Inside: How to keep clutter from coming back! Use the free printable checklist to quickly purge and declutter your home.
A few years ago I was absolutely fed up with the clutter that we’d accumulated and worked really hard to change the way I think about what I own. That mental shift started me on a path to less clutter and more mental clarity. But the reality is that decluttering your home is an ongoing process that needs to be visited regularly.
And even though I have a solid method for decluttering any space big or small, every quarter or so I do a quick sweep of our house and quickly gather up all those things that seem to trickle into our home over time and get rid of them.
And I’ve been taking notes and created a checklist of over 75 things you can get rid of today, that I’ll share with you today. Plus, you can grab your printable copy of this checklist here.
I tried my best to separate the list out by room so you can sweep each room in about 15 minutes or less, but of course some items could be anywhere so anytime your working through the list of a specific area, check the general section too to make sure you don’t miss anything in that room!
Things you can get rid of in your kitchen:
- Duplicate pans/ serving dishes: Do you really need four glass cake pans? I’m pretty sure two will be all you need at one time, and the one time in the next 5 years you need more than that, you can borrow one from your neighbor. Keep the ones in the best condition and only the amount you’d need at one time.
- Unused or duplicate utensils: Same goes for utensils. You’ll never need 7 spatulas at one time and you probably don’t need 8 pie servers.
- Condiment packets: Unless you use these in the kid’s lunches regularly, get rid of them. And the next time you get takeout tell them exactly how many packets of sauce or ketchup you need so you don’t end up with a ton of extra and have to waste them.
- Plastic silverware: I’m talking about the random ones that ended up in your drawer when you ordered takeout. Toss ’em and again, next time you order take out and won’t need the utensils, don’t take them or tell them you don’t need them. Mother earth will thank you.
- Take out menus: You can find most of this info online these days so there’s really no need to keep take out menus laying around.
- Excess coffee mugs: You don’t have to keep every free mug you’ve ever gotten and I know you have your favorites so if you don’t use a mug regularly, donate it!
- Souvenir cups/ glasses: Same goes for those souvenir cups and glasses. They usually don’t get used much. Take one and use is for a dog food scoop, and recycle the rest.
- Magnets: I know they were free, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep them.
- Mismatched food storage containers: I will never know how lids to my food storage containers disappear into thin air, but they do. And once that happens the container becomes almost useless and always gets passed up. It’s time to recycle those mismatched food containers. (You could also keep a few and use them as drawer dividers in your junk drawer.)
- Vases: Every time you get flowers or win the centerpiece at an event you end up with another random vase. But if a vase has sat unused in your cupboard for over 6 months, it’s time to say goodbye.
- Expired food: I know this one feels so wasteful, but if you have expired food, toss it.
- Food and snacks that don’t get eaten: Story of my life. My kids want to try a new kind of crackers and don’t like them so they sit in the pantry… ugh. If there are foods or snacks that get passed up, take them to your local food bank or homeless shelter before they expire.
- Frozen food that can’t/ won’t get eaten: When’s the last time you looked in the very back or the very bottom of your freezer. Do you even know what’s in there? I bet there are some things that you know you’ll never eat or have been in there far too long. Be sure to toss these close to trash day so you don’t stink up your trash can!
- Old or never used spices: Did you know that some spices go bad? If it’s been so long you can’t even remember which recipe you used it in or the contents have become one solid mass, toss it.
- Bottles of cleaner you don’t like/ use: You bought it, but it didn’t work. Keep only what you actually use and like.
- Unused cookbooks/ recipes: If there’s only one recipe in an entire cookbook you use, make a copy of it and get rid of the book. It takes up too much space. And that low-fat cookbook you’ve never opened, donate that one too.
- Stained tablecloths/ place mats: Things like this aren’t meant to last forever, so if it’s worn out and you’d be embarrassed to put it out when you have company over, it’s time for it to go.
- Chipped dishes: I know you’re holding onto these cause they might complete a set, but if you’re always avoiding using it and wouldn’t put it out when you have friends over, let it go. It’s not worth the space it’s taking up and you’ll never have to worry about putting it out on accident.
