Today is Kingsday in The Netherlands (previously Queensday), a Dutch holiday on which we celebrate the king’s/queen’s birthday. Everyone is dressed in the national color orange and the cities become gigantic street parties. But people are also allowed to sell stuff free from taxes on Kingsday, once introduced to help the economy. It resulted in the tradition of everyone (specially kids) going out on the street to sell their old stuff on a blanket. Amsterdam becomes the biggest flea market you will ever see. It is a super lovely of getting rid of old things or for kids to come up with creative business ideas: Lois had a little ‘tattoo shop’ last year with her cousin where she did temporary tattoos on kids for 25 cents. My best Queensday finds include: 1990s Fendi jeans for 1 euro, vintage Chanel watch for 10 euros.
But I am astounded each year by the unimaginable amount of stuff that is on display on the sides of the streets that people do not want/need anymore. It is like a giant purge of unwanted stuff. So in the spirit of that spring cleaning here is a list of things that you can get rid of right now and keep your place free from clutter.
1 / TV
Get your time back. The times that we let others decide when and what to watch are over. Download your favourite series, watch the news at your convenience through the internet. I haven’t had a TV in about 5 years and are not missing out on anything. Except when people ask me… do you know that commercial about… No. no I really don’t.
2 / BEDSHEETS
You can only use one at the time. Pick two favourites (per bed in your house), one to use and one while the other one is in the laundry, get rid of the rest.
3 / BOOKS
Share around the books that you’ve already read and love and give them to friends who will appreciate their content too.
4 / BAGS
Do you also get a free tote bag at every store opening/magazine subscription/big purchase/fashion show? they make great substitutes for plastic bags for grocery shopping, but after a few months they do tend to pile up. Pick 3 favourites, hang them on a nice hook and get rid of the rest.
5 / WIRES
The wires and cables box. A small black box that never gets opened. It contains lots of USB connectors and a few chargers of old ‘in case a friend comes over and need it’. That will not happen often enough to justify keeping them, old chargers and everything that is double can go.
6 / KITCHEN APPLIANCES
Everything which has a function that could also be done with a regular knife has no reason to be in your kitchen. Look at functionality and do not keep two things with the same function.
7 / DOUBLE ITEMS
Some double items that tend to sneak back into my life for some reason are pens, pencils and hair combs. It are those small essentials that I’ve forgotten to pack a few times and have had to buy again. Get rid of the free pens and pencils, keep only favourites and write note to self to bring your own pen.
8 / PAPERS
Papers and post-its with ideas, (or when I used to have a newspaper subscription interesting articles too) pile up around my workspace. Take a minute to gather all these papers and go through them, write down the most useful thoughts in a notebook and throw out the pile.
9 / BEAUTY PRODUCTS
I get a little overwhelmed when I see some people’s shelves, dressing tables or sinks; surfaces completely filled with bottles, jars, products. Who needs an entire drug store? Who can use up all the products in an entire drug store? Get rid of comparable products and only keep the most high quality ones.
10 / EXPIRED
Keep it fresh, don’t have anything sitting there that has already expired. Naturally go through your kitchen, but also through your medicine cabinet and your make up.