7 Unnecessary Items That Are Taking Up Space In Your Home

7 Unnecessary Things Taking Up Your Valuable Space

When it comes to getting organized, getting rid of items you don’t use or need often makes a much bigger impact than simply storing them in another part of the house. This is especially true for those who have limited storage space, as the line between “stuff” and “clutter” in their homes is likely to be razor thin already.

In addition to freeing up valuable storage space, eliminating clutter can also save you time by simplifying your cleaning routine. And if you’re anything like me, physical decluttering always aids in mental decluttering, which is always as nice bonus. :-)

If you’re looking to streamline your storage or make housework a little easier, parting with unnecessary items is a great place to start. To make that process easier, here are 7 things you don’t need, and thus would make a good place to start if you’re fed up with clutter.

7 Things You Don’t Need Around The House

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1. Top Sheets

While the debate between Team Top Sheet and Team No Top Sheet rages on, there’s no doubt that ditching your top sheet can lighten your laundry load and simplify the process of making your bed. (Though if you are thinking about getting rid of your top sheet, it’s important to do it the right way.)

And if you don’t want to toss it out, consider putting that old top sheet to good use—it’s a win-win!

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2. Alarm Clocks

Do you use the alarm function on your phone but still have an old alarm clock gathering dust on your nightstand? Then it’s probably time to part ways with that old clock for good!

Once you get rid of it, you’ll have more room on your nightstand for important things like your pillow spray, a jar of DIY snore relieving gel, and your nightly cup of pre-bedtime tea. (And since you’re already getting rid of things your phone has made obsolete, go ahead and put your calculator, kitchen timer, and stopwatch in your donation box too.)

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3. Napkin Rings

Your next dinner party won’t suffer a bit if you get rid of those old napkin rings, which simply exist to take up space 99.9% of the time. And you can still make your napkins look great without relying on rings—check out some simple and stylish napkin folding techniques in my step-by-step guide!

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4. Specialized Cleaning Products

Back when I was a new mom and an only slightly less new wife, the sheer number of specialized cleaning products (those specifically marketed for bathrooms, kitchens, etc.) in stores had me convinced they all must be necessary! It wasn’t until I started experimenting with homemade cleaning solutions that I realized just how unnecessary they actually are.

Now that I know better, I keep a few basic cleaning agents like vinegar, baking soda, lemon essential oil, and dish soap on hand instead. If you have a lot of different types of cleaners, take a quick inventory of your collection and get rid of anything you haven’t used in a while.

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5. Many Fancy Knives

While there’s a certain appeal to having an attractive knife block full of interesting types of knives on your countertop, it isn’t always that useful. You may reach for a few of them regularly, but that still leaves about 7 other blades that never see the light of day!

Instead of wasting valuable counter or drawer space storing knives you don’t use, pare your collection down to a few basic, good quality knives. (You might be surprised how far a decent chef’s knife, paring knife, and bread knife can take you in the kitchen!)

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6. Outdated Technology

From that old cordless phone in the hallway to the fax machine in your office, there’s sure to be outdated tech taking up space somewhere in your house. It’s fine to keep the things you actually use, but dusty stacks of old VHS tapes aren’t doing you any good — especially if you no longer have a way to play them!

Take inventory of your old technology, then take everything you haven’t used in recent memory to a thrift store or electronics recycling service. If you have any old mix tapes/CDs or home videos with sentimental value, consider digitizing them for compact storage you can back up elsewhere.

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7. Single-Use Kitchen Gadgets

Remember that strawberry huller you used to make a strawberry pie, or those herb scissors you stopped using after they proved impossible to clean? Getting rid of them will make your more useful kitchen tools easier to find.

If you aren’t sure which kitchen gadgets to part with, check out these clever, cheaper alternatives that produce the same results.

Which household items would you add to this list?

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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


Homekeeping Tips

  • I keep my Sony Walkman and my cassettes, VHS and DVDs around for when I do not have cable or internet service or the electricity goes out. That way I can still watch a movie or listen to music when the utilities are out.

