Over 40? Here Are 40 Things to Purge from Your Life Immediately

Learn the power of addition by subtraction.

tourists over 40

When you're young, all you want is more of everything: more stuff, more food, more money, more recognition—you name it. But, once you get older, you come to the realization that less really is more. Now, that's not to say that you can't accumulate new experiences. After all, Will Smith spent his 50th birthday jumping out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon, and you can too!

But there's also a lot that you can ditch, like negative thinking, ironic T-shirts, and anything that is beneath your exalted status in life as a post-40 person. (Or, you know, anything that screams "mid-life crisis.") So read on for the 40 things to purge from your life immediately.


Hoodies, Jeb Bush, what to give up in your 40s

Only college students or multi-billionaires in their 20s or 30s—like, say, Mark Zuckerberg—can make these work. Are you a college student or a multi-billionaire in your 20s or 30s? If not, you may look like you're in a perpetual state of Laundry Day. 


bad beauty products

Unless you're Taylor Swift, a teenager, or performing in a Broadway rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream, glitter is a major no-no, not least of all because it gets everywhere. And we mean everywhere

Frozen Pizza Rolls

Frozen pizza rolls, 40s, what to give up in your 40s

Frozen food and pizza are the cuisine of the college-age student, so combining the two of them into a convenient, tasty snack makes it seem like you're in denial about your age. Not only are they super unhealthy—and hardly ideal for your newly slowed down metabolism—but they're also embarrassing. By 40, you should really know how to cook at least a few basic appetizers.

Your Ex's Clothing

woman man's dress shirt

According to sex coach Amy Levine, wearing your ex's clothing acts as "a quick fix to keep you emotionally content in the moment rather than experiencing the ups and downs of the breakup that are necessary to move beyond [it]." Simply put, it's not emotionally healthy, and therefore needs the boot. 

A Platonic Roommate

40s roommates

We all know that the cost of living versus current salaries makes living alone financially impossible for a lot of people, and there's no shame in that. But, if you can afford it, there's nothing like the freedom of being able to walk from your bathroom to your bedroom fully nude.

Intense Nail Art

Nail Art, 40s

This is really a trend reserved for liberal arts majors who just got back from backpacking in India and are still struggling to find themselves.

Novelty Ties

Novelty Ties are something no man should wear to work

These are more or less on the same level as dad jokes and do not help you get taken seriously in the office. 

"Thinking" about Having Kids

better parent over 40

You don't need to have kids in your 40s. So, if you're still not sure, don't feel the need to fend off inappropriate questions at parties from relatives by telling people you're still mulling it over. Just own it. 

Not Flossing

Woman Flossing Teeth

According to dentists, 40 percent of your tooth surface is prone to decay without flossing. And if there's one thing you really want to reverse by the time you're in your 40s, it's all those years of giving your teeth a rudimentary scrub before going to bed. 

Trying Experimental Hairstyles

woman getting a haircut
Shutterstock/Kamil Macniak

It's never too late to reinvent yourself. But, by your 40s, you know that true transformation has a lot more to do with what's happening inside of your head than on it. By now, you've probably found a signature hairstyle that accentuates your best features. Stick with that.

Splitting the Bill a Million Ways

things women don't understand about men

Asking a server to split a bill perfectly between you and your friends is an amateur move, not to mention a mathematical headache. By the time you're in your 40s, you should know that subsidizing someone's spicy mayo isn't going to significantly hurt your bank account, and it'll make things easier for your waiter. 

Skipping Exercise

Man playing video games on the sofa after calling in sick to work

Prior to the big 4-0, you may have been able to get along just fine avoiding the gym. It's only a matter of time, however, until a sedentary lifestyle starts to manifest as literal pain. You don't have to be the next middle-aged person to cross the Atlantic using only breast stroke or anything, but at this point it's a good idea to start moving your body regularly, especially since studies show that it's the number one thing you can do to reverse the aging process. 

