I recently did a thorough purging of my closet and was so pleased when all was said and done! 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. It appears I need to do a bit more paring down.
Related: My Budget Closet Makeover
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. Do I really need twenty t-shirts, dozens of towels, multiple frying pans? I need multiples of certain things, yes, but at some point, a few turns into too many.
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Check your multiplication on the following items that seem to accumulate.
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 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).
We definitely have an over abundance of towels in our house. Even though I relegate the old towels to car-washing 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!
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.
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 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!
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 :-)
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.
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.
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 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! You can even turn bars of soap into liquid hand soap. 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.