Items We Need to Get Rid of to Declutter Our Home: Part 2

Jan 19, 2024
Wellness
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The amount of possessions we gather throughout our lives is really astonishing. Take a look at the house of pretty much anyone you know — yourself included — and you will find that there are just so many items taking up space. Most of the time, these are items that you need and have an important role in your life.

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However, alongside them, there are numerous items you will never notice if they went missing. After reading part one of this article and freeing up space at home, you are probably a little high on the achievement. If you’re still pumped and feel like taking things up a notch — this second part is for you.

Pet Paraphernalia

Or should we say, para-fur-nalia? Ahh. You are most very welcome. We all love to treat our pets to fun toys or cute outfits, but these are often novelty purchases and don’t last long. Yes, it can feel like a waste to throw them away because you spent money on them.

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Chances are, however, your cat is not going to play with that toy mouse that has a bell on its tail again, and your dog will not allow itself to be subjected to froggy socks anymore. Consider donating these to your local animal shelter and clearing up some space at home.

Old Earphones

It can be tempting to keep a few pairs of old earphones around in case your current ones break, but these cases are few and far between. You’re more likely to just forget about your old earphones and get new ones, and they will contribute to clutter around the house. (Yes, even if they just sit there in a never-opened drawer.)

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Plus, with phones developing so rapidly nowadays, it’s possible your old earphones will be outdated and not fit your new smartphone, anyway. And since the world is moving toward wireless earphones anyway, anything that has a wire will become useless in no time.

Kitchen Utensil Duplicates

Whether they were wedding gifts or you found a great two-for-one deal online, very few kitchen utensils need duplicates. Spatulas, immersion blenders, kettles, and so on will last you long enough without you needing a backup on hand. Take a stroll through your kitchen closets and you will find that you have more of these than you expected.

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If anything is unopened, try to sell them and make a bit of side cash. If they are gently used and clean, consider donating them to a local charity. And if they are living on borrowed time, rather throw them away now.

Water Bottles

Whether these are reusable water bottles or regular plastic water bottles that tend to get thrown out after a couple of uses, people are prone to hoarding these things. You may feel like you’re helping the environment (and, don’t get us wrong, you are), but don’t overdo it to the point of clutter.

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You don’t need to have one for home, one for work, and one for your gym bag. Collecting these will ultimately defeat the point of saving the planet. Make sure there is a water bottle for each member of the family, plus an extra one, and toss out any more.

Travel Brochures

Travel brochures stack up easily and, ultimately, just block other useful items from your view. The reality is that there is no information or picture of a travel destination that you cannot find online nowadays, so travel brochures are pretty outdated.

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This also means you can usually find them in the homes of people over a certain age — an age that shies away from the internet, but since you are reading this article, that’s probably not you. Make a list or set a reminder on your phone to look up particular destinations you don’t want to forget about and send the paper brochures on a one-way, all-expenses-paid trip to the recycling bin.

Jewelry You Don’t Wear

Like clothing, people often impulse-buy pieces of jewelry and then never wear them. What’s more, necklaces and bracelets get tangled up easily, and earrings (just like socks) go missing all the time. This is how you end up with a jewelry box full of useless pieces of metal.

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Go through your collection and make three piles: one for the stuff you wear frequently, one for the stuff you don’t wear a ton but do get some airtime, and one for the pieces you just never wear. Throw out the never-worn jewelry immediately, and then be decisive about the pieces in your on-the-fence pile.

Freebies

When you’re at a conference, convention, or open day, all sense of reason goes out the window. Especially when it comes to freebies. Eleven pens? Yes, please. Six key chains? Don’t mind if we do. One million stickers? Why not? They’re free! Sadly, these key chains never see the light of day again.

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It can be so hard to get rid of freebies because we feel like it’s a waste to toss out gifts or other perfectly usable items that are essentially new. However, if you’re not going to use them, you should give them away to people who will.

Old Sports Trophies

Whether it’s yours or your kids’, old sports trophies are hard to part with. They are a reminder that someone used to run hurdles like nobody’s business or kick some serious mahjong ass. But, in truth, if they aren’t being displayed, they are just going to sit in a box somewhere and take up space.

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People hardly even remember they have these, and the nostalgia they give for fifteen minutes isn’t worth the clutter they cause the rest of the time. You’re better off taking photos of these old trophies for a personal online gallery of pride and throwing away the real things.

Old Hobby Supplies

Deep down in a closet that nobody touches lies the remnants of a dream. A dream of crocheting blankets galore for orphans; the dream of painting masterpieces that eventually find their home in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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Alas, even though your intentions were noble, you gave up after a week, and now your old hobby supplies are taking up space. Do yourself a favor — clear out all those old supplies and make space for a new hobby or for something more permanent. You don’t even have to throw it away — any school or kindergarten would be glad to put these materials to good use.

