Many of our homes seem organised at a glance but open a cupboard or two and it’s a different story with the space behind the doors being crammed full.
This was me back in 2017 before I KonMari’d our home. I was working full time and spent my weekends enjoying family time - decluttering cupboards was the last thing I thought about doing in my free time. I didn’t consider myself to have a clutter ‘problem’, but I did get fed up when I couldn't find things when I needed them and had to buy replacements.
Reading Marie Kondos book (The Life Changing Magic of Tidying) was like a lightbulb being switched on in my head – I realised why I’d previously struggled to properly sort things out and make decisions about letting things go.
There are so many items we hang on to without thinking about whether we actually need them or not. These things are hidden in cupboards, drawers or sometimes even in plain sight – we become so used to them being there we no longer ‘see’ them.
Life's so much easier once you clear away the stuff you don’t need as you’ll be able to find the things you do need much faster. To help get you started here’s a list of the things I really haven’t missed since tidying up my own home.
12 Things I don’t miss after decluttering my home
1. Old Manuals and Warranties
When something stops working in your home what’s the first thing you reach for, the appliance manual or your phone to look at Google or YouTube? 9 out of 10 times when I’m stood in a clients house with a handful of manuals they say they’d google a solution or ‘get a man in’. Lots of us hold on to instruction manuals but realistically it’s paper clutter we won’t ever use or need. The same goes for product warranties - a 2 year warranty is valid for 2 years so one that’s 10 years out of date is also paper clutter.
Top Tip - file your warranties in date order & every time you pop a new one in check the date on the oldest one. If it’s expired take it out & discard it.
2. Takeaway Menus and Trade Flyers
You may have multiple copies of these clogging up kitchen drawers or noticeboards yet all of this information can be found online. If it’s a trade that you’ve been recommended pop the number in your phone under the generic trade rather than company name (eg plumber, electrician), that way you’re more likely to find it when looking for it in a hurry.
3. Clothes You Don’t Wear
Keeping hold of clothes you don’t like or that don’t fit takes up valuable space in your wardrobe. That dress that no longer fits isn’t the positive message you should be giving yourself when you get dressed every morning so move it out of your wardrobe and only keep it if you love it (once you reach your goal weight you’ll want to go out shopping to buy something new to celebrate feeling and looking fabulous). If you’re holding on to clothes that you don’t like take this opportunity to let them go - if you haven’t loved that expensive blouse in the last year you’re unlikely to next year.
4. Shoes That Don’t Fit
How many times have you put a pair of shoes that rub or are uncomfortable back in the wardrobe and not worn them again? We tend to delay making decisions about discarding items (especially when we place a value against them) so do a quick check of your own shoes and any old kids shoes or wellies that don’t fit – there are lots of charities that take shoes.
5. Old Hangers
Having lots of spare hangers in your wardrobe makes it more difficult to get the clothes out that you want to wear – especially if you’ve got a wardrobe full of mismatched wire, plastic and wooden hangers. Move out the old hangers and go one step further by using matching hangers, your clothes will hang better once all the hangers match and there’ll be no more battling with tangled hangers every morning.
6. Expired Food
Spring cleaning is a perfect time to empty out kitchen cupboards and discard food past its use by date or obscure ingredients that won’t be used. Lots of my clients are shocked to discover that they have long forgotten tins and jars that can no longer be used (a 10 year old bulging can of Guiness is a recent find).
Take the opportunity to make space and rearrange your kitchen cupboards so you can clearly see what’s in them – if you can see it, you’re more likely to use it.
7. Plastic Food Containers Without Lids and/or Lids Without Containers
I’m convinced that these multiply when we’re not looking! Take a quick look at my 5 minute declutter tip to tame your Tupperware once and for all.
8. Old Medication
We only tend to reach into our medicine boxes when we’re feeling unwell and need to take something so it’s not unusual to discover medicine and old prescription drugs that are well past the use by date. Take any old medications back to your pharmacy to be safely destroyed and do a quick stock check to make sure you’ve got the essential bits for the next time you need medication or painkillers.
9. Excess Spare Bedding
It’s really common to hold on to old bedding when we buy a new set but a quick check around the house may find more sets of bedding and towels than you realise. The more bedding you have the bigger the potential dirty washing pile becomes!
I recommend keeping just one spare set for each bed. If you have young children it's sensible to keep an additional set just in case of a mishap in the middle of the night.
You can always ask guests to bring their own duvets & bedding when they come to stay.
10. Travel Guide Books
How did you plan your holiday last time you went away?
Whilst we’re planning our post lockdown breaks many of us will be browsing internet looking for inspiration from Tripadvisor, Expedia and Lonely Planet to name a few. Realistically the information in those old Berlitz and Marco Polo travel guides is likely to be out of date so unless they hold sentimental memories it’s time to pass them on.
11. Old Paint and Craft Supplies
Many of us hang on to spare paint tins but as paint is perishable it’s unlikely we’ll be able to use it 18 months down the line to touch up marks on our walls. The same goes for glue, felt tips and colouring pens - if they’ve dried out they’re finished so have a quick check and discard any that are no longer working.
Top Tip: Keep a note of paint colours by room on your phone and buy tester pots if the colour is ever needed again.
12. Miniature and Sample Toiletries or Make-Up
If you have a small ‘collection’ of miniatures that you always plan to take away when you travel (but always forget) put a handful in your suitcase and either start using the rest up as part of your everyday routine or donate unused ones to a women’s refuge or homeless shelter
My Sustainability, Donating & Recycling resource guide is packed with ideas about where to take your discarded items - click to view it.
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If you’d like support with your decluttering take a look at my new 6 week course starting on 30th March
I’m Sue, a professional organiser and KonMari Consultant based in Hampshire. I work remotely or in-person to help busy people declutter, organise and simplify their homes or offices so they can get on with the important job of enjoying life. For a no-obligation chat about how I can help, please get in touch.
m: 07740 782575