10 Redundant Household Items That Contribute To Clutter

A collage of bathroom items, including too many towels and scissors.

A little while ago, I purged quite a lot of stuff from my closet and it felt greatBut the next thing I knew, I was having to cram clothes into my closet again, because my wardrobe is one of those things where I’m constantly on verge of having too much stuff.

Related:  My Budget Closet Makeover

It got me thinking about the other things around the house that I have too many of. Sadly, it wasn’t even hard to come up with as extensive list. Do I really need twenty t-shirts, dozens of towels, or multiple frying pans? I need multiple of certain things, yes, but at some point, a few extras turns into too many.

Consider these 10 items you might also have too many of:

10 Things You Own Too Many Of (And What To Do About It)

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

1. Books

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.

What To Do With Them:

Condense your collection and donate books to your local library, a hospital or retirement home, or send books to soldiers (check out 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.

Related: If You Love Books, This is the Best $15 You’ll Ever Spend 

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

2. 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!

What To Do With Them:

Repurpose them! Pinterest has a million pins for upcycling florist vases, or you could turn a vase into trendy decor, or even take them back to a florist. They are usually happy to reuse them and you might just get some free flowers for your trouble! Otherwise, consider donating them to a local convalescent home or seniors’ residence (often people receive flowers without vases).

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

3. Towels

We definitely have too many towels in our house. Even though I regularly relegate old towels to car-drying duty (my husband 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, my sons wouldn’t think they need to use a new one for every shower!

What To Do With Them:

Animal shelters and vets love the donation of old towels. Old towels also make nice potholders, and are great for turning into reusable cleaning rags. Towels can also be re-purposed into woven mats and rugs.

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

4. Bedding

I have a pile of sheets, blankets, and pillowcases on a shelf in our linen closet I keep “just in case,” but I don’t think I’ve used them in the last 5 years, at least. Unless you have a child that needs new bedding nightly, you really only need two sets of sheets for each bed (maybe three if you’re a laundry procrastinator).

What To Do With Them:

Like towels, you can donate old sheets to animal shelters or rip them up for rags. I even have a whole post about things you can do with your old sheets that you can read at the link below.

Related: 17 New Ways to Use Your Old Bed Sheets

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

5. Glasses

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

What To Do With Them:

Streamline your cupboards! Choose one type of drinking glass and start using it for all your beverages, both for everyday use and when you have company over. As for all those mugs, you can always fill them with a gift card and a few candies or accessories and give them away as gifts.

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

6. 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 supply the entire cast of Cirque du Soleil.

What To Do With Them:

In addition to cluttering up your bathroom drawers, makeup also doesn’t last indefinitely, so a lot of it may already have expired. Toss out all that unused stuff, then try to limit your makeup collection to the products you use every day and a few special colors you’ll wear on special occasions.

Related: 11 Brilliant Products Under $30 That Will Make You More Organized 

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

6. Food Containers

I can’t stand the idea of wasting food! Even if I am almost certain that the leftovers from a particular meal will go to waste, I just can’t bring myself to throw them away. Consequently, I have way too many food storage containers, and they mainly a source of frustration and annoyance when I’m trying to find something in the cupboard I store them in.

What To Do With Them:

Start by going through your stash and throwing out any container that doesn’t have a matching lid. That should get rid of some of them, but why not take it a step further? You can always invest in some ceramic or Pyrex dishes and get rid of plastic altogether.

Related: 5 Easy And Affordable Ways To Organize All Your Food Containers

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

7. 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.

What To Do With Them:

Eliminate duplicates. No one needs 4 or 5 different whisks. And take that china out of the cupboard, expose it to the “light of day” and use it! If you don’t like it enough to use it, then get donate it. Oh, and that waffle maker you never use? Try cooking bacon on it—it’s great for that! ;-)

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

8. Grooming And Hygiene Products

We all have dozens of products for hair, nails, skin, and teeth cluttering up the drawers of our bathrooms. I think a lot of us get swept up in wanting to try the “latest and greatest” in personal care products, and when we don’t like them as much as we thought we would, they get tossed into a drawer and begin collecting drawer dust.

What To Do With Them:

Streamline your personal care and hygiene routines to weed out products you don’t use.

Related: 5 Reasons You Need This One Miracle Cleaner For Spring Cleaning

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

9. Reusable Shopping Bags

I used to have piles of shopping bags and totes I’d gotten from IKEA, Gap, Old Navy, Whole Foods, Target, Victoria’s Secret, and a bunch of other shops, because most of them were pretty nice and I didn’t want to get rid of them. But I never actually used them, so I had to put my foot down.

What To Do With Them:

Fill reusable shopping bags you don’t want to keep with donations you’re planning to take to Goodwill or your local thrift store.

Things You Probably Own Too Many Of

10. Travel Size Toiletries

Everything is cute in miniature, like puppies, babies, kids’ play kitchens, etc. It’s part of what makes those little hotel soaps and shampoos are so tempting to collect, but they usually end up in a drawer and get forgotten about.

What To Do With Them:

Start using your stash of toiletries. Toss them in your gym bag, or just put them in the shower so you’ll be reminded to use them. You could also turn bars of soap into liquid hand soap. Or, even better, give your toiletries to a local homeless shelter or women’s shelter that accepts them. It’ll lighten your load and help someone in need at the same time.

What item(s) do you have too many of?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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9 Comments

  1. Ha, ha. We can tell you’re not married to a chef! Not only do we have more than one whisk, we have them in different sizes and they all get used! In fact, there are items we don’t have duplicates of and it makes cooking quite complicated for us sometimes. “Different strokes for different folks!”

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  2. Wait! You mean to tyell me that the five (yes, 5) bread machines we have are too many?

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  3. Every thing you mentioned except for toiletries I have in my house! When the basement randomly floods, I appreciate all the towels, and I do need bedding that doesn’t smell for random sleepover guests, lol. But several years of belt-tightening caused us to be in dire need of toiletries (you can only add a little water for so long!) I put out the word and my daughter swept over with a huge bag of unused toiletries, and I felt like a girl again! Someone needs your old stuff! Trust me!

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  4. You found me out lol I’m part almost every group you have there. Raised in a waste not want not family I tend to keep soooo much for “just in case it might be needed” I’m taking a lot if your ideas and “trying” to put them to use. Wish me luck!

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    • Me too, there were 7 kids in my family and I had 5 of my own. But we don’t need all of this stuff for kids anymore and there it sits.

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    • Anita, I think we’re all guilty of having too many things and find it hard to part with them. I think it’s our generation. Good luck! :-)

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  5. I live in an area with very hard water and can’t really put in a water softener.
    But now I know why grandma used vinegar for everything! Including a hair rinse

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  6. ❤️❤️❤️your website! So many wonderful ideas

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    • Awww! I am so happy that you love my website! I am here to make people’s lives easier with solutions to everyday homekeeping, beauty routines, recipes, natural products and more. :-)

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