Spring is in full swing in the Golden State. Gloomy rainy days intermittently sprinkle their way between days that mimic summer weather, coaxing us poolside a few months earlier than expected. I guess that means it’s time to spring clean. Thanks to our ultimate cleaning list, we don’t need to spend time cleaning our home any more than we already do. Rather, Spring cleaning takes on a larger focus. Now is a great time to cleanse not just our homes, but our bodies, minds, and souls that which does not serve us. This may seem like a large task, but we can take it a step at a time. I have found that the best and easiest place to start is in our physical space. Let’s start Spring cleaning with 100 things to declutter.
- Decluttering A Shoe Closet
- Minimalism: Letting Go of Sentimental Things
- Linen Sheets Are The Perfect Minimalist Bedding
Decluterring changed my life. I became a minimalist after getting rid of the stuff that did not add value to my life. Today, I live a life of gratitude for the few things I own. I spend less time worrying about my things. I have to do less cleaning around the house. And I spend less money, avoiding adding more clutter to my home.
All of these things (saving money, saving time, and worrying less) improved my life significantly. I would consider decluttering as one of the highest forms of self-care. It’s a practice in evaluating life to the fullest, in the hopes of improving it and taking it one step closer to the life I want it to be.
Things I Have Learned During My Decluttering Journey
The art of decluttering is a personal act.
Not everything I declutter needs be decluttered by you. Do not have guilt for wanting to hold on to something that I don’t value. Do not use others as your measuring stick. The goal is to go through the mindful process of being honest with yourself and asking yourself what these items do for your life. Do they give you joy? Add stress? Make you feel warm and fuzzy inside? Support your lifestyle and goals? Do what feels right!
Decluttering one category at a time is essential.
In order to have a clear idea as to what does not belong, you need to assess each category fully. You should not jump from room to room and declutter a little bit in each one. As I wrote in the post How to Get Things Done, we need to focus on the ONE thing in order to get great results. In the case of decluttering, focus on each section of this post and you will be more effective at the job!
This is a sequential process for a reason.
Some things are easier to let go of than others. Start with the closet. These items are easier to let go of because it is the area in most homes where we have excess. The closet also contains items that are typically easy to replace, and therefore easier to let go. And usually, people aren’t that attached to their clothes, unless your a fashionista! I would reserve the most difficult categories (such as paper, digital clutter and memorabilia) for last. They will be the hardest, as they can contain personal information that requires a bit of decluttering resolve.
Decluttering is a practice.
Decluttering is surprisingly not easy. Many people feel anguish, guilt, and overwhelm. It’s totally normal and okay to feel that way. I did, too! Decluttering is a practice. If you start to feel these things, stop. Revisit another day. I would recommend taking all of April to finish this decluttering list. It doesn’t have to be done in one day. And just let go of what feels right to you.
You can always declutter again on your birthday as a sign of rebirth. Or before the holidays, in order to prepare yourself for a busy season. Or in the New Year, to start new habits. There will be plenty of other opportunities, and it takes time to build what I call the decluttering muscle! You are doing great just by starting today.
Without further ado, here are more than 100 things you can declutter this Spring, plus a few tips.
100+ Things to Declutter
- Clothes that still have tags on them. There is a reason those paper tags are still hanging loosely from the labels. You will likely never wear them if you haven’t already. I don’t know about you, but when I get an article of clothing that I am excited about, I rip off the tags and wear it right away. And I wear it every week! Wouldn’t it be nice to feel that much joy and excitement about everything in your closet?
- Clothes that don’t fit. Stop saying you will wear it when you lose ‘X’ pounds. Embrace where you are right now and love your body as it is. By holding yourself against a possible future self, you are hurting the present you. How do you expect to get to a goal in the future when you are not supporting the present?
- Clothes that you are keeping just because they were a gift. Let go of the guilt you feel. It isn’t worth hanging onto the clothes. Your true friends and family will understand. To be completely honest, it actually helps them choose more intentional gifts for you in the future that you can actually cherish.
- Clothes that you have only worn once. Most likely, there is a reason. Whether it is because it doesn’t fit, isn’t your style, or bothers you in some way, take it as your intuitive self telling you to let it go.
