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 Out-of-date medicines.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

 

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

  1. My only advice when you are cleaning things is 1. Touch it once… pick it up and either trash it, or put it where it belongs. Anything else is just creating another pile.

    They’ve done studies where the simple act of “touching” old personal stuff makes you hang onto things. Try not to touch at all. Might help. (Some stores strategically place things so you HAVE TO touch them to see or try it out…) SOLD!

  2. Moving will keep your clutter down. I have down most of your suggestions. I have found even if I no longer have the object it is still in my memory. I don’t need an object to remember things in my life that were important to me. Example:I finally burned all of papers concerning my father. As I was upset everytime I saw them. It didn’t help, whenever my Father come up I remember. I haven’t had any divinity that my Great Aunt Grandmother come to my attention. It makes smile as I remember the love they sent with the candy.

  3. I have photo albums in the basement that no one ever looks at, but the thought of scanning them all … I cringe just thinking about. I’m impressed that you actually did it. Kudos! You must feel great with all the junk out of your life πŸ™‚

  4. Fantastic list. In life ‘fears’ can be one of the hardest things to ditch, holding us back and stopping us realise our full potential. 😊 Letters and things that need shredding used to be one of my most annoying things that piled up beyond belief, I’m still tackling it and won’t let it build up again.

  5. Thank you, Suzie. I’m an inveterate hoarder and quite desperate to change. I’ve saved this post to my Pinterest page and this time I’m determined to succeed in getting organised.

  6. One thing I do, if I am not sure I will miss whatever the item is, I take a picture of it. Digital memory and then I toss the physical item. I have entered into quite a “minimalist” stage in my life here and I’m loving it.

  7. Great post and excellent list. I am one of those weird people that absolutely loves purging. I learned a long time ago, that if doesn’t make me feel good, then let it go.My parents on the other hand….aye…scary. I had to help them move recently, what a crazy mess! LOL I am all for keeping mementos but they had a ton of junk and items that need to be put in the garbage. lol

    • Haha! My family are reasonably minimalist, which is probably why I developed the need to keep things. I get a bit of a buzz at the minute when I’m throwing things away – I just hope that I don’t regret it later! Thanks for the twitter promo too!

  8. Old medications and bottles and packets of tablets can also be taken to any chemist and they will discard of them safely for you.
    Great tips, Suzie. I find having a declutter at least once every six months also helps improves the quality of life. It often leads to making the person feel as if they’ve lifted a huge weight off their shoulders.

  9. Oh NOOOOO!!!! I’m absolutely rubbish at clearing these things.. I move them into the rubbish and then pull them back again.. Old cards, odd pillowcases… you name it and I’ve probably got it! Yep your right I need to do some clearing out!!

  10. I have been keeping assorted holiday cards especially if something is written inside. It is a carry over from what my wife did. My father kept his childhood holiday cards from the 1920’s which I found after he died, and I am glad he kept them. I see the names of relatives I don’t think about any more. I still post his cards on holidays on my blog.

    greg

  11. Moving to Cornwall definitely helped us to declutter as we couldn’t put everything into storage. Then we downsized and we just hadn’t got room to keep everything so we did a two-stage clear out. We’re both pretty minimalist people anyway and agree with the mantra of the less stuff you have the more free you feel. I like the fact that you’ve decluttered emotional life stuff as well as the physical things and think what Cheryl says about getting rid of fear is spot on. Really inspiring post Suzie. You must feel so much lighter having shifted that lot!

  12. Fantastic advice, Susie! I’ve moved several times in the past couple of years and wish I’d been more ruthless in lightening my load. Planning an enormous clear out of books/films/CDs at the moment, so this is a very timely post πŸ˜ƒ

  13. I used to have a fantastic solution to this problem. All things that I possibly should have got rid off were siphoned off to the garage. Then I passed my driving test and now I have to park an entire 100m from my house. What’s the lesson here?

  14. I just read this and SMH throughout the entire article. We have to be the same person. In fact, God must’ve shown me ME, through you. This is me. Except I haven’t reached your point yet-except for the people part. That was too easy to pass up. I so need to do this like IMMEDIATELY! My only worry is how will I ever part ways from these things that I think I will someday need. I always worry that there will be a day when I say “Yeah, I have….” only to do the frightened cat stare and realize, I might’ve gotten rid of it. Then I go through a frantic, panic, endless search in hopes I didn’t get rid of it. This is not good. I really need to have a spiritual release before I even conjure the commitment to do this. Just for curiosity’s sake, do you feel any different? Lighter? Any new revelations or blessings from this shedding? Just wondering if it’s really worth it in the end.

