Life is busier than ever these days. Between work schedules, family, and other social commitments, one must be constantly reevaluating what is important and what is not. After all, there are only so many hours in a day and focus and energy are limited resources.
The last thing we need to do is to bring additional chaos into our lives by keeping messy homes. There are enough things competing for our attention in the modern world already without clutter in our homes distracting us as well.
We like to abide by this little motto — simplify your home, simplify your life.
While we haven’t gone completely off the minimalism deep end quite yet, there is definitely something to be said about removing clutter from your life. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 100 things that you need to toss ASAP. With these items, the benefits of getting rid of them far outweigh the positives of keeping them around.
1. Books You’ve Finished Reading
Once most of us finish books, it’s likely that we’ll never pick them up again. Keeping them on the shelf in the home is just a waste of space. Consider donating them instead to make room for new reading material.
2. Old Towels
No one wants to use a stained and worn out towel. Either cut your old towels up and convert them into cleaning rags or toss them in the bin.
3. Movies You Aren’t Watching
If it’s a classic that you want to watch over and over, it’s okay to keep it. However, if your DVD collection numbers in the hundreds, we don’t really see the point. Especially since most movies can be streamed online these days anyway.
4. Magazines And Newspapers
Many people have the bad habit of accumulating tons of old publications and storing them in giant piles in their living room or closet. Is it really necessary? It seems more like hoarding to us.
5. Worn Out Socks
Keep enough pairs to get you through a few weeks without doing laundry, but if any of your socks are starting to get holes in them or no longer have a match, they definitely have to go.
6. Pens Without Ink
We’ve all had it happen before — you go to write something but every pen you grab is out of ink or not functioning properly. Taking a few minutes to test all of them out and trashing the ones that don’t work will save you frustration in the future.
7. Old Couch Pillows
They aren’t exactly easy to wash. Over time, they are bound to get pretty dirty, and at a certain point, there is no salvaging them anymore. They need to be removed from your life.
8. Cooking Utensils
If you have multiple of any type of cooking utensil, it is just creating excess clutter in your drawers. Keep one of every type and put the rest up for sale on Craigslist.
The same goes for silverware. Unless you are only doing the dishes once a month or something crazy like that, there’s no real need to have more than a handful of spoons, forks, and knives.
10. Toiletry Products
How many random bottles of shampoo and conditioner do you have that are almost empty but you hang on to them anyway? There isn’t a whole lot of benefit to saving them if they aren’t the product you are currently using.
11. Extra Cords
When we sorted through our electronics draw last week, we noticed there were about ten different phone chargers in there. We’ve accumulated a bunch of them over the years, but really, it’s only necessary to keep the main one and maybe an additional spare or two.
12. Single Earrings
It can be tempting to save single earrings after you’ve accidentally lost the other one. However, unless it’s a complete pair, it doesn’t do any good. Hanging on to hope that you’ll eventually find its lost cousin is typically futile.
13. Expired Makeup
Did you know that most beauty products have expiration dates on them? Look through your collection and get rid of all the old mascara and lipstick that has already expired.
14. Board Games
If no one is going to play it anytime soon or you’ve managed to lose some of the pieces, it’s better to just let it go. Once your kids are grown up, it’s unlikely that they are ever going to be playing Hungry Hungry Hippos again.
It’s a good idea to save receipts in case you need to return something, but after a few months have passed, it’s time to throw them out.
16. Ancient Cellphones
Are you still hanging on to old cellphones from 15 years ago as backups? Even if they do still work, the odds that you’ll ever use them again are basically nil. If the cell phone is more than a few years outdated, you might as well ship it to the dump.
The bristles wear down over time. In general, toothbrushes should be replaced at least twice a year, otherwise, you are doing your teeth a massive disservice.
18. Greeting Cards
Lots of people have stacks of hundreds of old greeting cards that people have given them over the years. Sure, the cards have sentimental value, but at some point, you have to lighten the load.
19. Food Packaging
Pantries can easily get stuffed to the gills with all of the giant packages that some brands use. For starters, there is no reason to keep a cereal box around once you’ve already started eating the cereal. Throw a clip on the bag and toss the box.
