Toss These 25 Things from Your House for Instant Happiness
If it doesn't bring you joy, it's time to go.
Whether you’re willing to admit it or not, chances are high the clutter in your home stresses you out. In a 2013 HuffPost survey, 84 percent of people said they felt their homes contained too much clutter—and an estimated 55 percent admitted that that clutter was a major source of stress in their everyday lives. So, if you’re craving peace of mind, there’s a simple solution: Unleash your inner Marie Kondo!
Wondering where to start? The answer is simple: right here! Read on to find 25 items that you should purge in the name of sanity, according to organization gurus. That ancient art supplies and those long-outdated magazines are doing little more than gathering dust anyway.
Does your coffee table really benefit from a two-year-old stack of Good Housekeepings? Stacy Caprio of Deals Scoop says no. Actually, keeping these dusty periodicals around can be getting in the way of your happiness.
“Often, people will have stacks of old magazines lying around their house or in cupboards,” Caprio notes. “Finding and tossing these magazines is a great way to get rid of clutter and open up the house—helping you find more space, ease, and joy in your daily life.”
Clothes That Don’t Fit
As a rule of thumb, you should only be keeping clothes that make you feel fantastic, says Jennifer Snyder, a professional organizer and owner of Neat as a Pin Organizing and Cleaning. And those aspirational outfits in the back of your closet don’t count.
“The clothes hanging in our closets that don’t fit make us feel bad—specifically, they make us feel fat,” Snyder says. “Only allow clothes in your closet that make you feel like a million bucks—even if it is only a couple of pieces.”
Towels, Blankets, and Linens That Have Seen Better Days
“You deserve to have and use nice things,” says Snyder. “They don’t have to be expensive, but nice. Having a fluffy towel when you get out of the shower is a small luxury that can change your entire day.”
Throwing out old towels even gives you the option of buying a matching set—and who doesn’t love some good décor synergy?
Trinkets From High School
While it’s understandable that you would want to hold on to yearbooks and photographs, all the other things from your teens—like mix tapes and class notes—likely hold only a small place in your heart. So toss ’em.
“For most of us, who we were in high school has absolutely no bearing on who we are today. There is no reason to hang on to that homecoming mum or prom dress, and old homework or assignments should especially go,” says Snyder. “Embrace who you are today!”
Old toiletries—like makeup, toothbrushes, and soap—serve no purpose on your bathroom counter or under your sink. Do your space a favor and throw them out, says Kelly Agrey, an interior designer and owner of Habitation Box, a subscription interior design service.
Besides, expired mascara can actually harm your eyes and lashes—so there’s no good reason to keep it around.
To rein in that overcrowded medicine cabinet, Agrey suggests throwing out old pills and medication that have become less potent over time. After all, an organized bathroom just feels that much more relaxing.
Outdated Electronics and Accessories
When’s the last time you truly used that iPod from 2005? And don’t even get us started on your Walkman! Throwing away—or better yet, recycling—ancient electronics that just sit around collecting dust can bring you more peace of mind (and make room for brand new ones!).
Love Letters From Past Romantic Partners
Especially if you’re living in a space with a current significant other, keeping around old love letters and gifts from previous partners can give the impression that you’re holding on to those relics for a reason. Disposing of those items—and the emotions they’re attached to—can rejuvenate both you and your space.
If you’re can’t come to terms with a total purge, though, know that the online Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, can hold on to your letters and mementos. All you have to do is take pictures of the personal artifacts and send them to the museum, where they’ll display them on their website.
The reason why it’s therapeutic to write things down is to remove them from your brain and put them instead on to a tactile piece of paper. Looking back at old journal entries doesn’t serve much of a purpose besides reigniting old emotions. Again, it’s time to let these go and focus on the current version of yourself.
Old Cards and Invitations With No Sentimental Value
The piece of paper doesn’t make the memory, so why hang on to it? Unless it’s a wedding invitation, a card from a late loved one, or something else sentimental, it’s time to toss those old invites and cards into the recycling bin. “You have the memory and thought of the card, so why keep more stuff?” Agrey argues.
Or, if you truly can’t let them go, consider consolidating all of your old cards and invitations into one simple scrapbook that can be easily stowed away.
Socks, Gloves, and Earrings That Lost Their Match
For some reason, humans are programmed to never give up hope in finding a missing sock, glove, or earring—so much so that they tend to keep the non-missing solo around for much longer than necessary.
