Thinking about decluttering your home? It’s so cathartic when your spaces are organized. Here are 21 things to get rid of right now.

When I wrote the post for Memorial Day, I went searching for old photos and that led me down the rabbit hole that is our attic.

There are bins and bins and bins of STUFF that I’ve collected over the years.

Those navy photos?

They were packed away under a lace-covered wedding album, faded newspaper clippings, and folded-up pep ribbons that we used to buy for football games.

And when I went through the bins?

There were tons of things I wanted to keep—but in surprising news? There were TONS of things I never ever ever ever needed. I was literally staring at them and wondering why in the world I put them in a bin in the first place.

And that got me thinking.

Ever since we’ve moved into this house I’ve been decluttering.

And decluttering?

It’s good for the mind and the attic and the house and the soul. There’s just something about having less STUFF that makes you feel lighter and happier and airier and joyful. But here’s the thing about decluttering. It’s like someone has to give you permission to do it. Sometimes we feel guilty about getting rid of things that we feel like we should be hanging on to until someone else comes along and says it’s okay.

Let me be that person.

Here’s a list of 21 things I’ve gotten rid of (and I feel so much better).

21 Things To Get Rid Of Right Now

1. Single socks

I’m going to start slowly with one of the biggest mysteries on this planet.

Single socks.

Please raise your hand if you have a basket full of single socks.

Truth.

They are never going to get married. They are never going to find their happily ever after. March over to that basket of single socks and set them free.

2. Expired Beauty Products:

This one was so hard for me. It’s hard to give up on something that promises to get rid of all your wrinkles and turn you into a supermodel. I had drawers and drawers and drawers full of unfulfilled promises.

Promises with expiration dates in half-full containers with

I had to let them all go. I tossed out expired makeup, creams, and lotions and it was so cathartic.

3. Old Magazines:

I just went through all my old magazines to make room for Westleigh’s new boutique.

There were magazines that I had been keeping from 2005.

And guess what is no longer in style anymore? Home decor magazines from almost 20 years ago. I had such good intentions of reading all the design ideas, but truth? It’s time to recycle those old magazines. Free up some shelf space for something new.

4. Instruction Manuals for Long-Gone Appliances:

I’m for keeping instruction manuals (although I’m almost about to ditch them in favor of Google).

I have a file for them.

Just in case I ever need them.

But you know what I don’t need? The manual after the appliance is long gone. If you don’t have the appliances then the manuals are no longer required reading.

5. Chipped and Mismatched Dishes:

I have collected so many dishes through the years.

And then?

Those dishes had children.

Say goodbye to those chipped mugs and mismatched plates that never really look squared away. Put together your favorites that coodinate and create an entirely new set that all goes together.

6. Unused Electronics and Chargers:

We all have that drawer filled with a tangled mess of cables, chargers, and obsolete gadgets.

I found some when I was cleaning out the office and I had literally no idea where they came from or where they were going.

Let go of the devices you no longer use, and consider donating or recycling them.

7. Excess Coffee Mugs:

I can’t believe I’m typing this.

But it’s actually possible to have too many….

…coffee mugs.

Yikes.

I love coffee. But how many coffee mugs does one person need? I had 17 coffee mugs and I never got to the bottom of the coffee mug cabinet. I got rid of the chipped ones and ones that didn’t match and ones that I didn’t use.

Pick your favorites, donate the rest, and make some room for more important things…

…like snacks.

.

8. Old Towels and Bedding:

I went through all the towels in our linen closet about a year ago.

There were so many that had frayed and weren’t soft anymore.

I packaged them up and took them to our local shelters.

things to get rid of tags

9. Scraps of Wrapping Paper:

This was one I feel so guilty about. I just couldn’t let go of the half scraps of paper.

Then every single time I’d go to wrap something, the gift was always too big and I couldn’t use the scraps.

Keep a small stash of scraps for emergencies and let go of the rest.

things to get rid of spices

10. Old Spices:

I don’t use my spices that often so they have a tendency to stick around for a long time.