20. Old Clothes
If you haven’t worn a clothing item in six months or so, it’s better to send it over to Goodwill so someone else can get some joy from it. The same goes for anything that no longer fits, is stained, or damaged.
It’s easy to accumulate thousands of digital photos over time. Sort through them occasionally to save the best ones and delete the rest. At the very least, make sure to get rid of any doubles you might have.
22. Expired Spices
The reality is that the vast majority of the spices in your cabinet are probably expired. It can feel wasteful to bin them, but it’s for the best. Once they pass the expiration date, spices lose a lot of their flavor. Sometimes, they even taste significantly different.
23. Stretched Underwear
After underwear and boxers get used enough times, the elastic in the bands start to go. If if you constantly have to keep readjusting your undergarments to be comfortable, it sort of defeats the purpose.
24. Air Fresheners
It’s painful to part with an air freshener that has been hanging in your car for a long time. You get so used to it, but really, if it no longer smells, it’s not worth keeping. Air fresheners aren’t super expensive, so just buy a new one.
25. Old Bathmats
Once a bathmat becomes wet and gets dried a couple of hundred times, it will start to actively stink and get harder to clean. It’s impossible to avoid. They need to be replaced, or better yet, toss it and just dry off better before getting out of the shower instead.
26. Excess Condiments
Do you really need dozens of different condiments and salad dressings in your fridge? We recommend only buying ones that you know you are going to use within a few weeks. Accumulating them will just lead to waste when they expire.
27. Hats And Gloves
It’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of buying more and more hats and gloves to keep up with fashion trends. However, these are items that are mainly designed to serve a purpose — shading you from the sun or keep your hands warm. It’s best to choose a few that you really like and then move on with your life.
This one sounds self-explanatory, but you would be surprised. Lots of people have tiny trash bins in their bedrooms and bathrooms that they haven’t emptied in months. Don’t wait until they are full to dump the contents. Toss that trash now!
29. Empty Bottles
Crafters will understand this one. You finish a bottle of wine or empty out a little food jar and decide to save it for future use. However, if you don’t have a specific immediate purpose in mind for that empty bottle, saving it will just lead to lots of clutter.
Is your shoe collection taking over your closet? Maybe it’s time to simplify your life a little bit. Start by throwing out all the worn-out sneakers you’ll never wear again. Then pick and choose among your other shoes. Having too many pairs to choose from every day can cause unneeded stress.
Purses can create a lot of closet clutter for many individuals too. It’s a fun idea to have a different purse for every outfit, but it’s not really necessary. Most people don’t pay any attention anyway, especially guys.
32. Expired Food
Buying more food than you can eat just creates disarray in the pantry and fridge. Some people have problems with this some don’t. However, keeping on top of food expiration dates and removing anything that is beyond the limit is a good way to start cleaning up.
33. Toys No One Plays With
It doesn’t matter whether they are kids toys, dog toys, or adult toys. If no one plays with them anymore, they have to go. What you really don’t want is to have your dog and kids digging through a box of toys and throwing them everywhere all the time to find the one they want.
34. Old Medications
If you didn’t finish the prescription for whatever reason, get rid of the leftover pills. They aren’t going to be effective anyway once they expire. Not to mention, keeping them can pose a safety risk if someone accidentally happens to ingest them.
35. Chipped Glassware
People collect glassware without even trying to. It’s especially true with coffee mugs and other souvenir items. If you aren’t careful, you can end up filling up your entire cabinet with mugs when all you really need is one.
36. Takeout Menus
After a while, it’s likely that the menu won’t be up to date anyway. All of the specials and prices at most restaurants change on the regular, so there is no point in stockpiling these.
37. Sauce Packets
Another restaurant problem people have is endlessly saving the little sauce packets they give you. Save yourself the headache and just buy a normal-sized bottle instead of filling up a drawer with hundreds of tiny packets.
38. Outdated Electronics
It feels wrong to throw out old electronics. We get it. You probably spent a pretty penny to pick up that Walkman back in the day. However, at the rate technology is changing now, it’s inevitable that things become outdated quicker than we’re comfortable with.
39. Unused Hangers
If there is nothing hanging on them, they are simply cluttering up your closet. Saving them for years in case you might need to use them in the future is just silly.