Fake Plants

fake potted plants

Having plants in your place is a surefire way to let people know you have your life together as soon as they walk through the door. But this only applies to living beings that you need to water on occasion.

Studies have also shown that live plants have a variety of health benefits outside of converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. They've been known to reduce stress, boost well-being, improve your relationships, enhance your memory, and can even help you physically heal, among other things.

Not Saving Money

save 40 percent of your paycheck

It's sorta cute in your 20s (key word: sorta) to complain about being broke before burning your last twenty at happy hour. If you're still living from paycheck to paycheck over the age of 40, however, it might be time to reassess your spending habits. 

Baseball Caps

snapback hat

It's easy to forget looking at the youngsters these days, but there are literally so many different kinds of hats available to you should you feel the need to clothe your noggin.

Resorting to a baseball cap in the face of such choice simply suggests that you lack imagination. Either that, or you still haven't gotten over Derek Jeter's retirement. Neither are positions you particularly want to be in.

Twinkle Lights

christmas tree seller secrets

In your 20s, a set of twinkle lights signaled that your apartment or dorm room was a magical place filled with warmth and light. In your 40s, however, people are just going to think you forgot to take down your holiday decorations. Wondering how to lighten up a room in their stead? As one famous (albeit fictional) weatherman once said, "I love lamp."

Stained Clothing

shirt with coffee stain

It doesn't particularly matter if it's your favorite piece of clothing from your college years that only has one stain that "nobody even notices, anyway." A stain on your clothing is a stain on your life. 


Thinking You Need More Money to Be Happy


A groundbreaking 2010 study found that, past a $75,000 annual salary, the happiness levels of people taper off entirely. Thanks to inflation, the new threshold is $95,000, but you get the idea. Scientifically speaking, money does not buy happiness.

Staying at a Dead-End Job

economic cost of poor sleep

Going to work every day simply for the paycheck is sooooo your 20s.  If your current position doesn't have you waking up consistently excited for the day ahead, it's time to bid your employer adieu. At the very least, ask for a raise or a promotion: if they say no, leave. If they say yes, well, you still might not love your job, but at least it's no longer a dead end.

Staying in a Toxic Relationship

Couple Fighting

When you're young, having a dramatic argument followed by passionate make-up sex feels absolutely thrilling. But, by your 40s, you realize that chasing your lover down the street naked in the middle of the night is, at the very least, not cute. Being in a happy relationship may be kind of "boring," but it's the best kind of boring.

A Condiment Pack Collection

Sauce packets things you should throw away

This is only acceptable if you're a college student who is really hard-pressed for cash. If you're north of 40, it just makes it obvious that you never cook your own meals.

Negative Thinking

things women don't understand about men

While research on what makes people happy is still in its early stages, one thing is clear: how happy you are has to do with how you perceive your life much more than its actual circumstances.

By 40, you should have learned how to focus on everything that you have rather than the things that are missing.

Sports-Themed Wall Art

sports memorabilia things no man over 40 should own

Like movie posters that are peeling off the wall, this is a college student's idea of elegant decor.

Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animal Dorm Room

When you're younger, stuffed animals are cute. When you're 40, however, they officially transition to downright creepy. So let 'em go: Mr. Twinkles will be just fine without you.

Mismatched Silverware

crazy facts

Eclecticism is one thing. Confusion and disorganization are another. Unless your jumbled silverware set consists of a variety of different pieces all purchased from a remote outpost in Morocco, it likely falls into the latter. So go and buy a set of matching silverware, even if means melting your current collection and selling the metals to pay for it.  

Camo Anything

2018 fashion trends

Camo belongs in two places: the military and the runway—not your closet.

Drinking Heavily

men drinking beer and cheering on a sports game

As you age, you realize that your ability to bounce back after a night of shots starts to rapidly diminish. So it's a good time to curb your alcohol consumption to a glass of good bourbon here and there rather than cheap tequila shots at the local dive bar. Your lifespan will thank you for it.

