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. 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 Out-of-date medicines.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.
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.
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. 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?
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