I'll be the first to admit it, I've never been good at throwing things away. I'm much better at attaching sentimental value to articles of clothing and old knickknacks that really should have been donated to Goodwill years ago. Eventually though, whether it's the dress you wore for your first day of high school, or that gorilla figurine you got for your 8th birthday, everything has to go.
This summer, I've learned that you shouldn't expect to clear it all out in one go. Shirts that are you "absolute favorite" at the beginning of the summer, become a waste of space by the time fall rolls around. At the end of the day, what you have to think to yourself is, if I was moving across the country tomorrow, what we be worth putting into storage or bringing with me. If you'd be able to life without it for a year, chances are, you don't need it.
Though I am in no means an expert in decluttering, here is my advice for how to decide what stays and what goes:
Have you worn in in the past year? If no, donate it or bring it in to a thrift shop.
Are you only keeping it because of sentimental value or because it's a present? Again, if you don't wear it don't keep it.
Do you feel anything less than the 100 emoji when you wear it ? Your clothes should always make you feel fabulous. If they don't, then they're not worth the closet space.
Look for redundancies. Unless you wear it every day, you don't need four of the same shirt. Try to cap it at two if its something basic and essential, like black tank tops or white shirts.
Certain items might be worth the storage space. I'm not saying to get rid of your favorite prom dress, or anything like that, but maybe you don't need every homecoming dress you wore for four years.
Books are probably the hardest thing to get rid of. How many times have you defended owning too many books with the phrase, "but I'll read them again!" Honestly, chances are, you don't read them again, and you'll probably forget what's on your shelf and buy multiple copies of the same book. Which leads us to the first step of clearing out your bookcase:
Get rid of duplicates. I recently discovered I own three copies of All The Pretty Horses. No one needs three copies of that book. Donate extra copies, or bring them to your local used bookstore for a little extra cash.
Ditch old textbooks. As great as your Stat-101 class was, you really won't need that textbook again. Make exceptions for certain topics or classes pertaining to your major, but for the most part, old textbooks will just collect dust on the shelf.
Anything you aren't going to read again isn't worth the space. It doesn't matter if it's a classic or a children's book. I will re-read the Percy Jackson series until the day I die, but the chance of me reading Pride and Prejudice a second time is close to none.
Hair and makeup products
This one's easy, if it's falling apart, or expired, toss it. End of story.
Schoolwork and papers
You'll probably want to keep most of your old essays. Anything personal can stay, but study guides, worksheets and old exams should be recycled.
You probably have most things backed up to your computer anyway, so it's not like you're actually throwing away your old papers.
If whatever is on the paper can be googled, or found without the paper, it's just clutter.
Knickknacks and memorabilia
The easiest way to take care of this is to set a limit. Whether it's one box, one bag or one drawer, you get to keep whatever fits in it and everything else has to go.
It's a lot easier to get rid of something when you know that doing so allows you to keep something more sentimental.