Inside: Get your free Declutter Your Home Checklist to jump start your decluttering process TODAY! The checklist includes over 110 items you should easily be able to get rid of, no matter what background you’re coming from.
When you’re overwhelmed by clutter in your home, deciding where to start decluttering can be the hardest part. It can be tempting to try to declutter the most difficult items first– gifts, photos, sentimental items.
Don’t do it!
Attempting to declutter the hard stuff before your decluttering “muscles” are up to the task will only make you feel defeated. They’ll stop your decluttering efforts before you even really begin.
Decluttering your home needs to start with the easy stuff.
The broken stuff.
The stuff that anyone can agree needs to get out of your house, like, yesterday.
The stuff you haven’t used in years.
That’s where this handy checklist comes in. I brainstormed over 110 items that you can get out of your house RIGHT NOW and put them all on a free Declutter Your Home Checklist to make it ridiculously easy to get started.
(If you’re looking for a more systematic, room-by-room, approach, check out this post where I provide step-by-step instructions for how to declutter your bathroom from top to bottom. It’s the easiest room to completely declutter if you have the time, energy, and motivation to go room by room and declutter your home fast.)
Will the Declutter Your Home Checklist Be Applicable to Me?
All of the items on the Declutter Your Home Checklist are items that need to go for anyone, no matter your background or income level. You don’t need them cluttering up your home – promise.
This list comes from someone who decluttered on a relatively low income. I’ve absolutely struggled with the fear of needing something later on, of wanting to hold onto things “just in case”.
As a result, I tried to make this starter decluttering checklist include only definitive clutter, with as few “just in case” items as possible.
Some of them will only apply to families, but the majority are items that everyone who has ever struggled with clutter has lying around their homes, just waiting to get out of your house.
Many of these items need to be thrown away. Some of them can be donated, sold, or given away.
If any of the items you come across fall into the latter, make sure to be honest with yourself about whether you really will sell them or not.
Getting rid of stuff can be difficult, I know. But the longer the clutter (because that’s what it is) stays in your home, even if it’s in a box in the basement, the more likely it is to stick around long-term.
Get rid of as much as possible.
Once you go through the checklist, you’ll have the momentum you need to tackle the rest of the job. I grouped the items in categories, which should help streamline the process for you.
Supplies to Gather Before You Start Decluttering
Before you get started, make sure you have the following:
- Dedicated Time
- Garbage Bags
- A “Donate” Box
- A “Sell” Box
- A “Wait and See” Box
- Masking Tape & Sharpie (for labeling items)
Decluttering takes time. It can be a sacrifice at first, especially if you are very tight on time, but it will be worth the sacrifice!
Your goal is put as few items as possible into the “wait and see” box.
As someone who has tried to sell clutter from several different categories in the past and not been hugely successful, make sure it is really worth your time and effort to photograph, list, arrange pick-up and keep the items in your home. Over the years, I’ve realized that generosity (donating or giving away the item for free) is often the best decision all around.
If you know for certain that an item will yield a high price, sell it. Otherwise, give it away or donate it ASAP.
Eager to get your hands on that free decluttering checklist? Grab your freebie now to get started.
Declutter Your Home Checklist: 110+ Items to Get Rid of Today
You have your supplies. You’ve blocked off some time.
Take a deep breath and dive in. You can do this.
For the most part, food that is past its expiration date needs to be thrown away. There are a few exceptions, and a difference between “Use By” and “Best By” dates.
If you are wondering whether something is still good past the date on the can or box, you can look up the CDC’s recommendations.
No one wants to eat freezer-burned food, and keeping it prevents you from storing food that you will eat. Throw it away, and commit to making wiser meal planning decisions in the future.
Expired or Unused Spices
Spices are difficult enough to find if you only keep what you use regularly. Toss the ones that are expired and get rid of the ones you never use.
You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to find the right spices! Cooking just got a little less frustrating.
Oils aren’t something we think about often enough, and the assumption is they don’t go bad before the expiration date. I just learned that oil should be used up in no more than 3-4 months after opening.
