Get Organized Week: Part 1


It’s October. Nine months of 2015 are behind us. Do you remember your New Year’s resolutions? Was one of them to be better organized? How’s that working? Welcome to Get Organized Week. Don’t run and hide! We’ll take it easy and one thing at a time.

Let’s start with 10 things* you can throw out now.

  1. Expired food or medicine.

Most foods can either go in the trash or down the garbage disposal. To prevent stinky trash cans, bag up the expired food and put the bag in the freezer. Toss on trash day. Better yet, do this the night before trash pick up day. Place the bags of fuzzy foods in the outside trash dumpster and be sure the lid is on snug.

The best way to get rid of expired medicine is to take it to your pharmacy and let them dispose of properly. Flushing old pills down the toilet or kitchen sink run the risk of getting into the water system and flowing to pipes and other drainage equipment.

  1. Anything from a fast food restaurant. Food is #1, but be sure also to toss containers, extra napkins, plastic ware, straws, condiment packets.
  1. Clothes that don’t fit or in poor condition.

Do you have a section of clothes in your closet that are almost the right size? You planned to get back into them by this time in the year due to that new gym membership? Consider donating them to a local thrift store or nonprofit charity.

Also toss clothes that have rips, tears, or stains.

  1. Newspapers, expired magazines and catalogs, recipes you’ve saved but never made. You can donate the magazines to thrift stores or other nonprofit charities.
  1. Broken anything: small appliances, toys, furniture, computers, cell phones. Be sure to dispose of electronics responsibly. Check out to find out where you can take items.
  1. Computer software cardboard boxes.

Throw out the box but keep the CD. It’s also a good time to do some needed clean up on your computer. This could take some time, so allow adequately. If you want to save photos or important documents, consider a flash drive, external back up system, Dropbox or other device.

  1. You don’t know what an item is or where it came from? Get rid of it!

Enough said.

  1. Old luggage, cloth bags, plastic bags.

The first two items can be taken to a thrift store. Many grocery stores have boxes at the front of their buildings for plastic bag recycling.

  1. Garage items.

Paint, batteries, broken sports equipment, pesticides or gardening tools. If the items can be saved or repaired, consider taking them to a thrift store.

Do not drain out paint cans in your sinks. See the website above for proper disposal of recyclable items.

  1. Old makeup and brushes.

Old products not only lose their usefulness, but some can be harmful to your health. Bacteria can build up in mascara, eye shadow, lipstick or lip liner. Mascara usually stays fresh for three months. Pencil eyeliners and powder eye shadows can last as long as two years.

Carve out time to do one of these things this week. You might even get to more than one item on this list.

*List adapted from Birmingham Professional Organizer, Ruthann Betz-Essinger.

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