Permission: The 5 Things You Can Let Go Of Series, Dining Room

Have you ever thought, “I just need someone to give me permission to throw this out”? That’s what this Permission series is all about. We’ll walk through room by room, list 5 items per room, and why the items can be easy to get out of your house.
As always, it’s your house and your stuff. You may actually need and use the things I suggest you toss. But if you don’t, give yourself a little more freedom to find a little more peace in your house by tossing things that you don’t need.
Today we’ll be in the dining room. When I was growing up this is where we had special meals. We might have a birthday dinner or host the family Thanksgiving. Other than that, the dining room was empty. There was always a table lace and center piece but we didn’t even walk into that room unless we were setting the table. Right away some of you are thinking, “No, not my sacred dumping ground!” while others of you are thinking, “There is a dining table, chairs, and a buffet in there. What could I possibly get rid of?” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: every house is different; every household is different. Let’s see what things we can free up from this special eating room.
1. Napkin Rings
For those of you who are younger than 30 or don’t come from a formal household, these are just for decoration. It’s a beautiful little piece of metal or plastic or glass that a napkin is threaded through when a table is set. Seconds after everyone has been seated they relinquish their job of napkin holder and are useful no more. If there are sets upon sets at your house, it’s time to think about letting someone else use these little fellas.
ACTION – have a napkin ring gathering, pick your favorite set or two and re-home the others outside of your home.
2. Candle Sticks
These make beautiful accents or centerpieces when hosting company or serving a nice meal. They are tall and slender and fragile. That is unless they have been used. If they are used they can certainly serve a function but it might be for a power outage instead of a formal dinner.
ACTION – keep all the usable candles together ready to be put in a pretty little holder, move the others to an emergency kit with matches, or toss them.
3. Center Pieces
Anything from a flower arrangement to a bowl with fruit. Through the years these beautiful items get faded, dusty, and rumply making them less than beautiful and a distraction instead of an accent.
ACTION – choose the ones you like and are still in good standing, toss the rest.
4. Placemats
Let’s add chargers, table cloths, lace, and cloth napkins to this bunch while we’re at it. The majority of these items are used to help protect the table which means they themselves get the wear and tear and stains. It also means they are meant to be updated from time to time as well.
ACTION – take a look at your table linens and decide which ones are appropriate to keep using and which ones need to be tossed.
5. Vases
The older you get the more vases that collect somewhere in your home. They come free with flowers that are sent to you; you saw one a decade ago that was perfect for your magnolia arrangement but you don’t enjoy it anymore. Unless you frequently use fresh flowers in vases around your home, you can probably edit your collection down to a few.
ACTION – gather all the vases and choose the ones that you are most likely to use, getting the rest out of the house.
*you may feel as if you can’t just toss these things, if so, just put them in a give away bag or box and give them away.