Toss old oils, and when you open a new bottle, write the date with a sharpie on the outside. Additionally, normally I’m a “buy in bulk” type of shopper (especially with five kids!), but I’ve started buying smaller bottles of oil when it’s on sale as opposed to the gigantic ones at big box stores.
Food You’re Never Going to Eat
Slightly different than expired or stale food, this is food you have cluttering up your precious kitchen cabinet space, but you know deep down you (and your fam) are never going to actually eat.
Probably the result of some random idea or being hungry while grocery shopping, this food is better off with someone who will actually use it.
Stale Crackers and Snacks
Crackers and snacks might not technically be expired, but if they’re stale, most likely no one is going to eat them. You might feel guilty throwing them away because you spent good money on them or because it’s wasteful. However, if all they’re going to do is sit there and take up space, you are doing yourself and your family a service by throwing them away.
Excess Plastic Grocery Bags
Once upon a time, I had a HUGE stash of plastic grocery bags, more than I ever needed for the trash cans in my house or anything else. When you have more than you need or will use, they take up SO much space.
You can recycle them at your local grocery store, or see if a neighbor can use them.
Dish Towels with Mold
While they say washing in vinegar, or other mold-fighting remedies, does the tricks, dish cloths with mold stains should probably be replaced. Buy new ones and make sure to wash all kitchen laundry in hot water every few days to avoid mold in the future.
Moldy Sippy Cups
Sippy cups need to be checked regularly for mold. Sometimes the mold can be cleaned out with a good soaking. When its in the interior of the spout, however, where all the liquid is going through just before it reaches your child’s mouth, it’s time to throw it out and replace it.
We love these camelback kids water bottles because you can easily swap out the single piece without replacing the entire cup. Plus, they don’t leak!
Extra Coffee Mugs
The number of coffee mugs you need will depend on how many coffee/tea drinkers you have in your home. My personal rule of thumb is two per regular hot beverage drinker, and one per non-regular drinker.
Decide how many you actually need. Throw away mugs with chips as they collect bacteria over time (yuck); put what you don’t need in the “donate” box.
A long time ago, I switched the majority of our plastic Tupperware collection over to a simple set of clear pyrex dishes. Warped Tupperware just isn’t healthy to store food in.
Throw it away.
Tupperware Lids with No Matches
Lids with no matching Tupperware? Go through your entire Tupperware drawer and match everything up. Do a quick fridge and cabinet check.
Still no matches? They’re clutter. Toss them.
Pot Lids without Matches
Just like the Tupperware, pot lids that don’t fit any of the pots you currently own are just clutter you can live without.
Ineffective Oven Mitts
Do you have oven mitts that don’t really work and threaten to burn your hand every time you use them? It’s time for new ones.
Potholders You Never Use
If your drawers are overflowing with potholders and trivets, choose 3-5 to keep that you love and use regularly. Donate the rest.
Aprons You Don’t Wear
You probably only need one apron, maybe two if you bake and cook every day, all day. Donate the rest of your stash.
China You Never Use
This one can be tricky. Do you ever use your china? We use ours semi-regularly, so we kept it in addition to a small set of regular dishes.
If you haven’t used it since the day you received it as a wedding present? It’s time to sell it.
Dishes/Cups with Chips
I used to hold onto dishes with minor chips, but as I mentioned earlier, I learned that once the seal on dishes is broken, they can collect bacteria.
Dishes and cups are fairly easy to replace at thrift stores, or Target if you prefer.
Throw them away, and if it leaves you without the number of dishes or glasses you need – doubtful, but possible – replace them.
I resisted decluttering the front and side of the refrigerator for a long time. But one day, I was cleaning the fridge and took everything off of it.
What a difference!
Just like clear surfaces make rooms feel truly clutter-free, so does a clear refrigerator door.
If you were using those magnets for organization or calendar reminders, create a simple command center, instead.
If you were using them for kids’ artwork, try purchasing a couple of these frames to rotate artwork in and out. Recycle what you know you won’t want to keep long-term.
We have five kids: I have duplicates of things like peelers, pancake flippers, and serving spoons because we need and use them.
