50 Things to Remove from Your Home and Your Life

Decluttering

I’m a hoarder. It’s one of the first things I talked about when I started blogging all those years ago – I like to keep everything for so many reasons: future crafty projects like scrapbooks, saving memories and often as a ‘just in case.’ After moving house several times in the last four years, it became evident that I had amassed more than I ever wanted or needed, so I have embarked on a self-styled project in recent months to rid my house (and my life) of unnecessary items that took up much needed space.

Home

Before I started, I gave myself a one year rule: anything that I hadn’t read, listen to, worn or looked at had to go. I then decided on three categories for the physical items: rubbish and recycling, charity and sale-worthy.

Rubbish and Recycling

1. Paperwork that was more than five years old (bills, contracts, wage slips, receipts) – I shredded it and put it into the recycling bin.

2. Cards. I have kept every card I’ve ever received from family and very close friends since I was about ten years old. I whittled it down from seven shoeboxes (seven!) to just one, cut out images from the front of some to use for future gift tags and put the remnants into the recycling.

3. Shoeboxes – straight into the recycling!

4. Old make-up, hair products and toiletries. I found sets of old bath bombs that I had been given as presents years ago, old oils, scrubs and lib balms. They all went in the rubbish.

5. Old underwear. Odd socks, socks with holes in them, bras that don’t fit. All in the bin.

6. Old stationary. Old pens, pencils, unusued diaries and address books. In the bin.

7. Out-of-date medicines.

8. Magazines. I kept quite a few for individual articles that I’ve never read again since. In the recycling.

9. Photographs. I scanned hundreds into my computer and then shredded them, and put some special ones into frames.

10. Junk mail, particularly take-away and restaurant flyers.

11. Old food tins (I found a tin of chopped tomatoes from 2014!) and spices.

12. Old containers that have sat in the cupboard for years.

13. Old pans that I had kept for sentimental reasons (the first ones I ever bought for university fifteen years ago for example) – recycling.

14. Old towels. Some were at the bottom of the cupboard in a threadbare condition. In the bin.

15. Wires. The Bloke is an IT Tech, so we had boxes of wires and scart leads.

16. Hair accessories and elastics. I found a ton of elastics in particular that were almost completely snapped and had lost their stretchiness.

17. Buttons and accessories for old clothes.

18. Old pillows and bedding.

19. Travel brochures, Thomson Locals (hello, internet), show guides. In the bin.

20. Old calendars, particularly the wicker ones that I collected from Chinese restaurants for years.

Charity

21. Old C.D’s. I’ve kept certain sets that were in good condition and can listen to in the car. Everything else is on my phone as part of my iTunes playlist, so they went in the charity bag.

22. Clothes in good condition that were too small.

23. Old cuddly toys. I’ve collected hundreds over the years, so I kept just a few of the most meaningful ones.

24. Old paperback books (I can hear my book blogger and writer friends having minor heart attacks here). Anything that has been well read, but not touched in a year or are no longer relevant to my life, had to go.

25. Glassware. Glasses, vases, candle holders.

26. Photo frames I will never use.

27. Old VHS tapes. I only have a few left after giving hundreds away years ago that I kept for sentimental reasons, but I don’t have a VHS player anymore.

28. Shoes in good condition that have only been worn a few times and hurt my feet.

29. Freebie and promotional t-shirts.

Sale-Worthy (eBay, car boot sale, Cash Converters)

30. Electronics. I sold my old Nintendo D.S. (which I hadn’t played for over two years) and my Nintendo Wii, along with about forty games. I gained an entire shelving unit back.

31. DVD’s. The Bloke and I have hundreds between us, and I took about fifty that we haven’t watched in the last year and won’t watch again and sold them.

(Note: the money from these two categories became my spending money for my last holiday)

32. High-end jewellery. Earrings that I’ve never worn from Swarovski sets, complete with the boxes – eBay.

33. Old figurines (mainly presents from former students that say ‘Best Teacher’)Β  – car boot.

34. Board games. I bought a few a number of years ago because we didn’t own any. We’ve never played them – car boot.

35. Trinkets. Keyrings, badges, old paperweights, silver photo frames – car boot.

36. Good condition hardback books (particularly recipe books, which I haven’t used since I discovered Pinterest) – car boot.

