It’s time to start spring-cleaning for the new year and begin 2020 on a fresh slate! Take time to look back at the things you’ve had for a long time (or accumulated over the past year) and see what needs to go. Treat it as a way of detoxifying your home and de-cluttering your personal space, which can benefit you both physically and emotionally.
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Here are 30 things to consider purging from your home or have replaced before the new year begins:
Whether they were gifts from acquaintances or snacks from your last holiday which you keep telling yourself you should finish, if you haven’t touched them in weeks or even months, bin them because they’re probably expired anyway. If they’re still in an edible and yummy condition, lay them out nicely on plates and serve them up at your next get-together.
Anything you haven’t worn in the past year should be taken out of your wardrobe for good. For clothes that are still in wearable condition, here are some ideas to get rid of them and maybe even make a quick buck or two in the process.
Yes, we’re talking about your drawer full of small bottles of shampoos, body washes and lotions you’ve collected from various hotel stays. Then there’s the bottles relegated to a forsaken corner in your bathroom caddy or shelf, their lids crusted over with dried-up formula.
2019 is almost up, so it’s time to break out a new journal or wall/desk calendar to keep up with the times.
Your kids have probably collected a fair number of toys over the year, and not all of them have probably survived all the tossing and throwing about. Sift through the toy box and toss anything that’s broken (for obvious reasons) and donate the ones that your child has outgrown. Let them be part of the decluttering process too!
Unless you’re planning on opening a library or bookshop in the near future, it’s probably wise to donate reading material you no longer read to libraries, charity shops and the like. We’re not saying you should toss out your collection of Jane Austen novels or collector’s edition of classics, just the ones you think you wouldn’t go back to anymore.
Basically, go through your entire fridge and pantry and pick out the items that are already past their due date. It’s easy to forget the collection of sauce packets from fast food restaurants, or chocolates from your previous trip you’ve been saving up for a special occasion (but never opened), but if they’re expired, into the garbage they go.
If your sock’s missing pair hasn’t turned up anywhere for months, it’s time to let it go. Your dryer probably ate it.
Charging cables with no item to charge? Into the bin it goes, because if you haven’t touched it in a year, you probably don’t need it at all.
We’re talking those hefty instructions books that come with your electronic purchases. Basically everything can be found online now, and do you really need instructions in English, German and French? We think not. Throw them out along with the product boxes that just take up space unnecessarily.
Replace: Every 12 months – 2 years
Pillows collect dead skin cells, dust mites and fungi (gross) so it’s a good idea to replace these when they’re looking or smelling funky. If hygiene isn’t the problem, think about whether they’re giving enough support. Memory foam pillows last longer but if yours is getting soft, it’s time for a new one.
Replace: Every 7 – 10 years
If your mattress is showing signs of wear and tear, or you wake up with aches and pains, it’s time for a new one. But sometimes it’s not always obvious – if your mattress is older than seven years it’s usually no longer providing you with the best comfort and support.
Replace: At least once a month
Depending on how often you use your sponge, if it doesn’t smell or discolour, it should last up to a month.
Replace: When it looks worse for wear
Using a different board for different food groups will make them last longer. Be sure to season wooden boards with oil and wash using hot water and detergent after every use. Replace a board when it starts to look stained and old.
Replace: Every 1 -3 years
Throw out any empty bottles and check the expiry dates on those that are still filled. If you’re not sure, you can tell by how well something is working.
Replace: Every 2 years, or if they smell even after cleaning
Especially if you chuck them frequently into the washer and dryer, your bath towels can fade and become stiff. Donate old towels to animal shelters or recycle them as kitchen rags, unless they’ve got mould or stains on them.
Only keep the most important documents – toss everything else! If they’re been sitting there all year, you’re never going to look at them again anyway.
Go through your medicine cabinet carefully and throw away any pills or consumables that have expired, as they can cause more health problems if someone takes them unwittingly.
You may have amassed quite a collection of pens over the year, from hotels to events, but not all of them might still be functioning. Test each one out on a blank sheet of paper, and chuck those that don’t work anymore.
Admit it – you still have door gifts from a distant relative’s son’s wedding sitting somewhere in a shelf or drawer. If you’re not going to use it, give it away, donate it or simply get rid of it because you don’t need that kind of clutter in your life.
Replace: Every 3 – 6 months
If the bristles on your toothbrush are starting to splay (as opposed to remaining stick-straight), it’s time to replace it. A trick to check is to look at your toothbrush from the back – if you can see bristles sticking out, it’s a sure sign that your toothbrush needs to be changed.
Replace: Every 1 – 2 years
Especially if they’re often waterlogged, your trusty bath mat can get grimy and worn down. Read this handy guide to cleaning your bathroom for more tips you must know!
The non-stick coating can flake off and be mixed in with your food, causing health problems when ingested. Make sure to throw out any such pans if they’ve been scratched, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Replace: Every 2 – 6 months
Different filter brands have different guidelines on how often you should change the filter, so make sure to check with yours.
Replace: Every month
According to a study, more than half of these examined cases were contaminated with fungi and bacteria. This is because bacteria can survive in the moisturized, contact lenses’ solution, for a long time. To avoid causing irritation to or infecting your eye, exchange the cases monthly to ensure a germfree view.
Replace: There is no determined lifespan of a toilet brush, but it’s recommended to change it after six months.
This is to avoid the risk of spreading bacteria with the used brush instead of scrubbing them away. Tip: Fill your toilet brush holder with a mixture of water and toilet cleaner when it is being stored away. The brush also helps clean your toilet with the cleanser when you use it!
Germs like to breed on wet environments, such as wet soaps. Even after 48 hours, there are still microorganisms on it, including pathogens. Our advice: Make use of two different bars of soap! While one piece is drying, you can use the other one. When the soaps harden, bacteria has zero chance for reproduction.
Replace: Every two weeks, or earlier if they are rusty or blunt.
Do you store your razor in the shower? Don’t do it! The humidity, hair residue and foam makes the environment conducive for the spreading of mold.
Tip: Hang the shaver on a holder where it is dry, because no moisture = no germs!
Replace: Once a week
Hidden germs are formed when you dry your hands quickly with the dishtowel and place it back wet. According to a study, 89 per cent of all towels are contaminated with E. coli, causing gastric diseases and the like as bacteria can spread easily in these cozy cottons due to their high moisture content.
Tip: Wash your dishtowels at no less than 60 C to kill off germs.
Text: Bauer Syndication / Additional Reporting: Elizabeth Liew
With additional tips from Helpling, Singapore’s leading online marketplace for household services.