“Pairs are best,” Agrey says. “It’s pointless to keep items that you won’t use.” If you haven’t seen that missing sock in awhile, chances are that it’s never coming back to your sock drawer—so do yourself a favor and throw out the lone items that have been missing their mates for a long time.
Clothes and Shoes That Are Stained Or Torn
If you’ve tried and failed to get those stains out of your clothes, then why are you keeping them around? Similarly, how long have you been telling yourself that you’re going to mend that torn blouse? “You will never wear them, so why keep them?” asks Agrey. Unless it’s an item that truly brings you joy, throw out those clothes and shoes that no longer serve a purpose in your wardrobe.
Rusty or Broken Jewelry
“If you don’t like it, then throw it away. Why keep things with no value?” Agrey notes. It’s not like you’re already wearing that rusty broken bracelet sitting in your jewelry box. You’ll feel much happier making more room for new pieces that you can treat yourself to every once in a while.
Old Cooking Utensils You Already Have Newer Versions Of
We get it—a trip to Ikea is incomplete without the purchase of some kind of quirky kitchen utensil. However, if it seems as though your home décor shopping habits have landed you with several sets of kitchen tools—creating a pile of neglected utensils at the bottom of a drawer—it’s time to pare down.
“When will you ever use five spatulas at once?” Agrey asks. “We all have our favorite spatula or cooking utensils we always use, so why have more clutter?” Clear out your kitchen by setting these unused utensils free and donating them.
Expired or Unwanted Food
Even throwing away old condiments can make your refrigerator a more welcoming and tidy space. Plus, throwing away expired food will ensure that you’re not gobbling down something that could make you sick.
Broken, Chipped, or Stained Dishes, Mugs, Pots, and Pans
Keeping chipped dishes and mugs around only negatively impacts the feng shui of your space—something that is definitely not making you happier in the long-run. “If it’s broken, get rid of it,” says Agrey. “You don’t need the burden.” Plus, a sharp edge or hazardous pan handle could cause serious damage.
Frequent Shopper Cards You Never Use
Yes, it’s better to keep loyalty cards in a drawer rather than your wallet. But if you haven’t used them in a while—generously, a year or more—it’s time to toss ’em.
Old Tools and Miscellaneous Home Improvement Items
The clutter that exists in your garage is typically out of sight, out of mind, but that overflowing toolbox could subconsciously be stressing you out.
Rather than keeping old tools around, waiting for the day that you might need them, Agrey suggests donating them and finding other (cheaper) sources to fulfill your random tool needs. “You can always ask a neighbor or friend if you need to borrow a tool,” she says. “And you can also rent tools from hardware stores.”
Random Unused Containers and Jars
Question: What exactly do you plan on doing with those old mason jars? That’s what we thought. Just keep a couple and recycle the rest!
Gifts That You Don’t Like
“Don’t keep gifts out of guilt,” Marie Kondo wrote in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. “After the joy of the gift-giving moment is through, you can donate the gift without guilt. It has served its purpose.” If the gift itself doesn’t bring you joy, there is no reason to keep it.
Old Art Supplies
You might be guilty of harboring decades-old crayons in your basement or attic. However, as artist Emily Keating Snyder explained in her guide to a more minimalist studio, you can’t keep art supplies around because you “might” use them one day—you have to keep them around because you will use them one day. Otherwise, you’ll be constantly focusing on the art projects that you said you’d do, but never found the time for—and that mindset certainly isn’t helping your mental health.
Old Books That You’ve Read or Will Never Read
“We all have access to the public library and internet now. Only keep what you love,” says Agrey. Keeping around copies of those books that you tried but failed to read only chips away at your self-worth. Instead, buy and rent books that you actually want to read—not ones that you feel you have an obligation to read.
Old Receipts and Unneeded Documents
According to the Federal Trade Commission, you can safely shred credit card bills, utility bills, and sales receipts (unless related to warranties, taxes, and insurance) immediately. After one year, you can finally let go of bank statements, pay stubs, and medical bills. That’s right—even the government says to stop hoarding.
Old Shopping Bags
You do not need more than a few of these in your home at a time. It’s time to let them go!
Knickknacks That Don’t Spark Joy
No matter how minimalist your interior design theme may be, it’s still likely that you’ve kept a few knickknacks and trinkets that bear no part in your overall décor scheme.
“You should only own items that spark joy, not items that bring you down,” says Agrey. So, if you find that these trinkets and knickknacks mean nothing to you on a personal level, it’s time to let them go. And if you’re looking for ways to use items that you already have, check out these 50 Amazing New Uses for Everyday Items.
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