Things you can get rid of in the bathroom:
- Never used hair products: Trying new hair products is exhausting because half the time they don’t live up to your expectations and end up sitting around. The space you get back when you get rid of them will be worth the money you “wasted.” Donate them to a women’s or teens shelter.
- Toiletries you don’t like: Same goes for the deodorant you tried but didn’t like or the toothpaste you can’t stand the taste of.
- Old towels: You deserve to dry off with a nice towel like you enjoy when you’re in a hotel. Give those old towels to your local animal shelter. Fido will love the soft place to lay.
- Old makeup: Okay maybe keep a few things on hand for Halloween related makeup, but toss anything else that you don’t wear, don’t like, or smells weird.
- Hotel toiletries: I’ll say it again. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you need to keep it. There will be more at the next hotel you stay in, I promise.
- Expired sunscreen: This stuff is no good anyway so there’s no sense in feeling gross and greasy for a sunscreen that isn’t protecting you from the sun.
- Expired or unused medication: Be careful here. Some of this stuff is harmful to the environment and we don’t want it to end up in the wrong hands. For more information on how to dispose of medicines properly or how to find a safe take back location you can visit the FDA’s website here.
- Soaps and perfumes you don’t like the scent of: If you don’t wear it, get rid of it.
Things to get rid of in your bedroom & closet:
- Socks with holes or no match: They’re useless and they can make you crazy when you’re trying to get dressed in the morning. Get them out!
- Earrings without a match: Okay not if it has value, but if it’s costume jewelry it has no use without its mate.
- Costume jewelry you don’t wear/ isn’t your style: I know it’s hard to let go of our 20 year old selves but we are better and wiser now, so let these things go.
- Clothing that doesn’t fit or isn’t your style: This is another hard one, I know. But if you do it, it will be one of the most rewarding and freeing things you do all year. Promise.
- Uncomfortable or worn out underwear or bras: If you pass it up regularly, it has no place in your drawer. You deserve to be comfortable and not tugging at your undergarments all day long.
- Extra buttons: They usually come in their own little baggie and are so cute. But when’s the last time you actually used one? That’s what I thought. You could donate them to a place that could use them as craft supplies.
- Worn out purses, bags, hats, wallets: Why do we keep these things? We replaced them for a reason, so let’s cut the ties!
- Shoes you don’t wear: You probably don’t wear them because they aren’t comfortable, so you’ll probably continue to avoid them. Instead of avoiding them, donate them.
- Old bedding, blankets, pillows: This stuff can take up so much space, but your local homeless or animal shelter is in great need of these things all the time.
- Souvenir t-shirts: Back to the free stuff we think we need to keep. No. You. Don’t.
- Clothing with stains/ holes: Okay maybe keep one set of “painting clothes” as I call them, but the rest can go.
- Rarely worn outerwear: Do you really need 3 heavy coats? Again there are so many people in need of these items. Keep your favorites and let the rest go.
- Wire hangers and plastic garment bags from the cleaners: If you’re keeping only your best stuff, keep it nice by hanging it on a nice hanger and get rid of these ones.
Kids stuff to get rid of:
- Broken toys: I know it was their favorite, but they pass it up because it doesn’t work anymore. If it doesn’t get used, it needs to go.
- Games with missing pieces: You can’t play a game without the necessary pieces so why are you holding onto this?
- Clothes that don’t fit: It makes it a lot easier for a kid to get them self dressed if everything in their drawer fits them. That’s less work for you, and more independence for them. It’s time to create a system for clothes that don’t fit, cause it’s an ongoing issue.
- Filled up coloring books: These probably never get looked at anyway.
- Old books: Keep a few of their favorites but if they don’t get read anymore, donate them to a local school, in home day care, or children’s program
- Art/ school work: You don’t have to keep every single piece of art that your kid makes. Keep a few milestone or special pieces then take a photo of the others and make a memory book on a site like Shutterfly.
- Broken crayons: Just like your uncomfortable underwear, if they avoid using them, they need to go.
- Dried out markers: Because there’s absolutely no reason to keep these.
