September is the new January! I’ve told that to Brian so many times in the last week as he’s questioned why I’m de-cluttering, he now just rolls his eyes. Going back to school has permanently ingrained in me the feeling of fall being a fresh start, a time to refocus on old goals and make new ones. Maybe that’s why they say “turn over a new leaf,” because fall … leaves… MIND BLOWN.
Even though it’s still devilishly hot here in Arizona, I’m not going to let it get me down or chill my autumnal instincts. I’m preparing for one of my favorite fall traditions – the purge. Before I can cozy up for winter, I first have to get rid of all the stuff that’s creating disorder, stress, and holding me back from clarity and purpose by its mere existence.
Before we can fully pursue new goals and the fresh start fall brings, we need to clear out what’s holding us back. Getting rid of clutter to make space for what we truly love and want in our lives.
But I’m not just talking about physical clutter – although science says that it does have a massive effect on your mental and emotional health – but in addition to things you can clear out of your house, I’ve also listed things you should de-clutter from your digital life and even your soul. This list is perfect to tackle before your major fall cleaning, or a goal setting session
Ready for a fresh start this fall? Pump some upbeat tunes, and get ready to tackle this list of 155 things you CAN get rid of to make space for what you love.
A couple notes:
1. It always gets worse before it gets better, which means that in the process, you may make a mess as you clean out a space and sort through it. Just trust the process and tell the other people in your life who may be bothered by it to chill, and make sure you really do finish the job.
2. What to do with the stuff listed below? You have three options: throw it away, donate it, or, my personal favorite, sell it.
- Donate it to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or if you have the time to spend, research specific places to donate items in good shape, like a local women’s shelter that needs business clothes, or prom dresses for underprivileged girls. My newest favorite place to donate clothes is H&M, because you get 15% off coupons!
- If you’d like to sell your stuff, you do have more options than just a garage sale. Craig’s List of course, but I’ve had some success on Offer Up, which is even easier to use from your phone. You can also try consignment stores for brand name clothing.
3. What about the stuff you just aren’t sure if you’re ready to part with yet? Ask yourself a few questions. Is it serving you? Sometimes things were great for us for a while, but they no longer fit us or our life. Could someone else use it? If someone else could use and enjoy it, why let it take up space in your life? Are you keeping it out of guilt or concern for someone else’s feelings? That’s not a great way to live – but it can be challenging to navigate things tied to relationships. You can’t do this with everything, but if you’re really and truly stuck, I’ve found it does help to store the item out of sight for a while. That distance can give me perspective and sometimes helps me decide.
4. Start with a drawer. Preferably one that you use every day, like your make up drawer or kitchen utensil drawer. This small win will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to keep going!
Before we get to the decluttering, there’s three things you need to do:
- Store away off-season items, and items you’re unsure if you want to get rid of or keep
- Pull out items that need mending or repair and schedule a time to fix them later
- Stage your sorting area – maybe find 3 boxes or bags for donating, tossing, and putting away somewhere else, or designate an area in your basement or garage – whatever you need to do!
1. Expired make-up (check the dates here, but the longest you can keep anything is 2 years).
2. Mostly empty bottles of hair products. Those remaining drops are not worth the space the bottles are taking up.
3. Products that you didn’t like. Maybe it smelled weird, or the texture was off, but for whatever reason, if you didn’t like it, don’t keep it.
4. Hair accessories you don’t like to wear. If it’s not your style, it goes.
5. Make-up that isn’t the right color for you. Your skin undertones aren’t going to change.
6. Make-up you never use. If it’s not used, sometimes you can sell it, otherwise, just toss it.
7. Products that didn’t work. It’s a bummer when something doesn’t live up to it’s hype, but don’t let it hang around.
8. Partly used sample products or hotel bottles. Hotel samples are a vice – I hate leaving them in a hotel to be thrown away, but I never use them again and I get too many of them. The product isn’t the greatest anyway, so really, it’s not much of a loss.
9. Lotions or body sprays that aren’t your favorite scent anymore.
10. Slivers of soap. Just start fresh.
11. Broken hair ties or bobby pins.
12. Dirty combs or make up brushes that won’t wash out. Time to upgrade.
13. Towels or washcloths that are stained or worn out.
14. Shower curtain or liner that is mildew-y. If you tried washing it and it didn’t work, it’s beyond help and needs to go.
15. Curling tools, straighteners, hair dryers – any multiples of hair tools you don’t use. These tools take up tons of space, so make sure they’re all still serving you well.
16. Free make-up bags you don’t need. You know those little bags you get with your free gift at make-up counters, etc.? Don’t collect these – now that you’ve thrown out your old make-up, donate these.