Chunky Vacuum Cleaner

Given how far technology has come over the years, it’s surprising that some people still opt to keep their older, chunkier appliances. We get it, “why fix what isn’t broken?” But consider this — while an old-school vacuum cleaner may be usable, it’s a hassle to store and takes up way more space than you’d like it to.

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Newer vacuum models are designed to save space and stay out of the way. Consider joining the 21st century with this one. If you decide to splurge on a Roomba or an iRobot, your new vacuum cleaner might take the approximate space of a shoebox.

Empty Boxes for Appliances and Gadgets

This might be hard for some people to hear, and we admit that we fail to follow that advice more often than we feel comfortable sharing. It still needs to be said, though. Listen to us carefully: you do not need to keep the box your phone came in.

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It will not help with the warranty, and any cables or instruments that came with it can be stored elsewhere (if they need to be kept at all.) Boxes create dead space, and we usually don’t even fill them with anything to make them useful. We promise you can get rid of these and you won’t miss them.

Unread Books

As tough as it is to get rid of books you’ve already read and loved, it can be even harder to get rid of books you haven’t yet opened. Too many people are guilty of buying books and then leaving them on the bookshelf to gather dust and take up space.

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This one will be hard, but be honest with yourself about which ones you’re just not going to read, and rather give them away or donate them to your local library. The library route will also give you peace of mind that you can take them out when you finally do get the time.

Fancy Lotions

Everyone loves a fancy lotion. They make you feel luxurious and, well, fancy. It’s the first thing you reach for when you have some time for self-care. The thing is, you usually don’t need more than a coin’s worth each time you use them, and it’s an extra step in the routine that most people tend to skip out on.

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If you have some lotions or creams that you know have been opened within the past year, commit to using them more frequently, or just get rid of them now and create some more space. Either way, you’ll thank yourself later.

Food in the Freezer

Everyone is guilty of not cleaning out their freezer as often as they are supposed to. It’s so easy to just forget about food in there. But, really, there is probably a good amount of food in your freezer that you’re just not going to eat, and at that point, it’s as good as already in the trash.

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Sure, you can clean your freezer now, pat yourself on the back, and bask in that glory for three years, but you would do much better if you can make it a habit. Try to set a time each month to go through your freezer. Throw out or cook whatever’s in there, and make room for new additions.

Chipped Dishes

As adorable as the Chip, the chipped cup from “Beauty and the Beast”, can be — we all know he is not as functional as a whole cup. Fun fact: chipped dishes are way more susceptible to bacteria than non-chipped ones.

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Not to mention that the chip usually gets worse over time, so the item is also at risk of breaking completely and harming someone. It can feel like a waste to get rid of a dish but, chances are, you’re not reaching for chipped tableware first, anyway. So if you can afford to, rather save the space than the dish.

Christmas Tree

Unless you’ve really got the storage space, this is a huge clutter culprit that just isn’t worth its salt. It can be really appealing to save that money each year and reuse your old Christmas tree from the previous holidays. However, consider buying a new, less expensive tree each year and going ham on the decorations instead.

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Your whole family can get involved in making these, and you can end up with a unique and personalized tree that you don’t need to fuss over throughout the rest of the year. Another way around it is to get an artificial tree (we won’t tell) that folds, which will keep looking fresh and save you space.

Old Holiday Decorations

We’re not suggesting here that you splash out every holiday season on all-new and expensive decorations. That doesn’t sound economical, affordable, or sustainable, which has never really been our vibe. The reality is that while there are some holiday decoration staples, most people like to vamp up their style, and tastes change and evolve from year to year.

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We bet that you haven’t used a large portion of your decorations last holiday season. You can save yourself a lot of space by throwing out 90% of your holiday decorations and buying new ones or making your own with your family.

Gift Bags

This one can go either way, to be honest. Reusing old gift bags is a great way to save a few bucks — but you have to weigh up that factor with how frequently you’re actually reusing them. If Christmas is coming up and you have plans for them — let them be.

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However, if the truth is that they never really leave your arts and craft drawer, but you’re saving them “just in case” — those few extra bucks are probably not worth the clutter. Give them to a craftier friend or get rid of them altogether. Just make sure to dispose of them responsibly, depending on their material.

Extra Tupperware

We know, we know, it seems like you can never have such a thing as “too much Tupperware.” We admit they are very useful to have around — within reason. You likely don’t need 5 of the same-sized Tupperware. What’s more, if you don’t have the right lids, you’re probably better off throwing out or donating the containers.

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You know you’re never going to go buy new lids. Round up all of your Tupperware containers, look at them one by one, and ask yourself two questions: did I use it in the past six months? And is it likely that I will need to use it in the next six months? If the answers to both questions are no — donate the dish.

