Over 40? Here Are 15 Things To Get Rid Of Immediately

Woman Over 40

People tend to focus on the negatives of growing older, which is fair because there are plenty of them! But at least in my experience, there are also a few good things about getting older that help balance out the bad ones.

One aspect of growing older that I’ve been enjoying is that my patience for nonsense seems to be decreasing all the time! I not only feel more confident about what I want, but I also care less about the judgments of other people. I also have less patience for junk cluttering up my house, which brings us to the subject of today’s post!

Today we’ll be talking about the sort of junk that’s taking up space around your home, with a specific focus on things that you should know better than to keep – whether you’re 30, 40, or 50+! Far from being one of those judgmental lists that makes you feel bad about getting older, the purpose of this list is to empower you to get rid of the sort of unnecessary clutter that can build up over time.

As an older woman, I have found that the experience, wisdom, and maturity that comes with age can open up a more practical chapter in our lives…and our homes should reflect that! And believe me, it’s never too early to start.

So get those garbage bags ready, because by the time you’re finished reading this post, you’ll be ready to do some serious decluttering.

Related:  9 Things You Need To Get Rid Of In Your Closet

15 Things That No Woman Over 40 Should Have

Woman Over 40

1. Shoes That Hurt

If you have shoes that make your feet ache or give you blisters when you wear them, get rid of them. There comes a certain point when the pain just isn’t worth it (no matter how cute they are!) Donate the shoes or sell them, and use the extra space to store your shoes that aren’t painful to wear!

Woman Over 40

2. Bras That Don’t Fit

One of the most frustrating things about bras is how many different ways they can not fit properly. At this point you should have a good idea of what your true bra size is, so you shouldn’t be hanging on to bras that don’t fit!

If you aren’t sure of your correct bra size, take the time to get fitted for one at a store you trust. (And hopefully it goes without saying, but if you have bras that are stretched out and worn through, toss those out as well!)

Related: How To Find Your Best Fitting Bra

3. Bridesmaid Dresses

We often keep bridesmaid dresses for far too long because we talk ourselves into believing we’ll actually wear them on some future occasion (yeah, right.) But if you’ve have one or more bridesmaid dresses hanging in your closet for a few years, it’s probably time to donate them (or add them to your little ones’ dress-up collection!)

Woman Over 40

4. CD Collection On Display

Unless you listen to CDs often, there’s no reason to have a huge stack of them out on display (especially if you use music streaming services!) Donate them and use the space for something else, or if you can’t bear to part with your CDs, store them in a space-saving CD binder instead. (The same might be true of your DVD collection!)

Woman Over 40

5. Flimsy Plastic Chairs

If you’ve got an outdoor space, you want your guests to feel at home while enjoying it. One of the best ways to do that is to give them something to sit on that isn’t made from flimsy, rickety plastic! Invest in some sturdier outdoor furniture that will look great and serve you well for years to come.

Related: How To Clean And Store Your Outdoor Furniture

6. “Skinny” Jeans

I don’t mean the slim-fitting style of jeans—I’m talking about too-small jeans, especially the ones you cling to in hopes that you might fit into them someday! Keeping clothes that no longer fit is a slippery slope towards having a closet full of clothes you don’t actually wear.

It’s best to get rid of clothes that don’t currently fit, even if it means giving up those “aspirational” jeans. (Then if you do end up losing weight or improving your fitness for health reasons down the line, a new pair of jeans could make a nice reward for your hard work!)

Woman Over 40

7. Expired Spices

When was the last time you checked the expiration dates on your spices? Ground spices are usually okay to keep using for 2-3 years, while whole spices can stay fresh longer, up to 4 years or so.

Woman Over 40

8. Wire Hangers

Hanging shirts on wire hangers can result in unintended damage, especially when the thin surface of the hanger wears out the shoulders of shirts. Clear out all the wire hangers from your closet and replace them with wood or cloth hangers, and your clothes will thank you!

9. Concert Posters

Concert posters can indeed be hard to part with, especially if that U2 show really DID change your life! But if you have one or two posters that you simply must hang onto, you can make them a bit more display-worthy by putting them in a frame.

Woman Over 40

10. Expired Makeup

If you have any makeup that is past its expiration date, it’s time to toss it! Expired makeup can become a breeding ground for bacteria, and you don’t want to put that on your face! Concealers and liquid foundations should be good for around 6 months, while mascara should be replaced after 3 months.