But ice cream scoops? Can openers? We only need one. You probably only need one, too.
Unused Kitchen Utensils/Gadgets
Do you have an immersion blender but you never make soup? What about an apple corer/slicer but you always reach for a regular old knife, instead?
They’re taking up space in your kitchen. Donate them, so someone else can use them.
Damaged, Nonstick Pans
Once nonstick pans have been damaged, they really are unsafe for use. The nonstick chemicals can leach into your food.
Never/Rarely Used Kitchen Appliances
A few Christmases ago, we were given a food processor to test some homemade salsa recipes. Other appliances we tried, like our blender, didn’t yield promising results. For a month or two, we were thrilled with the food processor.
We used it every week, but eventually our obsession with perfecting homemade salsa faded, and the processor sat unused in a kitchen cabinet…for two years. I never used it for anything else because it was a pain to clean, and I could the task with a simpler gadget that could easily be put in the dishwasher.
We sold it two months ago and haven’t regretted it.
Sometimes, appliances serve a purpose for a while, and then you realize you don’t love to bake, or that the appliance is more trouble to use and clean than it’s worth. Just because you paid a lot for it, or it was a gift is not a reason to keep it around when you know you’re done using it.
This might be one of the few items to add to your “sell” box. Appliances are generally worth your time to list and sell on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.
Cookbooks You Never Reference
Go through your cookbook collection, which ones do you actually use? Do you only have one go-to recipe in 3-4 of them? Photograph or upload that one recipe to your computer (this service is great for keeping recipes, both manually inputted and from the web!), and donate them to your local library if they are in good condition.
Knowing they are at the library should you ever want to browse through them again can give you piece of mind.
Placemats or Tablecloths You Never Use
To me, these are just one more thing to clean – and you still need to wipe down the table, anyways. It makes my life abundantly easier with little kids not to use these.
Unless they truly bring you joy and you use them regularly (or even semi-regularly), donate them to someone who will love them and use them.
The majority of takeout menus are accessible online. You can safely recycle these.
Cleaning Supplies You Don’t Use
When you look under your kitchen sink or bathroom sink, is it full of unused or half-used cleaning supplies? Mine was, too. I’ve since narrowed down to a few tried and true products for most of my cleaning needs.
Consolidate what you will use. Throw away things you haven’t used in months.
Unless you are extremely handy and the toy was a quality toy worth fixing, you most likely are not going to fix broken toys. Let your kids take apart the toys before you throw them away if you want to (mine had a blast doing this!). But then, let them go.
Toys that Are No Longer Played With
Certain toys are worth keeping as part of your toy rotation. Sometimes, with a good toy rotation system, old toys will be played with again.
If you’ve tried to rotate them and they still don’t get any playtime or you’ve flat-out asked your kids if they want to keep the items and the answer is “no” from everyone, it’s time for them to find a new home with kids who will enjoy them.
Don’t forget to go through outdoor toys, too!
Outlet Safety Plugs
If your kids are past this safety stage, you can pass them on to another parent who can use them.
Worn-out Markers/Broken Crayons
This should be an easy one! As with the pens, just sit down and test your marker stash. With crayons, every kid I know skips straight over the broken ones and goes for the whole ones.
Throw away the markers that are running out and the crayons that are broken.
Art Supplies You Hate
Do you own glitter, but never in a million years would you ever let your kids use it? (Wise choice, by the way – that stuff is pure evil.) Then why do you still have it?
Add to this list random shapes that get dumped out, stickers that end up on walls and furniture instead of paper, and finger paint you can’t stand.
Donate it to a braver mom who loves the mess.
Expired Car Seats
DO you have car seats in your basement, waiting for the next kid, that are past their expiration date? While I am a big fan of reuse, your child’s safety is more important than saving money.
If you need one soon, certain retailers take back old car seats in exchange for a discount on a new one. If you don’t need it yet, throw it away.
Diapers in Sizes Your Kids Have Outgrown
It seems economical and a good idea to hang onto those last 10-15 diapers leftover once your child moves up to the next diaper size…until you forget you have them with the next kid two years later.