Between us? I never even thought of them expiring and then I went to use my oregano and it was all clumpy. According to the Food Network most spices aren’t good after six months. You can smell ground spices and if they don’t really smell fresh then it’s probably time to toss them.

You can keep whole spices much longer, sometimes up to five years.

things to get rid of jewelry

11. Broken or Unused Jewelry:

Have a drawer filled with tangled necklaces and broken earrings?

Sort through your jewelry collection, keep the pieces you love, and donate or repurpose the rest.

One man’s trash is another’s treasure.

things to get rid of cards

12. Old Greeting Cards:

The bins upstairs in the attic were filled with old Christmas cards.

I’m not even sure why I kept them—I think it was mostly because I felt so guilty getting rid of them. This was one of the things I really had to give myself permission for. I selected a few that were important to me and recycled the rest.

things to get rid of markers

13. Dried-Up Pens and Markers:

How many times have you reached for a marker or a pen and it didn’t write?

Save all that frustration.

Sort through the markers and pens, test them on a piece of paper and throw out the ones that are all dried up.

Then I like to sort them by color.

things to get rid of pantry

14. Expired Food in Your Pantry:

It’s time to say goodbye to that can of soup from 2017.

Our pantry was FULL of expired stuff (and four containers of oatmeal that I have no idea how they showed up there).

I sorted and cleaned everything so that the food was arranged in sections now and tossed everything that was expired.

things to get rid of closet

15. Clothes That No Longer Fit:

We’ve all got those jeans we’re keeping “just in case.”

I know.

I had a closet full of them. And then when I lost the weight and finally fit in the jeans?

They weren’t even that cute.

Donate all the clothes that aren’t working right now. It will make your closet so much happier.

things to get rid of shoes

16. Worn-Out Shoes:

I think it’s so hard to get rid of shoes.

I always feel like they can walk an extra mile. But the truth is that sometimes it’s time for a shoe to go.

Clear out shoe racks and make room for pairs that are stylish, comfortable, and ready for new adventures.

things to get rid of office

17. Excessive Paperwork:

Sometimes the paperwork can take over.

Especially if it doesn’t have a home.

Shred outdated documents, organize essential paperwork, and transition to digital storage to organize all the paper.

18. Old and Expired Batteries:

I’m always finding batteries in different drawers. I never knew if they were still able to be used.

Then?

I took the time to test and sort them. Dispose of the expired ones responsibly and recycle them at designated collection points.

Keep only the batteries that are still usable.

things to get rid of paint

19 Unused or Dried-Up Art Supplies:

I had a row of acrylic paints decorating the top of this bookshelf in the craft room.

But when I went to use them half of the bottles were dried up or not usable.

If you have a stash of art supplies gathering dust, it’s time to evaluate their usefulness. Get rid of dry markers, hardened paints, or half-used sketchbooks.

things to get rid of

20. Excess Plastic Containers:

I’m not sure how or where or why, but I had a stash of mismatched containers that showed up over the years.

I sorted through them and got rid of most of them and organized them in a drawer. I made sure that each container had a top and I had an assortment of sizes.

Less plastic is so much better.

21. Multiples of the Same Item:

There are so many things in my home that I had double of–extra measuring cups, excessive kitchen gadgets, or multiple sets of tools can clutter your space unnecessarily

But here’s the thing. I didn’t need double.

I just needed one.

Look around and figure out what you have extra of and sort and discard or donate.

You got this friend.

Truly.

Life is too short to have clutter weighing you down.

Simplify and streamline your home by keeping only what you truly need.

Your closets, your kitchen, your laundry room, and your entire home will thank you. 🙂

PS Do you have anything to add to the list? Let me know in the comments.

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
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Comments

  1. Image for Carrie Carrie

    You are always such an inspiration KariAnne ❤️. This is a great post and I have actually done some of those things on the list. But I am wondering where you got your spice bottles and caddy…I love them!!

  2. Image for Diana Clark Diana Clark

    This is perfect advice. I have been doing this for a while now combining a couple of different house moves. Amazing what you keep! It is common sense but not easy to do sometmes. I mean we paid for that or it is cute even if we don't need it. I agree you feel so much better as your clutter clears out!

