10 Things You Probably Have Too Many Of

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!It's easy to collect too many of these items! Time to declutter and simplify! #DeclutteringTips #SimplifyYourHome

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

1. Mugs

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.

3. Books

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.

4. Cosmetics

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.

Related: My Minimalist Makeup Routine and Simplifying the Bathroom

5. DVDs

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.

6. T-Shirts

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.

8. Spices

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.

9. Vases

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!

Your Simple Home Handbook 3D Cover 350x405

Want many more more ideas for what (and how!) to simplify? My book, Your Simple Home Handbook, is a step-by-step guide to simplifying your home. You can read more about it and pick up a copy HERE.


  1. I did purge my cosmetics recently. I have 1 SPF moisturizer, 1 concealer, 1 foundation compact (dry/wet), 1 blush, and 1 eyeshadow compact. I do have 3 lipsticks and 1 plain lip balm. I gave up mascara entirely several years ago; every brand I tried made my eyes tear excessively.

  2. Oh, the mugs! My husband is a teacher, so we always get new mugs at least twice a year, and we’re always getting rid of more. I just got a set of my grandmother’s now that she is unable to return to her home, so while I’m keeping hers, I’m purging lots of others! I do have a hard time getting rid of books, but as our interests change, we eventually decide to purge.

  3. #8 I always forget what I have in the cabinet and buy another. As far as the rest of the list, I’m in great shape… Purged the cups and pens and cleaning stuff about five years ago and have managed to stay that way.

  4. I’m proud to say the only one of these I might be guilty of is pens but only because we just went to an event and were handed five free pens so now we have about ten. But we try to live a very minimalist lifestyle. It just comes naturally to me, I’m always telling my husband I’m an un hoarder!

  5. There are some of these things that we don’t get rid of, just put in a box for future use. We haven’t had to buy pens, pencils or crayons for 6 years (an ex hoarder was a family member), those are stored in a shoe box in the office. Extra towels, mugs, plates, pans et cetera go in a box in the basement, labeled. When something breaks (or gets a hole that can’t be fixed) that is needed, we already have a replacement and don’t need to go buy it.

  6. I am a collector of everything….I have way too many books, toiletries, candles, craft supplies, food, etc. You name it and I have too much of it. My biggest problem is parting with the stuff that I sort to get rid of. I hate to throw out good things that someone might be able to use. My hubby is just the opposite. He will take a perfectly good item and trash it. I’ve taken things to the Salvation Army and had Yard Sales (never again!) and then wish I had one of the items I’ve gotten rid of. Any suggestions? I really do need to rid out some of this stuff!

    1. It is hard. I would say a few things:

      1. Remember that just because an item has value does not mean it has value to YOU, personally. If the item’s usefulness is holding you back from trashing it, then invest a little time in figuring out exactly how it can be donated or recycled properly. For instance, some thrift stores DO take clothes with holes in them, because they recycle the fabric. So YOU don’t have to turn it into a T-shirt quilt, but you don’t have to throw it in the garbage, either(:

      2. You will have a few regrets. Hopefully minor, but you’ll have them. There will be things you wish you’d kept. However, I think the benefits and freedom of less stuff will outweigh most of the regrets. When regrets come, remind yourself that decluttering that item was part of a learning, growing process for you, and be thankful for that!

      3. Decluttering gets easier the more you do it. Just like you become stronger or more flexible with exercise, you’ll build your decluttering muscles! You’ll learn how to get past your mental blocks and find your simplifying groove!

  7. Thanks….I needed that! My 95 year old mother lives with me and I can seem to get her to get rid of anything.

    1. That is hard! She probably has an emotional attachment to things, or it’s just become a deeply ingrained habit. The hardest part with this is just getting started…because after that it DOES get easier as you gain perspective and clarity. Maybe if you do some decluttering together and start with benign, non-emotionally charged items you’ll be able to help her let some things go. Decluttering can be a fun way to spend time together, I think, especially if you sip a special drink and allow some time for chatting while you work!

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