50 Items No Man Over 40 Should Have in His Home
Those trinkets from your golden days add up—quickly.
If you’re a man north of 40, you have so much to be proud of. Maybe you’re a community leader. Maybe you’ve secured the corner office. Or maybe you’ve committed to the most rewarding job of all: father. But whatever you are, we can definitely tell you one thing you shouldn’t be: the proud owner of any of these totally meh items.
Why? It’s simple. By 40, you’ve earned the right to treat yourself to the finer things—and that means purging all of the things in your life that are beneath you. Why have ancient ratty bath towels when you can when you can have super-soft swathes of comfort? Why hang college-era posters on your walls when that space could just as easily play home gorgeous pieces of art?
With that in mind, we’ve run down the 50 things you shouldn’t have your home anymore, especially if you’re 40 or over. If you find that you’re hoarding any of these dusty goods, toss them—immediately—and make room for the better things.
A Condiment Packet Drawer
When you’re younger, and when money’s a bit tighter, it’s a smart idea to round up mounds of Taco Bell hot sauce and leftover ketchup packets. Once you’re older than 40, though, it’s time to consolidate. Anything you can take off a napkin stand at a fast food chain, you can find in a big bottle in a grocery store.
An Empty Fridge
If you’re single and your fridge is home to little more than old condiments, day-old takeout, and a few beers, that’s a lame move. If you have a family and the same is true, that’s an even lamer move. Either way, it’s high time to start stocking your fridge seriously. Here’s a good life rule: No matter what your situation, you should always be able to, at the very least, whip up a three-ingredient omelet at the drop of a hat.
It’s the easiest fashion rule to stick to, and yet men—particularly men over 40—violate it with abandon: Don’t wear square-toed shoes. Most square-toe shoes instantly make your outfit look boxy and outdated, but the worst offenders are those with so-called soft square toes. And don’t just take it from us! Take it from the experts at Vogue, who described the look as “the embodiment of cluelessness and indecisiveness.” Instead, pick up yourself a pair of nice, rounded Oxfords or brogues.
You don’t need us to tell you that overly processed food wrecks your health and wreaks havoc on your waistline. So here’s a simple tip to make sure you stay away from the stuff: Don’t buy any food that comes frozen in a box.
Fact: approximately 99.9999 percent of all adults live and die by coffee. Fact two: it takes just five extra minutes to grind beans and brew a fresh cup. Fact three: the aroma wafting off of recently ground coffee beans is heavenly, and the flavor notes in a fresh-brewed cup of coffee are far superior to anything that comes in a packet.
Figurines In Boxes
There’s no good reason to have any toys in the house unless A) you have kids, or B) they’re the ones you played with as a child. And if you have them still in the box they came in, there’s an even greater reason to purge them: money. These days, on eBay, retro Star Wars action figures sell for $75. If you have a few of those laying around the house, that’s some serious cash!
Dump out any sodas you have lurking in your fridge. Even if they are the “zero” or diet versions of your favorite soft drinks, there’s no need to keep drinking them. In fact, recent research indicates that “zero” or diet version are no better for you than the real thing.
Neon bar signs are obnoxiously bright, dangerously flimsy, and clash with every other piece of décor in a given room. In the apartment of an early 20-something, they can give off a chic, laid-back, almost ironic vibe. In a 40-year-old man’s pad? Well…
No matter how well you dominated the gridiron or the debate podium, displaying such trophies front-and-center in your home can make people think you’re dreaming of a long-lost era. Our advice? Put them in private office—or man-cave-type environment—where they can serve as a personal reminder of how awesome you can be.
Of all of life’s low-effort chores, few are lower effort than taking care of a houseplant. You water it a couple times a week and make sure it’s relatively close to a window. Trust us: You can do it!
Rickety, cracked, and stained plastic shelving units you’ve been carting around across multiple moves are not a good look for an adult. Trash them, and instead pick up something made from solid wood that will last years, not particle board that will start crumbling in months. (Still, IKEA is A-okay in a pinch.)
It’s the pinch hitter of furniture. Yes, it’s a couch that you can technically sleep on—but you won’t have the most comfortable sleep of your life, by any means. (A futon is also pretty bad at the “couch” thing, too.) Just trash the thing and get a real couch, along with a real bed (and frame).
A Robust Shot Glass Collection
When you’re younger, putting together a quirky collection of shot glasses from various boozy vacations can be a fun hobby. But after 40, you’ve graduated to nice crystal tumblers on your bar cart.
Threadbare Sheets and Towels
Hopefully you wash yourself regularly and getting enough sleep every night, but if you’re engaging in such activities with ratty, thin, worn-to-death textiles, you’re missing out on one of life’s great and simple luxuries. Spend a few bucks and get some nice fluffy towels and decent, heavenly soft sheets.
Even if you’re busy with your job and life and have kids running around, a good de-cluttering and winnowing out of unnecessary junk will make your life easier and your mind clearer.
