There are innumerable small joys to look forward to when you turn 50. You no longer have to make excuses about bailing on after-hours obligations. You never get bothered about questions regarding when you’re going to “settle down.” Oh, and there’s no offense taken no offense taken when someone doesn’t ask to see your ID at a bar. However, with age comes responsibility. And as a bona fide adult, you have the responsibility to ditch some objects from your inventory.
For instance: that rude animatronic fish on the wall in your living room, the the fuzzy dice hanging from your car’s mirror, the football-themed cotton throw draped over your sofa. Yes, we’ve rounded up every item that a woman over 50 should clear out of her home, from serious fashion don’ts to grievous décor offenses. And for more ways to make your next chapter the best one yet, discover these 50 Life Changes to Make After 50.
By the time you’re over 50, your home should be a reflection of your good taste, not a nagging reminder that you haven’t changed anything about your home in decades. “If you are over 50 and your home’s décor still features design choices that haven’t evolved since you hit your prime sometime between the mid-‘80s and late ‘90s, you need to redecorate or rethink your life!” says interior designer Denise Gianna. That pillow that says “life’s a beach” isn’t as cute as you once thought it was, anyway. And for more things to banish from your home, learn the 30 Ways Your Home Is Hopelessly Outdated.
Unless you actually work on a farm, there’s no reason for a woman over 50 to own a cowboy hat. There are far more stylish options out there, from wide-brimmed sun hats to elegant scarves, if you really need to cover up that bedhead.
A great highlighter can do wonders to brighten your complexion. A swipe of glitter, no matter if it’s on your face or body, will just make you look like you’re on your way back from a rave… 20 years ago. And when you want to seem more youthful sans glitter, check out these 50 Ways to Look Younger in Your 50s.
A piggy bank
If it’s your beloved childhood piggy bank or something belonging to your children, you get a pass. However, if it’s actually where you’re storing your extra cash and coins, it’s high time to toss it. After all, that’s what actual banks are for.
That hot pink sign proclaiming your living room a bar? It’s anything but adorably whimsical when you’re an adult. By the time you’re over 50, novelty signage simply shouldn’t hold the appeal it did when you were a 20-something.
Your home isn’t a dorm room, so it’s time you ditched the décor that says otherwise. In addition to being generally unattractive, butterfly chairs are also about the flimsiest furniture you can buy, meaning one wrong move can land you on the floor.
Skinny scarves accomplish little more than looking ridiculous. If it’s cold out, wear a scarf that covers your neck and chest. The only excuse for having a skinny scarf in your closet is if you’ve somehow transported yourself back to 2003. And to avoid further fashion faux pas, make sure to ditch these 40 Things No Woman Should Ever Wear to Work.
Novelty salt and pepper shakers
By 50, your kitchen should be more than just a place to store takeout menus. And if you’re a competent cook—or at least trying to become one—that means the days of novelty salt and pepper shakers should be behind you.
No matter what your age, fuzzy dice are never an elegant addition to your set of wheels. However, what you might not know is that, in certain states, it’s actually illegal to have them hanging from your mirror—and are those fluffy eyesores really worth a ticket?
Anything made of wine corks
Sure, if you like wine, you’ve probably had a few good bottles by the time you hit 50. However, the best way to commemorate them isn’t by hot-gluing them together and making trivets. And in the same vein, you should definitely ditch those empties gathering dust above your kitchen cabinets—a collection of empty wine bottles does not a Tuscan kitchen make.
It’s not that peasant skirts are too young for you when you’re over 50, per se. The issue lies in their universally unflattering fit, hippie vibe, and propensity for collecting a truly disgusting amount of street debris as you walk.
Mardi Gras beads
So, you went to New Orleans once—how fun! However, as a full-blown adult, any reminders of a time you might have flashed someone for a plastic necklace should be immediately discarded. For things to actually remember from NOLA’s greatest charade, though, check out 15 Weirdest Mardi Gras Rituals.
You don’t actually need to dress like an extra in a 1970s mobster movie to hit the gym. Track pants’ lack of aesthetic appeal combined with that insufferable swishing noise they make every time you take a step should put them at the top of your donation pile.
A dish of seashells
The logic behind a bathroom dish of seashells has never made much sense: there’s water in the bathroom, so it must be some kind of indoor beach? Unless your entire design scheme is beach-themed (and to be clear, it shouldn’t be), it’s time to ditch the shells.