Woman Over 40

11. Supplies From Abandoned Hobbies & Crafts

There’s no shame in trying out a new hobby and not sticking with it. In fact, good for you for trying something new! But if you have a stash of yarn somewhere you haven’t touched since, or a stack of scrapbook paper you haven’t used, it’s just unnecessary clutter you just don’t need anymore (but you can always give it to someone who does!)

12. Tax Records From 5+ Years Ago

It’s a good idea to hang onto tax records just in case, but you only need them for about 3 or 4 years in most cases. If you have a box of tax records from 2015 or earlier, shred them (and recycle the paper shreds, of course.)

Woman Over 40

13. A Box Of Cords

So many of us keep a box of random cords and cables somewhere because we “might need them!” But if you don’t know what those cords are now or where they came from, odds are that they won’t come in handy anytime soon. Keep the ones you need tidy and get rid of the rest.

Woman Over 40

14. Cheap Hair Ties

If you have hair ties that cause knots or yank out hairs, it’s time to upgrade. Replace them with gentler hair ties like yoga bands or scrunchies. (They are making a comeback, after all!)

beauty hacks

15. Old Perfumes

While perfume doesn’t necessarily expire, the scent can change over time. Go through your scent collection (my current favorite is Michael Kors Wonderlust) and smell each one. If you don’t like the smell or it doesn’t smell quite right, toss it out.

Do you have any clutter or junk that’s been sitting around for years?

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

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


Bright Ideas

  • Spices can be put in the freezer to make them last longer. Our CPA told us to hang on to tax returns at least 7 years, after that destroy them. I burn mine after I shred them. Just a word of warning, shredded papers CAN be put back together after being shredded, if one wants to go to the trouble bad enough.

  • As I read this post Jillee, I had to chuckle to myself. I am happy to get rid of “junk” because of my life at age 65. I have ADDED shaving my face, derma-rolling my face and head (the needling thing), boob exercising (which they are ignoring!), new makeup, and a bit of self-tanning, along with the task of removing the hairs from places that used to be hair-free and trying to find my brows and hairline!! I am too busy to do ANY of the creative things I used to do so I may as well get rid of it! As for my plastic outdoor chairs, they are not going anywhere just yet! I recently looked into new, sturdier chairs and side tables, but it was WAY too much for my uncovered patio! I don’t do any high-society entertaining out there so I am afraid my chairs will just have to do for now. But this was a fun and helpful post and I enjoyed it very much! Thanks again, Jillee!!

  • I have bathing suits I no longer wear but hold on to them, along with other articles of swimwear. Definitely other summer clothing that are not as flattering any more as when I purchased them!

  • Why discard wire hangers? My grandmother would crochet over them so that clothes didn’t slip or get worn along the shoulders. The hangars were cute, it only took some scrap yarn, and it was an easy project!

  • Good article, thanks!
    Cheap hair ties break my hair, so I never use them, but don’t throw them out: they are great for other purposes. I use them for closing part-emptied veggie or pasta bags for the freezer or pantry, as replacement gaskets for small bail lid spice jars (!) and pretty much anywhere I used to use a rubber band. They’re easier for stiff fingers to manipulate, usually can be reused several times, and they do a good (sometimes great) job.

  • Keep going back to the handbags. They aren’t haggard but some are out of style….still having trouble letting go but I did give a gently used one away today….baby steps.


    thanks a lot for your ideas….I always read every post and they are very useful for me…..
    They help me in many aspects of my life…You are may friend!!!
    Best regards


  • This is all so true! I just wish I could let go of that one pair of Rocket Dogs. I wore them to a wedding two years ago and haven’t touched them since. But maybe if the right situation comes along……..

  • I use old hair bands looped through my buttonhole on my pants/shorts then hooked on the button. This allows me wiggle room on days when I need it………………..

  • I use one of those jewelry rolls made for traveling for my cords and earbuds. It is compact and I put a decorated card with a label so I know what each cable or cord belongs to. If one is not where it belongs I instantly know which one is missing. I use a similar system for my circular knitting needles.

  • I’m 70 and holding on to my skinny jeans, CD’s that i’ve record, have a box of greeting cards in a box nicely separated, went to look at them after your suggestions, enveloped are yellow, Thanks for all your tips. I enjoy reading them. Katie

  • Any ideas on what to do with old cellphones? I get an annual upgrade and have quite a collection of older models…. I think of them as photo albums I should keep but know I’m never going to open them

    • Your phone company might have a recycling program. I know here in Australia we have a variety of companies that recycle or reuse old phones. Just make sure you wipe your data off the phone before getting rid of it. Some companies have a box you can put the phone, batteries and accessories in and some you go to there website and register and you can print out a label to put on your box and it helps with postage.

