50 Things You Can Purge Right Now!

posted by Andrea | 01/18/2019

When it comes to clutter in our homes, the biggest stumbling block is often our own brains!

We make it out to be this HUUUUUUGE issue that’s going to take weeks and months of work, so instead of just getting started, we continually put it off because it just never seems like the “right” time to get started.

We’ll start after the New Year.

We’ll start next week.

We’ll start after our vacation.

We’ll start once we have a bit more free time.

We’ll start… [insert any future date or time]

However, if you’re like most people, you’ll never find just the right time to get started and your piles will continue to grow.

The growing piles will make the situation seem even more overwhelming, and the more overwhelmed you feel, the less likely you are to actually DO something about it.

Sound familiar? 

My advice?

Stop waiting for the perfect time to get started and just get started today… better yet, RIGHT NOW!

Grab a trash bag and/or a donation box (most of the stuff listed below will go into the trash bag) and pick one room in your home to get started in. Set a timer if you’d like, but do NOT worry about finishing the space or getting it perfectly decluttered.

EVERYTHING you remove now will help your cause later…

ANYTHING is better than nothing! 

KITCHEN:

1. Any expired food in the refrigerator, pantry, or freezer.

2. Any food you know your family will not eat (yes, it’s wasteful, just make a mental note not to buy it again).

3. Chipped or broken glasses, mugs, or dishes.

4. Broken/leaky water bottles or sippy cups.

5. Mismatched dishes, glasses, mugs, or silverware.

6. Broken or finicky small appliances.

7. Any food storage container without a lid… or any lid without a container.

8. Any broken, cracked, or chipped pots, pans, bakeware or cookware.

9. Any pots, pans, bakeware, or cookware you don’t use (even if it’s part of a set — you don’t need to keep the set together!)

10.Melted spatulas, broken wooden spoons, dull knives, or any other utensils you don’t use.

11. Anything in your “junk drawer” you don’t really need (hint: you should probably clear out the vast majority of this drawer!)

12. Grungy sponges and scrubbers

LIVING AREAS:

13. Any throw pillows and blankets you don’t really need, use, want, or love.

14. Anything you don’t want to dust around.

15. Ripped books — and any books you don’t/won’t read.

16. Scratched CD’s/DVD’s.

17. Newspapers, magazines, or other subscriptions older than 1 month (yeah, I know… enjoy all your extra space!)

18. Any games, puzzles, or toys that are broken, missing pieces, or that you no longer use.

19. Old remote controls that don’t serve a purpose.

20. All outdated media (you can digitize it with this service).

21. Burned down candles, and any scented items in scents you don’t love.

OFFICE (+ arts and crafts):

22. Dried up pens, markers, play-dough, and paints.

23. Crayon pieces, and pencils that have been sharpened too many times.

24. Any art and craft supplies you don’t use.

25. Extra cords you no longer need.

26. Tax documents older than 7 years.

27. Manuals for items you no longer own.

28. Phone books.

29. Take-out menus.

30. Dead batteries.

31. Any and all electronics you no longer use.

BEDROOM / CLOSET:

32. Any clothing you haven’t worn in over a year.

33. Any clothing that doesn’t fit or is uncomfortable.

34. Any accessories you no longer wear.

35. Shoes, boots, coats, and outwear that doesn’t fit or you no longer like.

36. Wire hangers (get plastic or velvet).

37. Freebie t-shirts or other screen-printed items you have simply because you got them at an event.

38. Mismatched, lone, or holey socks.

39. Old or uncomfortable pillows (they say you should replace your pillow every 7 years)

40. Extra bags, purses, luggage, etc.

BATHROOM / LAUNDRY ROOM:

41. Expired medication, sunscreen, and toiletries (yes, toothpaste and deodorant can expire).

42. Old makeup and nail care items.

43. Worn out, stinky, stained, and/or ripped towels, washcloths, sheets, or other linens.

44. Toiletries and cosmetics you’ll never use.

45. Travel size products you won’t use (these expire too).

46. Cleaning supplies you won’t use.

47. Your toothbrush and shower loofah (treat yourself to a new one now that you’ve decluttered!)

MISC:

48. Any packaging materials (boxes, bags, bubble wrap, cardboard, bags, receipts) from items you no longer have or will no longer return.

