Monday, September 10, 2012

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!

 

Towels.

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!

Answer:

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!)

Answer:

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?

Answer:

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

Makeup.   

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! :-)

Answer:

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.

 

 

Books.

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.

Answer:

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.

 

 

Vases.

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!

Answer:

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.

Answer:

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.

Answer:

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.

Answer:  

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.

 

 

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!

Answer:

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.

Answer:

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

  1. Pat wattersPat Watters

    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?

    Reply
  2. deniseinark

    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?

    Reply
  3. deniseinark

    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.

    Reply
  4. gussie

    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!!

    Reply
  5. Dominique

    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!

    Reply
      1. Lauren

        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!).

        Reply
    1. Delena McC

      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”

      Reply
    2. Michelle

      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.

      Reply
  6. Rebecca

    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… :)

    Reply
    1. Jo

      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

      Reply
  7. Debbie

    Like everyone else, I have way too much of this clutter! I do have an addition for the hotel shampoos, lotions & soaps. Sending them to our troops that are deployed is greatly appreciated too. Many are far away from a large base and getting these “care packages” is welcomed. Thanks for all of your great ideas!

    Reply
    1. Wendy

      The local chapter of the D.A.R. sends sample packets of shampoos, soaps, toothpaste and toothbrushes etc. to Veterans hospitals for veterans who need these items which are not furnished by the hospital.

      Reply
  8. Judy

    Holy cow, this post is so timely for me! It’s like you were watching me this weekend (which is pretty creepy actually!). I’ve done ALL of these things – some more recently than others and a few things just yesterday! Two years ago I purged my kitchen cabinets and drawers of all the extra mugs (which seem to breed), gadgets and vases that had accumulated over the years. I packed them carefully in a box and hauled what didn’t sell in a yard sale off to Goodwill. Old sheets and towels are stored in the basement. Someday when I get the motivation I plan to repaint the interior of our house and those old sheets will serve as drop cloths. I use the old towels for anything that needs mopping up (like when the basement sink overflows – sigh). A couple of years ago I put a shoebox in our hall closet and labeled it “travel stuff.” I throw free samples of toothpastes, shampoos, deodorants, etc. in there. When I pack for a vacation, I grab the samples instead of packing the full size stuff. If we forget to bring something home it’s no big deal. I don’t get rid of Tupperware or Ziploc storage containers because I use them a lot. There’s actually times when I run out and I’m scrambling to find containers to store stuff in. lol I laughed out loud when you mentioned reusable shopping bags. Just yesterday – I kid you not – I was under my kitchen sink pulling out all the bags we’ve accumulated. All the while I was saying “when did we get this? We don’t shop at Victoria’s Secret!” lol I think we got some of them when my friend passed some clothes on to my daughter. The part that really made me say “yep!!” is when you suggested packing them with clothes for Goodwill because that’s exactly why I was crawling under the sink looking for bags! My daughter was laughing at me because my big butt was sticking out from under the sink as I pulled out all these bags that we have no use for. (some of them were so small I couldn’t understand why I bothered saving them) The only thing in this article that doesn’t apply to me is the books. My daughter is a big reader but she gets most of her books from our public library. It’s free and it eliminates book clutter. I drive by the library on my way too and from work so it’s never an inconvenience to pick up or drop off for her (she requests them online and gets an email when the book comes in and when it’s due back).

    Reply
  9. flerbiejean

    Guilty! I have been known at one time or another to have been guilty of all these things.

    I had already converted to a Kindle about three years ago and have thus removed more than 10 boxes of books (over three six-feet tall bookshelves) worth of books. I have kept a few precious ones with which I could never part.

    I have also long since pared down to the bare essentials with cosmetics and shopping bags. (One tip I have for the plastic shopping bags is to fold them/stuff them into a boutique tissue box to use as I need them, the remainder of which are donated to a local preschool for soiled clothing, etc.)

    As for the cleaning supplies, I am using up the remainder of what I have now and will never again be guilty of purchasing cleaning supplies when I have household ingredients/materials that will do the job better. (Thanks, Jillee, for so many great cleaning “recipes!”)

