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De-clutter your life for a fresh new year
Keep Liberty Beautiful
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This is a great month for de-cluttering your life. Although any month will do, January is a fresh year.

Start small. Do not overwhelm yourself with all your stuff. Take one mess at a time. Then start sorting. Just remember, your junk might be someone else’s treasure, so recycle.

Here is what I’ve done stack by stack:

Makeup, hair products and toiletries. “My name is Sara, and I am a free samples addict.” I’m also drawn to travel-size toiletries. Even pint-sized packaging takes up space.

So, what will I really use and what did I grab simply because it was free? Then look at old, expired makeup and skin-care products, and hair gadgets I didn’t like or didn’t work. As I sorted, I realized these containers and gadgets could be recycled at Terracycle and earn money for one of my favorite school clubs — the Green Team at Midway Middle. Be sure to check out the over 80 items Terracycle takes for recycling.

I then tackled the linen closet. A good rule is to have two sets of sheets for each bed and a couple of sets of towels (washcloth, hand towel and bath towel) per family member. I also keep three sets for guests. After narrowing them down, it was time to sort out the towels that had seen a better day. I also realized I had enough blankets for most of the folks in the Northeast snowstorm this weekend.

Do not toss these in the trash. Blankets and other items in good shape would be greatly appreciated by low-income families. The more worn blankets and towels are also needed by our furry, and unfortunate, friends in animal shelters.

I then searched the entryway closet and baskets where items are tossed, sometimes never seen again. Some shoes are abandoned in our door basket. So this was easy to get up a still-wearable bunch for Goodwill.

I then went through all the little drawers stuffed with odds and ends. I found loads to de-clutter: old batteries, remotes and out-of-date electronics. I sorted out all of the chargers and electrical cords that I have no clue what electronics they actually belong with. I even found an old iPad, an MP3 player and a DVD player that can be recycled at the next Recycle It! Fair on Feb. 20.

The sorting was getting compulsive, so I tackled kitchen cabinets and drawers and got rid of all the duplicate utensils and measuring cups that I do not need, as well as the appliances and cooking tools I never use. Goodwill, again, for the usable items.

I am a real china junkie, so I did not touch my dish cabinet. A girl’s got have what a girl’s got to have.

This is going so well, I’m even tackling my office desk and file cabinets.

I have another week this month, so I’m ready for clothes closets, even the storage room and attic. That may take weeks though! Oh well, I have all year!

For more ideas for recycling clutter and freeing up space, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880-4888 or go to

Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

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