  3. Image for C. Thompson C. Thompson

    Good morning! You just made mine. A family member feels you’re not sentimental decluttering cards, dishes, , stuffed animals , photos etc.. Thank you for giving me permission to not keep EVERYTHING. I am on vacation and look forward to cleaning my attic!

  4. Image for michelle long michelle long

    Where do you recycle batteries? I read that Lowe's took used batteries for recycling. I stockpiled my used batteries for a couple years and happily carried the box to customer service. There I was told that they throw them in the trash. My local recycling place doesn't do batteries. I know I'm in a different area, but it would help to have an idea of where other states give you the opportunity. You are right, the pain you experience clearing the clutter is so eclipsed by the endorphin rush following the purge. Thanks for the excellent post!

    1. Image for Liz Shivel Liz Shivel

      Check for recycle in your area that takes hazardous waste items, like paint, electronics, and usually they take batteries. I’m in California, and I recycle batteries at a hazardous waste place here. Google hazardous waste in your area.

  5. Image for Amy Moe Amy Moe

    Thank you for the list of where to start. I went through my plastic containers yesterday. Today I’ll be going through my pantry and getting rid of those expired items.

  6. Image for Juliet Juliet

    Love this, KA. I’ve been in a declutter and purge mode too. Why have I kept some of these things and hauled them around from house to house?! It feels great to lighten up! xo

  7. Image for Revonda Stordahl Revonda Stordahl

    Thank you for the tips! I perhaps have a problem with keeping more coffee cups than I need. i have a cabinet full of coffee cups but have about 4 that I love and use all of the time. I know I need to let go of some. And the beauty products - I finally cleaned out under my bathroom cabinet. It was so good to get rid of things that had expired or I never really used. Your posts are an inspiration to try and be better about decluttering. Thanks!

  8. Image for Kim Domingue Kim Domingue

    I’ve been decluttering and recluttering (it’s totally a word!) since Hurricane Katrina. Then, about a year ago, something changed in my mindset. I was sick of moving things from one place to another in the house and playing Jenga with storage totes and boxes. I was sick of pawing through clothes and shoes to put together an outfit when, in reality, I wore the same 20 to 30 percent of what was in my closet 95 percent of the time. I was sick of moving sets of dishes from one place to another and why was I not using my good stuff? Was I saving it for a visit from Queen Elizabeth or the president or for the dinner party for 30 than I was never going to host? I realized, FINALLY, at 62 that I deserved to use the good stuff just for me and just because. I finally realized that just because I paid good money for something, I wasn’t obligated to keep it around forever. I finally realized that all the excess stuff in my house was an invisible burden that I was carrying around on my shoulders that was wearing me out and keeping my home from being the sanctuary that it was meant to be. I will, by no means, ever be a minimalist…it’s just not in my DNA…but I’ve given myself permission to be less of a maximalist. I’ve given myself permission to get rid of any and all things that induce feelings of guilt or sadness or that feel like a burden or that I’m sick and tired of taking care of or worrying over whether it will get broken or ruined from use. And I’ve pulled out the “for special” stuff to use and enjoy just for me and just because…after all, I’m special even if I’m neither the Queen of England or the President!

  9. Image for Jackie Ludwig Jackie Ludwig

    I have been stuck in bed for over 7 months due to a medical problem. As I laid there I started looking around my bedroom and seeing so much that was not being used and taking up room. In came the boxes for the thrift store and out went what was not vitally needed. Then I moved to the living room and was shocked at how much stuff I dusted that was just clutter. What a relief it was to take to thrift store for someone else to love. Not only less to dust but huge weight lifted from my shoulders. As I feel better I move to different rooms - saving my office for last. Bonus - as I was doing this decluttering my husband took note and we have a usable garage again.

