“The secret of staying young,” Lucille Ball famously joked, “is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” To that, we’d also add (at least if you’re talking about crossing the threshold into middle age): living your days without certain objects that are beneath your newly exalted station in life. Yes, turning 40 means you’re entering your best decade. It also means it’s time to retire your ex’s beat-up hoodie, toss out the plastic wine glasses, and never, ever wear celebrity-minted fragrance.
Herewith, we’ve compiled all of the things women should throw out when they reach 40. And if you choose to purge your home of these items, don’t forget to encourage your significant other to clean out his side of the closet, too: Here are the 40 Things No Man Over 40 Should Own.
Sparkly Eye Makeup
Shimmer—which is usually subtle and fine—is not the same as glitter, which can be chunky and, well, glittery. (As well as a hazard if it gets into your eye.) That’s why a shimmer eyeshadow can stay, but glitter needs to go.
The slippers are fine, but the original (and ubiquitous) Ugg boots are the sartorial equivalent of leaving your house in your oldest, most misshapen set of pajamas.
Tights with Holes or Runs
Toss them and buy new ones ASAP. They’re inexpensive enough that there’s no excuse not to do this, and there are few things less professional than walking around with torn pantyhose.
A Nylon Duffel Bag
It’s time to upgrade to leather. Not only will it last you longer and endure more wear-and-tear, but it’ll also make your travel experience feel first-class—whether or not it actually is.
A Bulletin Board
It may be a handy place to leave reminders, post pictures, and create a secret vision board that you share with no one—but that’s why we have Pinterest. And if you’re looking to add some organization to your life, don’t get a cork board. Instead, try these 15 Ways to Triple Your Productivity Every Day.
An Ex’s Hand-Me-Downs
Your ex’s college sweatshirt may be the most comfortable thing you’ve ever worn in your entire life, but it’s also your ex’s college sweatshirt, and not worthy of a spot of honor in your closet. Return it—or burn it. And speaking of ex-boyfriends, for a sampling of our great relationship advice, here are 15 Bad Reasons to Delay a Breakup.
The last thing any woman needs is for her pants to sag around the butt…on purpose. It’s not flattering even when you’re 20.
A Magnifying Mirror
You don’t need this. If anything, staring into a magnifying mirror will drive you crazy and cause you to obsess (and, if you happen to groom your eyebrows yourself, it’ll make you a little too tweezers-happy, too). And for more lifestyle advice, here’s 32 Ways to Change His Behavior With Movie Quotes.
J. Lo’s first fragrance, the fruity floral Glow, was a classic. But now, several iterations and hundreds of celebrity-branded, focus-group-approved perfumes later, star-studded scents have been watered down. Toss it—or, at least, stop buying them.
All Those Bridesmaid Dresses
If you’re approaching 40, you probably have years’ worth of bridesmaid dresses languishing in the back of your closet. You may have paid a lot for them, but they’ve served their purpose and, let’s be real, who wants to wear an old bridesmaid dress anywhere? Consider donating them instead. And speaking of wedding bells… Here are The Signs Your Partner is Marriage Material.
Headbands are the beauty equivalent of Mary Jane-style shoes: A little fussy and very, very girly. You’re better off pulling your hair back into a clean, simple ponytail—unless your hair is short, in which case, employ bobby pins to keep your hair out of your face.
It’s a black elastic hair tie—minimalist and easy—or bust.
Claw Hair Clips
They look like you accidentally walked out of the salon in the middle of a single-process. To be fair, they’re handy if you need to section your hair while you’re styling it, but they otherwise should never see the light of day. And don’t even get us started on plastic banana clips.
Stolen Hotel Slippers
If you’re shuffling around in those white, hotel-branded slippers, you’re probably in need of some slippers. Some real slippers. Splurge on a pair lined with shearling or something equally soft and warm—it’s a worthwhile investment.
The tiniest diamond is miles better than the biggest cubic zirconia.
If you’re going to wear leggings, they should be reserved for exercise only. And if you’re going to break that rule (since we can all agree that they make for excellent loungewear) at least make sure they’re black, which looks more chic and flattering than bright, loud colors.
If you can’t bear to part with them—since that Morrissey concert might have truly changed your life—at least frame them.
Alcohol in Plastic Bottles
Canned rosé is one thing. Tequila that comes in a plastic bottle is a different story, one that’s depressing and has a sad ending. Not only is the quality likely sub par, but it also looks cheap, too.
Plastic Wine Glasses
You’re no longer in your 20s, nor are you dealing with sloppy roommates (or your sloppy self, hopefully). You can afford to buy—and not drop—basic wine glasses made of, you know, actual glass. And once you’re stocked up, here’s exactly how to start a wine collection.
Sweatpants? Perfect for curling up with Netflix. Zip-up sweater? Love it. Together? Not so much, and even less so if the said sweatpants have any sort of wording or phrase on the butt. Let them go, please, for the love of all women in their 40s.
Clothes with Blatant Logos
No one needs to know who designed every single item of your clothing—and your purse. Some of the most elegant, timeless pieces (think silk button-down shirts) can speak for themselves. And if you’re looking to upgrade his wardrobe, as well, here are The Best Men’s Dress Shirts to Buy on Amazon Right Now.
Photo courtesy of Amazon.
Throw. Them. Out.
Decked-out keychains are only cool when you’re 14 and don’t have any actual keys to carry around. Otherwise, they’re loud, they weigh down your bag, and they reveal to the world that yes, you have been to Sea World.
Tassels, whether on belts or your purse, exist solely to get in the way. Seriously—when has anyone ever been thankful for tassels?