Old Spices

No, we are not talking about the personal-care brand for men, we are literally talking about old spices. While it’s usually safe to consume expired spices, they are not going to taste as good. Also, a lot of spices and seasonings can solidify after a while, rendering them pretty much unusable — and kind of gross.

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Go through your spice rack and determine which ones you never use and also which ones aren’t looking too hot. From there, throw them out and only replace what you really need. Your next cooking session will be a lot more fun after you’re done.

Kids’ Old Drawings

Okay, moms, hear us out before you yell at us. Your kids’ old drawings are wonderful, we’re sure they’re fit for the Louvre, even. However… they are taking up space sitting in whichever cardboard box you’re keeping them in in the attic.

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You don’t have to get rid of the memories — scan and upload them to save them digitally and hold on to a handful that you really can’t bear to part with. But, for most of them, do yourself a favor and say goodbye. Just make sure the kid knows what’s happening in order to avoid any hurt feelings.

Extra Buttons

Those extra buttons that come with new garments are definitely a nice safety net, and it can feel risky to throw them out. But think about it — how many times have you really needed to replace buttons over the years? Also, are these buttons so unique that you can’t easily find alternatives at the sewing shop or at the tailor’s?

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We’re gonna guess they’re not that rare. If your extra buttons are just lying around, or even if you’ve got them all together in a cookie tin, have a good hard think about whether or not you really need to hold onto them.

Old Phone Chargers

Usually, when you get a new phone or laptop, it comes with a new charger. This doesn’t make your old chargers obsolete, but it can lead to a cluttering of chargers over time. Plus, while using an old charger won’t damage your new device, it won’t charge it as fast as a new one will.

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So keep one kind of each charger around as a spare (ideally the most recent ones), but throw out any extras and save yourself the hassle of extra wires getting tangled. Just make sure you dispose of them responsibly in a place that is designated for electronic waste.

Empty Perfume Bottles

Don’t get us wrong, empty (or even partially filled) perfume bottles can look very aesthetic if placed correctly on your bathroom or bedroom wall. And in some cases, if the fragrance is rare or discontinued, they might be worth some nice cash too. The issue is that they often aren’t used as decor so carefully, and they end up sitting in your bathroom drawer.

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In fact, even if your perfume bottles are mostly full, if you’re not using them frequently, you’re probably just wasting space. It will only take a couple of minutes to sort through your collection and dispose of the ones you haven’t sprayed in six months.

Bed Linen

Just like old towels, bed linen can get nasty over time. Even if you’re one of the responsible ones who replace their sheets every week or two, you’re bound to have some extra linen that you keep lying around for guests or emergencies.

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The problem is, these sheets and pillowcases can fall victim to moths easier than you think. If you know you’ve got some linen stuffed in a rather musty cupboard — it’s likely time to get rid of it. Give them a good look and a good sniff and you will know just which ones need to be recycled.

Refresh Your First Aid Kit

Just to be clear — we’re not suggesting you throw out your whole first aid kit. In fact, we are strongly advising that you don’t do that. We like it when you are alive and well. What we are suggesting, however, is that you go through it every six months or so and give it a refresher.

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Some medicines and creams are bound to have reached their end — especially if you’re keeping the kit in a dark closet throughout the year. So, in the interest of you being ready for emergencies, make sure to dispose of anything in that kit that might do more harm than good.

Old Skincare

If you care about your skin (and most people do), you probably wouldn’t want to smear it with an expired product. That’s just common sense. Just like makeup, skincare products have expiry dates that should be heeded. If you know that you’ve had a product (opened) for over a year — throw it out, it’s likely not helping your skin anymore.

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Check online for general expiry timelines for skincare products. It’s also a good idea to write the date on which you opened the product on the bottle so that you have a record of how long you’ve had it around.

Old Batteries

We can guarantee that every household has some old batteries lying around. At the bottom of drawers, hanging out on the windowsill — there are a number of places you can find these guys. It’s easy to glance over them because they’re small and don’t take up much room.

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But that right there is the start of the problem. Rather collect all your stray batteries, test them out, and throw them into a “keep” or “toss” bucket as you go. Remember to get rid of the empty ones in the proper container instead of with the rest of your trash.

Thesaurus

When was the last time you looked for a synonym in a thesaurus? We are willing to bet good money on it being more than a decade ago, and it has probably been even longer than that. Much like a dictionary, but perhaps even less frequently opened, a thesaurus is just a remnant of a time before easy internet access.

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If given a choice, you would likely just search for a synonym online rather than paging through one of these bad boys. So, it’s better that you donate it to your local library than continue fooling yourself by thinking that one day it will come in handy again.