  10. Image for Bonnie Bonnie

    Thanks fir the excellent tips. I have a small house that I downsized to 2 years ago. I had a huge yard sale & since moving, try to stay on top of getting rid of stuff regularly that I really don't need. I put a few kitchen items in my neighbor's yard sale last weekend because I realize I seldom have the need to cook much anymore since my kids are all grown up. It really makes me feel good to only keep the things I truly love & need ❤

  11. Image for Cindy@CountyRoad407 Cindy@CountyRoad407

    Just when I thought I had a free day you go and give me a great idea. I've always hated the digging process for those dang plastic lids and containers. I'm moving them to a drawer (instead of the island cabinet) and then having a party! I'm sure there are tops in there that haven't seen the butts in years!

  12. Image for Betsy Betsy

    My husband and I downsized too a 900 sq. ft house. I donated so much and that was a turning point for me. I really felt guilty about all the money I wasted over the years. I buy only what needs to be replaced. My friends don’t understand how I can survive with 2 sets of sheets and 3 sets of towels. One friend couldn’t believe I don’t own a deviled egg holder. I have a few special pieces of jewelry and gave the rest away. I’m much happier with less. Now if I could figure out how to use the same technique for card making supplies. I don’t need more storage……I need LESS STUFF !!!!!

  13. Image for MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!)

    Such great stuff to think about, KariAnne! I am going to get busy and go through all my spices -- which I know some of which have expired! Then, there's all those mugs which really need to be given to our Thrift Store. I just went through my closet a month ago and gave lots to our Thrift Store. It's amazing what you keep and really don't need anymore. Thanks, for jogging our memory today!

  14. Image for Jodena Beale Jodena Beale

    DECLUTTER...WHAT A BEAUTIFUL WORD. I love to do it, and you are so correct, once you do you feel liberated. Almost like you took your bra off and are twirling it around on your pointing finger letting it flow with the breeze. Lol Getting rid of clothes is the worst, but after this post I am determined. Thanks for the "go get em"attitude. Love the blogs.

  15. Image for AnnMarie AnnMarie

    This blog post is gold! I'm totally with you on the makeup and lotions...I spent good money on them and they are supposed to get rid of my wrinkles but then I find another brand to buy...lol. Oh, and the coffee mugs are a problem too especially because my husband loves them and has to buy a new one whenever he sees one he likes. Thanks for the tips!

  16. Image for Rizae Rizae

    I go through my entire home every 6 months! I started this after my bout with breast cancer in 2021. If I havent used it or wore it ...it goes to the thrift store. I have 2 collapsible laundry baskets I keep in my car. I put the stuff in there (keeps it out of my home and out of my thoughts) ... this has worked great. Much tidier home and happier me!!!

  17. Image for Marilyn Marilyn

    Good for you! Thank you for the list and the inspiration to start in our house. We are rat packs and it has gotten out of hand. Joan,Marion and Marilyn

  18. Image for Mary Jamieson Mary Jamieson

    Great to lighten the load! I applaud you. A suggestion: when you clean out your pantry, instead of tossing unopened items, donate them to a local food pantry. Most food pantry's take expired food as the date is a "best by" date for marketing purposes and has nothing to do with whether the food is edible or not (except for perishables, of course!) There are many families out there who could use the food to fill their empty pantries!

  19. Image for Marilyn Craighead Marilyn Craighead

    We are moving in 2 weeks. I've been sorting, tossing and donating. I don't consider myself a pack rat by any stretch of the imagination, but I can always do better.Tonight it was the kitchens turn. I was brutal. It also gave me reason to pause and reconsider my purchasing habits in all areas of my life. And then I find this post in my inbox...Great timing! I'm also happy to report I have done at least 13 items on your list! So thank you for sharing the ordinary things that make our homes a more peaceful place to live. I only have one disagreement with your list...... My beautiful cards from family and friends will still be in my moving box. I warned my family.... When I'm singing with the angels you can read the stories that made me a better wife, mother, sister and friend. My version of a diary. Happy cleaning!!

  20. Image for Sue P. Sue P.

    There is a Batteries Plus store in our town where one can take used batteries and old light bulbs. When my husband replaced our basement lights, he took a car-load of those long florescent bulbs to them. As for single socks or socks with holes, I put them with my bottle of dusting spray and use them as disposable dust rags. Just slip it over my hand, spray it, dust furniture or wooden blinds then toss it in the garbage.