- Clothes that don’t go with your style or lifestyle. I like to live with a capsule wardrobe that supports what I do throughout the day. You can read How A Capsule Wardrobe For Work Saves Me Money AND Time. You can also see my current capsule wardrobe here.
- Clothes that are at the end of their life cycle. I know you love that T-shirt or sweater with a hole on it, but honestly, you can’t wear that outside of the home and does wearing worn down clothing make you feel good? Probably not. You can thank it for its service, and then let it go.
- Clothes that are occasion specific. Think graduation robes, bridesmaid dresses, wedding gown and Halloween costumes. Maybe these held some significance at some point, but the memory doesn’t lie in the hanging on to things.
- Excess coats. How many people have multiple coats but only wear a handful? How many sweaters do you have? I usually grab for the same puffer jacket and rain slicker. I rotate through a few sweaters when I stay indoors or need to layer. And I keep one fancy wool coat that I absolutely love and is easy to throw on during those cold winter mornings. That’s it!
- Multiple swimsuits. I only have one and it is a classic, black one-piece from Summersalt. My advice for curating swimsuits right this way. It has been two years of using my swimsuit almost every other week, and it’s stretching a bit on the sides. I have my eyes on this new release from Vuori, and I am thinking of bravely adding a pop of color in my life.
- Multiple sunglasses. I only own this pair from Warby Parker, and it fits every bill.
- Excess hangars. After you’ve decluttered the clothes, you should have a bunch of excess hangars.
- Socks and underwear with holes in them.
- Shoes that are uncomfortable. Our feet do a whole lot of work. They need to have ample support and love from us, and the best way to do that is to wear comfortable shoes.
- Shoes that are worn. They have supported you for long enough, and they need to move on too.
- Accessories that you never use or only used once.
- Accessories that are unnecessary. For example, scarves?
- Repeat accessories. How many scrunchies/hats/beanies do you have? Perhaps pick a one or two favorites.
- Tarnished jewelry. This goes into a similar category as holey T-shirts. They served their purpose, but these things don’t make you feel good, whether you are aware of it or not.
- Broken jewelry and accessories. You will never fix them like you say you will.
- Jewelry you never wear. Sometimes we hang onto things because they are pretty, even when they are not useful. Try to remember that even pretty things hold mental space, and that clutter can have negative effects on your body.
- Out of style or costume jewelry. I try to avoid trends, for the sole reason that they go out of style. I pay a pretty penny to buy less things that are iconic and last me many years. The jewelry brand J. Hannah is making waves with millennials who wish to buy high-quality, simple, versatile and timeless jewelry at significantly lower price points. It is where I buy my jewelry. My daily jewelry set includes these hoop earrings, this locket necklace, and a discontinued pearl demi ring which has replaced my wedding ring. All are in silver for simplicity and because it is my everyday set, I never even have to think about what jewelry to wear that day.
- Multiple purses. I like to keep one main purse with me. This versatile OG2 purse from Lo and Sons functions as my work purse, travel purse, and gym bag. I do hang on to tinier versions such as a mini pouch and a belt bag from Lululemon when I go on errands or simple adventures. A simple trick I use is to put my essentials in a mini pouch that fits in my OG2 purse. Whenever I want to go with less, I just grab the pouch itself without having to repack a single thing.
- Worn out hair ties and bobby pins.
- Make up you never used.
- Makeup that doesn’t really go with your style.
- Make up that is unnecessary. (I don’t use foundation, eyeshadow, lipstick, blush, highlighters, fake eyelashes, etc…). In my honest opinion, this Everyday Set is the only make-up a gal needs. If you are like me, however, and dislike ingesting lip color, I would personally opt for the Sunday Edit and call it a day. I prefer to use lip balm only on my lips, and carry around a more au naturel look than most.
- Old and expired make up. The shelf-life of these things are not as long as most people think.
- Nail polish that’s dried up.
- Nail polish colors you never use.
- Deodorant that’s dried up.
- Doubles of certain bath products. Do you horde shampoo bottles? Toothpaste? Lotions from Bed Bath and Beyond?
- Extras of bath essentials. Get in the habit of buying only one at a time to decrease clutter. People are always surprised when we tell them we buy toilet paper rolls individually wrapped.
