Decluttering, when it becomes a habit, will make your life more efficient, save you tons of money and free up valuable time. Decluttering your life can be done in 5 minute increments or you can do a massive cull over a weekend. When purging items you no longer use or need, you will save time by not maintaining those items as well as cut down your spending when you realize you didn’t need so much stuff in the first place.
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1. Kitchen junk drawer
Really?! Yes. I have a tiny kitchen and only four drawers in the entire kitchen. It took me three years of thriving in this wonderfully efficient kitchen to realize that I set aside 25% of my precious drawer space to junk. My lightbulb moment transformed how I viewed my small space and joy was sparked.
What is the kitchen junk drawer but permission to procrastinate putting stuff away. It’s also an abyss for junk that doesn’t have a home, so do you really need it?
2. Duplicate casserole dishes
When David and I got married, we combined two complete kitchens. We had lots of cupboard space at the time so I just merged the two kitchens without thinking much about the stuff I accumulated. We did the opposite of decluttering. Three years ago we moved into an adorable small 1954 bungalow with a tiny kitchen. After a year, those extra casserole dishes were actually a burden, especially considering I don’t bake casseroles. I kept one of each size and found a good home for the rest.
3. Food storage containers with missing lids
This is a five minute declutter assignment you can do today. Take them all down, only replace the ones that have lids. Toss the rest in your donation box or recycle bin.
4. Clothes I haven’t worn in a year
Except for special occasion clothes. I kept one outfit each for funerals, weddings and casual business. I wear scrubs to work so I only need one business outfit for the rare times I need a business outfit.
I actually purged two years in a row. The first time I put my hangers backwards and only turned them around when I wore the outfit. This worked great and helped me emotionally detach from a lot of clothes. The second time I used Marie Kondo’s method of “Does this spark joy” when we moved into our tiny house. My closet is only four feet across. I had no choice.
This has not only been a space saver but it has made getting dressed super easy and fast. Everything sparks joy and magically, everything goes together. It’s not a hassle to find something that works. I wish I had done this years ago.
5. Shoes I haven’t worn in a year
It turns out, I have duplicates. Flip flops I use for shower shoes when I travel, sneakers (a ton of them), and slip-ons. I was able to easily whittle down to one pair of shower shoes, two pairs of sneakers (one for running and one for everything else) and two pairs of slip-ons. I was able to get back some valuable real-estate in five minutes.
6. Aspirational books
These are the books that I have been carrying around with me for 2-3 moves. The books I should read to make me a better person, in my mind. This was hard to give up since I love books. I love to peruse them, touch them, smell them. I was finally able to give up the last ones after I realized I can check them out from the library whenever I wanted. Let them maintain the books for me.
On a side note, the library is a great place to go on a shopping splurge, for free! When I get the itch, I go to the library. You can still have relationships with your books while keeping your life decluttered.
7. Extra and duplicate linen
How many twin sheets do I need for one guest bed? Really just one set. I keep two sets for the bed I use so that I can change sheets easily. I had 4 sets for one twin bed that hardly ever gets used. I also had more blankets than I could possibly use, even in a snow storm/power outage situation. The towels? I put the old, raggedy ones in the basement for utility use.
8. Craft and art supplies
This was another difficult purge. I love crafts. I have enjoyed them pretty much since I was a little girl. I held onto every glue stick, scissors, yarn etc. even though my craft hobbies had changed. Moving into this little bungalow has made me realized it’s OK to let go. I don’t stamp or paint anymore. I have been busy being smitten by photography and blogging as a means for creative expression for the last three years. It was time to let go. I did keep my knitting, crochet and my best yarns but found homes for the rest.
9. Extra socks
I had a collection of great socks. I had nowhere to store them efficiently. They overflowed the medium sized drawer that was their home. They made their way into shelves and baskets where they didn’t belong. It was time to cull the herd. I kept my favorites that were in the bestest shape and donated the rest. Now I can find what I need easier and my mind has been decluttered just a little more.
10. Expired food
I purge expired food twice a year now. After doing this a few times, I realized my behavior changed at the grocery store and I started to save money. The marketing strategies employed by evil grocery marketeers no longer have power over me. What do you save when you buy three of something when you only need, and will only use one?The guilt I was feeling about wasting food and money changed my behavior at the store. Try it.
11. Extra bags
How many backpacks, tote bags, grocery bags do you need? If you are like me, probably only a quarter of what you actually have. Keep your favorites and donate the rest.
12. Unused sports equipment
That precious tennis racket I’ve had since high school that my daughter used in college that I might actually need some day when I take up tennis again racket? Yep. It’s gone. I held on to that baby for thirty years.
Also gone is the bag of softballs we accumulated when our 22 year old was 10 and on a team. The little bats, the bucket of tennis balls, old golf equipment. Moving on.
13. Unused camping gear
This wasn’t mentally or emotionally hard, just a pain. I love camping. I camp all the time. The issue was that I started out car camping and now I backpack. Car camping requires different gear than backpacking. I have car camped recently. I used my backpacking equipment and did fine. The problem is that you can’t use car camping gear for backpacking so in essence, I had some irrelevant duplicity I had to deal with. If you haven’t tried backpacking, I highly encourage you to give it a go.
When you declutter your life, you gain back precious time. The time you would have spent cleaning stuff and looking for stuff. Stuff is stifling and wastes money. When you declutter, you think carefully before buying or bringing anything inside the house. It becomes a beautiful habit.
When you declutter, take a pic and tag #LagomOver40 and share your victories!
Onward and make it a great week!