- Goodie bag/ kid’s meal toys: Get rid of this junk that never gets played with, always gets dumped out of the bin when they’re looking for something else, and hurts when you step on it. Oh, and promise to never give this stuff out. Make your next party favor consumable, and other moms will thank you 🙂
More things you can get rid of today:
- Unread or unused books: Books can take up a ton of valuable real estate in your home. If you were going to read it, you would’ve by now. And if you haven’t read it in forever, maybe it’s time to donate it!
- Magazines and newspapers: You don’t need to keep these. If you have to keep certain pages or clippings, create a single binder and tear out what you need.
- Receipts: Only keep receipts for things that are still under warranty. The return date is probably long gone.
- Broken pens or pens you don’t like to use: Goes back to the whole if you avoid using it, get rid of it idea.
- Unused random cords: These pop up way more often than we realize. Every gadget these days has its own cord and as soon as the gadget is not used or broken we seem to hold onto the cord. Why?
- Old electronics and remotes: If you don’t get rid of these things, you’ll end up feeling like you live in an electronics graveyard real quick.
- Expired coupons: It’s best to keep all your coupons in one folder and go through it regularly to get rid of the old ones.
- Manuals: Most of the instructions for things can be found online now not to mention… how often have you ever needed these?
- Doubles of printed photos: Such a waste of paper! Get rid of these and then vow to only make doubles of the photos you will actually mail off to great aunt Bertha.
- Old calendars/ planners: I’ll be honest, I used to keep old calendars for when I’m making my kid’s yearly photo books. But now I take a photo of the month and put it in the digital folder with that month’s photos so when I go to create their book it’s all in one spot and I have less clutter!
- Cards with no sentimental value: ‘Nuf said.
- DVD’s that don’t get watched: Most of these titles can be watched on Amazon Prime or Netflix these days. And yes they may cost you 3.99 to rent once a year but what is 8 square feet of your house worth?
- CD’s: Same. You can upload these right onto your computer and play them with all your smart devices now.
- Product packaging: Are you guilty of keeping the boxes to your gadgets or even your shoes for no apparent reason? Stop it.
- Craft supplies for crafts you’ll never get to: I know we have the best intentions, but if you haven’t gotten to it, you probably never will. Donate this stuff to your local boys and girl’s club.
- Old/ unused membership/ club cards: Most of these places will take your phone number so there’s no need to lug around all those plastic cards.
- Expired insurance/ credit cards: We put the new ones in our wallet, but when’s the last time you took out the old ones?
- Pet toys your pet never plays with: Animal shelters will gladly take these.
- Old paint: Especially if you don’t even know what room it’s for. Be sure to look up your local paint disposal location. You can’t just put this stuff in the trash. It’s not good for your future great grand kids.
- Gifts you received but don’t like: I know this may make you feel guilty but they’ve never asked you why you haven’t worn it or displayed it and you don’t have to tell them it never left the box. You certainly enjoyed and appreciated the gesture but you need to make space for mental clarity, not have reminders of guilt laying around.
- Excess materials from home projects: This one gets me every time. What to do with the leftovers from home renovation projects? Contact your local Habitat for Humanity Restore. They take a lot of this stuff.
- Old cleaning rags: You don’t need more than 5 of these on hand. Keep the best ones, let the rest go.
- Old keys: You aren’t going to figure out what it opens.
- Old cell phones and all their accessories: This stuff needs to be recycled properly or if you clear all your info off of your old phones, some shelters for women and children will take them.
- Dead batteries and burnt out lightbulbs: Gather these up and the next time you run to home depot drop them in the proper recycling container at the front of the store.
- Shopping bags: Keep what you need, recycle the rest and start using reusable bags!
- Bottles or containers with just a little product left: A lot of times these can be combined with the newer bottle. Either way they’re taking up room. Recycle them.
- Holiday décor that hasn’t been put out in 2 years: Our style changes. Don’t feel bad about that cause there’s no sense in storing things for 11 months out of the year that never get used. That’s just silly!
Whew! Take it one room at a time and you’ll be amazed at how good you feel afterward!
Make it easy and grab your printable version of this checklist by clicking below!