I love decluttering. I mean, I’m pretty lazy and I like the idea of it more than actually doing it. But even I have to admit there’s something super therapeutic about clearing out the clutter and bringing more space into your home.
It can be quite overwhelming to start, and if you try to do it all at once you’ll end up giving up and sitting in an old pile of clothes rocking back and forth with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. (No? I was the only one doing this?)
I always find doing a quick ‘skim’ declutter is a great way to start. Not getting in too deep, but still being effective in your decluttering attempts.
Here’s a list of 25 things you can throw out when decluttering that will make a big difference to your space, but not be too overwhelming at the same time.
1 – Clothes That Don’t Fit Anymore
It’s so easy to keep clothes that don’t fit as ‘what if’ clothes. What if I put on more weight, what if I lose more weight?? Get rid of them! There’s no need! If you lose more weight, treat yourself to some new clothes! You don’t need to go hanging on to jeans you haven’t fit in since you were a teenager!
2 – Clothes You Haven’t Worn In 12 Months
A general rule of thumb, if you haven’t worn it in 12 months, you’re not going to wear it. Especially if they are basic, simple items that you’re keeping ‘just in case’.
3 – DVD’s You Haven’t Watched In 12 Months
Who even watches DVDs anymore. With streaming like Netflix and Google Play, you don’t need to keep hordes of DVDs anymore. Get rid of the space wasting things!
4 – Instruction Manuals and Out Of Date Warranty Cards
Almost every instruction manual can be found with a quick Google search. You don’t need to keep that stuff anymore! It’s just ‘stuff’. Space fillers. Also be sure to get rid of any out of date warranty cards or paperwork. They serve no purpose. Be gone!
5 – Magazines
Are you honestly going to read that issue of Women’s Health from 2013? Really? Magazines end up taking up a lot of space and collect dust. They also serve no purpose, they don’t look pretty, they aren’t functional and you don’t need them anymore. Throw or donate.
6 – Recipe Books You Never Use
How many recipe books do you own? Do you ever use them? Do you have 5 recipe books for the same things? Take photos or scan copies of any recipes you particularly want to keep and pass on the books for someone else to use. Donate or throw!
7 – Trinkets That Only Collect Dust
That grass little bunny may have been cute a few years ago but is it just covered in cobwebs and dust now? Go through and without thinking too hard about it, grab any trinkets, burnt out candles and bits and pieces that don’t make you super happy or are looking old, sad or broken.
8 – Broken Toys
Kids break things, they just do. (And adults break kids toys too, probably more than kids do). There’s no need to keep broken toys, plus they are dangerous too. Yikes.
9 – Broken Cups/Mugs and Dinnerware
I loathe broken cups, mugs and dinnerware. It doesn’t only mess with my OCD, but it also makes you feel pretty cruddy when you’re using it. You don’t need that. Buy yourself something new and fresh, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
10 – Old Makeup and Out Of Date Makeup
Really… are you ever going to wear that blue eyeshadow again? Or that gold glitter eyeliner? Did you know makeup goes out of date? While you might be so in love with that mascara you’ve been using for the last 4 years, think about the gunk you’re putting near your eyes. Eeeeuuww… germs. While you’re at it, check the expiration dates on your sunscreen too and throw anything out of date.
11 – Shoes You No Longer Wear
Still have those crazy high stilettos you haven’t work in a decade but swear you’ll wear again? Gooooone…. Really. If you have an event you need to go to where those shoes would be perfect treat yourself to a new pair.
12 – Old Notebooks and Scraps of Paper
I’m a keeper of notebooks… I had so many everywhere. But they all had random bits and pieces in them. So I tore out the pages I wanted to keep and filed them and threw out the rest. It’s so easy for paper clutter to build up and it is the ugliest and messiest of all the clutter too!
13 – Double Ups of Office Items
Do you really need 50 pens, broken colouring pencils and 5 staplers? The office tends to be a place where we hoard so many bits and pieces. But it also needs to be a space of clear thinking. The two don’t work well together. So clear out the clutter. Be ruthless!