  15. My husband and I decided to retire to Ecuador and that ment we had to declutter, sell, and donate our household. We were also holding onto a lot of kids stuff, (We had 5 who had moved out to apartments)! Lego’s I could have built my retirement house with, G.I.Joe’s big and small, saddles, bridles, horse buckets, you name it we had one of it.
    We called our children before pitching it or giving it to someone asking if they wanted any of their precious possessions,,,,and their answers made me take a breath.
    All of them said the same thing to me, “mom, we took what we needed and was important to us, all that stuff that you have, you kept as your memories, it’s not bad, but it needs to go and make memories for someone else who needs it or can’t afford it.”
    The job was hard at first, awful actually, but three weeks later it was so much easier,,,the photos were scanned, we kept sheets, blankets, pans, computers, and way too many clothes, our 4 dogs, packed and it has been 4 years. I don’t miss anything.

  16. We made the decision that when my son started school, it would be easier to get rid of all his toys. And that is what I have been doing, the spare room is now empty of toys, and I am about to start on his room.

    Someone commented that cats were easier. I disagree, I have three cat beds, I decided to get rid of them, since they are not used. In 24 hours all cat beds have been used by one or both cats

  17. I loved this! I’ve never liked clutter but I never realized how much stuff I had amassed until we moved from NY back to the Midwest. As we were going through our things I looked at my husband with disgust at the amount of stuff we had crammed in places. We did a major dump before our move. As we’re living with my parents until we find our own permanent home I’m so stressed at the amount of stuff my parents have. lol I keep trying to get the to purge but no such luck. One thing I’m doing regularly now is weeding through our daughter’s toys, especially after birthdays and holidays because she always gets a boat load of new stuff. I also go through all of our paperwork and other paper stuff at least once a month to get rid of stuff that doesn’t need to stick around. Purging all the stuff is so freeing. I can’t wait to get into our own place so I can be surrounded by a clutter free zone again. Thanks for sharing!

  18. Decluttering makes me so happy and I don’t do it nearly enough. Life, kids, health, writing… But for my mental health, I should prioritize it! 😜 The only thing I can never bring myself to do is the “if you don’t use it within a year or two, get rid of it”. I often find things from my childhood or from when my kids were babies and I am so grateful to have these things.

  19. Reblogged this on Elena Peters and commented:
    Suzie and I love to watch the program “Hoarders” for two reasons, to make us feel good about the state of our own homes and to get our butts in gear. I completely missed spring cleaning this year so I am jumping into this fabulous list that Suzie has compiled to get my home de-cluttered and ready for the holidays. Enjoy!

  20. Pingback: 50 Things to Remove from Your Home and Your Life – Elena Peters

  21. Great decluttering tips, Suzie. I try hard to stay on it, decluttering a little at a time. I definitely need to do this when my husband is not looking!

  22. Just read this, and it’s very timely. We’ve been having a tidy over Christmas and I’m always amazed how much useless stuff just piles up and hides! Must start on the garage, there are things that have been there since we moved 4 years ago……Happy New Year Susie!

  23. Excellent list! I am not a hoarder. I prefer the term rabid packrat. We have a used bookstore and have made tons of trade credit by taking in books the kids have outgrown that are not cherished favorites. I still have a ways to go. I take about 5,000 photos a year, but now I print out 2 books of them a year, so my house isn’t cluttered with picture CDs or prints I cannot use. I have bins of those. The best I can say is that at least there won’t be more such bins.

  24. Last July something dreadful happened to my email inbox and I suddenly had over 7,000 emails in it. Most of them I had deleted before, but I couldn’t tell which ones were important and which ones weren’t without looking at lots of them before deleting them. It’s taken me until this week to get below 200 and the end is now in sight. But the relief from decluttering my mailbox is immense and I’m hoping to use that to carry me forward into decluttering the house. I hadn’t realised how much it was getting me down to have all those emails there, so goodness knows what I’ll feel like when I have a clear house.

  25. About six years ago, we did a huge decluttering project much like this, because we were preparing to move the seven of us (me, hubby, three kids, one dog and one cat) into a thirty foot camper, with the intention of touring the country. After a year and a half of the stationary camper life (never got out of our home state), we moved into a rental home. I now find that we’re in dire need of a declutter redo – amazing how easy it is to collect useless stuff again. Great list – thanks!

      • My husband’s ridiculously practical nature, mostly. *grin*

        At first, the plan was to move into the camper and get a feel for living the life while staying in our area (hubby was in the midst of training for a job promotion). Then we figured he could use his new position to secure another job in the company some place else in the country (had a few different areas in mind), then take our time traveling there.

        Reality set in when his promotion took much longer than expected (they ran short on people to teach the classes he needed), and the logistics of transferring were more difficult than expected.

        I was all, “Quit your job! We can start WorkKamping on the road, and live footloose and fancy free!”

        He was all, “Steady paycheck, health insurance, 401K.”

        Then came the fateful week that our black water tank (septic) and our water heater both died, and hubby discovered (completely by chance) the perfect house for us to rent. That was in 2012, and we’ve been here ever since.

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