Has the new year given you a renewed desire to declutter your home? Here is a list of 15 items to declutter right now – and you won’t even miss them when they’re gone. I know that that is entirely subjective.
There may be an item or two (or ten) on this list that feels hard to give up right now. That’s okay. Start with the easy stuff. Take a look at the list and get rid of the items that feel easiest to you. This activity is meant to give you an easy win in the decluttering game.
15 Items to Declutter Right Now
1. Old magazines
There are a few magazines that I enjoy reading. I used to subscribe to 1-3 magazines at a time. I couldn’t even read that many magazines at one time and they were piling up. I’ve learned that I can only subscribe to 1 magazine at a time – if any at all. While reading the magazine, I’ll dog ear the page if I want to write something down from the page or tear it out when I’m finished.
2. Torn out pages from above
If I’ve torn pages out of a magazine, I have every intention of doing that craft, making that recipe, reading that book, trying that eyeliner…but then it sits around for months, sometimes years. The tricky part is that when you discover that page again – you still like that idea on the torn out magazine page. I’ve learned to take a photo of the page, or write down the name of the book that I’d like to read, find the recipe online and bookmark it – then throw the page in recycling!
3. Expired medications in your bathroom cabinets or closets.
This one should be an easy one! I know I tend to distrust expiration dates – I tend to think that things are probably still fine for a while after expiration dates. If the expiration date is well past, just throw it out. You probably won’t use it for weeks, months, or years, and by that time it will be really expired!
I promise they’re online if you ever need to reference it. I used to keep a file folder full of all our manuals when we moved into our home over ten years ago. I never looked at it once so I recycled it the last time I decluttered my paper.
5. Hair products you thought were a good idea…
My oldest son loves to ask me to buy new products for him every time we’re in the drugstore together – skin products and hair products that he wants to try. After one use though, he immediately loses interest because it doesn’t do what he thought it would do. I’ve learned to give those products a short time to get used and then throw them out. I’ve also learned not to buy him any new products!
6. Dried out pens or markers
I’ve done this a few different ways. You can just edit as you go along in life. Or you can edit them all in one sitting. One night I had a lot of energy and I went through all of our markers and pens and tested them. Do you also have children that just recap and put the dried markers back in with the good ones? I’ve had to remind them to just toss the dry ones if you discover one. Doing this also made me realize that we have WAY too many markers for one family. I kept a complete set of markers and donated the rest to our church’s Sunday School and my children’s schools.
7. Clothing with holes
I know I’ve saved clothing with holes for painting projects, or jeans with holes to “someday” make a denim patchwork quilt (when I’m not a quilter). It’s okay to get rid of them. I used to be able to recycle them in a different township – which made me feel better about getting rid of them, but they recently stopped recycling textiles. I’m still going to force my very practical self to let them go, and not wait until I find another place that accepts old fabric.
8. Kitchen gadgets you don’t use
Large ones and small ones. We sold our pressure cooker that wasn’t getting used, and donated a large rice cooker that never made rice to our liking. We just use our large pot to make rice and it works great. I also boxed up some kitchen utensils that were in our drawer but rarely used. When they had been in there for several weeks and I never reached in to pull anything out, I donated the whole box.
9. Food you don’t use
Take inventory of your kitchen cabinets or pantry. Are there items of food in there that aren’t expired, but you know your family doesn’t enjoy? Donate them to a food cupboard at a local church or local agency that accepts canned or boxed goods. Like the hair products, some things seem like a good idea at the time, but then you realize that they aren’t right for your family. I had that realization last time I did a thorough cleaning of my kitchen turn around cabinet.
10. Old receipts
I kept all our old receipts for some reason. I think I thought I would double-check them against our credit card statement to make sure everything checked out, but realistically, I never do that. If you do do that, scan them and save them electronically. I now only keep receipts of major purchases. I record minor purchases in my planner (for budgeting reasons) and then throw the receipts out. Find a system that works for you that doesn’t include keeping receipts until they’re so old you can’t even read the words on the receipts! (Ask me how I know that happens)
11. Unused make up
I’m not a big make up person. I use eyeliner (sometimes) and a neutral lipstick. Sometimes if I’m getting fancy I’ll put on powder or a light foundation. I’ve been guilty of keeping make up and make up samples for years “just in case.” Just like food and medication though, make up should be thrown out regularly. If you haven’t used it in years or even months – throw it out!
12. Cards in your purse or wallet
I tend to collect a lot of loyalty cards in my purse. These days you can just put your phone number in and you’ll get the store discounts. You may collect business cards. Take photos of them or enter them in your phone. Toss the actual card.
13. Chinese food containers
You know the containers that you get from Chinese take out? They are so handy for freezing things, but if you have a large number of them – pare them down. I know, I know – they’re great to use and give away to people without having to worry about getting them back. If you regularly cook for others, keep a small number of them, but don’t keep every single one – they multiply and take over your cabinet space!
14. Mugs that don’t get used
I know I have favorite mugs that I love drinking from. There are also mugs that sit in the back of the cabinet until there are no more clean mugs. If you have more mugs than can comfortably fit in your cabinet, or the space that you’ve decided your mugs will live – it’s time for an edit. Donate those mugs that were given to you as a souvenir from someone else’s vacation. I’ve brought old mugs to work before in an effort to use less disposable cups.
15. Socks with no mate
I saved this for last because I struggle with getting rid of socks with no mate. I’ve gotten better – but I still have a small bag of socks without a mate that I know will be matched up again once I actually finish all the laundry at one time (a girl can dream can’t she?). Call me a hopeless sock romantic, but I know the mate is out there somewhere.
Which one of these sounds the easiest to declutter right now? The hardest? Tell me in the comments – I’d love to hear from you!