    • I would try to sell them, if they’re nice enough that could make a bit of money. :-) Otherwise, I would look into recycling options in your area.

    • Check with your local domestic violence organization or victim advocates coalition. Many of these agencies request donations of old cell phones.

    • In our community the local Occupational Development Center accepts the cell phones. Those that work there are individuals with varying disabilities. They recycle the phone as well as many other types of electronics including computers and cords and cables, etc. Check out your area to see who can reuse or recycle them.

  • Regarding cords…..when I purchase a new electronic gadget I have my label maker out as I unpack it….and I immediately label the cord so I know what it goes to! Too many cords look similar but are NOT interchangeable.

  • Just a heads up on old perfume I spray my old or no longer like perfume in waste baskets in my bathrooms and craft room it makes the area smell lots better for a while and I am still using it just not on me.

      • I did this until a friend of my son (adult, mind you!!) came over and smelled up the whole house! So many, MANY people of the millennial gen have zero life skills…their use of drugs, behavior, etc. have caused a crack in their relationship with parents and therefore they basically “raise” themselves. They do not have a clue about many things. :-(

  • Thanks so much.
    I woke up this morning with the idea to clean and sort out my bedroom today.
    Will certainly do what’s applicable to me ,like shoes, yarn ,etc.

  • From IRS.gov: “Keep records for 3 years from the date you filed your original return or 2 years from the date you paid the tax, whichever is later, if you file a claim for credit or refund after you file your return. Keep records for 7 years if you file a claim for a loss from worthless securities or bad debt deduction.”

  • I have gone through all these items already and would like to add going through dishes! Old sets that aren’t used, chipped, mismatched, or stained need to go–same with silverware.

    Also old photographs that are fuzzy, blurry, don’t trigger any memories, and travel photos that I am happy scanning onto my USB and don’t really need a print of. I have also transferred the photo disc’s onto USB and Cloud as well. They no longer need to take up space! I also make sure every picture I am keeping is labeled (recently inherited photos dating from the early 1900’s and up that no one knows who they are! SAD!) I don’t want to leave a mess of photos behind for my son to try to decipher!

    I scan every tax return with all the necessary papers. If needed I can print them all up. Then I have them, they don’t take up space.

    • Along with the dishes…POTS AND PANS!! I know I have so many that are mismatched or look SO bad I would never want to cook in them with and company I am entertaining looking on! (of course, they probably have some of the same!) I had cookie sheets that looked like they had never been cleaned! Also, in the back of the cabinet, I had lids that didn’t match or fit ANYTHING!

  • I had to laugh about the wire hangers. I know they’re not the best. I have a fairly small closet and don’t really have room to use very many of the nice ones. I only use the hair ties if I’m out in public. I’ve been using the scrungies for years at home. They are much gentler on the hair and won’t cause damage.

  • Great info! I would like to add to your list to go through your linen closet and view your bath towels, sheets, blankets, tablecloths, etc. What you no longer want or can’t use, or if any of your linens are showing signs of wear and fraying, donate them to your local vet’s office; they are always in need of these items for their animals. I do this every year, I even tossed in a quilt that had really out-served me since it was losing its color from many washings. Just a great way to downsize your linens, and help out your vet.

    • Just finished doing this. I kept 3 sets of sheet for the master bedroom and two sets for each of the guest rooms. Two sets of towels for each and two extra bath towels for the dog. Everything else was donated to a rescue. I have SO much more room in my linen closet now!!

    • Your local animal shelters might find them useful too. I volunteer for the RSPCA in Australia and we always welcome donations of towels etc. as they come in handy.

      • It’s a good way to recycle, and it helps out everyone; you, your shelter and/or vet, and of course the environment. Way too go! Thank you.

  • Love this post Jillee! Just the tough love conversation that is needed. I giggled with the nail polish and outdated cosmetics. The skinny jeans too. Sometimes I don’t realize how much I keep for that just in case situation. Awesome job!

      • Haha! I also have a great pic of my favorite team, the Yankees, with Derek Jeter and the rest of the gang. I never grew up haha!

      • I have DiMaggio, Mantle and Maris, my A’s from the late 80s, and my 49er photos. NOT getting rid of them! :)

      • I have Bruce Springsteen!…na-na-na, no, just kidding…sorry. I REALLY never grew up! Does it show?? <\:-D

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