Don't worry...shoes aren't on the list!
Do I really need twenty t-shirts, a dozen towels, three teapots? I need multiples of certain things, yes, but at some point, a few turns into too many. Check your multiplication on the following items that seem to accumulate.
Sheets: Unless you have kids who wet the bed and need to have their bed linens changed nightly, you don't really need more than two or three sets of sheets for each bed (Two, if you're good about doing laundry, three if you're a slacker). Concentrate, instead, on quality — linen sheets, maybe, or mix and match. Donate old sheets to animal shelters or rip them up for rags.
Glasses: Wine glasses, juice glasses, martini glasses. Do you really need a different glass for every beverage that you drink? Wine aficionados may disagree, but the trend towards stemless wine glasses can streamline your cupboards. Many of us are even starting to use the same items for everyday and company.
Tupperware: I love leftovers, but I feel pretty sure I'm in the minority. Most people I know pack up the extras with every intention of using them, and, weeks later, discover the science projects grown from their odds and ends. Go through your stash and put any containers without tops in the recycling bin. Better yet, eliminate plastic alltogether and get ceramic or Pyrex dishes that can go from oven to table to fridge (making it more likely that you'll use up their contents). Or eliminate the need for special leftover containers with stretch-to-fit covers. Resembling shower caps, they can turn any bowl or plate into a container.
Towels: As with sheets, so it is with towels. Is it necessary to use a new towel after every bath or shower? Consider using a hair towel, bath towel and hand towel for an entire week. Like sheets, donate old towels to animal shelters. Put aside a few generously sized ones that are still in good condition to use at the beach. To free up real estate in your closet, hang them on the back of a bathroom door.
Cleaning/Grooming Products: Whether it's hair products, nail products, cleaning products, hair baubles or something else, we've all got a weakness. Don't worry, we've all been suckered in by the product that promised to transform out hair or clean our bathroom. Time to eliminate. Streamline your routine, whether it's hair care or cleaning, to weed out products you don't use. For cleaning, an all-purpose cleanser, scrub, and window cleaning product can probably get you through most chores.
Makeup: I'm guilty of this one; though I wear minimal makeup, I've got enough colors for the next decade of Halloweens. Makeup, especially lipsticks (remember the funny texture and smell of the lipstick Gramma always wore?), mascaras, liquid liners and foundations, can go off. Toss anything you haven't worn in the past year. Not only is it probably bacteria-laden, chances are you'll never use it. Then treat yourself. Consider consulting with a makeup artist (try the makeup counter in a department store) to hone a look that works for day and one that works for night.
Books: Your favorite books, your favorite children's books, first editions, yes, but the summer beach read, caked with sand, or the book for your book club you only read because you had to? Many of us have a mental block against getting rid of books, but if you're not using them, they're just collecting dust. Cull your collection and donate books to your local library, a hospital or nursing home, or send books to friends. If you haven't already done so, consider making the switch to reading books on your Kindle, IPad or IPhone (the type's the same size as a standard paperback). Only save hard copies of books you are sure you want to keep.
Office supplies: What is it about a new notebook or a new pen that holds so much promise? Is it a holdover from when new supplies meant a new grade at school with its promise of a shiny, bright future? Do you really need and use all those notepads? If you've got it, use it: write a letter, send out that card you thought was funny, reuse that old file folder. Make a concious decision to use less paper. Ask yourself before you automatically print stuff out. Make lists on your smartphone instead (try an app like Teux Deux or UYHGold).
Hotel size items: Yes, they're cute, but when you take them home, they just become clutter. Use them up: store small sizes with your weekender or gym bag and use them up when you're heading to places where you might need pint-sized bath products. Or combine like with like to create one big bottle for your shower or bath. You can also combine small soaps: melt them down to form one big bar or wrap them in a washcloth tied up like a hobo bag. And if you find tiny toiletries accumulating, next time, leave them behind.
Frilly soaps, bath stuff and scented candles: If you have them, use them — don't just collect them, thinking you're saving them for a special occassion. In the meantime, tuck scented soaps into your sock drawer to scent your toes. Same with candles; use them or give them to someone that will get pleasure from them.
Vases: If you've ever received flowers, chances are they've come in a glass vase. If you don't use them, recycle them. Keep the ones you might actually use (medium sized cylinders or bowls, small box-shaped vessels) and recycle the rest. Keep the ones you have filled with flowers, use them to plant terrariums, or try some of these ideas.
Hangers: A mix of wood, plastic and wire hangers are often jumbled together in closets, ruining your clothes and making things look messy. Uniform hangers, like the slim velvety ones, make your closet look neat and keep your clothes looking better longer. Is your closet stuffed full of cardboard and wire hangers from the dry cleaners? Many cleaners will accept old hangers for re-using.
(Image: Lydia Brotherton / Mireille and Simon's Unique and Unified Berlin Apartment )
Re-edited from a post originally published 6.6.12 - JL