    Reply
  10. Amy

    we know of a missionary that uses the travel sized lotions and soaps for there mission. they go to a local asylum in mexico and they rub the lotions into the peoples hands. it really calms them down. our church saves and sends them over to them.

    Reply
  11. Sonya Stott

    Another idea for those travel size toiletries is to donate them to a shelter in your area. Our local shelter has a program where they provide showers, and a “to go” bag of toiletries. It is a great way to use all of those small soaps and toothpastes!

    Reply
    1. Heather

      Haha me too! I moved 6 months ago and took a real hard look at everything we had. I declared if I couldn’t think of when we had used it in the last year, I’d donate it. Well, suffice it to say I didn’t donate a single thing. Apparently being a chef in a tiny kitchen means you only buy what you need and use what you have. Instead I made a list of all the things I needed to BUY!

      My mother in law, on the other hand… as we were moving in with her, she cleared out half the kitchen for my stuff. Everything fit, with the addition of a pot rack, but we had a LOT of stuff to donate that she had no idea she even owned! Still have three can openers though, it’s nice to have one within reach no matter which section of the kitchen you’re in.

      Reply
  12. Deborah Jennings

    This is exactly what I needed to see today! Thank you so much for this post! Now, I am going to get busy in my kitchen and my closets. I have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF! =)

    Reply
  13. Moda

    Love the list.
    *Those travel size containers I pour into larger shampoo, conditioner, lotion bottles. I use the product with out adding to our trash. Clean out the tiny ones and donate the bunch. Someone will reuse them for crafts or DIY travel/camping.
    *Mason jars are hard to part with so I stocked mine with match books, bulk sized coffee beans, powdered creamer, craft misc., guest soaps, candy.
    *Used up all the store bought cleaners, now DIY using borax, vinegar, etc. Less bottles, easier to find, still have what I need for each task. Freshest clean ever.
    *Pared down all my ‘specialty’ kitchen knives. My food can’t tell the difference. The job still gets done w/less.
    * Kept only two of each plate, glass, cup. Have what’s needed daily plus extra for company. Less stuff=faster clean, less clutter, more space…more breathing room. Ahhh!

    Reply
  14. Crystal

    Ok so FINE I will (insert sigh here) get up and make it a priority to clean out some of the clutter :D way to go to make me feel bad ;) actually its nice to have a little nudge to help motivate you!

    Reply
  15. Yvonne Thompson Davis

    I would like to remind you that with Tupperware if you are missing a lid – you can contact your local Tupperware consultant and they can replace just the lid for you. Tupperware has a limited lifetime warranty so parts can be replaced. It is better than using other plastics that are continuously being thrown away.

    Reply
  16. Holly Cook

    Donate those travel size toiletries to your local food bank or homeless shelter – they’re always put to good use there! As for plastic storage, please don’t trash…recycle!!

    Reply
  17. Sandy

    We love books so much in this family, they are so treasured! We love them so much that a family member actually was a very very successful bookstore owner until people found printed books to be obsolete. That put her right out of business. So when you buy books, remember to buy from an independent bookstore when possible. We do use Kindle, but generally just when we travel so we don’t have to carry bunches of books along. We also use the library. The few unwanted books we have go to paperbackswap.com and various charities like Goodwill. We are teaching our little ones to love and treasure the printed word, hopefully the printed word is not dead.

    Sheets — we use them at church to make quilts which we give to charities. Check with quilting groups to see if they can use them. We get many donations, we go through them, if they are too junky we donate them out to Goodwill for rags. The odd pillowslips we get we make into dresses that go to Africa to missions.

    Pre-schools can often use almost anything that you can’t! Call around to see if they want plastic containers, craft supplies, etc. All the extra stuff donated at church we give to our pre-school, they use it all.

    Reply
  18. Alyssa Pierson

    I really appreciate your suggestions on used books – I have so many that I never know what to do with and I could never bring myself to throw any away – the horror! I’ve just signed up for Operation Paperback and I’m almost giddy with excitement about getting my much loved books into the hands of people who need them. Thank you so much!!!

