Updated 2022: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small amount of money if you make a purchase from any of the Amazon links included…
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.
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. Irrelevant paperwork that is no longer needed. It’s useful to note that all paperwork should be kept for tax returns for 6 years afterwards. I shredded it using a Paper Shredder 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. The remaining make-up was then organised in an acrylic make-up organiser that was stored on the top of my dressing table.
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 Out-of-date medicines.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. Here’s a great Canon Compact Scanner
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, show guides. In the bin.
20. Old calendars, particularly the wicker ones that I collected from Chinese restaurants for years.
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’) – 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. For the items that I was struggling with, I put them in a Really useful Storage Box until I figured out what I wanted to do with them.
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.
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. Instead, I create daily, weekly and monthly trackers that I can easily tick off in my Bullet Journal – my favourite one to use is the LEUCHTTURM1917 Notebook
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! You can purchase 150 Coin Bags here – these are for seperate amounts and will allow you to collect up all of your change and take it to your bank
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!
Useful Items for Decluttering and Cleaning
Shelf Liners – easy to use and keep shelves and drawers clean
Post-it Notes – I like to use to small post-its to stick onto items that I wish to keep to allow for a quick visual in a room. It also helps when other people may be assisting you with decluttering.
For left over paperwork, box style magazine racks are really useful, and can easily be categorised
Other posts you may find useful:
50 Useful Tips to Boost Your Organisation and Productivity
50 Frugal Ideas to Save Money and Organise Your Finances
How to Pack for a House Move Without Getting Stressed
Free Things to Do During a No Spend Challenge
How I Saved Thousands on My Wedding
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
I started in the kitchen after Christmas 2017 and am still here! Plastic tops with no bottoms and vice versa, never (to be) used bundt pans, warped sheet pans, hacked up ‘cutting boards’ (likely spawning salmonella), odd bits of cutlery, 3 glasses from an original 12-set, stained drying cloths, burnt pot holders, plastic placemats (don’t use ’em), and all things cracked, chipped, or in need of repair – OUT! And I’m only about 1/2 way through the unpacked “kitchen” boxes from my last move. Oh, and I flipped over the ‘Junk drawer’ into the bin without looking at the contents. If I find I am missing something essential someday, I’ll just go out and buy it. I have reclaimed so much space in getting rid of clutter I can find things with ease. What a blessing!
That sounds incredible! We’re planning to get rid of about 75% of our stuff in the next few months as we’ve had enough…
I love your bravery on throwing the junk drawer straight in the bin… I am seriously considering this… I have several and like you say you can always buy what you need and really how many times have I looked for something in it!!!
What does car boot mean? 😉
A car boot is the back of a car
(What we in the U.S. call The “trunk” of the car.)
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It was super stressful to clear out nearly everything when we moved abroad. However, It has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life! So much stuff was just weighing me down, and did feel toxic. I wish we had done a complete clean out YEARS before we moved. I do have tendencies to keep everything, so I am being very cautious to not begin holding on to things again.
It’s such a satisfying thing to do isn’t it! I’ve got another clear out scheduled for this weekend and I can’t wait!
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I have printed this off as I am determined to make some changes… I am very much like you but need to take these tip on board as I have such a busy life and the clutter is not helping!!!! Hope you are well Suzy x
Thanks lovely! And really good to hear from you – how are you?
Had to read this because I have a decluttering series coming out later this week (assuming I can wrap up the images for it!). But as always, you seem to have said what was in my head, more eloquently and yet concisely than I ever could! Will be pinning this several places anyway, though. I FINALLY got started on an 8-months-in-the-planning-and-wishing wardrobe culling last week (yay!). Very little to go to the rag bin. A little to try to sell at a local resale boutique, but the rest (being in perfectly good condition but more than a couple of seasons old), straight to charity and thrift boutiques.
Thanks Flossie! I think that people are becoming so much more conscious of what they have and what they actually need, and all the minimalist shows on Netflix are really inspiring people! Good luck with your series!
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