Worry-Free Decluttering: 8 Things to Get Rid of that You’ll Never Even Know Are Gone

published Nov 12, 2014
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(Image credit: Carolyn Purnell)

It’s one thing to get rid of items that have a lot of sentimental value. It’s easier to ditch stuff that you don’t care about, have duplicates of, or just don’t really need. If you are starting a long-overdue purging process, start with this list. Trust me: you won’t miss a thing once they are gone.

  1. Coffee Mugs: Many people mindlessly collect mugs, much like business cards or matchbooks. There are instant, affordable souvenirs to mindlessly reach for and/or to accept as gifts. Harmless enough gestures at the time, there’s no denying their tendency to linger without true purpose. You’ll always reach first for your favorite morning mug, and ignore the rest of the porcelain in the back of your kitchen cabinet.
  2. Travel Size Toiletries: Are you one of those people who just grab the hotel shampoo and soap, and stuff it in your luggage, even if you don’t need it? If you have a huge stash that you’ve squirreled away somewhere, think about paring down the collection.
  3. Old Medication: It feels weird to get rid of something that requires a medical license procure. Yet most pills in your medicine cabinet are woefully out of date, or you have no idea what they were originally prescribed for. I’m all for pushing the expiration dates beyond what’s recommended, but do toss the ones that are dated from 2005 or that you have no idea what they are.
  4. Vases: These breed faster than rabbits, especially those generic FTD-type vessels that lack personality. If you’ve ever been gifted flowers, you know these are unwelcome interlopers amongst actual useful glassware.
  5. Food Storage Containers: These are the refrigerator gifts that keep on giving. They are cheap to acquire, yet just precious enough to cling to — without realizing that you really, really don’t need as many as you have. Take a moment to get rid of extra lids, super stained plastic ones, and the ones you never ever use. (I’m just realizing that I have “favorite” Tupperware. Kill me now.)
  6. Party Supplies: Paper plates, napkins, and candles hold such promise and are hard to resist – of a perfect evening with friends and convivial conversation, decorated just so. Host enough events and you find yourself overflowing with extras and odd men out.
  7. Craft Supplies: Every DIYer and crafter’s Achilles heel is that fabric stash, that beautiful yarn waiting for the perfect project, and your fifty types of glue. You have enough stuff to make until the Apocalypse at this rate, so time to cull the collection, use what you have, or get rid of it.
  8. Books: Don’t worry about the classics, go for the cheap thrillers in paperback you have lying around — the ones clogging your nightstand and needlessly crowding your shelves. Most likely you won’t pick up these same books twice, especially in today’s digital age. Let go of that visual notch in your literary bedpost, and free yourself from housing an entire library.

Give these away to friends, donate them, do a swap, or recycle what you can. I guarantee you won’t have donor’s remorse, or rue the day you dropped them off at Goodwill.

Re-edited from a post originally published 11.13.2014-NT