    Reply
  19. Kristen Beck

    I use those nice bags from Old Navy, Victorias Secret and the like at Christmas. Our whole family does. No more buying gift bags or wrapping paper.
    Im not giving up any of my paper books. While I do have a Kindle..sometimes theres nothing like picking up an old favorite and reading it. Especially in the tub. Plus with the push towards all digital media…how many of the future babies out there will never know the joy of picking up a book ?

    Reply
  20. Mellissa Rose Plowman

    Love the post! I love, love, love clearing out clutter & organizing! I wish I had more to organize. I keep three sets of sheets also – one for winter (flannel), and two regular cotton sateen. When one set gets pilly, I donate it and buy a new set. I fold them into the pillowcase and stack them into the two sizes (double & king). The linen closet looks so organized that way.

    Reply
  21. Brenda

    Speaking of giving excess items to a homeless shelter (a very good thing, Jillee!) reminded me of something else – women’s domestic violence shelters. They can always use donations that will help these women-in-hiding (and their children) rebuild their lives as they have had to leave their homes with only one suitcase of clothing for the most part. Additionally, the shelters themselves are usually under-funded to provide well for all who need their in-house services. They may use a local thrift store to help the women get what they need (or as a go-between for location protection), so one may need to look them up (just Google search: domestic violence shelters in your town), then call to see where to take donations.

    Reply
  22. Susan

    Glasses? We use pint wide mouth mason jars. I don’t get upset if the ‘set’ is broken and we use the pint ones for juice glasses. Somehow it’s not right to drink wine or beer out of a mason jar so we use those. Cleaned out coffee cups. I have Christmas ones that I try to put up for the holidays but hubby likes the way they feel in his hand so we have those out also.

    Books? NEVER! I’ve gone through the kids books, but I have some that I keep for grandkids someday and for sentiment’s sake. Most of our books are probably hubby’s art books that he picked up at Half Price Books & those are staying…trust me there. I’d like a Kindle or Nook…but love picking up a book too. Our library has limited ebooks for borrowing so far it’s not worth it to switch.

    Reply
  23. Sherry

    Great post except, I’m with your sons…a new towel every time you shower!

    And if you have kids books try donating them to schools or teachers. I buy my kids tons of books each year from thrift stores and when they are done with them or too old for them I pass them on to teachers at their schools.

    Reply
  24. Rheda

    Good tips, here is another one. I hate kitchen sponges. They are always slimey & stinky. Store bought dish cloths are never thick or thirsty enough for me. I take my old towels, cut them up into dish cloth sizes, serge a quick edging all the way around. Walla! nice thick thirsty dishcloths that I can throw in the washer and reuse and reuse and reuse.

    Also, since I am trying to cut down on paper towels & napkins, I have done the same with old sheets only making them napkin size. One sheet makes a loooooooot of napkins for everyday use.

    Reply
  25. Angela

    Yay! I really probably do have too many of a lot of these things, although towels I’m glad to say I don’t.

    A couple more additions to donation ideas:

    Toiletries – if you have a Federally Qualified Health Center in your area, or any clinic that offers services for underserved families (sliding scale, etc) consider donating your toiletries there. At my last job, we had donation drives among the employees for toiletries and whatnot in small sizes to give to patients. Same goes for ANY toiletry items – whether travel sized, open boxes of feminine hygiene stuff that you used once and didn’t like but didn’t want to throw away, etc.

    For books, another option is to join bookcrossing.com, which is a way to leave “free range” books with a bookplate in it for the “finder” to read it and then leave it someplace else. It’s one way to (hopefully) track a book you leave to find it’s own way in the world and it often inspires more freeing of books by other people. I have only set one book free this way so far, but as soon as I can reach the box in the garage of other books, many many more will follow.

    Finally, my whole life my mom has used the shopping bags as gift bags, either as they are or painted/decoupaged/decorated somehow. (Usually as they were, but I hated that because I felt like it was false advertising). I like to take the ones with the name at the bottom, cut just above the name, cover with glue or some other kind of stiffener/protectant, and make it into a basket for my hall closet. :)

    I hope these ideas are helpful!

