It can be quite overwhelming to start the downsizing and minimizing of belongings. I know this from personal experience. Heck, I still get overwhelmed sometimes, even if I’ve been in the process of minimizing for quite some time now. Stuff has a rather annoying way of magically accumulating, don’t you agree?
Since I know all too well how difficult it can be to know how to start downsizing, I thought I would give you some ideas for ten things to get rid of right now:
1. That one clothing item you never wear
I know we all have them; those clothes that we save just in case, but each time we put them on we go “Naah… Let’s wear something else!” In fact, I’ll put two in my toss and/or donate bag right now: the worn out jeans that I’m tired of mending, and the oversized t-shirt with polkadots that I have never felt good in. Chances are, if you’re just starting out, you have more than one item. Take inventory, be honest with yourself and declutter as needed. This reminds me, I should also get rid of that green shirt with that stain that never comes out.
2. The duplicate
Sometimes duplicates come in handy. Other times they just make additional clutter. And at the best of times, we only need the one, don’t we? Often, we buy a new one to replace the old one, and then we don’t get around to throw out the old one anyway. So, go through your belongings and find that one duplicate that you simply do not need – and toss (recycle, sell or donate) it!
3. That pile of old magazines
I don’t know about you, but magazines and newspapers have a way of accumulating in my shelves. Taking a quick note of your magazine pile and sorting out the ones you’re finished with to throw them in the recycle bin, is an effective way of tidying up and minimizing within minutes.
4. The microwave
If you are honest with yourself, how much do you really use your microwave? Chances are that it’s only taking up space on your kitchen counter collecting dust. And, if you are indeed using it, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate it’s purpose. Can’t you use your regular oven for most of the things you use your microwave oven for today? Doesn’t your microwave meals take something away from your overall food quality? If you need any more reasons to ditch your microwave, I recommend this piece on why ditching your microwave is a good idea.
5. Those old receipts
I hang on to receipts. After all, they can come in handy after a purchase, ensuring your warranty if something were to happen to your new product. But, after a while, the receipt drawer have a way of reaching its limits, holding on to years worth of receipts. Take a couple of minutes to go through your old receipts. If you’re anything like me, chances are that some of the receipts aren’t worth holding on to anymore. Some even have faded ink and are left unreadable. Good riddance.
6. Old tech gadgets
People change gadgets all the time, whether it’s swapping their phone for a new one or upgrading their laptops to a newer model. But, it’s often more of a hassle than a habit to get rid of the old gadget after buying a new one. For instance, I think I am holding on to any and all the mobile phones I’ve ever had (luckily, the number doesn’t exceed a handful). How weird is that? It might come in handy, because…? I guess my excuse is mostly that, well, they do contain pictures and other memories I’d like to save for later times. Yet, who am I kidding, right? I’ll n-e-v-e-r get around to retrieve them. So yes, if you have any old gadgets lying around, take them out from their dusty corners and toss them (a friendly reminder: they go in ‘special waste’). Wipe their memory and retrieve the data on them, if necessary. But do the retrieving now, or else it’s probably not that important to you in the first place. This is a good moment to practice the art of letting go, on multiple levels.
7. Old coffee mugs or other worn-out kitchen cutlery
Do you have any worn-out cutlery in your kitchen, with lots of different mismatched objects? It can be a good start for some decluttering. I know, for instance, that many people hold on to a collection of porcelain mugs and coffee cups. It’s not anything wrong with this per ce, of course. Perhaps it’s affectionate travel souvenirs, and perhaps you use all of them. Still, cups and mugs have a way of cumulating over the years, and chances are you can get rid of a few without any regrets. I got rid of a whole bunch of mugs on my decluttering-spree, and it made such a big difference to my kitchen cabinet space!
8. Old books
I am all for keeping a decent size library, and I’m not saying ‘ditch all your books, it’s not minimalist enough!’, not at all. But whether you’ve been a student or not, chances are you are holding on to more books than you need. Take inventory and be honest with yourself; is all of your books titles you feel passionate about? Probably not. I know I probably aren’t going to read all my favorite books again, but at least they are my favorites and I fondly remember reading them. As such, keeping them in my bookshelf brings me joy and gives my living space a sense of personal flair. But others don’t mean anything to me, and can be donated, sold or recycled. I know libraries often happily accept donations, so if you find yourself with a few titles to spare, perhaps pack a backpack and bring a few over?
9. The bad seeds in your DVD collection
Before all the streaming options we have today, Chris and I often had a peek in the DVD section of the grocery stores to see if there were any interesting movies to buy for a tiny penny, as it were. This, needless to say, resulted in us buying a lot of, well, downright crappy movies, to be honest. So, if you haven’t downsized your DVD collection yet, this is a a good chance to get rid of those bad titles you’re embarrassed to own and know you’ll never watch again.
10. The useless items in your junk drawers
Junk drawers, we all have them, right? They tend to fill up with everything we’re keeping just because or just in case. Even if you have decluttered it once, chances are it will fill up again, if you’re not mindful about it. Items I have found in my own drawer and have thrown out are for instance: old shoe laces (that I kept in case of…what, exactly?), old buttons that don’t go with anything, dried up glue sticks or tubes, textile clippings, old gift wraps, electrical cords for gadgets I no longer own, duplicate or one-time-use tools, pens that no longer write, and the list goes on.
And there you have it, ten things to get rid of right now! If you didn’t know where to start your decluttering, now you have a few ideas to start you off. What do you think? Do you have anything to add to this list? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!