One question my clients hear a lot when we explore what they want to accomplish is “What difference would you notice?” Almost invariably “I’d feel lighter” is part of the answer.
So, in lieu of a new year’s resolution, here’s something to make you feel lighter:
Lighten the physical load and throw out stuff! All those odds and ends and mismatched, sad and saggy items have a pull-down effect on your morale and energy.
It’s a liberating and possible exhilarating experience, and that’s quite good for a start into the new year, n’est-ce pas? So, here is your don’t-think-just-do-it list for an energy boost and a clear start into the New Year!
100 Things to throw out
- Old undies. You know what I mean – those third-class bras and just-in-case knickers you would die if your lover ever saw you in. Don’t have a lover? Well, how about to start with these old undies…
- Tupperware (honestly, how many do you really need?)
- Magazines and newspapers you meant to read “soon”. Clean sweep!
- Ugly Christmas decorations you never put up, but keep anyway. Christmas after Christmas.
- Outdated medication (to be carried back to the pharmacy, not to be flushed down the toilet)
- Beauty products older than a year. Get some new ones. Yes, you may.
- UFOs (Unknown Frozen Objects) in your Freezer. PLEASE, don’t thaw them to find out what they are.
- Candles with dust on them. If they are dusty then you had them for too long. Light them or throw them out.
- Blunt knives and scissors. Nothing more irritating.
- Old cell phones (donate them)
- Dried-up felt tip pens and pencils. And while you’re at it, throw out all those pens with some ugly company logo.
- Single socks. Socks with holes. No comment.
- Wire hangers from the dry cleaners. I educated my dry cleaners to not give me hangers any more and to not wrap my clothes in plastic. Everyone wins.
- DIY projects, which you had longer than a year. You know which ones…
- Broken household equipment (the iron board you mean to repair or the coffee machine, which doesn’t work any longer, but is “still good”.
- Books (I know…. But still).
- Old towels. At one point, they’re just rags.
- Dried up paint (which means 90% of all the paint you are keeping).
- Documents you meant to study. You haven’t until now = you won’t in the future.
- Old clothes you kept for gardening or dirty work. You’ll need ONE outfit, not 10!
- Saggy pillows. Lay the pillow on your outstretched arm. If it doesn’t keep its form, it’s dead.
- Curling irons, hair straighteners and other beauty paraphernalia you have in triples and hardly ever use.
- The leftovers lurking in the back of your fridge.
- Broken gardening equipment.
- Broken bikes, cars, boats.
- Spices older than a year or two. They may still be edible, but they’ll have lost most of their flavor.
- Perfume samples. Same as spices. Plus you don’t like most of them anyway.
- Old VHS tapes and audio cassettes. Please.
- Toys, which are broken or unloved.
- Clothes that have been too small for longer than a year or two. Get yourself something beautiful for the body you have NOW. And believe me, if you lose weight, you’ll want new clothes!
- Those extra cups, saucers and glasses that don’t go with anything. Throw them out and start using the good china.
- Plastic cutlery and plates. ‘Nuff said.
- Buttons from clothes long gone.
- Grimy brooms, brushes and sponges. They are supposed to clean your home….
- Those clothes which were a mistake from the start. We all have them.
- Games you never play. The kind you try out the day after Christmas and that’s it.
- Collections (do you really need 200 elephants made of wood, stone, glass and soap?)
- Video games. Never had any in the house. Never will.
- Fitness gear you don’t use anyway. I’m certain that when you visualise your ideal day, you do not wake up in a room where the first thing you’ll see is a non-used indoor bike.
- Diet books. Forget it. Diets don’t work.
- Scraps of wool or fabric you never use. Offer them to your kid’s school.
- All those spare blankets and cushions you forgot you have.
- That vase/china/collectible you got as a present and hated ever since. Out!
- Broken plastic garden chairs.
- Broken plastic anything.
- Guarantees or receipts you no longer need.
- Any legal papers you don’t have to keep any longer. Check the legal dates in your country. No need to keep 15 year old phone bills.
- Mystery electronic cords, bits and pieces. Am I the only one with those?