    Reply
  26. Allison

    I am guilty of a lot of these! For makeup and personal/bath care products I force myself to use a product until it’s completely GONE before purchasing a new one. ie: if I want to try a new foundation, I have to completely use up the one I already have before purchasing a new kind. Its helps me save money and prevents impulse purchases!

    Reply
  27. Lindsay

    With the towels – Growing up, my mom had TONS of towels……so…….when I got married and moved out, I decided I did NOT want to have TONS of towels. My family of FOUR has only TEN towels…….That keeps me on my toes and I keep them washed up! Saves storage space, and keeps laundry caught up!!! :)

    Reply
    1. Linda

      Too funny!!!! My mom did the same thing – still does. It drives me crazy to see her linen closet stuffed with all those towels. There’s only two of them!!! What does she need them for?! I’m like you – too much clutter. Family of four – 1o towels is more than enough for us!!

      Reply
  28. Mary Lynn

    Books – jails/prisons will take books. Obviously, like donating to any organization, you need to call ahead. But I do remember my 13 year old daughter’s face when she said “Mom, really? What prisoner is going to want to read Nora Roberts?” and my response was “Honey, not all prisoners are men.” Ohhhh.

    If you have a complete set of dishes that you just don’t use, take them to a consignment shop. If you feel guilty about it, donate the money you make to a favorite charity.

    My hubby is a teacher and trust me, we have collected a bazillion “No. 1 teacher” mugs over the years which now reside happily at our local youth ministry. A campus ministry would probably like them too.

    Our church regularly does a mission to El Salvador and will take any and all soaps, toothbrushes and toothpaste.

    I do have some odd plates and bowls that have come my way and after checking with all the guest and no-one lays claim to it, I keep until the next “social” event and load it up with goodies. And the label on the back says “Please don’t return me. Pass me along, the next time you need to plate up some goodies.”

    My husband uses old panty-hose for tying up tomato plants.

    Reply
  29. Audrey

    My mom and her cousin used to swap video tapes and then moved to DVDs. They use old shopping bags like the ones you have pictured, to carry them back and forth. The Victoria’s Secret ones are the perfect size. I laugh at the two “old ladies” walking around carrying their Victoria’s Secret bags when they meet somewhere. ;)

    Reply
    1. Jillee Post author

      hahaha! This made me chuckle. The other day I came home from a Victoria’s Secret bag and the hubster got this look on his face that was priceless. Then I told him it was just a new bra and he was crushed. LOL!

      Reply
  30. Lauren

    As a librarian, I love your stance on books! I have a post about what librarians call “weeding” here. To clarify, public libraries will only take donations if they are hardback, have been published within the last ten years, and aren’t stained/worn. The reason for this is it costs more for the library staff to cover, stamp, process, and prepare the book for the shelf than it is to purchase the book from the publisher with all the proper stamps and labels on it usually. If the book looks like its going to fall apart or won’t get checked out, librarians won’t bother with it. As I understand it, this includes prison libraries, academic libraries, school libraries etc. The exception to this rule is if you live in a rural area or if the library has a very active friends of the library nonprofit group to help out with a used bookstore. It’s always a good idea to call ahead to avoid being turned away (yes, sometimes we do that if we don’t have room for them or the manpower to sort through the huge stack of books). Good library donation etiquette includes: calling ahead first, unpack the books from whatever container you brought them in for us (we hate cardboard boxes because we always find roaches/spiders at the bottom), and please, please, please throw away the ones you know no one is going to want. If it’s stained, yellowed, or has pages coming out of it, there’s not much we can do with it. Also, check your books for mold because book mold is contagious (to your books as well as ours!).

    Reply
    1. Erin

      I am lucky; our local library has a resale shop – I think most donations go there. I have lots of weird old textbooks that no one wants, mostly because I was a rabid highlighter. If all else fails, most books are recyclable, at least in our neck of the woods. :)

      Reply
  31. Gaye aka the Survival Woman

    Just had to let you know that I follow your blog and love everything about it. I am pretty much a DIY type of gal myself and am always surprised when you teach this old dog a new trick or two.

    Anyway, I thought I would mention one other thing. Go the pantry RIGHT NOW and remove any canned or packaged goods that have been there a year (or longer). Donate them to the local food bank or a needy neighbor or whatever. If you have not use the items in a year, you probably won’t use them ever.