37. Old handbags in good condition – car boot.

38. Dresses – I put a few that had never been worn ready to go on ebay, and others that had only been worn once and were too small in the car boot pile.

39. Unused photo albums.

40. Unused notebooks.

41. Old ringbinders that were in good condition – car boot.

Life

These were things that cluttered up my everyday life, particularly online. Sorting these items out actually took a lot longer than the physical items!

42. Photographs. I love photography and have collected thousands over the years on my computer and phone, and I’m constantly having to delete pictures as I have run out of space, only to end up taking more. I deleted duplicates, and those that were blurred and of really poor quality. I organised them into folders and saved them onto an external hard-drive.

43. My lists. I love making lists in a morning of things that I need to do, then never complete them, then make another and inevitably get confused and frustrated. For now, I have stopped the task list-making.

44. Emails. Thousands of them. I organised the important ones into folders, and deleted the rest.

45. Text messages. Again, thousands of them.

46. Anything that made me sad whenever I looked at it, particularly presents from former friends.

47. Loose change. It seemed to be all over the house, so I took it to the bank and then used it to pay for a weekly shop!

48. Business cards – I had to keep going through a stack of them to find the one I wanted for a blog/business idea. I’ve now created an electronic list.

49. Unwanted songs from my iTunes.

50. Everything that I deemed to be toxic. Thoughts, worries, people. Much easier!

 

What about you guys? Have you got any decluttering tips?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog and you can also find me on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks

 

240 thoughts on “50 Things to Remove from Your Home and Your Life

  1. I’m a very good thrower-outer. Married to a must-keep-everything-er. Why does that always happen? p.s. I also use Christmas cards for gift tags (!) And yes, getting rid of toxic people is the most important one on the list.

  2. I’m somewhere in between a keeper and a thrower-outer, but I’ve been on a de-cluttering kick too. Where does all this stuff come from??? I really do think it carries over then to opening space in our life for new experiences to come in. But I have to ask–do you have the fear that you’ll need the very thing you threw away one week after? πŸ˜‰ I do!

  3. I am casually doing the same thing. Eventually I would like to move to a smaller house, so I’ve been on a ‘don’t use it, get rid of it’ binge. I’m not sure I can implement your one year rule though!

  4. Great list, Suzie Q. Of course, the simplest way to declutter is to get divorced. My ex took everything and The House on the Hill was quickly devoid of any unneeded items. πŸ™‚

  5. I’m not a hoarder by nature but still have things that need to go. I keep a charity bag going most of the time and when it is full take it to our church thrift shop. I have a pile of non clothing items ready for our church’s annual yard sale, and I throw things away that are not salvageable. I don’t sell much unless a big item like a car. We usually donate to a worthy cause. It feels really good to do this on an ongoing basis. The thing I am sadly behind on is cleaning out my electronic clutter. Yikes! I need an administrative assistant STAT.

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  7. I’m a hoarder! I keep so many of these things! I’m awful with the paperwork and the cards! Funnily enough, I am really clean and tidy. The problems come if you look IN any drawer or cupboard in my house!

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  9. I recently started doing the same, I still have a ton of my Mum’s stuff to get through too.
    Stationary is my downfall, in one cupboard alone I have enough to to start a shop.
    Make up was another, I don’t wear it much and therefore didn’t realise it has a use by date, all of mine Ling with a lot of moisturisers etc had to go.
    It’s a good feeling looking and newly cleared spaces.
    Hopefully when work calms down I can get back to it πŸ™‚

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  11. I’ll be moving in the next year or so, and I’m starting a massive clean out in preparation. Each weekend I’m going to tackle something different, and hopefully donate the majority of things.

    I’ve already started cutting down on things- instead of buying DVDs, I go digital. I buy mostly ebooks (because moving the 2,000+ books I currently have isn’t possible), I also do small tags instead of cards! I was also one of those people who keeps every single card, but what can you do with 25+ years of random cards at the end of the day? I think we’ve all got to work at decluttering!

  12. Yes why oh why do we do that to ourself. I am in the same podition, yet again. Need to take charge of the house cleanup again. The electronic side strangely I keep up to date, so that’s done but the house….. thank ypu for the reminder, now I have to just do it.