Give them to someone who can use them NOW, not two years from now. The couple dollars just aren’t worth it.
If you are done having kids, pass the maternity clothes on to a friend or sell them as a lot online.
If you are planning on more kids, go through your stash and pull out pieces you never wore or didn’t fit very long (seriously – shouldn’t maternity clothes fit you your entire pregnancy?!). That way, the next time you are expecting, you can just pull out the entire box, knowing that everything it in will be used during your pregnancy.
Scratchy, Uncomfortable Pillowcases
I don’t know about you, but some pillowcases just don’t belong on anyone’s pillow under anyone’s cheek! Donate them.
We kept a couple towels with holes in them for big spills or tracked in snow/rain. We also kept two towels per person.
My point is that you don’t need to go crazy decluttering your towels, but if you have twenty towels for four people? You can most likely get rid of some.
Sheets in Bed Sizes You No Longer Own
We used to have a full-sized bed, and long after we got rid of the bed, we kept the sheets. For a while, we used them on our kids’ twin beds and just tucked them in, which was a frugal option that worked for a long time.
We can now afford to replace them. As long as they are free from holes or rips, sheets are make great thrift store donations!
Expired medications are at best ineffective and at worst, flat out dangerous. Toss them.
Supplements You Don’t Take
Do you love collecting supplements or were you ever in a season where you were trying every possible thing to feel better? These can be hard to part with because they can be SO expensive. But if you aren’t using them, they’re clutter, and keeping them won’t help you recoup the cost.
Keep what you still use; throw the rest away.
Free samples can possibly make good travel items…possibly. Most of the time, they just sit in your bathroom and kitchen cabinets, unused and cluttering up your space.
Throw them away, and vow not to take anymore. A polite “no, thank you” or “not today, thanks” is all it takes (This is from someone who hates saying “no” to anyone, even the sample people!).
Old Medicine Cups/Dispensers
We had soooo many medicine cups and dispensers from Children’s Tylenol and ibuprofen. You really only need to keep one or two of each on hand in case you lose one or it breaks. Toss the rest.
Opened makeup older than six months should be tossed. Bacteria, germs, yuck.
Next time you open new makeup, use a sharpie and write the date on the bottle. Then you’ll know more specifically next time that it’s actually time to toss it.
For now, use your best judgement, and trash what you think is older than six months, and especially makeup you hardly ever use.
Never Used Toiletries (Opened & Unopened)
How many Bath and Body Works lotions and body washes have you received over the years? Or maybe you succumbed to a great shampoo deal combined with a great coupon (plus a $5 Target giftcard back? I plead guilty!), but no one in your family actually uses that shampoo.
If you know you won’t use them and they are unopened, you can give them to friends or family or donate them to local men’s and women’s homeschool shelters.
If they are opened and various degrees of used, either commit right then and there to use them up before you buy anything else OR throw them away.
Commit to avoiding random toiletry purchases in the future. Only buy what you know you will use and love.
Bath Mats That Never Dry
If you have a bath mat that holds in water and never lets it go, it’s time for a new one. That’s a recipe for mold in your bathroom: yuck. Throw it away, and get a new one.
IKEA has cheap bath mats that are amazing, by the way.
Keep one or two for cleaning purposes. Toss the rest.
Old Nail Polish
Opened nail polish should be tossed after two years. Unopened? If you haven’t opened it in a year, why are you keeping it?
Determine what you will really use. Keep those; give away unopened bottles and toss the opened ones you know you won’t use.
Moldy Bath Toys
Did you know that those adorable little bath toys with squirt holes in them collect mold? Disgusting, right?
You can test them by filling with water and squirting into the bathroom sink. If it has mold in it, you’ll know. <Ewwww!>
If they are mold-free, you can close the holes with a glue gun. You also may just need a total bath toy overhaul.
When I decluttered our bath toys, I threw out a ton of moldy, disgusting bath toys, and replaced them with one simple set. A rubber duckie or two has joined the fun, but that’s about it.