    – Gaye

    Reply
    1. Christine

      I’m late to the game here but I just recently did this and have come to find out that like with libraries, often it causes more trouble to food banks to donate food. So, make sure it’s actually helpful…a small food pantry at a community church or something might be ok with it. That doesn’t mean family and friends won’t want them! I took some into work…but I also threw some away. I donated money to the food bank!

      Reply
  32. dee

    My friend’s daughter takes those little shopping bags, cuts out a cute picture from the appropriate gift wrapping paper glues it over the name and now has a cute gift bag that is ready for any occasion. You can even recycle paper from gifts to cut out for the next bag.

    Reply
  33. Deserae

    Great tips. I try to do this same clean out at least once a year. I never reduced the amount of towels we have though. However, about 6 months ago we set out on a remodel that meant a limited space for things as the closet area was removed. I decided to pack away all extra sheets and all but about a dozen towels for our family of 5. Let me just say that those extra things are not missed and my laundry pile doesn’t look quite as daunting each day. Yes, the children did learn to reuse their towels.
    I have yet to win the “plastic container” war :)

    Reply
  34. Lesa F

    I have an abundance of many of these items. I recently cleaned out my make-up and threw a lot away. Some of it had to be 20 years old. ewww. I also went through my closet and ended up with about 10 bags that I donated to Goodwill. My closet still seems to be too full. I agree with most of your suggeations but I hate using the same towel for multiple showers. It grosses me out. So I always use a new towel for every shower. I don’t know why it bothers me so much but I think I will keep all my towels. I also like having lots of different types of glasses for different occassions. I’m a little obsessive about it. In fact, I am a little obsessive about all kinds of dishes. I get it from my mother. She had multiple sets of dishes and I have most of them now. I do need to get rid of a lot of the plastic glasses and just use the glass ones. Love your site and all of your ideas.

    Reply
  35. Karen C

    We moved to a small home so I already downsized. Sheets I keep due to the high cost of them. But I package them up neatly in a duffle bag and they live in the attic until we wear some out & in need of them. When we had the flu some time back they were needed. : (
    I had a yard sale with all my over stock of house hold things and made over $800. So the clean out was worth it and I have boxes yet in my barn waiting for a spring sale. Parring down to what you use is rather refreshing.

    Reply
  36. Jill T

    How did you know that I’ve been thinking about how I need to clean out my house/closests/etc? These are AWESOME tips and came at such a great time! :) I plan on donating a lot and then I’m going to have a garage sale, too :) Thanks!

    Reply
      1. Lou

        Thank you!
        Yes – each wallet takes about 8 plastic bags, ironed on a medium heat, and then I just cut the plastic sheet into shape and sew them up! A great way to avoid some plastic going into landfill.

        Reply
  37. Sally

    We had an organizing professional come and speak to our women’s group a couple years back. She said if you are holding on to something and never using it, you are keeping someone else, who might really need it, from using it. Her suggestion for books (that’s our big problem in our house) is to take the books that you keep, because you loved but that you never have read again, write why you loved in in the cover, and then pass it on, whether it be to donate (Goodwill, nursing homes, schools, etc) or to sell at a yard sale. Another thing for books that I would love to try is this: http://www.littlefreelibrary.org/

    Reply
  38. DeeDee Shield

    Sacks, bags with handles: Our church takes food or meals to homebound each week. They are constantly asking for bags with handles. Easier to carry that food to shut-ins. Love your posts

    Reply
  39. Hannah Hendrickson

    Great Advice! I also wanted to add a cool organization idea for bedding. Fold up the top sheet, fitted sheet, and extra pillowcases. Place them INSIDE a pillowcase that matches that set. Now you have all of the items you need in ONE place and it is fast and easy to grab if you need to use them. Takes up a lot less space too.

    Reply
  40. Gina

    I am absolutely horrible about bathing products – shampoo, conditioner, and body washes… I’m finicky and every time I go in search of a great buy (cheap or on sale) I usually don’t like it so then the BF has a never ending supply of shampoo that smells really good and girly to use LOL its an endless cycle in my world…

    Reply

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