Want to have less junk lying around your house? Here are ten things you can start decluttering right away. I’ve found that these are common clutter culprits in most homes…but the good news is, they’re pretty easy to simplify!
From my experience simplifying my whole home, observing other people’s homes, and hearing feedback from readers, there are certain items that we tend to collect an inordinate amount of–more so than others. If you want to spend a profitable hour bringing more breathing space to the corners of your home, pick a few of these categories to declutter.
And if you really don’t have too many of these? Tell me what YOU think are the common items that people over collect! I’d be curious to hear about it in the comment section below.
10 Things You Can Declutter Right Now
Perhaps because they’re such popular all-occasion gifts, mugs seem to multiply like rabbits! Go check your collection and see if there’s any you can part with. You probably only “need” a mug for each member of your family, plus a few extras for guests. For our part, after getting rid of quite a few mugs, we still have more than we need! But the ones we’ve kept are just our favourites or from special occasions and people.
2. Pens and pencils
Grab a notepad and test all of your pens. Throw away the ones that are dried up (or replace the ink cartridges). Even after ditching the defunct ones, you’ll still probably have more than you need! Choose a few favourite trusty pens and pencils; get rid of the rest. If you tend to lose pens and pencils easily, keep them all in one or two places only, like on the desk or with school supplies. Buy a good pencil sharpener to keep nearby.
To be brutally honest, I’ve found that there’s a lot of pride attached to the book issue. Books speak from their shelves, and we want ones that will say volumes of good things about us: that we’re knowledgeable, trendy, cultured, whatever. For other people, there’s stark denial when it comes to books. “I’m going to read that someday!” we reason. “Probably very soon!” Probably not. Take a good hard look at your books and decide what you can simplify. Actually, do more than just look–handle each book while you think it over!
Books can be such a tough area to simplify that I dedicated a whole chapter to them in Your Simple Home Handbook.
One or two cosmetics don’t take up much space, but twenty-five…thirty…fifty items? Suddenly you have an overflowing makeup drawer full of items that expire before you have a chance to use them all. Go through your makeup (lotions and serums and creams, too!) and purge the things you don’t use frequently or love for special occasions.
Sometimes people hang on to movies they don’t even particularly like! With inexpensive options like Netflix, Redbox, and the library, there’s no need to keep movies that aren’t your favourites or on your “frequent flier” list.
Of all articles of clothing, T-shirts seem to accumulate the most, at least in my experience! When I simplified my wardrobe, I found a number of T-shirts that I’d gotten for free or cheap from various places, but they weren’t my colour or had no special memories attached. Check your closet. Maybe you have a few too many T-shirts, too!
7. Cleaning supplies
Disposable items are tricky to identify as clutter since they’re non-permanent by nature. But if you haven’t paid attention to what you buy (or make), you’ve probably collected more cleaners than you could use up in years. Try to replace items only when the current one is almost used up. For cleaning tools, a few simple classics can accomplish most jobs.
I’m so guilty of this one! There are a few herbs and spices that we use often and replace frequently. But others? They sit and sit in the pantry, forgotten and unused until eventually they lose their flavor and freshness. Go throw your spices and consolidate, toss, or give away.
You don’t need to keep every size and shape. If you keep just a couple of favourite vases, you can make use of other household objects (jars, teapots, bowls, goblets, etc.) when the need arises. And Goodwill always has plenty of options if you decide you need a new vase down the road!
10. Christmas ornaments
Since Christmas ornaments (or any seasonal decoration) are used for such a short period of the year, be extra selective about what you keep! If you own more than you can fit on your Christmas tree, it’s definitely time to reevaluate your collection. Less decorations and ornaments will make decorating much easier and more meaningful (because you keep the ornaments that are special to you). Plus, you’ll have less to store the rest of the year!