Sheets Used As Curtains
Drop a few bucks and pick up some nice curtains—or at least window shades—that are manufactured for the sole purpose of blocking light from coming through windows. Save the sheets for the mattress.
A Beer Can or Bottle Collection
Beer is great, no doubt about it. But is keeping trash around your house going to impress anyone, besides the beer geeks that cherish rare and unusual beers? Sorry, but the answer is no. Toss your bottles after drinking—and then remember the brew fondly while drinking some new unique suds with friends.
A Mattress with No Frame
Doing away with a bed frame and laying your mattress flat-out on the floor can give any bedroom a chic, artsy look. It can also ruin your respiratory system. See, your floor is where dust tends to gather. If your mattress is placed directly on the floor, dust will build up beneath it, and eventually “move in” and take over your mattress. Raising your bed just an inch or two off the ground will mitigate this (disgusting) problem.
Back in your school and freshly post-grad days, hitting up the local thrift store for a pile of multi-colored plates and bowls was a smart move; all you needed to do was find flatware that would hold your food. After 40, though—once your parties are more “dinner” and less “kegger”—it’s time to upgrade to a homogenous set of flatware. (While you’re at it, pick up a nice set of silverware, too. Can’t hurt!)
A Bean Bag Chair
These soft and malleable chairs are no doubt the world’s most comfortable seats, and can be handy to have around, if you frequently have guests. Here’s the thing, though: they’re made for kids.
We get it, you love your team and have been a diehard fan for years, and have followed every trade they make and every game they play. That’s fine, but at least take down the memorabilia. The signed uniforms and special game day balls belong in a closet—or on eBay.
Admit it, you probably only spun those double decks five times in college for a few frat parties and now they’re just collecting dust in your “music” room. Give them to another aspiring college-age DJ and pick up one nice turntable—with studio-level sound quality—to play your LPs on.
Mom’s Netflix Log-in
You may have heard that sharing account information for Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and, um, those other ones is illegal. Well, it’s not…maybe. Truth be told, according to the NYU Journal of Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law, no one really knows where the courts stand! Far better to play it safe and spend the $11 per month than to risk having a loved one run afoul of the law.
Christmas Lights as Decoration
Fine for dorm rooms or for draping around an actual Christmas tree, these twinkly lights don’t exactly cut it as grown-up décor. Try placing a few different-sized lamps with dimmable bulbs around the room for ambience.
A Video Game Station
No need to display all of the video gaming consoles you’ve had over the years. We get it: Video games are the best, whether they’re vintage or cutting-edge or—in the case of a Nintendo 64 collection—both. Just put the old ones away and tastefully display your latest console generation within your TV cabinet.
This goes for ties, T-shirts, wall decorations, gag gifts—anything. Novelty means something new and unique that wears off in about five seconds after you bought it or displayed it.
Glassware with Logos
“Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” “In dog beers, I’ve only had one.” “Time to wine down.” Yes, drinking paraphernalia can be funny in a clever, if overly cute, way. But, as any guy over 40 knows, the truly worthy logo-adorned mugs, cups, and glasses have personal meaning—souvenirs from a life-changing vacation, or a gift your kid got you.
A Grilled Cheese Maker
By 40, you should know full how to use a stove and pan and pat of butter to make melted cheese sandwiches. You don’t need a dedicated piece of useless kitchen gadgetry. You’re a kitchen pro by now! Donate your panini press to your local thrift store so a time- and money-pressed student can use it in his dorm room.
Blankets as Clothing
Whatever you want to call them—Slankets, Snuggies—just…no. Buy a nice merino wool blanket to put on or near your couch; they work just as well and can actually boost your décor.
A Flimsy Knife Set
If you bought one of those kitchen knives that you saw on TV because they can cut through a can, throw them out now. They aren’t worth the $10 you spent on them, they won’t last, and you can’t even sharpen them. Invest in some nice carbon-steel knives instead.
Textual Graphic T-Shirts
It’s totally fine to have shirts with “witty” sayings and beer advertisements on them. That said, you might want to relegate them to yard-work duty. If you’re looking to wear a t-shirt in public, stick to slim cuts in solid colors. For some style inspiration, check out these 12 Next-level Black T-Shirts Worth Buying By the Dozen.
Yeah, so you love your music. Great! Still, you can make the most of your hobby. Switch out the humongous monitors you’ve had in your living room for years with a small, sleek home theater setup. The speakers have sharper sound quality, take up less space, and, from a design standpoint, definitely look better.
Unless you’re an actual samurai, you shouldn’t display a katana on your wall. And even if you are a modern-day hunter, there’s no need to have any type of gun mounted on the wall. They go in safes, protected from prying eyes and untrained hands.
Socks with Holes
Toss any old, crusty, and hole-ridden cotton socks and spend a pretty penny on a new crop of merino-blend socks. They’ll last longer and keep your feet more temperate than regular cotton ever could.
Cheap Cologne or Body Spray
Bad fragrance isn’t doing any favors. And please don’t spray yourself with body spray. Pick up some deodorant and a mild-mannered fragrance. Then never forget the golden rule: just a spritz or two will do. Everyone in the locker room—and in your relative area—will thank you.