17. Make-up brushes you don’t use. Just because they came in a set doesn’t mean you need to keep them all.
18. Expired medicines.
19. Old nail files.
20. Clumpy or dried out nail polish.
21. Nail polish in colors you don’t like.
22. Old newspapers.
23. Old magazines you don’t reference.
24. Junk mail.
25. Receipts for things you’re not planning to return.
26. Old bank statements. If you still get these in paper form, seriously, switch to electronic!
27. Anything you can find online. I tend to keep papers with useful info just in case, but seriously, it’s 2017 – just let it go.
28. Instruction manuals (if you can find them online).
29. Cords for electronics you no longer have or use.
30. Old electronics that don’t work.
31. Empty boxes for things you’re using. You really don’t need to keep the original packaging – even if you’re moving in the near future, chances are you’ll be able to pack more efficiently without bulky packaging.
32. Old phones or electronics.
33. Books you don’t want to read again.
34. Books you’re never going to read.
35. Notes from college classes. If you haven’t learned it by now, you aren’t gonna.
36. Textbooks you never reference.
37. Craft supplies for projects you don’t want to make anymore.
38. Kid’s toys that aren’t played with.
39. Baby equipment that you won’t use again.
40. Candles you don’t like.
41. Papers you filed that you’ll never need.
42. Old business cards.
43. Business cards from people you don’t want to contact.
44. Home decor items that you don’t love.
45. Multiples of documents.
46. Multiples of printed photos.
47. Pens, pencils, and markers that don’t write well.
48. Scissors that don’t cut well.
49. Dog toys that are worn out,
50. Old art projects that serve no purpose.
51. Unfinished craft projects.
52. Burned-up candles.
53. Expired coupons.
54. Punch cards for restaurants you don’t go to anymore.
55. Cards or photos that don’t spark joy.
56. Dead plants.
57. Ugly fridge magnets. Upgrade!
58. Old calendars.
59. Multiples of cheap glass vases.
60. Dishes that aren’t functional. We had a baking sheet for years that didn’t even fit in our oven!
61. Kitchen appliances you never use.
62. Cookbooks you don’t use.
63. Kitchen gadgets you don’t use.
64. Expired food in your refrigerator.
65. Expired baking supplies. Yes, your vanilla, baking powder, cocoa powder, cornstarch – will eventually go bad, as I discovered when I found I had baking supplies still from my first year of marriage … seven years ago.
66. Food that’s been sitting in your fridge too long.
67. Food that’s been in your freezer for years. If you haven’t eaten it yet, you probably just aren’t going to.
68. Food that’s been in your pantry for years. You clearly don’t want to eat it, so don’t.
69. Ugly coffee mugs. Life is too short.
70. Dishes that don’t fit well in your cupboards or oven.
71. Loner cups or plates.
72. Old batteries.
73. Dried up glue sticks.
74. Tupperware containers with no lids. The bane of my existence.
75. Lids with no containers
76. Junk in your nightstand drawer. Receipts, notes, scraps of odds and ends always end up in mine.
77. Old worn-out slippers.
78. Worn out flip-flops.
79. Pajamas that don’t make you feel great. You know the ones – the ratty tee shirts or holey leggings. You’re a grown up adult, get real pajamas! You’ll sleep better.
80. Underwear that’s uncomfortable. There’s a better way to live.
81. Underwear that’s worn out.
82. Socks that are worn out.
83. Socks without matches.
84. Tights or hose with holes in them.
85. Leggings with holes.
86. Jeans that don’t flatter you.
87. Multiples of clothing you don’t wear.
88. Belts that are peeling or worn out.
89. Broken jewelry.
90. Jewelry you don’t wear.
91. Scarves you don’t wear.
92. Hats you don’t wear.
93. Purses that aren’t in style anymore.
94. Purses that you don’t use.
95. Clothes that are hard to match.
96. Clothes that don’t fit your lifestyle.
97. Clothes that don’t fit, period.
98. Clothes that don’t flatter you.
99. Clothes that you didn’t wear last season. There’s a good chance you didn’t wear it for one of the reasons mentioned above, so it’s time to let it go.
100. Clothes that don’t serve you anymore. Maybe you no longer need suits for the office, or old team uniforms.
101. Clothes with holes that can’t be repaired.
102. Clothes you wouldn’t buy if you were shopping today. This is a great question to ask yourself when you’re analyzing an item.
103. Clothes that are uncomfortable. Why suffer?
104. Clothes with stains.
105. Worn out shoes.
106. Shoes that don’t fit your lifestyle. I finally donated two pairs of heels after accepting the fact that I just don’t wear skinny heels, and never will.
