You are still you without all the stuff. You are not defined by all the things that you surround yourself with. I think that sometimes we forget that. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by ‘what others have’. Constantly comparing ourselves to everyone and succumbing to the urge to get more ‘stuff’ to feel better about ourselves.
Choosing to live with less is empowering. It frees you from needing things to make you happy.
Living with less isn’t about depriving yourself. It’s simply about having enough.
Enough to feel content. Enough to eat. Enough to bring you Peace at night. It’s about surrounding yourself only with the things you love, need or add meaning to your life. Everything else is simply clutter.
Deciding what is ‘Clutter’ is different for everyone. But if you are committed to living a more purposeful, simple life then clearing the unnecessary, energy draining clutter is a great place to start.
When our family made the decision to move to the Country, the high I got from making a massive seachange was fantastic. Starting something new is euphoric.
We moved in with the bare essentials, and I was so proud of our simple living purge. But now, a year and a half into our new Country life, I can already see the clutter accumulating around us. The magazine pile, the paper trail, unfinished projects…. Simple living is something we are still learning as a family. It’s a journey and living with less is one of the lessons we are working on.
Avoiding Clutter requires a constant awareness.
The best way to avoid it is to not bring it home in the first place.
The next best way to avoid it begins by taking things away.
Here is my list of 200 Things to Throw away, give away or recycle. If it doesn’t enrich your life, then get rid of it. Make space in your life for things that matter by clearing away the things that don’t.
200 Things to Throw Away
- Old makeup and beauty products.
- Towels. Get rid of the threadbare towels. Keep two per person at most.
- Shampoo and hair products with that little bit in the bottom that you never got to use.
- Unused Hair accessories and stretched out elastics
- Dried up nail polish
- Dodgy bath mats
- Smelly sponges and face cloths
- Air fresheners that stopped working a month ago.
- Sad looking shower soap.
- Toothbrushes if they are more than 6 months old.
- Your mascara if it’s older than 6 months too.
- Bad hairbrushes (the ones that you don’t use because the simply suck)
- Expired medicines and vitamins
- Hair dryer attachments. It’s been long time since I used a diffuser (If you’re under 35 you may need to look this up).
- Old dental floss
- blunt razors
- electric razors without the charger
- Kids moldy bathtoys
- Bathroom scales. Let’s face it. Do these enrich your life at all?
- Clothes that you haven’t worn for over a year.
- Clothes that are too big, or too small.
- Old shoes that are broken or you don’t wear.
- Socks. The odd ones and the sad looking ones too.
- Underwear that isn’t comfortable, doesn’t fit or makes you think of your grandmother.
- Broken, unused or unwanted Jewelry.
- The stuff under the bed.
- Stockings with runs
- Wire coat hangers.
- Kid old baby teeth. Think about it, do you really need these? I found 6 in my jewelry box. 6! I must have hidden them there after a late night ‘tooth fairy visit’.
- Jackets that no-one wears.
- Hand me down piles of clothes that you know the next sibling won’t actually wear.
- Worn swimming clothes.
- Old prom dresses. Keep the photo’s, lose the dress.
- Bags and purses you just don’t use anymore.
- Evening dresses you know you won’t wear again.
- Your wedding dress. I know, I know before you panic about this one. Not everyone is OK to to toss out a wedding dress. And neither was I, so I didn’t. But I did gift it on to someone who I knew would love it. This can be anyone. A friend, a daughter or someone in need.
- Hubbys suits that have dated (or don’t fit)
- The dozens of ties he won’t wear again.
- Old sunglasses.
- Novelty T Shirts
- Old Belts.
- Scarves you don’t use
- High heel shoes that you can’t walk in.
The Garage or Basement
- Product packaging and cardboard boxes you keep ‘in case’ you need them. You can always get another box if you need it.
- Technology products, electrical cords and remotes that don’t work or you don’t use (you can recycle these at your local recycle station).
- Half finished projects that sit tucked away in a box somewhere.
- Old newspapers.
- Old magazines.
- Books you have read or don’t serve you anymore.
