spring cleaning blindly, you could wind up with a complete tornado of a mess. Even if you wrote out which rooms you think need it the most, that’s fine. It’s always better to be prepared, and a list helps you be more mentally prepared for this.

A couple is deciding what to do with an item in their house
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Ask yourself, when was the last time you touched it?

When was the last time you attempted to put on those “pre” jeans? How long has it been since you used that massage gun thing your aunt got you a few Christmases ago? If you can’t remember when the last time you touched something was, it’s time to toss it.

This won’t apply to things you aren’t supposed to mess with all the time, like signs, books, or other items you can look at but not use. Items meant to be taken out and worn or used are the focus. That means those costumes from your college days need to go.

Woman decluttering her house
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Would you notice if it disappeared?

Along those lines, would you even notice if it wasn’t there? If that food processor were to up and walk away, how long before you would even know it was gone? If an item could be taken away (or hidden by a child) and you can’t tell what use to be in that spot, it’s time to get rid of it.

These are things that would be great to donate or sell. Ask your neighbors if anyone needs a coffee grinder when you won’t give up your pods. That adorable tea set might look cute on a shelf, but if your kids took it to play with and you still haven’t realized it, it’s time to give it to someone who would love it.

Woman decluttering with boxes around her
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Time matters

No matter what you are going through, clothing, beauty products, or the good old junk drawer, think about time. It might be nice for sentimental purposes, but do you really need the hospital bill from when you had your finger stitched up five years ago? If the bill is paid off, put it in the shredder.

When cleaning out your fridge, check the date on your items. If it’s been expired for a minute, toss it. Check the date on things from your face masks to your sunscreen. If it’s getting close to the expiration date and you know you won’t use them, send a text to the neighborhood chat and see if anyone wants them.

A clean and organized room
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Double, double, toil, and donate

How many pasta strainers do you need? How many decorative owls does one room need to have? If you have more than one of the same items, donate or sell them. Obviously, you need more than one pair of shoes, but do you need three pairs of black boots? If they are all the same length, the answer is no.

People forget and might buy you the same thing for your birthday or Christmas. That’s fine. We do it all the time. There’s no need to feel bad about getting rid of one. Pick your favorite and move on.

Young couple at a yard sale
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Consider what you can sell

We spoke with resale expert and dad, Byron Binkley, to get a better idea of what we can all do with our unwanted items. Binkley created a resale platform called Sella that sells your stuff for you. Sella is the first end-to-end logistics resale platform of its kind that practically does all the work for you, meaning reselling your items is easier than ever.

Reselling your items instead of immediately tossing them into your donate bin can be a great way to send off the things you no longer want to keep. “Just think of all that clutter that is collecting dust, when it could be collecting cash,” said Binkley.

“If you’re not sure if a particular item is worth selling,” Binkley said, “or holds its value for resale, do a quick price check. You can search the item on any relevant secondhand marketplace. Filter by ‘recently sold,’ and you can get a general idea of what the going rate is for your item.” Binkley stated electronic items are a great place to look to when reselling your old stuff. Rather than tossing them into the donate bin, consider reselling your valuable items!

Some bestselling items to resale include:

  • Tech and electronics (i.e. headphones, gaming consoles, phones, etc.)
  • Baby strollers/other baby gear
  • Designer handbags, shoes, and jewelry
  • Instruments
  • Sports gear
  • Small appliances
  • Small furniture
Keep and discard pile for decluttering
faithie / Shutterstock

Things you should hang on to

There are items that, even if you haven’t touched them in years, you should still keep. No, not your prom dress. What is that still doing in there? We mean things like important documents like your tax returns. The first edition of that book that you absolutely love? Well, no, we would never say to get rid of that. The first coffee cup you bought yourself when you got that new job. Keep all of that.

You need to find your comfortable clutter level and get back down to that. Don’t take everything out of every room. Go like-item by like-item, or drawer by drawer. Take it slowly and go at your own pace. As long as you finish with at least a bag (or two) of stuff to donate or sell, then you’ve done a good job. Take a deep breath and have fun (or at least don’t cry) while playing keep-it-or-toss-it in your home.

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Dannielle Beardsley
Dannielle has written for various websites, online magazines, and blogs. She loves everything celebrity and her favorite…
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