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!
Christy King says
Great list. Funny about your son and hair/skin products. I have the same problem with my son.
I think it’s the teenage years Christy! I was probably like that too if I think back to my teenage years. 🙂
My favorite de-clutter item is old magazines and torn out recipes. If I haven’t done anything with them in months. Out they go!
I’m learning that Carol! I do take a picture of the recipe or “scan” it into Evernote – that way I know it’s available if I ever want to access it. Most likely I’ll forget about it, but it won’t be taking up floor or desk space!
Victoria Estep says
My house over runs with magazines. I subscribe to three but for some reason I get ten a month, not sure how this happened. I can read zero a month so I hang onto all of them till my basket overflows then I re cycle them. About twice a year I get rid of recipes that for some reason I insist on printing though they are all on my Ipad. lol
Wow! That’s a lot of magazines! I love magazines, but I’ve come to know my limit (of information overload and time for reading). Thanks for stopping by and commenting Victoria!
Melinda Mitchell says
I just weeded out some utensils that were on a top shelf, and haven’t been used in a year! And 2 mugs, since I had 7, and there’s only 1 me! And, I threw away a dried out marker, that the grand left lidless. So, I’m doing pretty good!
But the socks, yeah, I keep the grands socks, to try to mate. “a hopeless sock romantic,” LOL!! That’s so funny!
Great job Melinda! Way to take immediate action – I love it!
Great ideas. I’ve de-cluttered most of these but there are a couple I had not given a thought to. Thanks!
Thanks for stopping by and commenting Pam!
Angie ~ ambient wares says
Yes! This is the perfect list! Sad to say I’ve been re-washing one sock with no mate for an eternity. I guess I’m just expecting the other one to show up 😉 Thank you for sharing with us at Funtastic Friday!
Ha! That’s funny Angie. I wish I was okay with my kids just wearing mismatched socks, but it bothers me, especially because then I can never figure out which socks are missing the mate!
Abby @ WinsteadWandering says
This is great! I love that several items listed here are easy enough for the kids to help me with. Time to declutter as a family!
That’s a great idea Abby! Happy decluttering! 🙂
I’m a sock hoarder too! I have one sock I’ve kep for probably 5 years because I loved them but I’ve moved house so I think it’s probably time to accept the mate is long gone! #SharingTheBlogLove
I think it might be time Amie…I’m trying to use them as rags to wash/dry my bathroom sinks to put them to good use before saying goodbye.
I HATE throwing out clothes – but I confirmed recently that the Goodwill near Oxford Valley Mall (Langhorne) takes clothes that are not resealable to wear for recycling. I plan on making a trek there soon! Not sure if there is one closer to you, but they have a store locator on their site.
Thanks Amanda! I’m going to look it up. I have a couple of Goodwills near me that may take clothes for recycling. Thanks for the encouragement to dig a little deeper!
Becky Hastings says
I found myself nodding my head with each one of these…having inner knowing that it’s the right thing to do, yet an inability to do so on my own! Thanks for the reminders. Every.single.one!
We keep all our receipts because my husband insists, but we actually do enter them all into Quicken and he compares the numbers to our credit card statements. He is, obviously, extremely meticulous about such things. We are able to fit them all into a shoe box for the entire year, which isn’t too bad.
I love throwing out magazines now. I used to hold onto them but now we read them and we’re done. It took a while to get there since I love to read. Actually, I’m even getting rid of books now. I am enjoying Kindle books more and more.
Socks are the BANE of my existence. We have ELEVEN people in the house. ARRGGHGGHGHGHHGHGHHH! I always have a million unmatched socks.
This is a fantastic list! The Husband and I are the worst about keeping old receipts, and I’m terrible about keeping old makeup. Especially the compacts with colors I don’t really use…they should definitely get put in the trash! Thanks for sharing again this week!
Jenny @ Unremarkable Files says
Everyone knows that the best way to find a missing sock is to throw away its mate!
This was a great list, and I’d just like to add that you can delegate going through the markers or pens to find the ones that don’t work to your kids. They like to test it all out and throw away the non-working ones.
Janet Vinyard says
Hi Angela, Great post with great decluttering ideas! As for recycling the “mateless” socks – I cut off the foot part of the sock and use the remaining piece to slip on to a home canning jar. This padding keeps canning jars from cracking or breaking should they accidentally get shoved together. (I’m not expecting any earthquakes but I can be clumsy enough to bang them together when I’m reaching for a particular jar!) Blessings, Janet
This is a very timely article for me, I am about to do some decluttering today! Old magazines, receipts/papers and products are my problem areas.
Oh my gosh, it’s like you live at my house and know all the secret things I like to hang on to! LOL I am so guilty of tearing out magazine pages of things I intend to do, and never get around to it. I need to let those go big time.
Great ideas for decluttering. Thanks for linking up at the #HomeMattersParty
Fiona Cambouropoulos says
Expired medicine is one I’m guilty of #InspiremeMonday
Yes to each and every one of these items. GET OUT OF MY HOUSE I SAY lol When you get rid of all this noisy junk its much easier to actually find what you need.
Love this post. Leanna
Angela Howard says
I love organization, but I am always looking for new ways to tweak things. I had to pin your post! visiting from #MMBH Thank you for writing!