- Old bills and paperwork over 7 years old.
- Old paint (contact your local refuse center to find out how to do this safely)
- Electrical Tools that you don’t use or don’t work.
- Hand tools that you don’t use.
- broken Christmas lights.
- air beds that don’t make it through the night.
- Broken camp chairs.
- hammock you’ve never used.
- Solar lights that don’t shine at night any more.
- Sports equipment you will never, ever use. Yup. Those fitness DVD’s too.
- The box of nails, screws and other metal things you keep for that ‘one time you may need it’. If that time comes just go get the thing you need.
- Old soccer balls. The deflated ones that the kids don’t use.
- Fishing Gear that won’t be used including that tangled mess of fishing line. You will never untangle it.
- Car parts.
- Old batteries for just about everything.
- Pet supplies that you won’t be using anymore.
- dried up paint brushes and rollers you never got round to cleaning.
The Linen Cabinet
- Excess Linen. Keep two good sets per bed in the house. This is plenty for the home.
- Anything worn or torn
- Electrical blankets that don’t work.
- Too many Winter blankets. One for each bed should do it.
- Old pillows.
- Whites that you’ve been intending to bleach. Either bleach them or lose them.
- Bags of buttons, zippers and odds and ends you’ve been collecting for the past 8 years.
- Baby clothes. Keep one or two really sentimental pieces and then give the rest to someone we could use it.
- Table clothes you don’t use.
- Quilts that your family has outgrown.
- Kitchen utensils. Do you actually use all three of those bottle openers? Choose one good one and get rid of the rest.
- Chipped cups, plates and bowls. I know they still work, but rather have two good bowls than ten cracked ones.
- Excess cutlery. Keep enough cutlery for your family plus a few guests. Think back to the past few years. How many people at most have you ever had round at one time?
- Old kitchen spices you simply don’t use or used once for that that one recipe that time. Spices and herbs lose their effectiveness over time and can get a little damp and Moldy.
- Expired foods from the pantry, freezer or fridge.
- Old dishcloths.
- Plastic Tupperware without a matching lid.
- Excess school lunchboxes and drink bottles. One each is plenty.
- Kitchen cleaning cloths and sponges. These are germ and bacteria magnets.
- Everything in that bottom drawer in the kitchen. We all have one of those. I have two.
- The excess bottles of cleaning products. Don’t buy more until they are finished.
- Empty bottles.
- Potatoes and onions that have started to sprout.
- Unused Egg Cartons (is it just me, or do you have a stash of these too?)
- Kitchen Pots and Pans. How many do you use each night?
- Excess baking dishes.
- Novelty baking dishes.
- Cheap pans that stick and burn the food when you use them.
- stubby coolers.
- Spare electrical appliances ‘in case one breaks’. Figure it out if the kettle actually breaks.
- Damaged cans of food. You just can’t trust rusted or dented cans anymore. The food inside may be compromised.
- Gloves with holes in. The water is not supposed to get inside.
- Pet snacks (I found tooth brushing pet snacks in my pantry?? Don’t even remember buying those.)
- Fridge magnets you don’t actually use or are broken or fall off the fridge.
- The stack of paper you’ve stuck to the fridge.
- Recipe books. No! This is my cryptonite. Copy or write out the recipes you actually use and keep them in your kitchen recipe binder.
- Novelty coasters.
- tea light candle holders. all of them.
- keys. and more keys. why?
- Party supplies.
- Take out chopsticks and plastic cutlery.
- novelty appliances: chocolate fountain, hotdog warmer, slushie machine, fairyfloss maker.
The Kids Room
- Crayons, pencils and school stationery that you stash at the end of every school year.
- Puzzles with missing pieces.
- Toys the kids don’t play with or love anymore.
- Games they have outgrown
- coloring and activity books they have completed.
- Unused stationery
- Collections of rocks, dried up beetles and broken shells. You have kids. I know you know what I mean.
- Dress up clothes they don’t use (although these seem to make a come back when they are teens, so maybe just toss the ones that don’t fit)
- Old School uniforms
- Anything that smells a little funky.
