11 Things You Probably Own Too Many Of {And What To Do With Them}!

I recently did a Closet Makeover and was SO pleased with the results!

I got rid of a BUNCH of stuff…and felt like I’d pared down quite nicely.  But lately I’m starting to have to CRAM clothes into my closet again. What happened? After the “makeover” everything hung so nicely and loosely. ugh. It appears I need to do a bit MORE paring down.

The main culprit….long-sleeve crew neck T’s. (The ones from Gap are my fav!)  Even though they are pretty much my “uniform” when I’m in casual mode….I definitely don’t need as many as I have.

This got me thinking about the OTHER things in my house that I simply have too many of. Sadly it wasn’t hard to come up with a rather extensive list. And I would bet you probably have some on YOUR list too!


We definitely have an over abundance of towels in our house. Even though I relegate the old towels to car-washing duty (the hubster is a bit obsessive about washing our cars)…we STILL have too many! Maybe if I were to cut down on the number of towels we have, No. 2 and No.3 sons wouldn’t think they need to use a NEW one for every shower!


Animal shelters and vets love the donation of old towels. They make soft beds for the critters. :)  Old towels, covered with nice fabric, make nice potholders, and, of course, old towels are great for reusable cleaning rags.  Towels can also be re-purposed into woven mats and rugs.

stacks of bedding

Bedding……..sheets, blankets, pillow cases, etc.

I have this PILE of sheets, blankets and pillowcases on a shelf in our linen closet “just in case” I might need extras for SOMETHING.  I don’t think I’ve used them for 5 years at least!  Unless you have a child that wets the bed and is needing new bedding nightly…you really only need two sets of sheets for each bed (MAYBE three if you’re a slacker about doing laundry!)


Like towels, donate old sheets to animal shelters or rip them up for rags.

Glasses (and mugs and water bottles etc.)

Every time I unload the dishwasher and start putting away the dishes I marvel at how many DIFFERENT kinds of drinking vessels we have!  Giant plastic tumblers (mostly for milkshakes), small water glasses, tall water glasses, goblets, mugs, reusable water bottles, etc. Do we really need a different kind of glass for every different beverage that we drink?


Streamline your cupboards! Choose one type of drinking glass and start using it for ALL your beverages. You can even use the same items for everyday AND company! As for all those mugs….fill with a small plant, like those cute little succulents, and give away as gifts  :-)

messy makeup drawer


I’m guessing the vast majority of the female population out there is guilty of this one.  I know I am.  I have enough foundation, eyeshadow, eyeliner, blush, and lipstick in the various drawers of my bathroom to make up the entire cast of Cirque du Soleil! :-)


The thing about make up is that in addition to becoming clutter, it also has a shelf life and most likely if you’ve had it for more than a year it has “gone bad”.  Toss it! It’s probably bacteria-laden and chances are you’ll never use it. (Or if you have a penchant for pretty nails…. you can mix old and/or broken eye shadows, blushes, etc with clear nail polish for custom colors.)  Then try to limit your makeup collection to a foundation, a light powder (or concealer), a mascara, a dual eyeshadow or small eyeshadow kit, and a lip gloss.  It should all fit in one small cosmetic bag.


Aye, aye, aye….I almost hate to bring this one up! I know that people can be fiercely protective of their books!  But if you’re not using them, they’re just collecting dust. There are so many worthwhile books out there that no one home could contain them all! We all have to draw the line somewhere.


CONDENSE your collection and donate books to your local library, a hospital or retirement home, or send books to soldiers (check out BooksforSoldiers.com or operationpaperback.org.)  How about a bi-annual book swap with girlfriends – one for beach reads in the summer and another for winter hibernation?  Also, consider making the switch to reading books on your Kindle, IPad or IPhone.


If you’ve ever received flowers (and I certainly hope you HAVE!), you most likely have a few (or more) glass vases rattling around in your cupboards, taking up valuable real estate!


Repurpose them! Pinterest has a million pins for upcycling florist vases, plus, here’s is a GREAT list of ideas!  Take them back to a florist. They are usually happy to reuse them and you might just get some free flowers for your trouble!  Or, consider donating them to a local convalescent home or seniors’ residence (often people receive flowers without vases).