  21. Image for Debbie Debbie

    Oh my. I have done the same thing. I told myself that it’s time for a clean out!! I did so well with the clothes except for a handful that I kept looking at and telling them that I would give them another chance. Wheww but guess what…a year later (now) I am looking at them again and I asked myself “would I reach for them?” No, no sadly no I wouldn’t…so they are in the donate bag. Oh how I hate to toss magazines. So I give them to a neighbor to read after me or I send them to my niece. But the one that I am really stuck in is old electronics…laptops, iPads, etc. what do you do with those? Sooooo they are living in a drawer. 😵‍💫🥺

    1. Image for Janet Janet

      Hi, Debbie. I just found out that my local Office Depot will take old electronics and recycle them. Maybe that's an option.

  22. Image for Dianne Miley Dianne Miley

    Books. As an author, that sounds awful! But books were taking over my house! And here's the thing: if I'm not reading it, someone else can. And those books by my fellow or favorite authors? If I send them to my local second hand book store, someone else may find their new favorite author!

  23. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Libraries take books and magazines. Also, some retirement centers take magazines and large print books. Women's shelters take unused make up and the cosmetic zippered cases to hold them. New toothbrushes too.Thrift shops take seasonal clothes and shoes. Heirlooms from family are hard to cull, I may use them in still life paintings then give them away.

  24. Image for Tina Matteson Tina Matteson

    Thank you for giving me permission to throw away the socks! I was saving them just in case... You're right, they're never gonna get married!

  25. Image for Janet Janet

    I have two two-cup metal measuring cups. One is a very sturdy Williams-Sonoma item that I bought early in my marriage. The other is an average inexpensive stainless steel one of my mother's that I grew up using and has lots of memories in it (you just can't see them). I'm 68. I rarely use one of these, let alone two. But somehow, I just can't let go of either one yet. Most everything else has been pared down after the last move so that's progress.

  26. Image for Connie Connie

    Thanks for this post. I have been decluttering for the last year. Now I am planning to do coffee mugs and bedding. My list is the same as yours!!! Old socks have always been used as rags for dusting or polishing. Old greeting cards have been added to pictures in scrapbooks....I am a crafter. Our 4 y.o. granddaughter was delighted to get old costume jewelry. I have a friend with an antique business. He took old books and other things that I no longer need or use.. Local libraries took donations of books. . There is still a lot to do but slowly and surely!!!

  27. Image for Jill Brewster Jill Brewster

    Karianne, I think this post should have read....Jill it's time to let go of the past. Your list of 21 touched everything that I need to let go of. Especially the acrylic paint, magazines, plastic containers, expired food items, and spices. I was beginning to think that I was a hoarder, but it's nice to know there are others out there like me. Thank you for this post, now I need to get to the task. Jill

  28. Image for Judy Young Judy Young

    I was just re reading this post about declutter if and I have done sone of the things suggested. However, I love magazines and have many saved from years ago. I especially liked Mary Engelbright’s magazine, Romantic Homes, Victoria, etc. They are all far too pretty to throw out!! I also have a large collection of Christmas magazines that I love to look at year after year! I know Zim hopeless! I was wondering where you got that cute house shaped magazine basket?!

  29. Image for Kathy Ann Johnson M Ed Kathy Ann Johnson M Ed

    Thank you for the reminders. I do all of these things WHEN I MOVE! In the meantime, crafts, fabrics and coffee cups collect. So, just move every five to seven years. But, you can put those single socks in a box in the garage. Then, they are good for dusting and polishing and, believe it or not, some of mine did get "married" again. I walked by that rag box every time I got out of my car; so, it kept in my mind patterns to look for in my closet;) My Two Cents, Annyoakly

  30. Image for Karen Karen

    Another idea for the old greeting cards-if you like crafting projects: Make new cards by taking parts of old cards and creating your own. You just need some card stock to put the new version together on. I keyed various verses into Word and printed them out and used those in the newly created cards. Cards have gotten so expensive and are still very much appreciated by most. Who doesn’t love getting a personal message in your REAL mailbox from a caring person, friend or relative ?

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