Broken/Unused Hair Accessories
Throw away anything that’s broken, or you haven’t used a long time. You could donate them, but when was the last time you bought a hair accessory second-hand?
Hair Products/Appliances You Never Use
Just like toiletries, hair products and appliances accumulate without us even realizing it.
If you own a curling iron, for example, do you actually use it? Or do you always reach for hot rollers, instead? Then why do you still own the curling iron? Did you give up on that old brand of mousse a long time ago, but held on to the half-empty bottle?
Give away the curling iron and throw away the mousse. Make room for what you do use and love.
Ink for Printers You No Longer Own
Pure clutter. Donate it if unopened, or throw it away if it’s extremely old.
Multiple Boxes of Envelopes
How many letters do you really send? How many bills do you still pay via snail mail? You probably only need one box of envelopes at a time, and even that one box won’t be used in a year.
Binders/Folders You Don’t Use
If you’re not using them, parents and students need affordable options. Donate them to a thrift store, and save a parent some cash next school year.
Why are you hanging onto old textbooks? Do you really need them for reference?
Amazon and other websites offer buyback programs. Use them.
Craft Supplies You Don’t Use
This one can be a little harder because craft supplies are oh, so expensive. I used to be a scrapbooker once upon a time: letting go of all those expensive stamps was tough.
But I did it, and I’m so glad I did. (It took me hours to create ONE scrapbook page. And I didn’t even love the finished product.)
If you haven’t used the supplies in a couple years, you probably aren’t going to. You can try selling them on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. Or you can give them away.
Broken/Used Up Pens
These are super easy. Grab that piece of paper, test some pens and throw away the ones that don’t work anymore!
If they don’t fit in their assigned slot in your drawer and you don’t go through them like a third grade teacher with a class of 25 kids, you have too many.
Put them in a Ziploc bag and donate them.
Disposable Cameras/Old Film
If you haven’t developed these in years, you probably aren’t going to. Either commit to developing them, or throw them away.
If you haven’t missed the memories by now, you probably won’t a year from now.
Expired Insurance & Membership Cards
Are these still sitting in your wallet or on your desk? Cut them up and throw they away.
Expired Gift Certificates
In your decluttering, have you come across gift certificates you lost or forgot to use? As sad as it is (I’d be crying, too!), you need to throw them away.
Let the sadness drive you to declutter and get organized, so this doesn’t happen again.
Gift Cards with No Value
Unless it’s a Starbucks card you registered and are holding onto for the annual free birthday drink (a worth cause, for sure), old gift cards with no value can be cut up and thrown away.
Random Scraps with Addresses
Enter the addresses/phone numbers into your phone or address book. Trash the scraps.
Key Tags for Stores You Don’t Frequent
Most stores have a “store card” available at the check-out counter for out of town visitors. You can ask to use that card, too.
Toss the ones you never use.
Do your best to avoid signing up for store cards of cards you don’t frequent. Not only do they clutter up your wallet and key chain, they often clutter up your e-mail inbox as well (much harder to declutter!).
Unnecessary & Unsafe Power Cords
Do you ever look through your box of power cords and wonder what half of them go to? Check them all against various appliances in your house. If they don’t have matches, they can be trashed. Any cords with exposed wires can be thrown away as well.
Determine how many extension cords you really need, and keep only that many. Donate the rest.
Keys with No Known Purpose
Anyone else’s “junk drawer” have random keys that you have NO IDEA what they unlock? I’m pretty sure we all do.
Make sure to think this one through very carefully lest you inadvertently throw away the key to a storage unit or random lock box in the middle of decluttering fever (I might have done something like this once…).
If you’ve gone over them multiple times, labeled the ones you do know, and there are still keys leftover, toss them. Trust me, If those keys been there forever without you noticing them or needing them, they’re just clutter.
Unless you 1) are a dedicated couponer and 2) frequent a store that accepts expired coupons (very rare since they cannot get reimbursed from the company offering the coupon), recycle them.
Coupons You Will Never Use
I used to be an extreme couponer. I know what it’s like to clip every single coupon that you know will make for an amazing deal.
