Have you ever had guests over and then for some reason needed to move a piece of furniture, like the ottoman or an armchair? You hope nobody notices the crumbs and missing LEGO bricks, but still blow your own cover by apologizing for the mess. It’s the housekeeping equivalent of getting caught with your pants down.
If someone were to poke through your storage areas and see all the things you’re needlessly keeping, the feeling would probably be the same: Suddenly aware and feeling awkward about things you very easily could have handled, but haven’t.
Here is a big list of things that none of us has any business keeping:
- The fondue set from your wedding registry that you haven’t used once in your 12 years of marriage.
- A stack of retired sheets you tell yourself you’re going to use as drop cloths for when you paint, but you still just buy the drop cloths every time.
- Your old cell phones.
- The Beanie Babies you’re hoarding in case they become valuable one day.
- Pillows you’ve retired from the beds that you keep in case you have some giant slumber party that never happens. (You don’t even like to share a room on vacation!)
- Baby clothes you wore 35 years ago that your mother saved for you. (Thanks, Mom, but they’ve got to go.)
- Expensive jeans you haven’t fit into since 2011.
- Costume jewelry you like so little that you’d let your toddler play dress-up with it if it weren’t a choking hazard.
- Cookbooks you haven’t cracked since you were inspired to go vegan six years ago.
- That refillable popcorn bucket you swear you’re actually going to remember to bring to Disney next time you go.
- Takeout menus from restaurants whose dishes you know by heart by now. (And, you know, they’re online.)
- Coupons you will actually never remember to pull out before they expire.
- Magazines you’re keeping in the unlikely event you get struck by the urge to make rolled paper baskets.
- Clothes from 15 years ago, because you know if you hang onto them long enough they’ll come back in style again. But also, you remember the trend when it happened the first time, so the resurgence is just going to make you cringe.
- The boots that sit on the top shelf in your closet because you loved them so much when you got them in school… like 20 years ago.
- Printed photo outtakes and duplicates.
- Stuffed animals that your children used to love but haven’t asked for in over six months.
- Chipped mugs that are “otherwise perfectly fine.”
- Holiday decorations that make you groan every single winter when you see them in the bin.
- Full tubes of old, old lotion.
- Candles whose smell you don’t like. Burning those would be the opposite of relaxing.
- Extra vases. All the extra vases.
- The cabinet full of washed-out, empty jars you never, ever use.
- Orphan socks that have been in the orphaned sock basket for two years.
- Retired cameras with obsolete mega pixel counts.
- Decorative olive oil bottles your friend brought from Italy a decade ago.
- Dregs of perfume you no longer wear. It’s not going to smell any prettier.
- French fried onions from Thanksgiving three years ago. The “best by” date is long gone and you know you’re going to buy another container this year anyway.
- Yellowed white extra power cords. They’re so old they’re a fire hazard.
- Curtain rods. If you add more windows to your house, you can probably spring for another set of curtain rods.
- Extra lamp shades. Any new lamps will almost certainly not fit or match them anyway.
- Cassette mix tapes. Do you even have a player? Take a pic and toss. (Maybe keep one for posterity. )
- Those extra water bottles you’re keeping around for that hypothetical spontaneous hike you take when you have 15 guests over (and none of them have their own water bottles).
- Duck sauce packages. You have a surplus problem.
- The extra napkins you snagged when you picked up your to-go order. The only place those belong is the glove box of the car.
- Old chemical cleaners you wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole but hang onto anyway.
- Cleaning toothbrushes in excess of one per sink.
- The old t-shirt stash you kept for cleaning but never, ever reach for.
- Themed party decorations. No, you will not use them for the next kid in four years.
- Holey socks you kept for cleaning the blinds.
- Your old soccer sliders. (Unless your kid fits them by now.)
- Swimsuits you wouldn’t feel awesome wearing.
- Archaic kitchen tools you never use and only keep because they were passed down by your relatives.
- Old, dented, or cracked helmets. They’re not safe.
- Baby items that have been recalled.
- Baby items if your youngest kid is over five.
- Books you don’t even remember reading and aren’t TBRs.
- VHS tapes.
- Incandescent light bulbs.
- Accessories for vacuums you no longer own.
- That tangle of extra cords and chargers for devices you’ve replaced.
- Table linens you’d never use again. It’s okay to realize your taste has changed drastically since you bought that autumnal table runner as a newlywed.
- The bags of seashells you’ve been saving for seven years for an unspecified craft.
- Boxes you’ve been hoarding just in case you need to mail things. You have three more Prime boxes headed your way next week alone. You’ll be fine.
Honestly the list goes on.
You might not relate to everything on the list, but it probably inspired a few similar thoughts. The idea is to be open and honest with yourself about what you need to hang on to.
Avoid casting things off to a landfill, if you’re able. Many of these things can be resold locally or donated to another home.