  13. This is SO inspirational. Makes me want to have a garage sale like, immediately! Definitely pinning this one for later. My town has a huge garage sale in September so I’ll definitely be referring back to this around then.

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  15. Wow….I just keep moving house and trust me …You soon learn not to hoard…I declutter so much that on occassions I think I have one of those, and, Oh no! I haven’t because I got rid..mmmm …But yes Just move..lol…It works for me πŸ™‚

  16. I can relate to a lot of these points – I swapped show boxes for a shoe cupboard, I also have birthday cards and some Christmas cards from 19whenever….I’m currently shredding my way through two massive carrier bags of paper. Yes – I have a box full of wires and scary leads that have not been touched for centuries lol, maybe they need to go to to the charity shop. I’ll be hanging onto my unused notebooks though, I love stationary. Great post Suzie x

  17. My cousin’s daughter is coming to live with me for university this year so I have been going through linen closet this weekend and drawers in that spare bedroom. For me always good to have that extra push. Bags ready for good will and garbage taken down.

  18. I finally went through my 25 year old son’s room and got rid of his high school and college papers. It was hard, but sheesh, he got married last month, hasn’t lived at home in 7 years, and I know he won’t need them EVER. It felt good and it was about time. I love this post and need to do more de-cluttering!

  19. Wow, how did you know I needed to read this today. I look at the boxes I’ve been carrying around with me for years and are still unpacked in the attic. Thanks for the motivation. Wish me luck I’m going in ….

  20. I wrote a short story called ‘Stuff’ which was published in my ‘Her demonic Angel’ book about an old woman ridding herself of the detritus of her life. Some might say the woman bore an uncanny resemblance to me … hmmm. I’ve decluttered many times whenever I’ve moved house, yet still have so much to do. Where does it all come from? There’s only me living here.

  21. Having to live in a college dorm was really insightful for me. You can’t bring much! I only take maybe 1/5 of my closet to college and don’t even wear all of that! Makeup, lotions, perfumes, and hair styling products was incredibly insightful too. And then drink holders. I have three water bottles which I use simultaneously because to get clean water, it’s a bit of work (can’t go to the nearest sink, must go through several doors and take an elevator which doesn’t sound like that big of a pain but water is essential and it is no fun to have to leave your room in the middle of an intense math problem to make a sometimes 10 minute trip for WATER at a place where I pay too much money to be). At home, we have more water bottles than we know what to do with! Stationary, art supplies.

  22. I love this post. When I read it initially it spurred me on to declutter my bedroom wardrobe. Having re-read the post I realised I’d ground to a halt on the whole clearing out vibe. Thanks for the reminder, now, where did I put those bin bags? πŸ™‚

  23. We moved homes about 8 months ago and indulged in this exact declutter exercise. Come to think of it, it’s so relaxing too, the lack of clutter. Now, we do a periodic purge every 3 months. I love your concept of the one-year rule. That’s a lot, actually. I know some people who have a 6-month limit on things they don’t use, but the year is more practical. I also love Gretchen Rubin’s book the Happiness Project where she speaks of similar ways to declutter. What stood out for me in your post is the extensive detail you’ve gone into, per item. That will surely help people who are planning a declutter exercise. Fantastic job, Suzie πŸ™‚

  24. Good advice! I LOVE dresses, but hardly ever wear them anymore. Time to let go! One thing about cards – I finally got rid of most of them a couple years ago and wish now that I would have kept at least one from every family member and close friend. I mean, who sends cards anymore – so it’s not likely they will ever be replaced!

  25. I enjoyed this post & definitely need to make use of the tips! We’ve lived in the same house for 30 years & have accumulated so much ‘gibble’. A move may be on the cards so I need to start reducing said gibble fairly soon.
    That said I do think it’s important to keep family photos, documents, jewellery etc. Speaking as a family historian I am so grateful that previous generations saved their treasures.

  26. I always struggle with getting rid of things, I guess I get attached too much to things. Like this old t-shirt that I wore ten years ago, or that pretty stone I picked up in a river… everything belongs to a moment and I love to think about these memories when I see the object. I am amazed to see how much you managed to wipe away, it inspires me a little to do the same ! 😊

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