But then we were stuck with so.much.food (and toothpaste) that we just didn’t use. Unless this is your way of giving – donating all that free/discounted stuff to foodbanks – stop keeping and clipping coupons you won’t use.
There are so many apps these days that allow you to upload receipts and store them digitally. Take advantage of technology and reduce clutter!
Some receipts are necessary to hang onto for a set amount of time. Most of them for everyday purchases can be recycled right away, depending on how you handle money tracking and budgeting.
Do your research and know what you can safely toss.
Last Year’s Christmas Cards
Unless you have a specific purpose for these cards (Pinterest suggests plenty of ways to recycle them), let them go.
Personally, I keep the ones I received and display them above my kitchen sink to remember friends and family as I wash dishes. Every year, I swap out the new for the old.
These are NOT serving a purpose in your life. Recycle them ASAP.
Greeting Cards You Never Send
Do you have a drawer full of greeting cards, but you only send a few a year? Purge your collection by at least half, and donate them.
Do you have old chargers without the electronics to go with them? It’s time to get rid of them.
The same goes for product manuals. Almost every company offers product manuals directly on their websites. It’s safe to toss these.
Broken & Glitchy Headphones
When headphones stop working properly and you’ve already replaced them, why are they sitting in a drawer in your house?! Toss them.
Old Cell Phones/iPods
Keeping one working cell phone as a back-up can be a smart idea. More than one? You most likely don’t need it. Old iPods and extremely slow computers are very unlikely to come in handy.
There are several programs that take back old electronics. You could also reach out to your network to see if anyone could use an extra cell phone.
Shoes You Don’t Wear
If you haven’t worn them in a year and especially if they are uncomfortable or if you end up swapping them out for another pair at the last minute, give them away. They could end up being someone else’s favorite shoes!
Old Bridesmaid Dresses/Groomsman Attire
There has only been one bridesmaid in the history of my time as a bridesmaid that I actually loved the dress and wanted to wear it again. Unfortunately, I was seven months pregnant when I was in that particular wedding.
I kept the dress, but never bothered to have it adjusted. It literally sat in my closet for YEARS.
When I started decluttering, I realized that I was never going to and had very few occasions to wear it in the first place.
My husband was a groomsman in one wedding, and the clothes weren’t really his style. As the non-minimalist in our relationship, I still haven’t convinced him to part with them (it could be worse…there could be four more sets just like them).
Only keep the ones you will actually wear for formal occasions (if you even have cause to attend them).
T-shirts You Don’t Love
Do you get t-shirts for every company or church event? You might have quite the collection. Go through them and donate the ones you don’t love or wear (or that have logos for companies/organizations you hate).
Are there t-shirts in your collection that are ratty, ill-fitting, and holey? Time to let them go.
Socks with Holes
Maybe you need to keep socks with holes because you can’t afford new ones? I get that. But you actually probably have far more socks than you need.
Ditch the socks with holes, and get into a laundry routine that works to keep you in socks as often as you need them.
Clothes You Won’t Mend
It’s so easy to tell yourself that you’ll fix a piece of formerly loved clothing. But ask yourself, “Have I fixed clothes before? Am I really going to do this?”
If you are, great! Now do it…like, tonight.
If you aren’t, it’s just clutter. Mourn the loss of your favorite pair of pants, and get rid of them.
Do you have multiple winter coats, but only wear one or two? Keep one for fancier occasions and one for every day. Donate the rest.
Knick-Knacks You Don’t Love
Do you love to dust? I avoid it at all costs, and knick-knacks are notorious dust collectors.
A myth about minimalists is that we don’t have any knick-knacks. That’s not true.
We just only keep the ones we absolutely love or have extreme sentimental value and are worth our time to clean. I suggest you give the ones you currently have some careful thought and do the same.
Books You No Longer Read, but Have on Kindle
If you have both a physical copy of a book and the kindle copy and you’ve already read it once or twice? It’s time to give it away, unless it is one of those, “I’d want these five books on a desert island if I had nothing else to do for years” kind of books.