Permission: The 5 Things You Can Let Go Of Series, Garage

Have you ever thought, “I just need someone to give me permission to throw this out”? That’s what this Permission series is all about. We’ll walk through room by room, list 5 items per room, and why the items can be easy to get out of your house.
As always, it’s your house and your stuff. You may actually need and use the things I suggest you toss. But if you don’t, give yourself a little more freedom to find a little more peace in your house by tossing things that you don’t need.
Today we’ll be in the garage. Contrary to popular belief, garages are designed to house cars, not to be an entire storage unit. Now, you can certainly use it to store things as they usually have wonderful vertical space. Here are just a few things that you can get on out to start making room for your car again.
1. Lightbulbs
Any lightbulbs you have on hand should be the wattage and size and type that you currently use in your home. Most lightbulb boxes tell you how long they should last. If you have a box of LEDs that are supposed to last 8-10 years and you just replaced them all… you might need to donate the others to someone who can use them now. This will free up space in your garage and benefit another household. Here are some other bulbs that might not be in use anymore: nightlights, twinkle lights, anything not LED, black lights, fluorescents, and disco lights.
ACTION – gather all those lightbulbs, check out which ones you need in the next year, donate the rest.
2. Scraps
Do you happen to have a scrap pile in your garage? Maybe a large pile of wood or recyclables take up a corner that keeps your car from pulling in. If you aren’t a regular on creating with these things I can think of a few places where it will be better kept. A local school’s art or science department, any kids, or even the recycling center.
ACTION – give that wood or cardboard some organization or get it out of the garage.
3. Cleaners/pesticides
Garages tend to house a collection of car wash supplies, wasp spray, and fertilizers. Considering their poisonous character, the garage is an excellent out-of-the-way location. Similar to the laundry cleaners mentioned a few weeks ago, you’ll want to figure out what you like and use it. For those you don’t like, ask a friend or read the label to know how to dispose of them properly.
ACTION – gathering all the cleaners, pesticides, and fertilizers, toss what you don’t want and place the rest together on a high shelf.
4. Holiday Decoration
Every year at the same time comes these days that are celebrated by masses of people… holidays! Whatever holidays you celebrate, chances are that you don’t go through the decorations for these each year. How about you just pull it out and go through it all now? No? Okay, when the next time comes to decorate then. If you do this each year, you will always like what you have and know where it is.
ACTION – pull out all of your holiday and seasonal decor, decide what you want to keep, organize what you’re keeping and label it.
5. Paint
Unless you just built your house, there is probably a stash of paint in your garage from the years and coats of paint used in that particular house. If it isn’t a color that you are currently using, you can let it go. If your paint cans aren’t labeled with color, room it was used in, and year it was used, take the time to label. It will save time down the road.
ACTION – go through the paint cans, toss, and label.
*you may feel as if you can’t just toss these things, if so, just put them in a give away bag or box and give them away.

Permission: The 5 Things You Can Let Go Of Series, Laundry Room

Have you ever thought, “I just need someone to give me permission to throw this out”? That’s what this Permission series is all about. We’ll walk through room by room, list 5 items per room, and why the items can be easy to get out of your house.
As always, it’s your house and your stuff. You may actually need and use the things I suggest you toss. But if you don’t, give yourself a little more freedom to find a little more peace in your house by tossing things that you don’t need.
Today we’ll be in the laundry room and in areas to help mainstream your laundry. The writing of this article *may have* come after I totally washed a red sheet with non-red items. Thankfully the problem was easily solved… this time. Here are 5 things you can get rid of to help you with the laundry monster. Let’s tame the beast.
1. Red items
Seriously, unless you have a lot of red and are committed to always washing them together and waiting until you have a loads worth to wash it, let them find a new home. It will save you the headache of probably ruining other items that you use more often and would have to buy to replace.
ACTION – look around the house for red things that can be re-homed out of your home; buy color catchers for the rest (not an ad).
2. Hard to match socks
We’ve talked about socks before but this one is a little different. And this might be a little different than a quick toss. To make sock matching and wearing easier, choose one brand/color for each size/gender sock in the family. For example, if you have two boys that can wear the same size sock, buy 2 packs of the same sock and let them both wear them. Best colors? White for kids, black for dress socks. If you have a member of your family with a good sock game, let them match their own socks.
ACTION – choose a type of sock for each family member, gift your good condition socks to a local charity that will put them to use for someone else.
3. Old stain removers and detergents
If you have a growing mountain of stain removers and detergents, you’re doing it wrong. Maybe you’ve tried different solutions in hopes of whitening your whites or just giving your clothes a good clean. That leaves you with cleaners that you don’t like and won’t use. Figure out what you like and use it. The rest? Use them up first, ask some friends if they want them, or read the label for how to dispose of these properly.
ACTION – open the laundry cabinet, toss what you don’t want or put the cleaners you don’t love in the front to use them up first.
4. Hangers
There are all different kinds of hangers. The clear plastic kinds that come from the store, the wire hangers from the dry cleaners, tubular ones, satin covered, velvety… the list goes on. Let’s be honest, the wire and plastic “free” hangers are incredibly cumbersome and tangly. Toss those (or donate to a place that can use them). Think about what kind of hanger you like best. Do you like a more sturdy wooden hanger? Do you like the fun of purple hangers for your daughter? While all of one type of hanger is easiest, it might not be what will fly with your spouse. Maybe you have all tubular hangers and he has all wooden hangers. Great!
ACTION – gather all the hangers you don’t prefer (remember to check in the coat closet as well as the laundry room and each clothes closet in your home), invest in all the same type of hanger or one for each person in the family.
5. Safety Pins, change, buttons
This is kind of a catch-all. Those little things that are some times found at the bottom of the washer or dryer after the clothes have been removed are likely just trash. Safety pins and buttons can live with the other sewing items if you keep them at all. That spare change can be put to use right away by putting it in your wallet or family/kid piggy bank.
ACTION – put all of the loose items around the laundry room in a place where they live in your home.
*you may feel as if you can’t just toss these things, if so, just put them in a give away bag or box and give them away.

