Have you ever noticed how much stuff you accumulate? Having reached my 50’s, it seems as if I am surrounded by ‘stuff’ from every decade of my life. Somehow, so much of it has either emotional or sentimental meaning or connection, and therefore it is really tough to get rid of. I have however, decided the time is right to get ruthless!
I read somewhere that living in a cluttered environment actually raises stress levels. Clutter can increase feelings of anxiety and make us feel stunted, trapped and powerless. Decluttering can makes us feel calmer and allows us to mentally and physically ‘breathe,’ allowing all our buried creativity to come to the surface. Remember, “Mess equals Stress!”
I am not a tidy freak, far from it, and someone recently told me my house has a ‘lived in’ look, (not sure what to make of that but never mind), but living with 4 cats, an Andy and various kids and step kids that come and go, (often depositing all their stuff before they leave again), it’s hardly a show home. And I wouldn’t want it to be. But, thinking about it, there are plenty of areas that need a little attention.
If you fancy starting a bit of decluttering, start small. It’s no point feeling overwhelmed and getting upset. This is supposed to be a positive experience, not a negative one!
I’m going to work through this list below. If you have any more ideas about decluttering and recycling, please let me know in the comments! ❤️
Clothes you haven’t worn for a year. I know, it always feels as if you might want to wear them again, but you know in your heart you won’t. They are taking up space and need to be donated. Think of the good you are doing for local charities!
Old magazines. if you have read them, take them to a hospital, doctors or dentist surgery or take them to work.
Scrap paper. How much scrap paper are you likely to need? Keep a small stack in a drawer. You will never need more than that. Recycle the rest.
Old phones. What is it about old phones that makes us think we can’t throw them away? We can! Google how to recycle them in your area.
Broken jewellery. Throw out old costume jewellery and sell or organise the repair of fine jewellery.
Underwear that is old, out of shape or faded. No excuse for grey knickers!
Purses. Once you have bought a new purse, how many times do you use the old one? Donate it.
Odd socks. One of the great mysteries of the cosmos. Where do all those odd socks go? Yours should go in the textile recycling bin.
Medication that has passed its ‘best before’ date.
Cosmetics that you have had over 1 year. Personally, I usually don’t keep eyeliners or mascaras over 3-6 months, as this seems to make me more prone to eye infections.
Crockery. Old bits of crockery that don’t match anything else can be donated.
Suncream that you have had more than 1 year. It does expire, you know!
Old batteries in a drawer. This always makes me think of the Michael McIntyre sketch about the “man drawer” No one is ever going to need batteries that don’t work. Chuck them out. And watch the sketch on YouTube.
Keys that you can’t remember what they fit.
Old shoes. Another item that I struggle with putting in the bin, why are they so difficult to throw away? Donate if you can’t bear to put them in the rubbish.
Old buttons. I don’t think I have ever used a spare button yet that came with a shirt or of a pair of trousers, but the drawer next to my bed is full of odd buttons.
Towels and bed linen that are ripped or threadbare.
Travel mugs and water bottles. When the collection starts to take over a whole kitchen shelf, it’s time to have a cull.
Old birthday and Christmas cards.
Receipts. Once you know you are not going to take an item back, throw it. Better still, ask the company if they can send you a email receipt rather than a paper one.
DVDS and CD’s. Sell them at a car boot sale!
Glass Jars. If you don’t need them, turn them into lights. I also put fairy lights in used gin bottles. Beautiful!
Take away menus. Most takeaways post their menus online now, and anyway, we invariably get the same takeaway, which I can easily recite without looking at a menu!
Cosmetic samples. Use them within a month or lose them. Same with those little travel bottles of shampoo and shower gel.
Instruction booklets Everything is online now so there is no real need to keep instructions, particularly when you no longer have the item!
Old pillows and mattresses I read somewhere about the things that are in pillows and mattresses: Dirt, oil, dead skin cells, bugs and dust mites. Ugh!
Tea towels You do not need a drawer full of old tea towels. How many do you need? 3 or 4? Donate or bin the rest.
Single earrings. If the missing earring has not turned up in a month, it’s not going to.
Brochures and newspapers.
Kitchen equipment doubles and triples. I recently cleaned out my kitchen drawer and I had 7 corkscrews and 5 whisks!
Phone boxes. Like phones, the lovely boxes are nearly as hard to get rid of. Even when you are not even using that phone anymore!
Plastic cartons. The ones that the food comes in when you order a Chinese. I must have saved hundreds over the years. They are stacked neatly in my kitchen. And I’m now recycling the lot!
Kitchen items you never use. That sandwich toaster that is decidedly manky and probably doesn’t even work any longer?
Old phone chargers.
Ornaments that you don’t display any more.
Unwanted gifts. It was what eBay was invented for!
Old bank statements and financial information. Shred after 1 year. Safer too!
Plastic bags. It’s great to have a few spare plastic bags in the kitchen, in your car and in your handbag so you are not continually accumulating more, but when the collection starts taking over your living space, it’s time to have a sort out.
Mugs. I counted! I have 40! Since I don’t expect 39 people to be turning up for coffee anytime soon, at least half of them are now being donated.
Empty shoe boxes. No reason I can think of to keep these at all …but I have found at least 8 in the attic! Crazy! And now all in the recycle bin!
Pens that don’t work. Have you ever tried to find a pen, found one, realised it didn’t work and then popped it back in the holder? No? Just me then.
Souvenirs and guide books. The posh ones have moved to the bookcase. The rest… recycled.
I hope you feel better for your decluttering, I certainly do! And just one final thought: For every item you bring into your home… take one out. You will value what you do own so much more. ❤️
“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.” – Marie Kondo