I love physical books, I do (kindle will never replace them fully for me), but I’ve found more and more than I only re-read a handful. And there have even been absolute favorite books that I’ve re-read so often, they were in tattered shreds when I was finally ready to recycle them – and I haven’t felt the need to replace them three years later.
Broken Children’s Books
Children’s books aren’t always made to stand up to the abuses of childhood. If the book is missing pages or the binding is barely holding it together, recycle it.
You can either buy a brand new copy or get that title from the library when you want it.
Magazines You Are Done Reading
If you want to remember an idea, tear out the few pages and keep them in a home binder. Better yet, take a picture with your phone. You’ll know whether or not you really needed to remember the idea when you upload photos a couple months later.
Magazines can either be recycled, given to a magazine-loving friend, or donated to local offices.
If you have kids, you know that more than a few comfortable throw pillows and blankets probably just get tossed on the floor every.single.time.
Keep a few throw pillows you love (we kept two pillows for couches and one per chair) and are in good shape. Donate throw blankets that are never used. We all have the ones we grab first, right?
Planters You Don’t Use
I don’t have a green thumb: I kill plants. One of these days, I might figure it out. Until then, planters were clutter for me.
If that sounds like you, donate them. Dead plants in them? Throw those away first.
Used Up Candles
I just learned that candles shouldn’t be burned when less than ½ and inch layer of wax remains in the jar, or two inches in a stand-alone candle. They’re dangerous: recycle them.
Candles in Scents You Don’t Like
If you didn’t love it the first time you burned it, or it gave you headache, you probably aren’t going to use it again. You’ll stick with the candles you love.
Give it away, or throw it away.
Movies You Never Watch
If you haven’t watched it in 6-12 months and it’s not a seasonal movie, give it away. You might want to watch it again one day, but that’s what RedBox and thrift stores are for.
I just encountered this myself. Years ago, I owned all five seasons of Alias. I loved that show and watched them over and over again. When I first started decluttering (four years ago), I realized I hadn’t watched them in 1-2 years. I reluctantly gave them away.
Four years later, I wanted to watch them again, so I found a copy at the thrift store for $4. I think of it like a storage unit. I paid $1 a year to not have that stuff cluttering up my overflowing bookshelves.
As someone who lives in under 1200 square feet with five kids, I consider that a pretty good deal.
Extremely Scratched DVDs/CDs
If any of the DVDs or CDs you own are scratched beyond ever watching the movie or listening to the music without being extremely annoyed, toss them. You probably aren’t watching anyways.
If they were favorites, look for a used copy in good condition at a thrift store or an on sale digital option like iTunes or Amazon that won’t get scratched.
Planters You Don’t Use
I don’t have a green thumb: I kill plants. One of these days, I might figure it out. Until then, planters were clutter for me.
If that sounds like you, donate them. Dead plants in them? Throw those away first.
Unless you buy two bouquets of flowers a week, or are the frequent recipient of flowers, you don’t need more than one vase. Most of them are probably collecting dust in a cabinet – a cabinet you could be using to see the rest of the stuff you do need.
Choose your favorite one (o.k. maybe two) to keep. Put the rest in the “donate” box.
Empty Frames You Never Hung
If you haven’t gone to the effort to print photos by now and hang them, the picture frames will most likely keep sitting right where they are: in storage.
Hang the few you really love (it might motivate you to order those pictures), and give away the rest so other people can use them.
Board Games with Multiple Missing Pieces
The occasional missing piece for a board game is usually replaceable with another board game piece. But multiple crucial pieces? Time to recycle it.
Unless it is a rare strategy game, most board games can be replaced at thrift stores. We have a couple reliable thrift stores in our area that consistently carry common, awesome board games.
Either shop first and combine the two sets for a used board game in the best possible condition, or recycle your current one in very bad condition and write it down on your “to look for at the thrift store” list.
Incomplete Decks of Cards
No one wants to play cards with an incomplete set. Recycle them ASAP.
Puzzles with Missing Pieces
Have you ever slaved away at a puzzle for hours only to miss that moment of putting in that last piece? Frustrating, right? It’s time to recycle them and save yourself frustation.