Permission: The 5 Things You Can Let Go Of Series, Kids Items

Have you ever thought, “I just need someone to give me permission to throw this out”? That’s what this Permission series is all about. We’ll walk through room by room, list 5 items per room, and why the items can be easy to get out of your house.
As always, it’s your house and your stuff. You may actually need and use the things I suggest you toss. But if you don’t, give yourself a little more freedom to find a little more peace in your house by tossing things that you don’t need.
Today we’ll be in the kids’ rooms. If the pantry is my favorite area to declutter, kids’ rooms are my second favorite. I’ll keep it to 5 types of items but there are so many more. This might be one of the easiest areas in your home as well. Maybe.
Depending on the age of your children you can some of these into a game. Have a scavenger hunt, have a fashion show, play a few rounds of “this is my favorite” show and tell. The opportunities are endless. It’s never too early to start modeling and teaching order in a home.
1. Kid’s meal toys
For years people have been bringing tiny junk into your home and you’ve not stopped it. In fact, you’ve encouraged it. You swing by a drive-thru because who has time to unload the kids, the diaper bag, and yourself, cross the crazy parking lot traffic without having a kid hit by a car all to get a quick meal that you don’t have time to make at home. (Another story for another day.) And somehow your kids know that this fine establishment will give them a TOY with their food and insist on it. That little tiny junk just builds and builds in your home. I hate to break it to you but they weren’t meant to last. They cost 2 cents to make and they show it. You have all the permission in the world to let your children enjoy the toys that they asked for and love and that you spent good time and money purchasing.
ACTION – dig out those junky little kid’s meal toys and toss them in the trash.
2. Outgrown clothes
The sad truth is that even if we put bricks on kids’ heads they WILL grow. Growth for children happens fast. Just take a look at the first year of their life clothes. You have newborn, 0-3, 3-6, 6-9, 9-12. Depending on the size of your sweetie at birth your infant can wear up to 5 different sizes in one year. It’s mind blowing really. After that it’s every 6 months with new clothes with the seasons and all. There is a giant caveat here for those of you who are sentimental and a tiny caveat for those who are thinking of having more kids. If you are sentimental, most of us are to some degree, start a bin. Label it “(baby’s name here) keepsakes” and put it in a place that you will be able to add to it when necessary. If you are thinking of having more kids, go through the outgrown clothes and pick out the clothes you like. Put those in a bin labeled “Summer/0-3 mos BOY” or whatever the appropriate season, size, and gender.
ACTION – open up those tiny drawers and pull out the outgrown clothes, donate or keep for sentimental reasons. Take those sentimental items out of the drawers and put in a labeled bin.
3. Broken toys and shredded books
There might be some tears here. Yours. You spent money on that battery operated talking chicken whose bottom beak is missing, has a hand-drawn mustache, and may sound a little possessed. Here’s the good news, that toy was loved and has come to the end of it’s chicken life. Send it on it’s way. There are some toys that just aren’t worth keeping around anymore. While we’re at it, if the book has more tape on it that page, it’s probably time to toss that one as well. Oh, you love that specific hard copy of that book? Great, toss that in the sentimental bin.
ACTION – dump out the toy bins, check for all the parts, keep the toys that are still viable. Empty the bookshelves, keep the books that you enjoy and are readable.
4. Socks
Easy peasy. Missing a match? Too small? Holes? Stretch out? Out they go. There will be more laundry discussion next week.
ACTION – open the sock drawer, toss the tossables. 
5. Blankets
This is mainly for those of you with infants and toddlers and preschoolers. At your baby shower you received a dozen or so baby blankets and swaddles and towels. You didn’t like them (don’t worry, I won’t tell) so you went out and bought your own. Now you have a preschooler and 57.5 baby linens. Take a little trip back to “outgrown clothes” and, viola, you’re ready to go.
ACTION – open the blanket drawer and keep those that are meaningful and will be used.