49. Any “gear” you or your children no longer need or use (sporting goods, musical instruments, uniforms, special shoes and accessories, bags, team apparel, etc.)

50. Any seasonal decorations you no longer use or love, or ones that are just “past their prime”.

This list is certainly NOT exhaustive (I haven’t even started on the garage!)… but I also hope it’s not overwhelming. I feel it’s very doable for a busy person, especially if you simply choose one item from this list to purge each day.

Just think… one item per day means you’ll purge everything on this list in 50 days — that’s less than 2 months!

The next time you feel overwhelmed with the idea of decluttering or purging your home, think back to this list and just do SOMETHING to improve the state of your room, your closet, your home, etc.

I know it might not feel like you’re making a huge difference, but over time, it WILL make a huge difference!

What will you purge first?

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33 comments

  1. Vivian

    02/07/2019

    I usually have a bag that I put things I’ve decided to purge. I’ve realized for me I need to concentrate on one area at a time to make any noticeable change.

    This week I’m concentrating on my kitchen. I’ve tossed out freezer burnt food, out dated condiments and I am going to purge some cookware. I can’t wait to see the change when I’m done.

    I already feel more on top off my pantry, freezer and fridge. Thank you for another push in the right direction.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh I LOVE a good kitchen purge!! it’s amazing how much more I enjoy being in a space that is freshly organized and clutter-free

    [Reply]

  2. Tonya

    01/22/2019

    I just finished a whole house purge. I did every closet, drawer, cabinet and room of our house. I started 12/21 and finished yesterday while off for MLK Day. Took a month but a few areas a day/week made it not such a huge project. Feels good to be done!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Wow — amazing! I can imagine how fantastic it feels to know EVERY space has been looked through and purged!

    [Reply]

  3. Rhonda

    01/18/2019

    Today I purged:

    -a wood futon frame (hasn’t been used in 8 years) to Goodwill (note, check local places…not all will take futons!)
    -a BIG box of medical journals that had been in a storage box since 2005
    -cutting board from Alaska, that was a gift. It’s a really nice set with a specialized knife and the wood surface is a bowl…but I NEVER use it! My in-laws buy a lot of souvenirs for others on their vacations, but often they are just not that practical. I felt bad unloading it, but someone else might enjoy it more.

    Nice to free up a LOT of space!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — some big items too. That will feel good!!

    [Reply]

  4. Cathy

    01/18/2019

    When I moved to another state 2.5 years ago, I got rid of a lot of stuff. One of the hardest was all the lotions, scrubs and bubble baths that I had under the sink. They were expensive, wonderfully scented and barely used. I couldn’t believe how many items I had and how much money I spent on them!! I gave myself permission to throw them away. Know what? I felt SO MUCH BETTER once they were in the garbage. No more guilt. No more questioning. Much more space.

    Just do it – it’ll be ok! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for mentioning this — I definitley know where you are coming from with the whole “I spent good money on that and it’s still brand new” situation. It’s hard to purge those items — I’m impressed you actually followed through with it!

    [Reply]

    J Reply:

    It’s hard to get rid of stuff like this- I should know! But sure wish you had donated instead of put in landfill

    [Reply]

  5. Lydia Senn

    01/18/2019

    It is amazing how much stuff we accumulate without even realizing it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    YES! It’s crazy! I think having 4 children has something to do with all our extra stuff 😉

    [Reply]

  6. Lynn

    01/18/2019

    Great post! I have a LARGE box in the garage right now ready to go to donation. I put a small box in my closet and other rooms too so I can purge as I am in there. I am so ready to have more purged this winter!

    Thanks for all your wonderful posts! Have a great weekend!

    Lynn

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’re welcome, Lynn! Way to go on your purging. I’m sure it feels great!