- Travel sized toiletries that you collected from your travels.
- Old sunscreen.
- Expired medicine. I am constantly checking supplement and pain medicine bottles and making sure they are up to date.
- Kitchen tools that only serve one purpose and can be replaced by another tool. You really only need a set of iconic kitchen tools, like this one from Material Kitchen.
- Multiple sets of knives. You only need a set of basic knives. This trio knife set from Material Kitchen is my favorite for minimalists.
- Multiple cutlery or tableware sets. One set is all you need. I prefer to go with white tableware and silver cutlery, both dishwasher safe to simplify my life.
- Extra mis-matched mugs. I love coffee vessels! But I usually only drink from one or two pieces each season. My advice is to find a mug that you LOVE and make it an everyday mug. You will cherish the routine of drinking coffee more and imbue significance in that one mug when you tie the ritual to an item.
- Seasonal tableware. My parents keep Christmas plates to pull out only once a year. I find it to be a shame because their plate set is so beautiful, but hardly used. It must have cost a fortune back in the day too, because it includes a place setting for 12 people!
- Repeat items (two wine openers is one too many). People’s homes are riddled with doubles of things, for the just-in-case. Just get rid of doubles and your life will be simpler!
- Gadgets that are finnicky, difficult to maintain, or promise ease of use but instead, clutter the space. My mom has an electric juicer, but I opt for a handheld lemon squeezer and that’s it.
- Expired foods in the pantry or fridge. Declutter (and deep clean) the fridge every two weeks.
- One-time use ingredients and spices that you’ll never use again. The trick is to avoid those complicated recipes that ask for incredibly unique ingredients that you never use!
- Organizational tools that, in reality, add clutter (for example, bins and pantry organizers). Recognize them for what they are – just more stuff.
- Paper towels and one-time use napkins. Opt for dish rags, bar mops and linen napkins.
- Old rags or hand towels. Thin out your collection.
- Placemats. I got rid of a set of 12 placemats and replaced it for one oatmeal-colored linen tablecloth. Less to store and clean.
- A plethora of serveware. I like multi-functional things and use cutting boards as cheese boards. I don’t have multiple trays, place mats, or serveware. Typically, when we host, I place the bake pan, pot, or roasting tray directly on a few potholders and call it a day. I will admit, I have a few cake stands, which double as appetizer stands when I can help it.
- Excess sauce packets and free napkins from your to-go orders.
- Excess pots and pans.
- Tupperware with missing lids. I have actually been guilty of this one!
- Multiple water bottles and travel mugs. I have one water bottle and one travel tumbler, both from an amazing Japanese company called Kinto.
- Broken Appliances.
- Fridge magnets.
- Chip bag clips.
- Junk drawers. The name says it all.
- Spare bedding. I only keep one for each bed.
- Excess throw blankets and decorative pillows. Having too many can create the feeling of clutter. A recommendation I have is to keep neutral colors in the same hue. It’s less exhausting to look at than patterns and plenty of color.
- Spare towels. Keep only enough for a few guests that you can host. Keep only one set for your family.
- Seasonal textiles, such as sheets, pillows, tablecloths and blankets that can only be used during the holidays or special occasions. Opt for a neutral design that fits all occasions and the every day.
- Single use table cloths and napkins.
- Seasonal home decor that you only use a part of the year.
- Figurines or vases that you no longer like.
- Picture frames that aren’t really being used.
- Artwork that may be cluttering the walls.
- Throw pillows that get in the way or are stored in closets.
- Multiple candles or old candles. Alternatively, gifted candles with scents you don’t like and would never use.
- Collectibles. My mom really loves her collectibles and I would never force anyone to part with something that means a lot to them. But if you once collected beanie babies as a child and they are sitting in a dusty box in the garage, at least ask yourself the question, “Do I really love these as I once did?”
- Additional suitcases. We were gifted matching large check-in bags for our honeymoon and we have only used them once – during our honeymoon! It has been more than five years, and as minimalists, we usually need nothing more than an overhead bag, even when we travel for weeks at a time internationally. See my minimalist travel packing tips in this post!
- Neck pillows. Toss ’em.