- Travel brochures (they’re outdated anyway)
- Stockings with runs. Which you intend to wear under your trousers. Except that they clutter your drawer and when you are in a hurry, and you need stockings without any runs, you won’t find them.
- Old catalogues.
- Those “souvenirs” from a tourist spot. Rubber Eiffel towers come to mind.
- Empty cartons and boxes.
- Worn out bed linen. Would it be good enough for a very special guest? No? Then it isn’t good enough for you either.
- Manuals you don’t need any longer.
- Broken or outdated electronic equipment.
- Old and unused notebooks.
- Old schoolbooks.
- Plants you never liked in the first place
- Shoes you don’t wear. Even if you are a hard-core shoe fetishist, the fact remains that there are only 365 days in a year and that you have only one pair of feet.
- Instruments (5 guitars? Seriously?)
- Baby things you kept just in case (for decades. Your youngest child just moved out). Offer them to an association, a shelter or a mom-to-be who can really use them.
- Extra bits of stationary or office supply. You know – these odds bits of paper, envelops without the matching sheets or vice versa all cluttering your desk drawers.
- Those cheap sunglasses you bought during your last vacation which are scratched already.
- Dried up nail polish.
- Old Christmas and holiday cards.
- Single gloves.
- Kitchen equipment like oyster knives or waffle irons you never use.
- Broken jewellery.
- All the odd bits of paper on your fridge.
- Old calendars.
- DVD’s you’ll never watch again.
- Anything made of wool that is scratchy (get cashmere. It’ll make you happy for years to come, and yes, you can wash it in the machine).
- DIY machines you never use, like that spray paint machine or the state of the art wood working thingy.
- Food magazines (wouldn’t it be nice if you had the time to cook all those recipes)
- Any banged-up pots and pans.
- Chipped china and glassware. If it’s not worth repairing, it’s not worth keeping.
- All blurry photos or pics with people whose names you don’t remember any longer.
- Old school stuff which doesn’t make you feel sentimental in a good way.
- Old napkins.
- Half-burned down candles you planned to transform into something artsy.
- Old place mats.
- Mysterious keys. What makes us keep those? Even if we absolutely, positively know that they don’t fit into any door in our house?
- Dried-up glue.
- Old mattresses (a mattress is DEAD after ten years).
- Spare furniture (of the kind that sits in the attic for decades).
- Old rugs.
- Rests of wallpaper. I don’t know about you, but I never, ever needed them again.
- Life- or business guru books you never finished, because we all know what most of them are worth. From now on, check them out at the library first, before you throw your good money down the drain.
- Mementos, goodie bags and the like from corporate events
- All those boxes and bags with stuff to go, which you already prepared but never got round to take out of the house to recycle or donate.
- Old wallets and handbags.
- Old love letters that make you feel sad.
- Puzzles with missing pieces.
- Old glasses.
- Rechargeable batteries, which aren’t rechargeable any longer.
- Anything related to a hobby you don’t practice any longer (be honest here).
- Grimy bottles with just a rest of liquor.
- Plastic bags.
- That voice in your head that tells you that you are not good enough.
Over to you. Which are your favourite ones, and: what can you add to this list? They weirder, the better :).
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Excellent list Rima and you had me laughing at a number of them because I thought I was the only one. My favorite though is #100 because I believe many of us need to throw that one out.
Dawn, you’re most certainly not the only one! And yes, no. 100 is the one to let go first!
Great list, but…the list itself was already and always ready and “sits” since years in front of me, or on the attic, in the basement, shelves and everywhere. The problem are the thoughts and feelings that go with the things – “this” reminds me of blablabla, “that” was soandso part of my life, the idea of “losing” something instead of winning lightness; the feeling of cutting my arm off with letting go of something that was precious. I know in my head clinging on old stuff is stupid but there are only a few premenstrual hours when it feels easy to let go. Is there a tip for that?
Gesa, you mention the “few premenstrual hours when it feels easy to let go.” This would be exactly my tip: whenever we are upset (angry, sad, pissed, whatever), then is the right moment to declutter. When we are in the throes of an emotion, tears streaming down our face, we’ll find it much, MUCH easier to pull out the stuff and just throw it away. These are moments when the treadmill in our heads is finally silent! Try it out and let me know how it goes.