40. Cleaning Supplies
Save the ones that you use regularly that work the best and unload the rest. No one needs 20 different types of specialty cleaners. For most of human history, people simply got by with one cleaner — soap.
It can seem like a good idea to save them in case you ever need to go back and find answers. However, it’s much easier to just toss the manuals and Google something if you ever have a question.
42. Grocery Bags
It’s okay to save a handful of them, but if your collection of grocery bags looks like a mountain, you should probably get rid of some. Depending on where you live, it may even be possible to recycle them.
We opened our cabinet one day and realized that it was overflowing with plastic food storage containers. Be honest with yourself. If you are like us, you probably have too many and it’s time to scale back.
If you ever need boxes for packing purposes, you can typically pick them up for free from behind department stores. There is no need to store a bunch of empty ones in your basement.
45. Bills And Bank Statements
Do yourself a favor and go digital. Keeping giant folders of old bills and statements lying around just leads to a big mess. If you really need to save them, take photos of the old paper statements and transfer them to a folder on a USB drive.
If it’s missing a piece, toss it. If you’ve already completed it, give it away. Saving it for future grandkids that may or may not want to do the puzzle is silly. Kids in the future will likely be doing puzzles on their virtual reality devices anyway, not by hand.
47. Free Stuff
It’s easy to accept free promotional items like t-shirts and stickers when businesses give them out. Although, if it’s not something you’ll actually use, accepting it is basically bringing negative value to your life in the form of clutter.
If you have a bunch of old boxes of matches lying around, it’s time for an upgrade. Throw them out and buy a lighter. Unless you are a regular smoker, one lighter is all you’ll ever need.
Let’s be real. You’re probably aren’t a serious magnet collector. For most of us, magnets just end up being distracting. A fridge covered in them can easily steal seconds of your life away every time you walk by.
50. Phone Books
The Yellow Pages and other phone books used to be extremely useful. Now, they are just a waste of space and trees. Recycle the ones you still have and don’t pick up anymore.
51. Bad Gifts
Our friends and families aren’t mind-readers. Sometimes they get us stuff as gifts that we don’t really want. Instead of letting these items clutter up your home out of a sense of obligation to your loved ones, just regift the item or sell it.
52. Eye Glasses
If your eyesight has changed, there is no use in keeping your old prescription glasses around. Yes, they were expensive when you bought them, but if your prescription is different now, the old glasses are essentially worthless.
53. Pictures Of Exes
Do you have a box of pictures and other stuff from your exes hiding in the closet somewhere? It’s important to remember that keeping them might prevent you from ever fully moving on and committing yourself to someone new.
You don’t need to pick up a souvenir every time you travel outside of your home town. If you do, you’ll end up totally cluttering up every shelf in your home. Save the most important knick-knacks you already own and toss the rest.
55. Unused Perfumes
Sometimes you buy a perfume or cologne and realize later on that the scent you thought you liked is not all it’s cracked up to be. Don’t hang on to all the old bottles you aren’t going to use just because you spent money on them.
56. Loyalty Cards
Declutter your wallet or purse by getting rid of all the loyalty cards that don’t really benefit you. If you use the card regularly, it’s okay. If not, its presence is just making it harder to find the cards that you actually do use.
57. Old Calendars
Anything that has a date on it can be disposed of once the date has passed. That includes calendars. Even if it was your favorite calendar that you’ve ever owned, it’s not like you are going to pick it up one day again and browse through it.
58. Recipe Books
All of the recipes you need can be found online. Those dozens of cookbooks and binders full of Grandma’s family recipes take up tons of space on the counter that can be used for something else.
59. Fancy Bowls
Lots of us have fancy serving bowls and fine china tucked away in the kitchen that we use about once every ten years. Ultimately, these items are just kitchen clutter and can be done away with.
60. Everything Else
If you don’t use it, it’s time to lose it. A good rule to follow is that anything you haven’t used in the last year can be tossed. Not only will this practice help to declutter your home, but it will also free up your mind. One less item lying around is one less thing to think about.
Check out an additional fun tip for decluttering your life below.
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61. Throw One Item Away, Every Day
Throw one item out, give it away, recycle it, or sell it… every single day. If you incorporate this strategy into you and your family’s life, your entire home will be clutter free in no time.