I know so many people who would love to downsize their life, stuff, the things they own. They want to start decluttering, live a more minimalist lifestyle, and own less.
And most of the time, they don’t start. Do you know why? If you’re reading this blog post, you’re probably struggling with the same issue: Most people just don’t know where to start.
When facing all the stuff you own and trying to find your way through all of the things you should declutter, it is extremely hard to set a starting point. But the most important step towards a life where you only own the things that make you happy and serve you is to just start. Right now.
To make this step super easy, I have collected a list of things to get rid of right now that will only take you 30 minutes or less but will get you a big step further in your decluttering journey. And as an extra tip: Get yourself a bag, basket, box, or whatever you have around and throw it all in there for now. We’ll go through what to do with them later.
So take this list, get up (I mean it, just do it!) and get rid of these things:
1. Old receipts
This is an easy one that will make a big difference. Receipts lying around look extremely messy and cluttered, so go through your purse, drawers, jackets and get rid of those receipts. Unless you need to keep them for your taxes (which usually only applies to business owners when buying things for their business), or you still want to return something (and you still can), you won’t need them anymore.
2. Games with missing pieces
You can’t play them anymore, so no reason for them to clutter up your space.
3. Multiple sets of playing cards
Keep your favorite one and donate or gift the rest.
4. Old/all CDs and DVDs
I’m pretty sure you don’t use CDs or DVDs anymore. You can still sell or donate them and make a few dollars that way. Take a picture of your favorite ones and save them on Spotify and Netflix.
5. Catalogs and brochures
Still have all the tourist guides from your last trip lying around? Or the catalog you wanted to go through from last month? You don’t need them anymore, throw them away.
6. Old birthday cards or notes
If they don’t mean much to you, throw them away. For the cards that are special to you, either keep them for now if you can’t separate or take a picture so you can keep the memory without the clutter.
If you have read them, throw them away. If you haven’t, but they have been lying around for months, you probably won’t read them anymore. Get rid of those, too.
8. Product samples
Let’s be honest, you won’t use those 173 product samples you have collected over the years from magazines, etc. Throw them away, they’re probably expired anyway.
9. Expired products
Speaking of which, go through your bathroom cabinet and dispose of all the skincare, haircare, and body products that are already expired.
10. Old makeup
The same goes for your make up. For opened makeup products you can go by this rule: If it’s liquid, it expires 6-12 months after opening. If it’s creamy, it lasts about 12-18 months. Powders should be tossed after about 24 months of opening them.
11. Out of date medication
Go through your medicine cabinet and get rid of anything that’s expired.
12. Old nail polish
Those nail polishes that have already completely separated? Toss them! Nailpolish also expires and won’t work as well afterward. Get rid of the ones you haven’t used in the past year.
13. Expired perfume
A good indicator of expired perfume is the color and the smell. If it has turned slightly yellow, it has probably oxidized. You can also smell it and see if it changed the scent. If so, get rid of it.
14. Stained or ripped towels
Toss any towels that have stains on them you can’t remove anymore or are ripped beyond repair. For old towels, you can always check in with your local animal shelter to donate them.
15. Broken hair ties and hair clips
Throw away all the hair accessories that are broken or you don’t use anymore.
16. Expired chap stick
Check your bathroom, purse, jackets, nightstand, etc. for extra chapsticks you haven’t used in forever. Chapstick also expires after 12 months, so get rid of them. Try to only keep 1-2 and keep them where you most frequently use them. This way, you always know where to find it, and don’t clutter your place with extras.
17. Old socks and underwear
You know that pair of underwear you only wear when everything else is in the wash? And those single socks next to the ones with 4 holes? Time to toss them.
18. Clothes that are stained or ripped
If you have clothes that are stained or ripped, and you can’t fix them within 5-10 minutes, get rid of them. You can upcycle them or donate them so they can get recycled or re-used.
This is going to be a touchy subject and might be something for more advanced declutterers. If you already read a book or just aren’t interested in the book anymore, give it away. You can pass your favorite ones on to your friends and family, and sell or donate the rest.
20. Clothes that don’t fit
Do you still have that pair of jeans in your closet you always used to wear 10 years ago? But you weren’t even able to get them past your thighs since then? No shame in that, donate or sell them. Someone else can give them a new life.
Sort through your jewelry and get rid of anything broken or stained. Declutter the ones you never wear and donate or sell them.
22. Cracked belts
Toss them. You only need 1-2 belts anyway.
23. Free t-shirts
Unless they mean something to you (like festival or concert shirts), get rid of those merchandise shirts in the back of your closet. Again, upcycle or donate.
24. Old bedsheets
Stained or ripped bedsheets? Toss them! 2-3 sets of bedding should be enough. For these, you can also check with your local animal shelter if they need donations.
25. Pens that don’t work anymore
Quickly test all the pens and get rid of the ones that aren’t working anymore.
26. Old notes
Go through your notes and see if there’s anything that’s still relevant. If so, take a picture of it. Either way: through them all away.
27. Old chargers
If you don’t even remember what device it’s for, you can probably get rid of it. Check with your local recycling center how to dispose of them properly.
Along those lines, get rid of all the old electronic devices you don’t use anymore. If they’re broken, dispose of them at your local recycling center. If they still work, sell them.
29. Paper manuals
Most things have online manuals nowadays. Look them up online, save them, and get rid of the paper version.
30. Old paperwork
Anything that’s not relevant anymore or you don’t have to keep for business or tax purposes can be shredded and thrown away.
31. Storage with missing lids
If you can’t find a different use for them, toss them.
32. Old plastic bags
Collect all the empty plastic bags around your house and keep them in one place. This time I’m not asking you to throw them all away. Keep them as garbage bags or shopping bags so the plastic doesn’t go to waste for nothing.
33. Chipped dishes, mugs, and glasses
Get rid of anything that’s so chipped that you don’t like to use them in front of guests. Or that’s even too dangerous to use anymore.
34. Expired and old food
Go through your fridge and cupboards and get rid of anything that’s expired or too old to eat anymore.
35. Old sponges, kitchen towels, and cloths
Did you know sponges should be thrown out after 1-2 weeks if you’re not sanitizing them? So get rid of all the old sponges, cloths and kitchen towels. This would also be a good time to invest in more sustainable options, like a bamboo dish brush or a sponge alternative made from sustainable materials like hemp or loofah.
36. Specialty kitchen appliances
Not using that vegetable spiralizer you thought would come in handy? Or the avocado slicer that looked so practical on TV? Get rid of anything you don’t at least use 4-5 times a year.
37. Take out menus
Most restaurants have online menus by now. If they don’t, take a picture of your favorite menus for future reference and then throw them all away.
I’m hoping you actually got up and decluttered a bunch of stuff you don’t need anymore.
As I said in the beginning, the best way to start is to just grab a box and throw it all in there. But obviously, we’re not done here.
For most of the items, I have already given you a few tips on what to do with those items. But when decluttering and asking yourselves what to do with the items, these are the main options you can consider: Either keep it, recycle or re-use, throw it away, donate it, or sell it.
But always make sure you don’t just throw everything away, but try to give most items a second life by donating or selling them.