Broken Bins or Baskets
If you have storage bins and baskets that are broken beyond use, throw them away. You can replace these fairly inexpensively at thrift stores or Target.
But after this decluttering session, you might not need to replace them at all! Wait and see.
Duffle Bags or Suitcases with Broken Zippers
If they don’t close, they won’t keep your stuff safe when you travel. Throw them away and invest in a new set as soon as possible or necessary.
Is your basement filled with the boxes your appliances came in? Recycle them.
If you’re keeping them just in case you move or sell them, both of these can be done without the boxes. I’ve done it.
Extra Gift Bags
If you don’t give gifts regularly, keeping every gift bag from every gift you’ve ever received in order to use it later on, it’s clutter. There are much better uses for that space, and gift bags can easily be purchased at the dollar store or the thrift store.
If you do give regularly, reduce an out of control stash to a small bin.
Unusable Wrapping Paper
Do you have rolls of wrapping paper lying around that have barely any usable paper left on them? Surely not enough to wrap the average present.
Recycle the paper, and do your best to limit how much you purchase in the future.
Unused or Broken Seasonal Décor
Pay attention to what you use during the holidays. If you aren’t using it (especially if it’s broken), why are you keeping it? If, year after year, it sits in the bottom of the storage bin, it’s time to let it go.
Keep only what you love for a more enjoyable holiday – and more enjoyable after holiday clean-up.
If you haven’t used it in 2-3 years and keep saying you’re going to start, it’s time to get honest. Are you really going to use it?
This was really difficult for my husband, but he recently let me sell a three-year-old punching bag that was a total space hog. He purchased two dumbbells and a jump rope instead, and his office is putting a gym on the first floor of his building.
Be honest with yourself, and sell/donate what you won’t use.
Just last week, we purchased a bench from IKEA. It came with yet another little tool to tighten bolts. I’m ashamed to say we have about 15 of these in a Ziploc bag in our toolbox.
While I’m not an “all duplicates are evil” kind of minimalist (we have five kids – they break/lose stuff all the time), I don’t think you need more than two of most things.
Sell or give away (or throw away as with the IKEA tools) what you don’t need.
Broken Appliances or Electronics You Won’t Fix
Notice a “broken” theme? If you aren’t going to fix them, they are clutter. Period.
Throw them away, or even better, give them to someone who will fix them.
We stored an old mattress for a long time, and it was used and abused by our kids before we moved it into storage (If you have kids…bodily fluids of all kinds. Yuck.)
If you have one in good condition that you aren’t using, you can easily give it away for free or a small cost. Otherwise, schedule a trash pick-up and get that dust mite collecting thing out of your house/shed!
Recalled, Unsafe Items
If any item has been recalled, it is highly unlikely that it is safe to use. Either request the replacement part to fix it, or throw it away.
Purposeless Accent Furniture
The more furniture you have – occasional chairs, side tables, lamps – the more difficult it is to keep your house clean and the more clutter is likely to collect.
Do you use that chair in your room to sit on, or just as a clothes catcher? Is that entryway table a convenient place to set your bag while you get the kids ready to go, or is it for collecting junk mail?
Most of these items go quickly on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. If you aren’t using them, sell them.
Does your company give you a gift bag of random goodies every year? Things you don’t really need or want?
You don’t need to keep those gifts, or other gifts like them from random companies or other places. Donate them.
Are there items you’ve purchased accidentally but were unable to return? Things that stores allowed you to keep for free that were delivered incorrectly?
Give them as gifts or donate them if you don’t need them.
Get Your Copy of the Declutter Your Home Checklist FREE
I hope this list inspired you that there are so many easy items to declutter in your home today! Decluttering doesn’t need to be as overwhelming as it seems.
Start with the easy stuff. Let it give you the motivation and momentum to keep going to finish the job over the next month or year, depending on how quickly you want to have a clutter-free home.
Don’t forget to subscribe to get the declutter your home checklist with all 110 items for easy reference and to see your progress.