  • Re top sheets, I thought Jillee was talking about top sheet use with duvet, I don’t know anyone who still uses blankets. Would agree always sheet with blankets because washing blankets impossible in domestic machines. Took me a long time to ditch top sheet with my duvet tho…rarely have occasion to sleep under sheet only in Scotland
    I don’t find much difference between washing top sheet weekly (which I used to do) along with the bottom sheet, which still needs washed weekly (so no real reduction in laundry there) and washing a duvet cover (effectively a double top sheet) which now needs washed fortnightly (used a week on each side). I used to wash my duvet cover less frequently as it’s position in relation to skin was same as a blanket ie some protection from a top sheet.

    All a matter of personal preference really

  • I also disagree with getting rid of your top sheets. Take the duvet cover off, wash it, and put it back on the insert — that’s easier than just washing a sheet? I agree with all the others. I have cleaning supplies that are years old that need dumping (but are still useful, except I prefer your formulas for DIY stuff), and a kitchen drawer filled with gadgets I never use (but am convinced I would miss them if I got rid of them). C’est la vie.

  • My grown kids and grandkids don’t use top sheets. It’s bottom sheet and duvet (which is washed regularly). OK for them but I am old school on that one. Cleaning products can run you out of the laundry closet or storage cabinet. I’ve tried to cut back on those as well. My daughter came to visit for a week and we have been “Swedish death cleaning” the house. Reduced excess towels (“Mom, you don’t need 20 towel sets for 2 people, nope don’t need all those pots and pans and 25 plates is too many for the kitchen cabinet.”) So…I do feel better about that at least. Enjoy the comments as folks have different needs and opinions. Thanks

  • Yeah, I get most of these but not the top sheet one. If you lived in a cool climate and were cold natured? Maybe. I am frequently cold when I go to bed but wake up hot after a couple hours throwing the covers off. I also can’t sleep without some sort of covering and sometimes a sheet is all the cover I want. Living in the deep south where it’s hot and humid most of the year a sheet and a light bedspread are all the covers there are on my bed. I keep a blanket at the foot of the bed for the rare times I get cold enough to use one. I envy people that live in cool climates that can layer blankets and comforters on their beds for that Pottery Barn look.

  • Unfortunately, you lost me on most of these. Getting rid of the top sheet is ridiculous. In the summer, that’s all I use. It’s also more challenging to wash the comforter weekly if that’s all that is used instead of a top sheet. I wash my sheets every 4-5 days, so I’d have to wash the bulky comforter that doesn’t fit in my washer easily, so I’d have to take it to a laundromat. Even upscale hotels are starting to remove top sheets, and that’s gross-you know they don’t wash the comforters much. Yuk. How much more room does it take to store a folded-up top sheet? Less than a half inch. I don’t keep my cell phone next to my bed, and I can’t read the time without picking it up, whereas an atomic alarm clock I’ve had for decades shows me the time all night long if I need it. The assumption that napkin rings are bulky and take up room shows no creativity. I’ve got fabric rings and ones made from braided velvet and metallic cords that are beautiful and take up no room in a drawer. Knives? I use many knives when cooking because the different blades have different purposes in cutting. I have a magnetic strip mounted to the wall that holds the knives, and they are easy to reach and not in the way of anything. Knife blocks house dust and crumbs and can be unsanitary anyway, so I got rid of that clunky thing a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean I get rid of knives. If you don’t cook a lot, maybe you don’t know there is a need for different knives.

  • We got rid of top sheets years ago as well. I felt like it cut down on laundry because I used to wash my quilt every few weeks anyways. My face would always end up rubbing against it. And it is way easier to make the bed each morning when I just pull the quilt up rather than having to smooth the sheets as well.

    Something else we got rid of was throw pillows. So to make our bed, we plump up our main pillows, pull the quilt up to cover them, and Done! It’s a white king-size quilt, bigger than our queen-size bed, and it just looks so streamlined and simple.

    I would definitely agree with getting rid of everything on this list. The simple life is lovely!

  • love the strawberry idea but hate the thoughts of NOT having a top sheet. Why in the world would you ever part with that is beyond my comprehension as it’s a barrier between a blanket or comforter and just enough on a warm summer night.

  • Personally there is no way I could come up with something everyday to write about. If you see something you don’t like, pass it up. It’s called being an adult. There is no need for nasty comments about this post not working for you. It could help others. It’s not all about you!

    • I did not see any nasty comments, itis just that not everything works for everybody. To mention that some idea or ideas are too time consuming or that you are too old to find the idea/s helpful is not being nasty. It does, however, remove the “guilt” from someone who is long in the tooth, as are we, cannot carry heavy items. Several washable or sprayable bags, packed so that they are not too heavy is very smart, who wants to rely on Advil every time someone brings home groceries?