- Multiple backpacks. We each have one that we use for everything.
- Books that you’ve already read.
- That box of 100 pens or 100 pencils that you bought in bulk to ‘save money’. Change your mindset to ‘Save Space’.
- Old pens or stationary.
- Unused craft items.
- Old batteries.
- CDs and DVDs.
- Organizational items like bins, manila folders, paper trays, etc.
- Office supplies that you hardly use, like stapler, hole puncher, and paper clips. We don’t even have a printer at home.
- Excess pads of paper, box of envelopes, or empty notebooks. I like to stick to one notebook at a time. When I finish it, I go back through and decide which information is still needed and I either save that on my laptop or transfer it to my new notebook. Usually, it fills maybe one page.
- Gift cards and coupons. I have a habit of using gift cards right away. That might sound silly but I just don’t like to hold onto them. So I spend them once I receive them and let them go. If I have nothing I wish to buy at the time, I use them to buy someone else a present.
- Wrapping paper saved for Christmas or birthdays. I like to choose brown paper or something simple that fits every occasion. I tie with jute string and decorate with leaves or flowers from the park outside. You can also check out how I wrapped presents one Christmas using the art of Furoshiki.
- Cords with no purpose.
- Musical instruments or music devices that you never use.
- Old toys.
- Rusty plant pots.
- Unused paints.
- Outside equipment.
- Unused or broken tools.
- Pet items. Yes, even our pet is minimalist! He has one food and water bowl that’s big enough to fit one serving of food. He has one carrier, one bed from Tuft and Paw, and a litter box with litter mat. And a handful of toys. No pet clothes and certainly no fancy cat tree. Get rid of the half-chewed up toys. And definitely declutter any extra accessories.
- Board games that your family never plays. We have a huge collection of boardgames, but if I am being honest, there are a few we never reach for. Perhaps regift it to a friend who also loves boardgames, or to a school in need.
- Puzzles with missing pieces or ones that you are never going to use again.
- Video games and systems that you don’t use anymore. Try re-selling them online, as my husband has always had success in that.
- Freebies and giveaways. You probably only took those items home because they were free. But are they really? Remember that everything takes up mental space and cost you energy.
- Loose change. I don’t even carry around cash anymore. Everything can be done online.
- Old letters you hang on to.
- Birthday cards or holiday cards from years prior.
- Receipts that you really don’t need.
- Bank statements or other records which you can get online.
- Notebooks and notes from the past.
- Class notes from college days. How many times do you really look at them?
- Mail. Open them once you receive them, and then throw them out. Secret – 90% of mail is junk. A tactic I use to really keep mail to a minimum is to unsubscribe to everything. It initially takes work as you need to contact businesses and ask them to take you off their mailing lists, but it is SO worth it.
- Magazines that you’ve already read or don’t plan on reading. In line with my previous note, I would get rid of magazine subscriptions altogether.
- Photographs that don’t hold meaning for you.
- Email. I have had the same email since I was in elementary school. One day, frustrated by all the junk and clutter in my digital space, I just hit ‘Delete All’. I never missed a single email and I haven’t turned back since.
- Photos on your phone, cameras, desktop, or USB drives. It takes a decent amount of emotional distancing from material goods to be able to let go of memorabilia. This is not for the soft-hearted decluterrer. Be advised, proceed with caution. Me? I am totally fine with clearing my life of photos, and do so regularly. I keep a few, but never more than one USB drive.
- Documents. Depending on your line of work, do you really need all your documents? I am a writer and I don’t keep many. I write, I publish, and I delete.
- Receipts. As we progress into the digital age, there are very few receipts you need to keep. Most likely, if you have a digital version of it, you can find it somewhere.
Because I started decluttering, I am able to live a more frugal and intentional life. One that allows me to pay back my student loan debt of $575,000! I am able to live in a smaller home and pay less for housing. I love all the things I own. They are beautiful and functional. I look at my items as comrades who help me get through this thing we call life. There is a relationship with my things, for which I have gratitude.
I hope that this year’s Spring cleaning brings you something more than a clean home. A new outlook, perhaps. Or extra breathing room. Either way, share your thoughts and ideas around this post below!
Photo by Mathieu Perrier on Unsplash
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