14 – Old Food and Expired Food
I remember cleaning out my pantry one time before I moved and realised there was a jar of sauce in there that had expired 4 years ago. I had moved twice in that time… little shameful. Get rid of any old food, food you won’t eat any more or anything expired. Don’t keep it just because you spent money on it, it isn’t serving a purpose to you. Throw it out.
15 – Out Of Date Medications
While you’re on a roll with things that are out of date, check your medicine cabinet. Some medications are very important to keep in date and will literally not work once they have reached the used by date. Clear it out.
16 – Broken Photo Frames and Wall Hangings You Don’t Use
Keeping a broken photo frame in hopes of finding a piece of glass that fits it? Or a wall hanging because someone gave it to you as a gift 10 years ago and you feel bad for never hanging it (it really isn’t your style). Get rid of them, pass them on. Keeping things that don’t bring you joy or are broken just adds clutter where there should be clear space in your home.
17 – Excess Cookware and Servingware
Do you really need 5 cake stands (even though you only ever use one of them and the other 4 are still in their gift boxes)? Clear out servingware, have a garage sale if you want or list them online to sell if they are in a good condition. Kitchen clutter is frustrating for when you need to find what you want so clear it out.
18 – Paper Clutter
Think things like single pages of notes, old birthday cards, paintings and drawings from kids. You don’t have to throw it all out, organise and keep what is meaningful and sentimental and throw the rest. Paper clutter tends to gather everywhere in the house so be sure to check all drawers and on top of your fridge.
19 – Worn Out Underwear and Single Socks
You deserve to feel amazing in what you wear and underwear that has holes in it or is super faded is not going to help you achieve that. Throw them out! And while you’re at it, throw out any socks that don’t have pairs.
20 – Broken Electronics and Excess Cables
How many charging cables do you really need? Almost everyone I know has a pile of random cables somewhere that they don’t know what they are for but keep ‘just in case’. Work out what the cables are for, if you can’t, toss them. Also, any broken electronics, old phones, broken printers (it’s so much cheaper to buy a new one than repair a broken one – sad but true), broken clocks… Be gone!
21 – Handbags and Accessories You Don’t Use
Ladies… how many handbags do you own? I use to see this as a bit of a challenge – like, the more handbags I had the more womanly I was. I don’t even know why. But I would keep handbags for years without using them, and then they were no longer fashionable and I still managed to keep them. Clear them out (be sure to check all the pockets and the lining, you never know what’s gone missing in there) and throw them or sell them online.
22 – Old Books
I love books. I really, really do. It’s my dream to have a big library in my house one day. But when I do, I want to stock it with beautiful books. Not old ratty ones and half torn kids books. So there’s no need for me to keep them. In fact, I’ve become quite ruthless with this as most of my books are now on my Kindle. Maybe I’ll have to have a library of well charged Kindles…
23 – Old Kids Clothes
I understand keeping some sentimental items but you don’t need to keep boxes and boxes of kids clothes that you are never going to use again. If you want to keep them for the memories, I get it. But you can do different things like have a blanket made from old shirts, rather than keeping them in a box.
24 – Pillows Older Than 12 Months
How long have you had your pillow for? Just think about what comes off your head at night. Sweat, dead skin cells, dust mites… yuck! Now imagine that building up over the years! Gross. Make sure you keep your pillows clean and toss any that are older than 12 – 18 months. Some pillows now even come with an expiry date on them too.
25 – Broken, Old, Dried Out, Excess Craft Supplies
I’m not a big fan of arts and crafts at the best of times (the mess just gets to me) so clearing these items out gives me great pleasure. But make sure you toss anything that can no longer be used, dried out paint, broken stamps, dried ink pads or even things you have in excess, like 500 sheets of the same red paper. Do you really need 500 sheets of it? Excess craft items can often be donated to schools or daycare centres – they will love you for it.
How did you go clearing out the clutter? Feel better for it? You don’t have to go all Marie Kondo to be effective, but it’s also good to have a guide of the things you can throw out when decluttering.