If there’s one area a 40-year-old man should play the Goldilocks card, it’s with his wardrobe. Clothing that’s too baggy will make your silhouette look wider than natural (bad!). Clothing that’s too tight might be a bit on the revealing side (also bad!) Clothing that’s in the sweet spot, and tailored to your form, will instantly make you look taller, slimmer, and more put-together (good!). Most minor alterations—shortening sleeves, darting shirts, hemming pants—are fairly inexpensive, can likely be done at your local dry cleaner, and will take no more than a week. Hop to it! And for more sage clothing advice, learn about these 40 Common Style Tips Men Should Always Ignore.
Wire or Plastic Hangers
Wire hangers ruin clothes. Plastic hangers can cause unwanted frizz. Cedar hangers, on the other hand, will help your clothing keep its shape, and—bonus!—will help deodorize it, too.
If you were trying to do good for the environment and splurged on a bunch of coil-shaped florescent light bulbs (CFLs) a few years ago, good for you! You’ve probably noticed, however, that they put out a horribly harsh light. Thankfully, you can have the best of both worlds: pick up some LED bulbs. According to Green America, the sustainability nonprofit, LED lights are just as environmentally friendly as CFLs. And if you pick them up in a warm light option, they look just as good as the incandescent bulbs you trashed years ago.
Here’s a full list of people who can get away with wearing these cheesy-to-the-max digs: The Dude.
Inspirational Wall Art
No one, regardless of age or gender, should have any faux-pithy, cringe-worthy quotes or sayings up on the walls of their home. Framed, painted, or stuck-on (that’s the worst offense), please don’t turn your wall into an IRL Instagram post. They’re not thought-provoking or inspirational. Instead, amass an interesting wall of books (that you’ve actually read).
Cheap Sugary Treats
Look, everyone loves a good Entenmann’s raspberry danish now and then. If you’re having them on the daily, though, that’s when it becomes problematic. Designate one day per month where you absolutely go to town on a whole package. The other days? Stick to healthy snacks, like carrots, apples, hummus, and whole grain crackers. Your waistline (and your heart) will thank you.
Matching Bedroom Furniture
For dudes who might be deficient in the interior design department, it’s tempting to pick up a matching dark-wood bedroom set at a rock-bottom price. But a truly sophisticated look does away entirely with the cookie-cutter décor and, instead, in centered around a selection of carefully chosen pieces in complementary styles.
You could invest all of the money in the world in a revamped décor; if your top sheet doesn’t match your bottom sheet, it’ll all be for nought. Even if your sheets are of the finest crafted Egyptian cotton, sorry, but you should toss them for some that actually match.
A Recliner with Built-In Cup Holders
Yes, they’re comfortable. Yes, they’re convenient. Yes, they’re kind of decorous disasters—the type of furniture that’s emblematic of a function-over-form mentality. If that’s your thing, by all means, keep yours around. But if you’d prefer a sharper, sleeker design scheme, invest in some quality arm chairs (sans cup holders) and a pair of minimalist side tables.
Posters without Frames
Posters in general, even if they’re in frames, are fairly suspect—unless they’re a cool vintage find (or rare and worth some serious dough). If that Jim Morrison poster has followed you around since the dorm days, it’s time to either give it a proper framed treatment…or retire it once and for all.
A Door-Mounted Basketball Hoop
Yes, these are tons of fun, and great for challenging a buddy to an impromptu hoops tournament. But, come on: don’t leave it in your house. Take it to the office to help blow off work stress, or sequester it in the garage or a backyard shed so you can fully indulge your inner child without disturbing the tranquility of a tidy and grown-up home.
Branded Beer Glasses
Gathering up a bunch of pint glasses from your favorite obscure micro-breweries is a good way to accumulate some decent glassware through your 20s and 30s. Past 40? It’s time to get a little more sophisticated. Pick up some genuine British pint glasses etched with the imperial crown (which are actually a pint, unlike the 12-ounce pours of most U.S. glasses).
Unless you’re Iggy Pop, there’s really no good reason to have a pair of leather pants in your closet. Even if you still have the body to rock them at 40, you’re not impressing anyone when wearing them out to the bar or club—you’re just going to look silly. (You’re also going to sweat way more than anyone would like.) Save them for Halloween.
A Couch Sourced From a Thrift Store
Yes, a $10 faux-leather couch is a great deal. And yes, it’s nice that you can barely see the stain on the arm rest…when you put a pillow in front of it. But that’s the sort of thing you only want around in a starter apartment. Take it back to the thrift store—then treat yourself to an affordable yet still brand-new couch that has never had someone else sit on it.
One recent survey revealed that, out of all the turnoffs in the world—bad sense of style, bad sense of humor, bad manners—nothing is more of a turnoff than a messy space. In fact, 82 percent (!) of female respondents listed a messy bachelor’s as their top choice. Thankfully, cleaning up is easy: just steal these these 33 Ways to Declutter Your Life (and Keep It That Way!)
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