Tupperware (or Gladware or Ziploc containers, etc).

I can’t STAND the idea of wasting food! Even if I am almost CERTAIN that the leftover food from a particular meal is never going to be touched again….I just can’t bring myself to throw it away. Consequently I have WAY too many plastic food containers that most of the time only serve as a frustration and annoyance when I’m trying to find something ELSE in the cupboard I store them in.


At the very least….go through your stash and throw anything that doesn’t have a matching lid! That should eliminate a LOT right there! But why not take it a step further? Invest in some ceramic or Pyrex dishes and get rid of plastic altogether! Since these can go from oven to table to fridge…you’re more likely to use up the leftovers in them (rather than letting them turn into “science experiments” in the fridge!)

Kitchen gadgets and utensils.

Do you have a waffle-maker that hasn’t been used in years? Stacks of china that rarely see the light of day? A dozen reusable water bottles for 4 people? Four or five duplicates of commonly used utensils?  Yep. Me too.


Eliminate duplicates! There really is no good reason to have 4 or 5 different whisks in a kitchen. They all pretty much do the exact same thing! Take that china OUT of the cupboard, expose it to the “light of day” and USE it! Often! If you don’t like it enough to use it in the “light of day”, then get rid of it. Again….donate, donate, donate. Oh…and that waffle maker you never use…try cooking bacon on it. It works great for that. :-)

Grooming and Cleaning products.

Products for hair, nails, skin, teeth, personal hygiene, etc. FILL the drawers of our bathrooms! I think most of us are guilty of wanting to try the “latest and greatest” when it comes to these types of things. And when they don’t deliver the promised results (which let’s face it…is MOST of the time!) they get tossed into the drawer and begin collecting drawer dust.


Streamline your routine, whether it’s hair care or cleaning, to weed out products you don’t use. For cleaning…… baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and liquid dish soap can get you through most chores.

Woman with reusable bag

Reusable Shopping Bags.

Just last week I tossed out piles of shopping bags I’d saved up from IKEA, Gap, Old Navy, Whole Foods, Target, Victoria’s Secret, and a bunch of other shops. Typically they are made out of such nice material it’s hard to get rid of them! But truthfully…I never use them!  They just pile up!


Reuse “fancy” shopping bags by packing them with clothes for Goodwill (or your local thrift store). Kill two birds with one stone. :-)  Or you could make your own VERY COOL Subway Art with them!

Travel Size Toiletries.

Almost anything you can think of is cute in miniature form! Think puppies and babies! :-)  So it’s no surprise those little hotel soaps and shampoos, etc are so tempting to collect. But usually they just end up being tossed in a drawer and forgotten about.


Start using them up. Toss them in your gym bag or just put them in the shower so you’ll be reminded to use them!  Or…even better…..give them to your local homeless or women’s shelter, they truly appreciate them. Lighten your load and help someone rebuild their lives at the same time.

This list is, of course, not all-inclusive. I can actually think of a LOT more, and I’m sure you can too. But I think this is representative of the idea and hopefully has some solid ideas to help you (and me!) do some streamlining in our lives.

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  1. says

    We moved to be closer to my parents (and other siblings) earlier this year after my mom was diagnosed with dementia. I cook for my parents 2x a week, and every 3 Sundays (share the responsibilities with my siblings out here) and it is somewhat of a joke now, to re-use the plastic containers. There gets to be a point where I send them home with leftovers (for lunch the next day) in the plastic containers. My siblings do the same thing. Once my cupboard is empty, it seems that magically my mom (who is VERY OCD now that she is in moderate stage dementia) gives me a big bag or two filled with plastic containers, some that are not mine, even… she does the same with my siblings… so when we insist they aren’t ours, she insists right back that they are. It is kinda funny. Us kids just either swap behind their backs to get the correct lids with the correct containers, or we just use them again and send them on their way back with my parents. I use Pyrex glass containers for my own stuff… :)

    • Jo says

      I commend you and your siblings for helping and caring for your parents. My Mom has dementia, and living far from her kills me. I used to live in the same town and for 8 years, provided 99% of her meals, since my sister didn’t cook. It was such a joy to see the happiness on her face. I praise my Heavenly Father for your gifts of love, kindness and giving. Be blessed. Jo

  2. Dominique says

    This article was totally worth it just for the book donation links – I am a book lover, but whenever I have books to get rid of I don’t really know what to do. Libraries around here don’t accept book donations. Thanks!