Camera Film

Hipsters and people who just can’t bear to part with their old film camera may still use this service, but otherwise, getting your film developed is a waste of time. Everybody has a camera in their pocket, and many have easy printers to use, which means mailing your film to a development facility only to wait patiently for an envelope of photos (which might not even look good) is hopelessly outdated.

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If you have camera film in the house, chances are it’s stored in a drawer that nobody touches because it’s just too messy to deal with. So, you’re better off either getting these developed once and for all or tossing them out.

Ye Olde Yellow Pages

Hardly anyone does anything with a phone book — be it the yellow pages or the white pages — other than picking it up and dropping it straight into the trash. Once upon an age, these were important books to have by the phone if you needed to call a friend, find a business, or look up other information.

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But again, thanks to the smartphone, this service is nothing more than redundant. They might be useful as a stepping stool, to add a little bit of height to a seat, or as kindling, but otherwise, they’re more or less useless. Do yourself a favor and part ways with it.

Photo Albums

Most people have photo albums they have received from parents or grandparents, or even those they have made themselves. And if you have them, there’s nothing like busting them out to talk about the old days. On the other hand, thanks to the lack of film printing, photo albums have become rare.

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Digital photo albums are usually a better way to save your precious memories. If you’re interested in going fully digital and don’t want to dedicate space to bulky albums, there are plenty of places that will scan your pictures and create the albums for you in a snap.

Dictionaries

Once a piece of the home that any deep thinker or inquisitive child will reach for at a moment’s notice, dictionaries have now joined the phone book as a large tome that sits in the corner and collects dust.

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Some versions, bundled with a similar thesaurus, may hold sway above the other books on your shelf and look handsome, yet you probably aren’t reaching for one of these if you don’t know what a word means. With multiple definitions and uses one Google search away, if you’re moving and don’t want to haul another heavy book, this one is destined for the paper bin.

Take These Items and Put Them Away

Once upon a time, if you wanted to order some tasty food after a long day, you’d reach for the pile of takeaway menus that you had by the phone. This pile would grow thanks to picking one up after dining at a new restaurant, from friends and family, and finding them hanging on your doorknob.

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For what seems like the fiftieth time, cell phones have made this common sight uncommon – almost every restaurant has a website with a menu and phone number right on the front page. A lot of restaurants don’t even bother with printed takeaway menus.

There Are Much Better Ways to Stay Warm

After fireplaces, radiators became the common way to keep your home heated during the cooler months. Radiators are still around technically, but they’ve moved to HVAC vents that bring warm and cold air around much faster and cheaper. Radiators did their best to disperse hot air but were frequently faulty, and required constant expensive upkeep.

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The thing is, a lot of people still keep them around the house, but they’re clunky and take up way more room than most people realize. So, as long as your radiator is not attached to the wall and you have an alternative way of keeping warm, get it out.

Calendars

Calendars used to be one of the most important items in the home – they reminded you of birthdays and anniversaries, appointments to make, and how many days remained until your next holiday. All of those functions are now done – in some cases automatically – by the calendar you have on your phone or computer, which means needing a paper calendar is rare.

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Some people still like them as something to hang up and enjoy on the wall, and plenty of them still feature fun photos of whatever kind of topic you enjoy. On the other hand, they can quickly build up, and before you know it, you’ve got an archive of outdated info just lying around.

Old Newspapers

If you’re excited about the thump of a rolled newspaper hitting your front step every morning, consider yourself part of the minority. Kids might still like the comic pages, but otherwise, most of your daily paper goes straight into the recycling bin.

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In cases worse than the recycling bin, the papers just sit in a pile in a closet somewhere and gather dust. At the very least, you can still make paper-mâché out of them. Whatever news you are looking for can be found online anyway. It will probably be more relevant too — no matter how fast printed media can be, it can never be as fast as the internet.

Encyclopedias

Through a lack of relevance, most complete encyclopedias are becoming obsolete. The World Book Encyclopedia is the only general A-Z print research source that is still published today. We wonder why. Perhaps it’s more about tradition than it is about knowledge at this point.

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Encyclopedias usually come in sets and in all sizes, from a single 200-page volume written by one man to giant sets of 100 volumes or more. They may make your bookshelf look impressive, but, chances are, you’ve never opened one because everything is online anyway. You’re better off removing them from your space.

Travel Maps

Before paper maps, we used to travel by using a compass, the sun, the moon, and the stars, but things are different now. No more getting lost on those epic road trips or in the woods (unless you lose cell service, that is). Just punch your destination into your GPS or smartphone, and you’re good to go.

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If you come across a bunch of these now, you can use them for numerous different arts and crafts projects. Anything that requires paper can work! It’s free, and the environment will thank you. And if you aren’t feeling crafty, recycling is also fine.