Social Media Oversharing

social media changes after 40

This is a bad idea in general, given that tech addiction is on the rise. But one of the joys of being older is that you've missed the period of time when you're most liable to become addicted to social media, and this is one compulsion you definitely want to avoid.

Unhealthy Eating Habits

office workers eating pizza in a meeting

Like the lack of exercise, that 4:00 a.m. pizza really starts to catch up with you in your 40s.

Vinyl Tablecloths

plastic table cloth

Unless you're planning on opening an outdoor, Ma-and-Pa style burger joint, vinyl tablecloths have no place in a 40-year-old's life. They're ugly, their sheen is nauseating, and they make the absolute worst ruffling noises, which is probably why they're going the way of salt and pepper shakers

Keychain Bottle Openers

Key Chain with Bottle Opener40s, what to give up in your 40s

If there are no bottle openers around and you're relying on a doohickey attached to your keys to get your drink of choice opened, you might want to ask yourself why it is you're drinking in the first place—and why it's attached to the thing that turns your car on.


Arts and Crafts From Childhood

childhood arts and crafts things no man over 40 should own

Yeah, yeah, we get it: you were an artistic child. What doesn't make sense, however, is why that's relevant today, and why you're insisting guests view a collection of haphazard pottery every time they pay you a visit. If you can't bear to part with these childhood trinkets, at least put them in storage. That's what storage was invented for in the first place.  


Ironic T-Shirts

ironic t-shirt hipster

A recent study found that the reason that people wear ironic T-shirts is because they want to attract like-minded individuals and exclude mainstream culture. By 40, you shouldn't have such a desperate need to fit in with the crowd.


Mismatched Towels

no woman over 40 should have mismatched towels in her apartment

You don't need to be a KonMari enthusiast to know that this just looks bad.


Crazy Jeans

worst fashion trends

Kendall Jenner can wear cropless jeans and still make them look cute, because she's 23 years old and can still make even an insanely oversized puffer jacket look cute. But, once you're 40, it's time to realize that jeans are great when they are worn for the intended purpose of being comfortable and casual when you're off the clock.


Novelty Salt Shakers

Kangaroo shakers mother's day

They're not meant to be cute. They are meant to be functional.


Flaking on Plans at the Last Minute

random acts of kindness

Not only are you too old for rudely flaking on plans, but also your friends are too wise to not see through whatever excuse it is you throw their way. Do everyone a favor and treat RSVPs they way you used to treat blood oaths—without the bleeding part. You just might find yourself invited to a whole lot more parties than usual.



Woman Stressed on her Computer {Biggest Source of Stress}

Much of FOMO is triggered by fear of the unknown: What could I be missing? Who might I not be seeing? Am I less cool for not being there? Now that you're 40, however, you should know just fine that the truth is, hey, you really aren't missing anything at all and will probably have a better evening at home with your dog or family. 


Wire Hangers

no woman over 40 should have wire hangers in her apartment

Like much else that comes free with your dry cleaning, wire hangers are virtually useless. Don't let them think otherwise by stocking your closet full of them, allowing them the opportunity to ruin the shoulders on every top you own. Be vigilant and begin switching them out for good-smelling, moth-resistant cedar hangers.


Plastic Utensils

plastic forks and knives

Not only are these incredibly harmful to the planet, they are also seriously damaging to your reputation. You don't want to be the one friend whose dinner parties are invariably eaten on disposable tableware. At that point, you may as well just start wearing hoodies again, too. And for more ways to live your best life in your best decade, here are 40 Questions No One Over 40 Should Ask a Younger Person.

To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to follow us on Instagram!

Filed Under
Best Life
Live smarter, look better,​ and live your life to the absolute fullest.
Get Our Newsletter Every Day!
Enter your email address to get the best tips and advice.
close modal
close modal