Permission: The 5 Things You Can Let Go Of Series, Kitchen Things

Have you ever thought, “I just need someone to give me permission to throw this out”? That’s what this Permission series is all about. We’ll walk through room by room, list 5 items per room, and why the items can be easy to get out of your house.
As always, it’s your house and your stuff. You may actually need and use the things I suggest you toss. But if you don’t, give yourself a little more freedom to find a little more peace in your house by tossing things that you don’t need.
Today we’ll be in the kitchen. I probably should tell you that the pantry is one of my favorite places to declutter and organize. I’ll try to not get too crazy on what you can toss pretty easily. If you want more than 5 items, just let me know.
1.Take out condiments
We’ve all been there. A major craving, a hurried lunch break, or just a Friday night. Time for a (insert favorite drive-thru restaurant here)! You get home, divvy up the food and condiments and then you are left with 5 ketchups, 3 mayos, and more special sauces than you can count. Well, that special sauce isn’t sold in stores and those ketchup packets are just the right size for… something, right? Nah, go ahead and throw away all the things you are going to use right then because in a month, you are going to open your fridge and your stash of these miniature condiments are going to all spill out onto the floor just waiting to be stepped on, cleaned up, and thrown away. Cut out the daunting and time consuming middle-man.
ACTION – open up that fridge and pantry and toss those take out condiments.
2. Expired food
Winter can be harsh on the ole menu planning. You’re cold and all you want is to be able to throw some beans in a pot for soup. That winter has come and gone and so have ten more since then. It’s time to toss the expired items. If a food pantry won’t accept them (they won’t) then why should you eat them?
ACTION – open up that pantry and toss anything from 2017 and before.
3. Plastic food containers
Did you grow up with a butter dish as your leftover container? If so, you had a forward thinking, money savvy adult in your home. (I mean, Rubbermaid has made a killing off of making reusable ones and Tupperware has been doing it for ever.) However, those handy containers were not meant to be used over and over again. Let’s not start on the heating in the microwave talk. No matter your thoughts on these things you probably most certainly fall in the “missing lid” camp.
ACTION – open the plastics drawer and toss anything that is a reuse (butter dishes be gone) discolored, warped, or missing a lid or container.
4. Water filter
We’ll be super short here. I’m guessing it’s time for you to change your water filter. This is just a friendly reminder.
ACTION – change your water filter.
5. Strawberry huller
If you are unfamiliar with a strawberry huller I’ll give you a mental picture. Imagine tiny metal tongs that take leaves off of your cute little strawberries. Genius, right? Of course! Like so many gadgets they were thought up to save time and energy. So if you have 10 bushels of strawberries to de-stem every day, a strawberry huller is your gadget. But what if you only have 1lb of strawberries for a week? A spoon or knife or even just your fingers will do just fine. Okay, you might not have a strawberry huller but the point is that you probably have several items that are taking up valuable kitchen real estate that can hit the road today because something else in the house will do the job just as well.
ACTION – open your kitchen gadget drawer and toss* anything that can be easily replaced with another item in your home.
*you may feel as if you can’t just toss these things, if so, just put them in a give away bag or box and give them away.