Checkbooks

Take a minute or two to think about the last time you had to use a check. The last time it was absolutely necessary to use this outdated piece of paper and there was absolutely no way around it. We’re guessing that was a long time ago.

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It’s no wonder people are swapping their checkbooks for digital baking platforms for all their financial transactions. According to the Federal Reserve, the number of check payments in the U.S. fell by 2.5 billion between 2012 and 2015 and it’s only gone down from there. Get these babies shredded and join the rest of the world.

Declutter Your Life

From our routines and habits to our relationships and social commitments, if it’s adding stress while not bringing any value to your life, it might need to go. Sometimes your life might feel unbearably full, and your routines don’t seem to be working. This means you need to take a look at your commitments.

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Does that stressful monthly networking meeting actually help you succeed? What about that date with friends you don’t feel connected with? By freeing up space in your calendar, you’ll not only reduce unnecessary stress in your routine; but you’ll also create more room for the things you do love.

Old Cables and Wires

Do you have a drawer at home that is full of chargers and plugs? Does your home office floor feel like a sea of scrambled cables and wires? If the answer is yes, then pay attention. If a cable leads to an electronic device that you haven’t used in over six months, then it’s time to unplug and chuck.

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Wait, wait, wait! Don’t throw your old cables or electronics in the trash. Instead, take them to a dedicated electronics recycling disposal point. That way, you’ll declutter your space in the safest way possible, plus, you will be more environmentally conscious.

Kitchen Supplies

Some say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Decluttering is always the answer whether you want to make your morning routine easier, maximize storage, or keep it clean and bug-free. These are all things you want in your kitchen if you value what goes into your stomach.

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An easy way to figure out what no longer deserves a spot on your counter is to note which appliances you haven’t used in over 3 months. If they don’t meet that mark, then store them away in another cabinet or donate them. Shelters and goodwill stores are sure to find these items happy new owners.

Books

Any book lover will agree that the idea of throwing out a beloved book is a painful thought. However, when your bookshelves start buckling under the weight of too many novels, it’s time to be brave and donate a few. Hey, and it might not need to be that brave at all — we all have some books we regret buying.

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To avoid stacking up more books than you have space for, try to get as many of your books from the library as you can, not only is it cheaper but you won’t have to worry about them collecting.

Things Bought in Bulk

Buying in bulk may be tempting. You think you’re getting a good deal on items you need. However, proceed with caution! Only buy items in bulk that you know you actually will need multiples of. Otherwise, resist the temptation. A jumbo pack of toilet paper? Sure, stock that baby up.

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Twenty-four gallons of tomato sauce? Unless you run an underground restaurant in your basement — skip it. And what about the wholesale stuff you already have at home but don’t use? Other people will be thrilled to have them. (In controllable portions, of course.) Donate any leftover items you bought in bulk and start afresh!

Decorative Knick-Knacks

Believe it or not, you don’t need all those cute porcelain figures on your shelves! We know some people love collecting — some collect vintage cameras, others might dabble in baseball cards or other sports memorabilia, and it seems like every other guy collects unopened superhero toys.

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Don’t get rid of something that has value to you, but don’t collect just for the sake of collecting either. This will only mean you end up decorating with clutter. Use your collections as decoration by placing them in the empty spaces of your shelves, or above your cabinets in that space that is never used.

Bags and Baggage

Take a good, honest look inside yourself and answer these questions: How many bags do you have at home? And how many of them do you actually use? We love bags, but the problem is we never get rid of old ones once we’ve bought new ones.

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Sometimes we reuse bags, but more often than not, we buy new ones. And it’s the same with backpacks and laptop bags. How many do we really need on the floor of our closet? What we need to do is pick out our most-used favorites and donate the rest to charity. No one needs any extra baggage!

Unhealthy Snacks

This one is not only meant to help you be more organized, but it will also have short and long-term health benefits. Mindlessly snacking at work isn’t so bad if you’re doing it with a trail mix instead of Cheetos. Limit the foods you keep in your kitchen to healthy snacks that keep you energized.

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We know that this article is for decluttering your home, but you can apply this to the snack supply you have in your office too. If you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, dark, bitter chocolate is your best bet; studies from Northern Arizona University found that dark chocolate actually activates the brain, increasing attention levels.

Office Supplies

There is a reason we should try to keep office clutter at bay: a study led by a Princeton University professor found that the more stuff you have around you, the more each thing summons our attention. That means it is harder for our brains to filter information.

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This becomes a problem if we are trying to write an email or finish a project, which happens way too often. Cut your office stockpile down to three pens, a highlighter, a marker, and a pencil. Try going entirely paperless if you can! It’s better for the environment and for your own space.