Hi Rima, I started my decluttering with the extra decorations that I didn’t put up this year…I thought “why store them another year when what I decorated with was perfect?” I do have Christmas “keepsakes” from my dad’s father and my mom’s mother (small things, actually) that remind me of them and a Santa bell that my dad gave me the last Christmas he was alive.
I am excited to declutter room by room and make my abode more simple and elegant, and I love the list that you provided! I second Dawn’s remark about #100 and your reply to Gesa . . .it really does silence the noise!
Sherry, this is exactly it – “why store them another year when what I decorated with was perfect?” Reminds me of this famous remark from Michelangelo, when he said that all he did was taking away the marble that wasn’t David!
Hilarious, Rima! I laughed really hard at no 7 and 23 about the fridge/freezer for a particular reason: I love decluttering and have become quite good at it, so not much left to get rid of in my apartment. This is why I attacked my boyfriend’s house over Christmas, and got literally stuck in his kitchen! I found frozen berries from 2009, several layers of unidentified pieces of fish from 2011 and 2012, and something that might have been bread a decade ago. (Not to mention the empty box of baking soda from 2003). Funniest of all, I couldn’t clean the whole freezer because of the ice buildup, but there was something lurking back there, behind the ice..
Bianca, I could so picture it! UFO’s invading the fridge and the freezer, LOL! Did you show this list to your boyfriend?
Yes, I actually did send your list to my boyfriend, he enjoyed it as much as I did 🙂
My boyfriend then tried to build up a business case that it’s Ötzi’s unknown cousin in the back of the freezer.. we’re still working on the excavation procedure, lol!
Bianca, I’m blowing coffee through my nose 🙂 Lucy and Ötzi’s inlaws in your boyfriend’s freezer!!! Should we ask for pics?
Love the list! Gave me new input to tackle the old stuff… I like to add “old records and CDs you’ll never listen to again” (or maybe I missed them reading your list?) – thanks, Rima! :-))
Thanks, Sibylle! Happy Decluttering!
This is an excellent list Rima! I made my personal checklist out of it (I like checklists) and I’ll go through the house in the next few weeks and months and will tick each item which is done. I might stumble on numer 16, but heck even I could let go SOME books 🙂
I’ll keep you posted on my progress …
Please do, Gabrielle, I’m looking forward to it. Have fun!
88. “Rest of wallpaper” – Are these the samples?
Actually, I thought more of the left-overs, once you’ve finished decorating, those one or two meters that one keeps ‘just in case’ for a touch up. I have never ever needed those! But the same goes of course for samples. If you are not in the middle of a renovation project, no need to keep tons of samples (wallpaper, fabric, paint or anything) ‘just in case’.
Thank you! Oh yes, I’ve kept the “just in case” from projects. Not anymore though!! 🙂
Love this article Rima. Also number 1 but in actual fact I did a declutter last year. New underwear, new clothes and got rid of the unnecessary things I do not use or can not longer be any value to me. When 2018 started, decided to add the Chucket List.( Allow people that will influence your life in a postive way, if not in the Chucket list.) You have one life and have to live it to your full potential. Lastly, thank you,for being such an inspiration.
My pleasure and honour, Marelet!
Je lis « la papeterie Tsubaki » ces jours qui raconte notamment la cérémonie d’adieu aux lettres personnelles : les destinataires envoient toutes leurs lettres à la papeterie après le Nouvel An et la papeterie se charge de les brûler, dans un temple, de leur dire adieu. Cela décharge joliment les destinataires de cette responsabilité
Une cérémonie d’adieu! Beautiful!
This is a wonderful list! I do get terribly stuck at some “old things” that I think I want to catalogue/organize, etc. But I am going to take the list and give it a try–thanks for publishing this!
Good luck, MaryCarol! Do let us know how it goes.
I loved this article. the UFO, pantyhose with runs for trousers and No. 1oo for me too.
Thanks Rima, a good way to start the year.