  • When I read the title of this post, I thought it was going to be something different. Call me “old-fashioned” but I could never, ever give up most of this stuff! First of all, I don’t even own a cell phone.*gasp*! Don’t need one, don’t want one! I am so sick of seeing people walking around with their cell phones in their faces and losing their desire or ability (and manners!) to communicate with a live person. (wait, WAIT…I am NOT talking about you!) I can not get rid of nearly every timepiece in my home! I still LOVE my little chicken timer that sits in my kitchen window until she is needed. In a nutshell…I tell my son all the time, “Someday if somebody flips the big switch and you all lose your phone power, I will be fine…I can do basic math, count back change with no prompting from a register, I KNOW people’s phone numbers and can “Google” on my ol’ laptop!” Still love you, Jillee, but didn’t relate to this one. God bless…:-)

      • Thank you, Karen! You made my day. Now…if only everyone around me were as intuitive as you! LOL! I DO have the fault of attempting to “share” my wisdom when I’m not asked…whoops…that is my ONLY fault, though. (uh-huh) God bless, Karen! :-)

    • Like Deb, I don’t have a cell phone – don’t need it or want it. I had one and never used it. I’m retired but use my alarm only when I have to get up for an early appointment (and I always try to get an afternoon app’t.). I do have stuff I no longer use – hand mixer & other small appliances but if my kids don’t want them, they’ll be donated. I have one knife that I love – a tomato slicer which gives a nice, clean cut & doesn’t squish the tomato. I keep boxes in the kitchen and every time I come across something I don’t use/like, it goes into the boxes. If it’s broken or not worth saving, we have e-waste for electrical/tech waste that will be recycled.

  • I definitely have to have a top sheet. It’s also just gross to me to not have one. I do use a bedspread and extra blankets in the cold months. I rarely wash them because they’re not in direct contact with my skin. I agree about the alarm clock I like being able to see it very easily. I think one of my sisters uses the alarm app on her phone. I personally didn’t care for it because it was hard to disable and go off on days I didn’t need an alarm. I didn’t even show this post to anyone. It might start a fight at my house.

  • Extra dishes (cups, glasses, plates, cereal bowls, etc). Keep enough of each to have 2-3 per person & maybe a couple extra if you have guests. Most people do dishes daily (or at least a couple days a week). Extra silverware. Only people that have frequent guests need more than 5 sets. Serving dishes you haven’t used in years.

  • Moving from a home into a condo with a much smaller kitchen opened my eyes to what I can actually live without and I don’t have most of the items you mentioned except the top sheets. I can’t imagine NOT using a top sheet. In the summer when it’s hot, I cover with my top sheet only. Having a blanket only to cover me means more washing for the blanket. If nixing top sheets is a trend, 99% of top sheets are sold in a set which makes no sense. Washing a whole set of sheets and falling into a freshly made bed is pure luxury in my book!

    • i use a top sheet always-we live in AZ and there are many nights that is all we use! I feel it is more sanitary also to use a top sheet so as to safe wear and tear and more frequent blanket washings

    • Count me in! Even in the cold winter months, I tend to kick off the blanket but I can’t sleep without some type of cover. My top sheet does the job plus there’s no weight to it.

  • I would never part with my alarm clock. It is visible at night and I can see it without my glasses on. Those alarm clocks never quit working. I am only on my second one. My first alarm clock, with illuminated numbers, lasted 40 years. There are plenty of other things I could get rid of. Thanks for the suggestions Jillee and I do try to stay away from single use kitchen devices.

  • LOL! I always forgot how I can put “Alexa” to use for setting alarms, timing things,so many things I don’t utilize! I learn new ones everyday! Being a little older,still used to doing things the old fashioned way!

    • I am really old and old fashioned, as I never had Alexa, nor do I want it/her. Either does my husband. We’ve been married for over 62 years. BTW, we dated for five years before we married as we were in our last year of high school, and then attended and graduated college.

  • I do not have a storage issue at my house. I use almost all of the items you are suggesting I can stop using AND I would never dispose of them. I use my grandmother’s strawberry huller and I just got a pair of herb scissors and wish I had them years ago. You missed the mark on this post for me.

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