Relationship Artifacts

There’s no denying that breakups are brutal. However, that doesn’t mean you need to keep all those souvenirs back when you were still together. Super sentimental stuff like photos or jewelry might be worth keeping, but those ticket stubs, love letters, and accessories of your ex’s wardrobe that they never picked up should be heading for the bin.

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It is so hard to get rid of these bittersweet remnants. You may appreciate your time together, and you wouldn’t want to forget that in any way. But if these keepsakes no longer serve you, it’s okay to let them go, guilt-free.

Toys

Life is not “Toy Story.” Whatever G.I. Joes your son used to have are not coming alive whenever you turn your back. This also means that they will not get offended if you decide to get rid of them. Sure, your kids’ toys may be precious mementos of that idyllic time before they became terrifying teenagers.

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However, that doesn’t mean you should let them perpetually hold up space in your house. Anything that hasn’t been played within more than a year or doesn’t hold significant sentimental value is worthy of a trip to your local charity. Pass those on to kids who really need them!

Appliance Manuals

Let’s be honest here; most people don’t even look at the user manual for their appliances. Most common appliances are pretty straightforward and self-explanatory, and those who take a little longer to understand usually have YouTube tutorials that are way simpler than whatever paper manual you got with the actual item.

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So why do we have them lying around? Ditch those manuals ASAP, and whenever you are getting a new appliance, do yourself a favor and check to see if the manual is available online before allowing another new pamphlet to take up space in your house for the next couple of years.

Expired Meds

Your medicine cabinet has been too packed for too long and it should be fairly easy to remedy that situation. (Get it? Remedy?) Once that cold has passed, or the headaches have subsided, it’s easy to forget about those half-empty pill bottles. This is why it’s good you have us to remind you to trash them.

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Warning! Most medication has an expiration date. For the good of your health and your home, get rid of those expired bottles. Don’t flush them, as this can potentially contaminate water systems. Instead, drop them off at your nearest pharmacies, and they’ll safely dispose of them for you.

Business Cards

Who even uses business cards these days? If people want your business contact information, they usually just follow you on social media. Those Rolodex days are long gone, meaning it’s high time you ditch that pile of business cards that have been sitting on your desk.

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We have one word for you: digitize! Scan through them to see if there are any important ones you would like to keep and save your information on your phone. Or, if you feel the need to keep copies, you can also do that and scan them to your computer before chucking them out.

Remote Controls

The remote for your television and sound system is probably a basic part of your home entertainment experience. That much we know. However, the more electronics we accumulate, the more remotes we get stuck with.

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An easy way to choose which remotes to remove is to see which electronics you don’t use anymore or are broken. Think of your unused VCR and CD player or even that old broken television. Oh, and here is the real kicker — with mobile apps on your phone, you can pretty much download whatever kind of remote to your smartphone and call it a day.

Formalwear

A good suit that still fits like a glove or that cocktail dress that makes you feel like a million bucks are both worth keeping. But that outfit you wore to your high school prom in 1998? Not as much. Unless you can alter the garment to fit your current figure and style, you might want to consider letting it go.

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Instead of just tossing your old formalwear in the trash, consider giving them to a thrift store or donating them to organizations like Dress for Success and Becca’s Closet. Those organizations repurpose and donate formal wear to those in need.

CD Collection

Unless you are in possession of a certain time-traveling DeLorean that can drive back to 1995, the chances are high that your CD collection won’t get much use. Heck, most computers and car radios today don’t even have a CD player, so it’s pretty likely you can’t listen to them even if, for some reason, you get in the mood for a track that involuntarily scratches or skips.

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Fortunately, digitizing your music is easy these days, and with all the streaming services, we have virtually eliminated any need for physical copies of music anyway. Keep 5 of your favorite CDs for memory’s sake and recycle the rest.

Extra Pillows

Who doesn’t love to sink into a couch overflowing with pillows? However, there is such a thing as too many pillows. Eventually, they become ratty, flattened pillows that no longer deserve space in your home. If it has lost its fluff — you have had enough! Let that be your rule of thumb.

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A good way to get to pillow tossing is to cut down your pillow inventory by half. If that sounds scary, think about this: a recent study found that over one month without washing your pillowcases had upwards of 10 million bacterial units per square inch! Yikes.

Old Keys

A key to your home happiness is getting rid of excess clutter. As a rule, you shouldn’t have anything that is neither useful nor beautiful. This means that all those extra keys you have lying around can probably be thrown out. We all have a few of these even if we don’t realize it.

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In fact, we can guarantee that you have a drawer or a little bowl somewhere with a few coins of foreign currency and some keys that don’t belong to any lock you know. You can take all those loose keys to your local recycling center or donate them to charities like “Key for Hope,” which collects unwanted keys to feed the hungry.

Worn Out Stockings

All those pairs of stockings you’ve been saving, hoping to fix them with a dab of clear nail polish, aren’t doing you any favors. You don’t even wear stockings that often and we all know that if you need it you are just going to buy a new pair since those things are so gosh darn cheap.

