Decluttering: 35 things you can get rid of right nowby Janine, Aug 2020
Clutter is, by definition, ‘a collection of things lying about in an untidy state’. In a time when our lifestyles are busier than ever, clutter is undoubtedly the biggest nemesis of the modern family. Over the years, we accumulate so much ‘stuff’ that clutter is pretty much inevitable.
Not only does clutter look unappealing, but it also makes us feel bad! Clutter distracts our focus, makes it difficult to relax and it gives us feelings of anxiety because we’re never quite sure when we will get rid of it. Basically, clutter constantly signals to our brain that our work is never done.
So, let’s tackle the clutter together with our easy to follow list of 35 things you can get rid of RIGHT NOW to start the decluttering process. And to make it as simple as possible, we’ve listed things room by room so you can box off as you go!
Out of date food / spices
Let’s be honest, have you ever used that jar of five spice since the one recipe you bought it for 3 years ago? Spices are one of those items that people rarely check the date on, so you might be surprised how many of yours are way past their sell-by.
Equally, there may be some spices that you do use often (cumin, paprika & cinnamon come to mind!), that you have multiple jars of! Can you save space by combining all the paprikas into one jar?
Other classic examples of ‘out of date culprits’ that live in the cupboard for years longer than they should are tinned goods such as tuna, beans, chickpeas etc. Have a clear out and see how much extra shelf space you can create simply by getting rid of the expired goods!
This video sums this one up well for us (language warning):
Hands up – who’s guilty of clogging their drawers with takeaway menus that you NEVER EVEN LOOK AT?! My hand is firmly in the air, if that makes you feel better!
With everything online these days, and with our classic, British penchant for ordering the same meal every time – why are we holding onto these scrap pieces of paper?
One word… RECYCLE.
Kitchen tools you don’t use
This is a tricky one, as it’s very easy to convince yourself that you might find a use for your pestle and mortar one day, or that lemon squeezing device you bought late night shopping after a glass of wine! However, we have a very simple method for you to use in order to decide once and for all whether it’s a useful tool, or a pointless waste of space:
When did you last use it?
A: “In the past 3 months”
B. “Over 3 months ago”
If you answered A, you have our permission to keep it. If you answered B, get it donated. (Or if you’re a proper hoarder like us, and your tool has never been used and is still in the packaging – there’s an easy birthday present for someone you don’t really like?)
Let me paint a picture that will be oh so familiar to you…
You’ve kept the lid for a container you’ve long lost, or you’ve kept the container that has no matching lid. WHY?
If you have no use for it without it’s matching partner, then get rid!
Chippped mugs or glasses
Once a mug or a glass has been chipped along the lip, there really is no saving it. There is scientific evidence that says a chipped mug is unsafe to use, because it can flake off fragments into the liquid. We know it’s hard saying goodbye to a favourite mug, but it’s half broken – time to part ways.
Are you guilty of keeping containers from the Chinese? Or the little porcelain dishes that sometimes house a particularly special cake or dessert from a supermarket?
Ask yourself what the purpose of these containers is. If you don’t have a use for it, why are you allowing it to take up space in your cupboard?
Stained tea towels
You know as well as I do that you hate using the ‘stained’ tea towel. Whether it was used to mop up a coffee spillage, or you dropped it in your soup… if it’s stained, and after a wash, it’s still no better – do you really want that in your kitchen?
Not only does it look unsightly, but also, tea towels are cheap as chips so you can get a replacement for next to nothing!
Condiments from takeaways
Yes, you might feel as though you’re being ‘savvy’ by saving the ketchup pot from McDonalds but be honest, when have you ever used it instead of your usual bottle of ketchup? I’m guessing never.
If you have kids, they might be a good thing to keep in the car (incase of emergency) but they really are surplus to requirement in your fridge.
Have you still got the instruction manual for the washing machine you bought 7 years ago? Or the Ikea shelving unit you built last year? Holding onto instructions can seem sensible, but unless you have plans to demantle and reassemble – or you think you might suddenly forget how to use your appliance, then they really are just taking up room in a drawer.
ANYTHING that gets trapped in the drawers
Okay, this one is life changing – seriously. How annoyed do you feel when you try to shut your kitchen drawer and something gets wedged in so you can fully close it?
Open and close all your drawers and everything that gets trapped, pull it out and assess it’s usefulness! If it is a useful object, find a better home for it where it won’t cause daily frustration. And if it’s not? Well, you know by now.
Powders that are half finished, mascara that’s dried up and that lipstick colour you don’t even like… BIN.
Do you have a set of bedsheets that you avoid using at all costs? Maybe you dislike the pattern or how it feels, or maybe it just simply doesn’t match your newly decorated boudoir. If so, get it donated and let someone else have the benefit!
A classic item that usually lives in the ‘man drawer’. Chargers for devices you no longer own, telephone cables that nobody knows what to do with and random leads you accumulate over the years – all sitting in a drawer waiting for what? If you no longer have a use for it, bin it.
