Lydia Geisel

Published on July 20, 2019

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photo by aaron bengochea

There are plenty of things we hold onto for good reason. Treasures from our travels, family heirlooms, sentimental birthday cards—all justifiable keepsakes. Then there are the odds and ends we accumulate just because we have the space to store them. You know, the “But what if I need this one day?” items. It seems like a rather harmless habit—until those nonessentials add up and turn your cabinets and closets into living nightmares. The chaos stops here. It’s time to repurpose, recycle, or kick ’em to the curb. 

While we aren’t here to push a hyper-minimalist agenda, we do believe every object in your home should serve a distinct purpose or, at the very least, brighten your day a little. We doubt your excessive tote bag collection or rubber band–filled junk drawer is offering you much. Here are the 30 things you’ll be better off letting go: 

Things in Your Kitchen

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photo courtesy of space exploration design
  • The ominous cloud of plastic bags under the sink 
  • All those spices that are past their prime  
  • Mismatched Tupperware taking over your cabinets—get containers that stack neatly instead
  • The microwave—the stove or oven does the job just as well (if not better) without hogging counter space 
  • Extra knives, because all you really need are  three good ones
  • Single-use accoutrements from your last takeout order (think: chopsticks, napkins, straws) 
  • The logo-heavy cups and shot glasses from your college days 
  • Specialized cleaning solutions (a single all-in-one concentrate will leave your house just as pristine)
  • Any subpar tote bag you snagged just because it was free 
  • Stemmed wineglasses (simple drinking glasses work for water, juice, and vino) 

Things in Your Bedroom

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photo by cody guilfoyle
  • Wimpy hangers from the dry cleaner
  • The top sheet, unless you really love to bundle up 
  • Beat-up shoeboxes and the accompanying protective bags (streamline your collection with a tiered rack or over-the-door hanger
  • The shack of books you’re done reading (donate them to a used-book store—or pass along to a fellow bibliophile)
  • The obscene amount of decorative pillows you purchased during your boho phase 

Things in Your Bathroom

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Design by Emily Henderson Design; Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
  • Every hotel toiletry you’ve ever stolen 
  • Sad towels with holes or makeup stains 
  • That ugly shower caddy—invest in a teak stool or over-the-tub tray that won’t make you cringe every morning
  • Expired medications, makeup, and sunscreen (yes, they all have expiration dates!)

Things in Your Living Room

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photo courtesy of katie martinez design
  • The dead plants you keep trying to revive
  • A china cabinet (repurpose your plates as wall art instead!)
  • Subpar vases from those very kind flower arrangement deliveries 
  • Trophies and any other inconsequential childhood memorabilia collecting dust

Things in Your Office

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  • The dead batteries rolling around in your desk drawer
  • Junk mail (unsubscribe from that stuff and save a few trees in the process) 
  • Old magazines you haven’t looked at in years 
  • Supplies for the creative projects you’re going to pick back up “someday”
  • Chargers that belong to old devices, and old devices with no charger at all 
  • Half-used cans of paint (an excuse for a 30-minute DIY
  • Clunky filing cabinets (go digital or keep super-important documents in thin transparent envelopes)

This story was published on February 3, 2019. It has been updated with new information. 

See more stories like this: 
Organizing 101: How to Finally Declutter Your Home
Every Minimalist Has This in Their Home
6 Decluttering Strategies Minimalists Swear By

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