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If you have stockings with noticeable runs in them, they should be phased out of your wardrobe and tossed. Look around for textile bins where you can toss those nylons so they can be recycled and get a new life as a different product that hopefully doesn’t have a run in it.

Old Bills and Paperwork

Paperwork does not sound like fun to anyone, but there are ways to make it a little more bearable. Set aside an evening, pour yourself a glass of wine and put on your favorite music, and get to bill sorting. To work through your bills, create three options for each of your records: shred, file (digitally), and recycle.

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By limiting your options, you force yourself to deal with the paper piles in a more organized manner. Before you know it, your paper stacks will be gone with this three-pronged approach, and you can have some fun while you do it.

Fitness and Exercise Equipment

Ah, the home gym. We all aspire to have one, but we don’t always use it to its full potential. Don’t throw out your treadmill or weights if you’re using them regularly. However, those half-deflated exercise balls, skipping ropes, or those ab rollers that haven’t worked for you don’t deserve to scatter around your space any longer.

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One way to decide how much to keep and how much to set free is by setting a limit on how much space you’ll take up with that one category of items. For instance, if your collection of exercise equipment is leaving your space cluttered, cut it down.

Old Toothbrushes

Those ragged old toothbrushes you’ve been keeping around in your bathroom drawer need to go! A good tip, though, is to save one to reuse as a handy mini-scrubbing brush (air conditioner filters, anyone?). If you really insist, you can keep another one in your car in case that needs some delicate scrubbing too.

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Other than that, throw those toothbrushes in the trash. Lord knows you won’t be using them to brush anything anytime soon. The American Dental Association advises replacing your toothbrushes every three to four months as it is, so make sure you’re discarding any ones older than that.

Old VHS Tapes

Sure, we all love a little dose of nostalgia every now and then, but keeping a bunch of bulky VHS tapes isn’t the way to go. Who even has a VHS tape player these days, anyway? Your in-laws might have an old dusty one in their attic but we all know you are not about to go there and check if it still works.

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Besides, with streaming services, whatever movie or TV show you have on tape is probably available online too. Oh, and for old family videos? Step into the present day and have those tapes digitized! Save your favorite childhood memories and space at the same time. Win-Win.

Cookbooks

While we’re not advising you to ditch your first edition of “The Art of French Cooking,” it won’t hurt to get rid of some of those less-than-stellar cookbooks you’ve been holding on to. Tell yourself that with each new cookbook that comes into your house, you’ll get rid of one you’re not using. You shouldn’t accumulate one “extra” thing if you truly stick to this rule.

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If you need another tip, you can probably find all those recipes on the internet by now, anyway. So next time you are thinking about getting a new cookbook, take an extra second to think about the fact that your cookbook shelf will probably be more efficient as an online folder on your browser shortcuts.

Leftover Sauce Packets

We all collect those leftover sauces from various fast food eateries, and now we’ve gathered a whole drawer littered with packets of ketchup, mustard, teriyaki, etc. But really, those sauces and condiments are usually things you have in your fridge on a regular basis. And honestly, when was the last time you checked the expiration date on that soy sauce packet from 3 years ago?

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Save yourself some space and some stomach aches by discarding any extras in your drawers. Oh, and next time you order takeout, if you already know you have a bottle of ketchup at home, ask the restaurant to not include packets. See? Reducing waste can be easy!

Extra Towels

Monica from “Friends” is the only person in the world who has eleven towel categories. Other people, normal people, know better. It may seem like a fantastic idea to have an extra set of towels in your drawers, but you don’t really need more than a couple of spares.

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And in many cases, those scraggly towels you’ve been holding onto since your early adulthood do little more than take up space. Unless you’re preparing for a flood, you can probably safely get rid of those unused towels. Many animal shelters will be happy to take them off your hands for you if you want to donate them.

Old Receipts

We all like to hold onto our paper receipts, thinking our purchases might need to be exchanged or returned. But, more often than not, we actually keep the things we buy and the receipts end up cluttering our wallets and drawers. Before you know it, six months have gone by and you probably can’t locate a specific one even if you tried.

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For more valuable items, you might return, keep the papers during the return period and then throw them out when it’s over. For anything that might need to be reported on your taxes, make a digital copy instead.

Extra Paint

While keeping those pots of the paint colors in your home can make touching up easy to do, storing entire cans of paint around the house does little more than waste space. Even if you have a proper garage to put it in.

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Switch small portions of your colors that you predict you will use into more space-efficient containers (small jars usually work, plus, odds are you already have a couple lying around), and do your research on how you can dispose of the cans. Another handy tip is to use empty paint cans as up-cycled flower pots for your garden!