    • Leah says

      Neither do the libraries around here. Makes NO sense to me. “No, we’d rather spend your tax dollars and buy them new, thanks.”

      • says

        Leah, it actually costs libraries more money to “process” old books with stickers, laminate, and stamps than it is to buy them with all that stuff on them already. Especially if the book is used and won’t last as long, it creates a lot more labor (that libraries don’t have these days with all the budget cuts!).

    • Delena McC says

      You could take them to Doctor offices, beauty salons, nursing homes, thrift stores. Always ask! most ofter I drop mine off at Bed and Breakfast Inns, and hair salons. If I take one to read on a trip I will leave it where I finish it with a note inside. “Free read”

      • Ayshela says

        Also, check with your local hospital or VA medical center. Many accept donations of books and magazines for their waiting rooms.

      • Lo says

        Our library doesn’t either so I give them to the nursing home and the hospital – both appreciate them very much.

    • Michelle says

      You could also try selling them at used bookstores. Like Half Priced Books. If you are a romance junkie (like me), you will have trouble selling them there. You could also sell them on ebay. If you have books on finance, college textbooks, cookbooks, you should not have a problem. Half Priced Books also will take any audio books. If you can’t sell it first, then I would donate. Try to get back some of the money you spent on it first. Just my thoughts.

  3. says

    Wonderful tips! Might I suggest that the shopping bags be donated to a local food pantry? I know that our local food pantry is always in need of bags for the patrons to place their items into. Thanks for the article!!

    • Marybeth S says

      I take extra bags to the local thrift store.They are always happy to get them. They use plastic bags too.Our library has book sells to raise money so they will take my used books.

  4. deniseinark says

    Books – I hope this doesn’t bring out the paper vigilantes, but they can be added to a metal coffee can until it’s full, finish filling with charcoal lighter until they soak it up and then use them for firestarters.
    Plastic storage – ONLY buy one brand, and NEVER buy stuff in “nesting” sizes the way that Tupperware sells their bowls. Nearly all of my bowls and lids fit in two of those white mini laundry baskets on a shelf in the cabinet.
    Dishes- I think you can sell odd and end pieces (and know for sure that you can buy them) at Replacements.com. So if you only have a few pieces left of a pattern (like my old Pier 1 dishes) this could be a good way of dealing with them.

  5. deniseinark says

    Thanks Jillee – LOVE this list!! When I cleaned houses, I’d always fold the clean sheets and toss the set into a matching pillow case, making a little “package.” I know, that’s an oldie, but it’s a goodie. Another way to free up linen closet space is to store the extra sheets between the mattress and box spring for the appropriate bed (don’t fold them quite as small). Since I’ve started repurposing fabrics, I no longer buy new sheets. I pick up thrifted sets in just about any size as long as I like the fabric/color. I use a king top sheet and blanket on our queen bed to help block those cold drafts that swoop underneath during the night- especially when a certain *cover hog* rolls over and wraps himself up as he rolls! Then, when making the bed, just do a little extra tucking at the sides and use the regular queen comfortor. Instead of using a comfortor in summer, I use a king flat sheet as a coverlet over the blanket. Sheets are, by nature, very washable, so this is a good solution if pets get on the bed, whether overnight or in the daytime. What better way to make use of “extras” than by adding them to the bed?

  6. Katrina says

    I didn’t know you get fresh flowers in a vase over there! Certainly doesn’t happen here in Australia! I’d really love some of those!

  7. says

    Women’s shelters also greatly need (and appreciate) the donation of towels, grooming products, and used cell phones in working condition.

  8. Pat wattersPat Watters says

    On the shopping bags ~ my community charges a tax on shopping bags, so most people carry their own, but there must be someplace that people take items home and can’t afford re Israelis. I amam still looking for a place to donate mine, maybe a food bank?

  9. melissa says

    lol, i am guilty of most of the same things, the one thing i dont have even one of is vases. im not fond of fresh flowers so i never get them..lol.