I refuse to believe that anyone isn’t guilty of this. We have an odd sock – we keep it thinking that it’s mate will reappear in the next load of washing, but it never does. So why do we keep the odd one? Unless you’re someone who happily rocks odd socks, get rid of the lonely ones!
Another classic in every family- the old towel that nobody wants to use because it’s hard, scratchy and doesn’t even look white anymore. Remind yourself that this item is taking up room in your home and causing clutter – if nobody wants it, bin it!
Old remote controls
Remote controls are only generally useful for the TV they correspond to. If you no longer have that TV, why do you keep the remote?
Gone are the days of being 14, when it was considered cool to keep a back catalogue of cosmopolitan magazine editions. RECYCLE.
Burnt down candles
Sure, it was Jo Malone and it was expensive and you think it looks pretty – but a candle has a purpose to serve. If it’s burnt down and out of wax, what’s the point of it?
Books you don’t read
If you’re a fan of a Pinterest scroll, you’ll probably be into interiors. Yes, having a couple of books displayed can look very stylish in your home. But how many have you actually read? If you have a plethora of books cluttering your surfaces, that you don’t read and don’t intend on reading – take them to your local charity shop for someone who will!
Yep, you heard me – it’s dead. There’s no point kidding yourself any longer. You killed the plant, and yes, it’s your fault because you didn’t water it. But you know what looks way worse than a house with no plants?
A house with dead ones.
Car washing equipment
If you’re the type of guy or gal who spends a Sunday afternoon tending to your vehicle with all your lotions and potions, then good for you – you can skip this one.
If you’re actually someone that has the intention of doing this, but in reality takes it to the car wash down the road once a month, then stop hoarding the equipment!
Tins of paint
Paint is expensive, so it’s understandable why we’re reluctant to get rid. But if your paint can are cluttering your garage, and in reality, you have no need for them anymore – let’s not hold onto them any longer than we already have.
Parents – we’re all guilty of being too sentimental. Yes, that teddy might be the first teddy your beautiful baby ever threw up on. Or that set of lego may well have been the set you bought for their 2nd birthday. But if they’re growing up fast and they have no interest in these things anymore, why are you keeping them?
Pieces of furniture
Another one for the sentimental amongst us. Yes, it may have belonged to your great grandmother. Or yes, it might have been your desk when you were a teenager. But what are you planning on doing with all this old, battered furniture? Donate it and let someone else enjoy it!
Screws / Nails etc
You come across a random screw – it seems wrong to throw it away because it might be needed for something specific – so it goes in a random container in the garage never to be thought of again. Time for the bin we think!
If you have a collection of old batteries, of which you have no idea if any actually work – what are you doing? Either take the time to go through and test them all – or if you think life is too short for that, just dispose of them properly.
From car keys to house keys, we’re all guilty of keeping hold of them long after we own the object they open! There is also something mysterious about a key, so we keep hold ‘just incase’ we need it. I’m here to tell you that you don’t need it.
You might have your own supply of allen keys that you want to keep – great. But what I’m talking about is every allen key that ever appears with any new flat pack furniture you buy. What do we keep them for?! Surely, we only need one of each size allen key in our lives?
This is simple – file them, or destroy them. Done.
Disposable lighters that have ran out of gas- why do they continue to live in our drawers? Time to break the habit!
Cupboard / Wardrobe
Coats, as one of the more expensive and potentially more durable items of clothing we buy, can be tough to part company with. But if you’ve gone a whole winter without wearing it, it’s time to take it to the charity shop for sure.
Another culprit we generally struggle to part ways with, especially if we still LOVE the shoe but it’s been damaged or scuffed beyond repair. Let me put it as simply as possible – do you wear them? NO. Do you have any intention of wearing them? NO. Then it’s time to let go.
Now this one is just silly but so common. We know the umbrella is broken, we know we’ve snapped one of the metal pieces so now rather than puff up and protect us from the rain; it dangles limply around our head. And yet, we still punish ourselves by putting it back in the cupboard and then grabbing it on a rainy day, only to be bitterly disappointed when we realise we picked up the broken one. BIN.
Another sentimental one- we either keep old calendars to remind ourselves of what we did in 2002… or we keep them accidentally with the intention of copying over important dates / birthdays to the current year’s calendar. It’s August guys- if you haven’t done that yet, the chances are it’s pretty pointless now.
Clothes you haven’t worn in a year
This one really does require some discipline, hence why I’ve left it till last. Take a long, hard look at your wardrobe. Is it bursting at the seams, and yet you still rotate the same 5 outfits? Time for a proper sort out. Anything you haven’t worn in over a year – either sell it, or take it to a charity shop!
So there you have it… 35 things you can get rid of RIGHT NOW to help reduce clutter in your home. Sure, it might seem like a big job, but once it’s done, it’s easier to keep on top of. And we guarantee you’ll feel better for it!