DIY Nail-Art Kits
You can get away with the occasional accent nail, but a full set of nail art is a lot of things (none of which is “elegant”). Imagine leading a board meeting with hands covered in multiple polish colors. (Exactly.) Go with your favorite color—or experiment with something bright—but lay off the whimsical details.
If you can see the underwire, then it’s time to toss it. Also, bras that don’t fit well or feel uncomfortable fall under this heading, too. If you haven’t found one that suits you yet, take yourself to the nearest lingerie store for a fitting with a pro.
Not only do charm bracelets get caught on your sweater, but people can also hear you coming from a mile away. Those charms are like tiny cowbells for humans, something that is definitely ridiculous in your 40s.
Kitschy Phone Case
Is your phone case blinged out? Or, maybe worse, designed to look like a banana? Then it’s definitely time to upgrade it to something sleek and simple. If you still want some flair, try subtle patterns or a set of your initials.
Wristlet purses are a godsend when you’re planning to go out to the club and don’t want to schlep around your tote bag. And, since that actually sounds miserable past the age of 22, there’s no point in hanging onto that wristlet, either.
We’re not saying you should relegate yourself to “mom jeans.” Just opt for a higher-waisted style. You can still experiment with different silhouettes, from slouchy boyfriend jeans (cute and comfortable) to skinny jeans. And for more steal-from-your-boyfriend style, check out the sexiest, chicest leather jacket of all time.
Really, no one of any age should be wearing a peasant blouse, least of all a woman in her 40s. But if you’ve let yours linger in your closet since the early 2000s (a.k.a. the last time peasant blouses were in style), it’s time to add it to your donation pile.
Sure, there’s something very 50 Shades of Grey about a simple choker necklace. But if, like Nora Ephron, you feel bad about your neck, there’s no faster way to draw attention to it than with a choker.
If a dust ruffle is supposed to prevent dust in any way, it does not work. The only purpose they serve is to simply hide the dust bunnies gathering under the bed—and, also, make you feel like you’re back in the 1990s.
Due to the magic of the Internet, being clueless about how often you should water your snake plant is no longer an excuse for having a not-so-green thumb. If you can’t tell whether you’re under-watering or over-watering your plant, toss it and replace it with a succulent. Succulents are so low-maintenance that you have to actively try to kill them.
You should be going through SPF so quickly that it never gets a chance to expire. That’s partly for skin cancer protection, but also for anti-aging. After all, a recent study in the journal Dermatologic Surgery found that using sunscreen on a daily basis can not only prevent sun damage, but may actually reverse signs of photo-aging, like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
We’re not going to imply that Fluffy needs to go in the trash. (We would not dare.) But consider hiding your beloved stuffed animal, gifting it to your child or a young family member, or, at the very least, just not displaying it on your bed.
Colored pencils are essential if you’re into art as a hobby, but if you find yourself writing checks and jotting notes in purple ink, it’s time to buy a box of new pens in black or blue ink. And if you’re really writing checks that frequently, be sure to learn how to become a master (yes, that’s possible) at writing a check.
Affordable jewelry is always a good idea, but if you notice it turning your skin green, take it out of rotation. It’s not harmful, but the green can detract from the appeal of great accessories. Opt for metals like stainless steel, white gold, and platinum instead, all of which are less likely to react with skin.
If you’re missing the other half to a pair of socks—and have been waiting for it to reappear for weeks—give up and buy new socks. Because you’ll either wait forever, with one unmatched sock taking up space, or you’ll end up walking around with two completely mismatched socks. Neither of which are viable options for women in their 40s.
With all respect to Delta Gamma, these don’t hold much (if any) social cache once you’ve reached the real world—much less spent 20 years in it.
A Random Variety of Colorful Shot Glasses
This is that somewhat obnoxious collection of shot glasses you start when your in college and accumulate over spring breaks, bachelorette parties, and wild girl’s weekends. One or two of these are fine, that’s life! But if someone needs to use a shot glass, your best option shouldn’t be one that reads “Keep Calm and Party On” in bright pink lettering.
Worn Out Shoes
Worn out shoes should not exist in your closet. You’re at an age now where you either need to suck it up and throw them out or take them to get repaired. Good shoes take up too much room as is, don’t let useless ones take up any extra room.
This means overly embellished tops, shoes, and especially jeans. Unless you’re wearing them ironically, they don’t belong on anyone over the age of 15, if we’re being perfectly honest.
Seriously Torn Denim
That meme about adults telling you there’s holes in your jeans exists for a reason.
A Single Pair of Sheets
This goes with that whole idea that adults change their sheets once every week. The easiest way to do that? Have more than one pair of sheets. Also, what’s one to do when company comes and you only have one pair of sheets?
Halter tops are hard for anyone to pull off that isn’t a 20-year-old Hollywood actress in the 1990s. There’s no need to accentuate that area. Just stick to tanks or short sleeves.
Leather Mini Skirt
It’s short, it’s tight, it’s just a no.
This is the type outerwear just screams rebellious youth. That’s not the type of vibe you want to be giving after you’ve lived, experienced, and wised up.
Dorm-Style Lounge Chair
These should get thrown out the second you graduate from college. They’re great to have in small spaces, seeing as they fold up. But no mature person wants to sink into that while enjoying a nice glass of wine at a dinner party.
Canvases with Inspirational Mottos
Inspirational quotes are fun and motivational, but do you really still need to have them covering your walls? That’s what notebooks and Pinterest are for. Not to mention, real art can be just as inspirational and much more appropriate on your walls. Next, don’t miss the 40 Essential Dating Tips for Women Over 40.
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