- School bags with broken zippers.
- Pencil bags with broken zippers.
- Shoes they have outgrown
- Outdated Duvet covers. It’s time to get My Little Pony linen off your twelve year old daughters bed.
- Ornaments they don’t care for anymore.
- Most of the stuff in the toybox.
- The toybox.
- Baby things you don’t plan on using again like cots, prams and baby baths.
The Living Area
- Picture frames you never hang on the wall.
- Home decor items that simply don’t fit in your home anymore. I have these two huge grass lamps that I have lugged around with me for years. They were expensive, so I felt I had to keep them. It’s time for them to go.
- DVD’s you won’t be watching again. And for some us …. VHS cassettes if you have them. It’s time.
- CD’s you don’t listen to.
- Vases you never use. Unless you love it or use it, get rid of it.
- Fake or plastic flowers. It’s time to let these go.
- Unwanted gifts. Re-gift anyone?
- Lounge cushions that you don’t love.
- Junk Mail
- Ornaments that you’re sick of dusting.
- Old rugs
- Art that doesn’t move you.
- Broken anything.
- Baskets of kids toys – pack them back in the kids rooms or get rid of them.
The Home Office
- Last years Christmas cards. Actually all greeting cards unless they mean something to you.
- Christmas and birthday wrapping paper.
- Wrapping bows and ribbon.
- Dried up glues. They cannot be revived.
- Love letters from past old flames. You don’t need to hang on to that.
- Old planners or Diaries.
- Broken or old Files
- Half used exercise books
- Pens that only work sometimes
- Scissors that cut badly
- Staplers that don’t work.
- Punch missing the little plastic thingy underneath (you don’t need to waste time picking up all the little pieces of white paper)
- Excess paper clips.
- broken staple rows. Trust me on this one.
- Sticky tape that breaks when you try and pull a piece off.
- Old printers or ink cartridges.
- Old phones.
- Past Calendars
- Past years school textbooks (unless you have a sibling that’s going to need them).
- Phone books. We have the internet now.
- Instruction manuals. You can get most of these online.
- Old catalogs
- Outdated computer software CD’s and instruction manuals (have you ever tried to read one of these. Besides we have the kids to do this for us now)
- Loyalty Cards
- Expired Coupons
- Bobby Pins
- Old address books
- Half used chapsticks
- Food wrappers
- Old napkins
- Expired candy or gum (don’t judge me please)
- Parking Tickets
- Business Cards
- Small Change
- Kids School notices
On your Computer
- Decide on a computer filing system and move the stuff you want into folders.
- Delete Duplicate Photos
- Delete emails you don’t need
- Delete folders and documents you don’t need.
- Stop checking email addresses you haven’t used for 5 years.
- Make ONE password and login file. Update it regularly and keep it safe.
- Plastic plant pots if you aren’t going to actually use them (a gardening friend would love to take them)
- Bags of fertilizer. Just go spread it on the garden.
- Bags of seeds. Plant them or give them to a friend.
- Spades. Unless you use them for a living, chances are one will last you a lifetime.
- Broken buckets. It’s not a bucket anymore if it has a hole in it.
- Pets water bowls. Decide on one good quality, large bowl and keep it refilled,
- Sports equipment that’t broken or unused
- Plants in pots that are not looking their best or need to be re-potted. Re-pot or give away.
- Piles of leaves or debris. Decide on one place and build a compost bin. Clear the rest.
- Building supplies you don’t have a plan for.
- Broken wheelbarrows.
- Rusted and blunt saw.
- Crappy hose attachments. Get a good quality copper set that will last a lifetime.
- Excess garden hoses.
- Broken garden ornaments. OK. Any garden ornaments you really don’t like anymore.
- Deflated pool floaties.
- gardening glove. the one without a match.
- Random shoes
- food wrappers
- old cd’s
- kids clothing
- sports gear
- beach towels from last weekend
- broken sunglasses
- kids toys
- dried up wet wipes
- most of the spare change (leave some for parking meters)
- Water bottles