Get rid of anything needing repair—that toaster that only heats one side of the bread—or impulse items you never use, like a yogurt maker.
"Don't hang on to spare lids or tubs without tops," says Andrew J. Mellen, author of Unstuff Your Life! And pare down to five or six basic pieces. For recycling information, check online at 1800recycling.com.
Recycle what you don't need to file long-term: expired coupons, old party invitations, out-of-date school activity calendars.
Odds and Ends
Weed out dead batteries and dried-up markers. Take empty printer cartridges to any Staples store for credit. Toss or recycle things you don't use regularly, like old notepads, stray Post-its and rubber bands.
Make it a rule: When a new issue or catalog comes in, the earlier one must go. Visit catalogchoice.org to unsubscribe from more than 4,000 companies' mailings.
Ditch those Indiana Jones VHS tapes and remote controls to devices you've long since replaced. Convert family videos to digital files at a site such as imemories.com.
Keep two weeks' worth of school-appropriate tops in the rotation and just a few worn-out T-shirts for sports or mowing the lawn. Discard all but one pair of grubby sneakers, and keep those in the mudroom.
Toys and Games
Pass on anything your kids have outgrown—if it's in good shape—to a younger friend or donate to a thrift shop.
"Paint and expired chemicals should never be stored in a non-climate-controlled environment," Mellen says. Fill a touch-up dispenser, like Rubbermaid's Paint Buddy, with your matching wall paint and get rid of the rest. Pouring these substances down the drain or tossing them in the trash is generally banned. For disposal information, check with your local sanitation department or earth911.com.
Eliminate broken or rusted lawn mowers, spades and leaf blowers as well as any duplicates—no household needs three rakes.