107. Extra buttons that you don’t know what they go to.
108. Any clothes with the tags still on. Sell these!
109. Extra charging cords or headphones.
110. Extra pens on your nightstand.
111. Decor items you don’t love.
112. Blankets that you don’t use.
113. Sheets and pillow cases that are stained or worn out.
114. Sets of sheets in sizes that don’t fit your beds.
115. Sheets and pillow cases that are stained or worn out.
116. Flat or worn out pillows.
117. Board games you never play.
118. Puzzles you’ve already put together. Are you ever really going to do it a second time?
119. Holiday decorations you don’t really like.
120. Old cleaning supplies you don’t use.
121. Gift bags and tissue paper that are torn.
122. Gift bags, boxes and tissue paper you have too many of. Pare it down to the good ones.
123. Boxes of stuff you haven’t looked at in years. A clear sign that it’s not contributing to your life.
124. Old files you don’t need.
125. Old paint.
126. Broken tools.
127. Obvious trash.
128. Small scraps of wood.
129. Loose screws and nails.
130. Old sports equipment.
131. Kid’s outgrown bikes and toys.
132. Expired bug spray.
133. Expired sunscreen.
134. Old rags beyond the point of cleaning.
135. Clumpy paintbrushes.
136. Paint rollers that are worn out.
137. Excessive plastic bags.
138. Things you’ve stored for years without needing. Clearly, just taking up space for useful things.
139. Old camping equipment you have no desire to use.
140. Broken pool toys or floats.
141. Review where your money went over the last month or two. Is this where you want it to go?Where are you wasting money that you could redirect to your goals? We love LOVE Mint.com. It’s free, and it makes budgeting so easy! Mint.com connects to your accounts and categorizes things for you.
142. Set some new financial goals for yourself. Is there a big milestone, like saving for your own house, or going on a big trip, that you can take steps each month towards? Where do you want to be financially six
months from now? What about five years from now?
143. Make a budget. Mint.com makes managing it all in one spot easy.
144. Unfollow people who don’t follow you, you don’t know, or you don’t truly enjoy their posts. There’s apps for this, literally one called “Cleaner” that will clean out the people you follow so you can start enjoying social media again.
145. Unsubscribe from all store emails.
146. Turn off push notifications for apps on your phone. You will discover you have so much more free time!
147. Delete time-sucking apps and games. Speaking of free time – you’ll be able to accomplish so much more. And even in your downtime, you can do something that makes you actually feel better afterwards, like reading, or making something, or doing a beauty treatment of some kind.
148. Store your photos and delete old ones from your phone. Figuring out what to do with the 7,000 photos on your phone can be a challenge. Try Google drive, or iCloud storage, or a good old fashioned hard drive that you can back up to on a regular basis.
149. Toxic relationships. Take a relationship inventory. Are there some relationships in your life that are marked by constant drama, gossip, manipulation, broken promises, guilt-tripping, angry outbursts, or other destructive tendencies? This is not as easy as throwing away expired coupons – I get that, but it’s far more important for your overall well-being, and will have major implications on your life.
150. Unforgiveness. Is there something you’ve been holding onto? Forgiveness doesn’t mean there are no consequences or that what that person did wrong was ok, it just means that you’re going to move forward in your life.
151. Discontentment. This soul clutter sucks the joy out of you, and probably people around you. Learn to love the life you have now, before you look back on it in the years to come and wish you’d appreciated what you had.
152. Worry. Worry is like a mental virus that takes over your mind’s hard drive, slowing it down and keeping it from being actually productive.
153. Stress. Identify the sources of your stress. Can you get rid of those things? If not, what healthy coping mechanisms can you use to cope on a regular basis?
154. Schedule. If you’re too busy, your soul will suffer. Take a hard look at what you really need to do, versus the things you’re saying yes to because you “should” do them. What could you de-clutter from your calendar?
155. Bad habits. Replace bad habits with something that will move you forward in life, something you have a strong “why” for that you can remind yourself of when the going gets tough. For example, one of my bad habits is watching YouTube videos on my phone in bed at night, which keeps me up late, and then makes me late for work the next day. I’m working on this habit by replacing it with a good habit – setting a bed time alarm, and doing 15 minutes of yoga every morning.
For that last section, I recommend blocking out some time with a journal, nice candle, and your favorite music to just spend time reflecting and journaling your thoughts. If you find you’re coming up with the same issues, worries, or bad habits repeatedly, think about getting some outside help from a professional counselor.
What’s the hardest room in your house to de-clutter? Share your struggles in the comments below!