    [Reply]

  7. Brenda

    01/18/2019

    I do a version of this with my kids. I give them a plastic grocery bag (so not too big) and send them in their room. They have to fill it up with garbage. Anything they think is garbage. This isn’t the time for organizing/sorting. I literally just want them to pick up trash. I’m always amazed at the amount of broken toys, crayons, papers, wrappers, etc that they find. I usually try to look in the bag a little to be sure they aren’t throwing away clothes or anything they still need (like books, haha). They have figured out that they can drag the bag right under their bed with them and that helps it fill up fast!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing!
    I sort of do the same thing, but I’m usually the one with the garbage bag. I think the kids would have a lot of fun with this!

    [Reply]

  8. Pamela

    01/18/2019

    Dull knives?!? Don’t purge them; sharpen them!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You know what… I’ve had the WORST luck sharpening knives. They seem to end up even more dull after being sharpened — obviously something isn’t right with that!
    I have lots of cheapy pairing knives I use every day. I just toss those when they get dull. However, I do have 3 or 4 very nice knives that I wouldn’t just toss out without trying to sharpen first!

    [Reply]

    Pamela Reply:

    I understand! We just bought this from Menards and it is AMAZING: “Work Sharp: Knife and Tool Sharpener”. My brother gave us a demo of his at Christmas, but since he’s in MI and we’re in IN we had to go buy our own!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’ll have to look into that. Our knife sharpener doesn’t seem to work well (or maybe it’s an “operator error”!)

    [Reply]

    Jenny Reply:

    Professional sharpeners are the best way to go. Our local hardware store does it for $5 or so. We can’t fill the landfills like this. I will look into the recommended device. The kind on the can openers or cheap countertop models don’t work for me, either, and I can’t seem to get the knack of the old stones.

    [Reply]

  9. Shari

    01/18/2019

    Love this list! And perfect timing! I got so mad at all our junk, I started decluttering yesterday.
    One note on the tax documents…if you think you might ever deal with immigration or SS or Medicaid after immigrating, keep those documents! My in-laws have been through a terrible time having to prove that they actually paid their taxes in order to apply for Medicaid as seniors. It’s been awful and makes no sense! Thankfully they did get it figured out, but would have been so much easier if they had kept all their records.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the heads-up on the tax documents. That’s new information for me!
    Happy purging!!

    [Reply]

  10. Jen

    01/18/2019

    These lists always make me smile–do people really keep phone books and dead batteries?? I don’t even keep manuals or menus anymore–everything can be found online. I go through my plastic containers several times a year and pitch anything that doesn’t have a lid. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that every container in my cupboard (I don’t have many but, somehow, they seem to multiply!) has a matching lid.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — YOU WOULD BE SURPRISED! I’ve seen much crazier things in the homes I’ve worked in. And oddly enough, there are many times when the people make excuses for why they can’t purge things like old phone books or dead batteries!
    Also, I cringed a little when I wrote “lids without containers” as I purged a lid without a container about month ago, and then came to realize the kids had taken that container… so then I had a container without a lid. Grrrr.
    Oh well, it’s done now 🙂

    [Reply]

  11. Stephanie

    01/18/2019

    I always love your posts on decluttering! As I was reading your list, a few things came to mind that I could declutter so lists like this help. I have lots of necklaces that have been given to me. I have had them now for years but in reality I rarely wear necklaces! Time to look at them again.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yup — that’s a good one!
    There are literally hundreds of other things I could add to this list!!!
    My hope is that by keeping it to 50, it won’t seem too overwhelming. I also tried to think of things almost any home would have ,

    [Reply]

  12. Melissa

    01/18/2019

    Hi Andrea,

    Do you have a printable list of your 50 suggested items? I would love to print it off and go through my house. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t… sorry!
    I guess I’m not big on printables anymore as I really don’t want to add any paper clutter to my reader’s lives! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    True. But there is something so wonderful in marking through a to do list. 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, definitely!
    You could always copy and paste it into a word document and then print it off!!

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    Will do! Thanks for compiling the list for us readers!

    [Reply]

  13. Ashley

    01/18/2019

    I love lists like this! I would argue there’s no reason to keep any owners manuals (with very few exceptions) as they’re so easy to find online. How often do we reference those things anyway?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I would make the same argument — but not everyone agrees! That said, I feel everyone should be willing to purge manuals for things they don’t even have!!!

    [Reply]