Plastic Grocery Bags

It’s unlikely that anyone has ever said, “Man, I wish I had more plastic bags cluttering up my kitchen.” This isn’t to say you should just throw them in the nearest trash can. God no. Look for a proper recycling bin. While there are up to a trillion plastic bags used each year, less than a quarter are actually recycled.

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Also, whenever possible, reuse your plastic bags. One way to do it is to stop buying trash bags and just use the plastic bags you already have as trash bags instead. This way you get to reuse your bags, save money, and consume less plastic.

Outdated Shoes

Those leather boots you wore back in college may have seemed cool then, but the odds of them coming back in style anytime soon are bleak and you are not planning on a trip to Texas anytime soon, are you? Fashion may be cyclical, but if that pair doesn’t go with any of the clothes you own, it may be time to say goodbye.

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Keeping something because you might use it again someday is like paying a mortgage to a storage company. It comes at the expense of living in an unoccupied, breathable space. Kick those shoes to the curb!

Single Socks

While there’s still no scientific agreement on where all of our missing socks go, one thing is for sure: they never come back. Instead of watching that pile of single socks continuing to grow as you wait for their mates to return, get rid of them.

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You don’t even have to throw them away — repurposing them can be, fun, economical, and environmentally friendly! They can be used in arts and crafts, or you can reuse single socks for polish rags, as an eyeglass case, or as a heating pad. But if you find a hole, then it’s time to sack that sock!

Wire Hangers

Anyone who has watched “Mommie Dearest” knows that wire hangers are an item not to be had in any self-respecting closet. Faye Dunaway’s character may have been somewhat psychotic, but she knew what she was talking about. Those things will mess up the frame and shoulders of anything you put on them.

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In order to properly preserve the shape of your clothing and extend its longevity, toss out those flimsy hangers you got for free from the dry cleaners in favor of some padded or non-slip hangers. There’s no need to hang onto low-quality hangers! Give your clothes the support they deserve.

Broken Furniture

We know what you’re thinking — why would anyone be keeping broken furniture around the house? But homes that have basements, attics, or any spare rooms will often have at least one or two such pieces. Let’s be real: that old broken and stained sofa collecting dust in your basement that you swore you’d fix is never going to make it upstairs.

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If you’ve been holding on to forlorn furniture for longer than three months, toss it out or donate it. That way, you’ll free up some space to rearrange your home and appreciate the pieces of furniture you already have.

Board Games and Puzzles

It’s time to browse through that pile of old board games and puzzles collecting dust in the corner. There’s nothing as fun (or at times frightening) as a family game night. However, most families tend to stick to chosen few games and forsake other ones.

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Hey, some families are just not cut out for the intensity of “The Settlers of Catan”, and there is no shame in it. So, if you haven’t played a certain game or tried to put together a certain puzzle in a few months, then consider handing them to friends who might use them or donating them to your local children’s shelter.

Magazines

If you’ve got a heap of magazines, be honest with yourself: what are the actual odds you’ll ever have the time to sit down and pore over all of them? Marie Kondo has made a name for herself within the movement to declutter and minimize, with her famous phrase being, “Does it spark joy?”

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Instead of approaching decluttering with the mindset of finding things to get rid of, consider instead what you could part with so that others can have it. If there are some articles that you prefer to keep, cut them out to store in a folder, and recycle the rest.

House Plants

House plants are a great way to breathe life and color into your home. However, as most of us amateur green thumbs will know, keeping house plants alive is no easy feat. What often ends up happening is our potted friends end up perishing, and all we are left with are dead plants cluttering up our counter space.

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Accept defeat and accept that that completely dried-up plant can’t be revived and toss it. A good way to avoid dead plant clutter in the future is to stick to buying plants that are easy to maintain, like Monsteras and Snake plants.

Expired Makeup

Did you know that makeup has an expiration date? Eeek! Neither did we, but apparently, just like that banana in your fruit bowl, the stuff you put on your face can go bad too. Mascara can expire after 3 months, foundation can expire after a year, and lipsticks are good to use for about two years.

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Now is a good time as any to round up your makeup drawer and the kit in your pure, check those dates, and go ahead and discard anything that’s past its prime. Your skin will thank you too. Even your make-up collection can use a makeover!

Clothes That Don’t Fit

Repeat after us, “If it doesn’t fit, don’t let it sit… in your wardrobe.” We all dream of fitting back into our favorite jeans that we wore 5 years ago and made us feel exceptional but as aspirational as our closet may be, it may just be time to toss what we’re no longer wearing.

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When your closet is overflowing, starting with clothes that don’t fit as they used to is a great place to start when you want to declutter. Invite some friends over to raid what you no longer wear and make everyone happy. Hey, think of it this way, you’re making space for some new clothes!

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