7 Cleaning Items You Should Get Rid of Right Now

published Jul 1, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Apartment Therapy

One of my favorite results of thinning out my possessions is being able to see and use what’s left after I’ve decluttered. I love the impression of freshness that comes from empty space and, when it comes to more practical items like kitchen items, I enjoy being able to get what I need without wrestling with a bunch of stuff I don’t. Decluttering brings calm in more ways than one.

Decluttering also makes the things you have to do more pleasant because it reduces mental blocks and frustration. Really, decluttering is a powerful way to conserve energy, whether it’s visual energy, decision-making energy, or actual labor.

One category of items people rarely declutter is cleaning tools and supplies. But I can’t think of a collection of items that’s more utilitarian. Decluttering them — paring them down to the best and most useful — has a huge impact on the act of cleaning. By simplifying your choices and minimizing hiccups, you can avoid irritation and channel all your energy into actually cleaning.

Here are some cleaning items you can get rid of right away:

Surplus spray bottles that don’t work.

Whether you can’t unclog the nozzle, the spray comes out crooked, or the trigger works only half the time, no one wants to fight with a spray bottle as they’re cleaning. Get rid of any of these broken tools.

Holey rags.

Your rags don’t have to be perfect, but once your textiles begin to become worn through, it might be time to get rid of them. You want to maximize the cleaning power of your wipe-downs and getting a hole stuck on a faucet is jarring.

Brushes with smashed bristles.

Again, you want your cleaning energy to be well spent. Scrubbing with flat brushes isn’t well-spent energy. Replace them (or trim them!) and consider whether it would be worthwhile to spend a bit more for longer-lasting tools.

Old Magic Erasers.

No, you don’t have to use a completely new Magic Eraser every time you use one to clean. Those things aren’t cheap! But once your Magic Eraser is saturated or flat or crumbling, toss it and reach for a new one.

Extra stain sprays.

Really specific stain sprays aren’t necessary if your multi-purpose ones get the job done. Pass them along to someone else or toss them if they’re just taking up space.

Duplicate tools.

If you have more than one broom or mop or duster, I bet you reach for your favorite each time you go to clean. Keep those and only those. The exception is if you have more than one kind of the same type of tool for specific jobs — and you use them all. For instance, we have an outside broom and an inside broom and they both get used for their respective purposes regularly.

Refills or accessories for tools you no longer own.

You might not even know you have these. Go through your stash of cleaning supplies and give away refills or accessories to the tools you no longer own. These could be things like Swiffer sheets after you’ve stopped using a Swiffer or attachments for a vacuum that you no longer have.