A black light
There’s only one reason a black light should ever enter your home: if you’re the subject of a documentary crime series and the police are searching for clues. Otherwise, this dated décor is always a mistake.
They’re uncomfortable. They haven’t been in style in 10 years. They leave you with the weirdest tan lines. Why did anyone ever buy these in the first place?
A vinyl tablecloth
Vinyl tablecloths are perfectly acceptable for children’s birthday parties and picnics. However, inside your home, you should be using the real thing. While that does mean you’ll have to wash it from time to time, a bottle of stain remover is still only a few bucks—and well worth the investment.
Tapestries look great in two places: museums and castles. In your living room, however, they scream, “I only buy home goods at renaissance festivals.”
Anything with an alien on it
The truth may be out there, but that doesn’t mean your own quest for extraterrestrial life deserves a spot on your wall. The same goes for clothing bearing the image of visitors who may or may not come in peace.
Framed photos of your high school or college sweetheart
If it’s been more than 20 years since you dated someone, it’s pretty strange to keep their framed picture around in your home. The only exception to the rule: If they’ve passed away, you’ve got good reason to keep their memory alive.
Super-long fingernails aren’t exactly a sophisticated accessory at any age, but press-ons are a particularly bad look. If you want perfect-looking nails, a set of acrylics are a better bet—and won’t come off when you’re cooking.
He’s Just Not That Into You
If you’re over 50, you should have a decent grasp on when men are interested or not by now. If you need a book to remind you of the signs that someone doesn’t want to date you, it’s time to reassess your romantic strategy.
A CD tower or rack
CD towers are big, they’re bulky, and all they’re doing is wasting space with a type of music that’s quickly becoming obsolete. If you simply can’t part with your CD collection, please get yourself a binder to house them in instead.
If you’re from certain parts of the Middle East, a keffiyeh might be an everyday accessory, and with good reason—it’s useful and part of your cultural heritage. If you’re not, all wearing one of these patterned scarves says is, “I haven’t updated my accessories in 15 years.”
A pageboy hat
If you’re not starring in a remake of Newsies, it’s time to ditch the pageboy hat. Not only will these caps effectively ruin any hair style you were going for, they also scream, “I’m desperate to look younger.”
Clothes with any writing on the rear
There’s no reason a self-respecting person should have a pair of pants proclaiming something about them or their assets. This is especially true for anyone over 50—you’re definitely old enough to own loungewear that don’t say anything gross.
A sorority banner
Can your still look back fondly on your sorority days after 50? Of course. Does that mean that a big flag with your Greek letters on it belongs over your living room sofa? Definitely not.
A flip phone
It’s 2018—there’s no reason why you should have a phone that takes grainy black-and-white photos and makes you press a button multiple times to type a single letter. And considering the ever-dropping price points of both smartphones and contracts, there’s no excuse for still using that outdated piece of technology.
Giant platform shoes
Considering that your risk of a fracture tends to go up as you age—something that’s particularly true for post-menopausal women—super-tall platform shoes are probably not a great choice. And from an aesthetic perspective, they’re definitely a bad idea.
Red plastic cups
Are you hosting a frat party at your house? If you can confidently answer “no,” then there’s no real excuse for having college accoutrements, like red plastic cups, hoarding space in your kitchen cabinets. You can get inexpensive glass cups at any home goods store, and at least they won’t make your house look like you’re about to set up a beer pong tournament.
It’s easier than ever to date, no matter what your age. Things that might get in your way, however, include outdated rulebooks that tell you how to behave. If you want to call a guy first, go for it—one of The Rules‘ authors seemingly followed her advice and got divorced, anyway, so maybe don’t treat books like this as law. For proof on how effortless it can be, check out the The Best Dating Apps if You’re Over 40.
You’ve kept yourself alive for more than five decades—shouldn’t you be able to afford a similar courtesy to a living plant by now? Even if you don’t want something high-maintenance, succulents are easy to take care of and can brighten up a space much more effectively than a plastic fern.
A collection of hotel soaps
There are tons of ways to commemorate those amazing trips you’ve taken. However, if the only thing you’re taking away from your journey is another bar of hotel soap, you might not be totally getting the spirit of the whole travel experience. The good news? If you do find yourself with a variety of extra soaps, charities like Clean the World will take them off your hands and turn them into clean, usable soap that gets donated to communities in need.
A talking fish
When’s the last time someone came over to your house and said, “I sure wish there was someone here to sing ‘Friends in Low Places’ and make a joke about my mama.” If your answer is “never,” it’s time to ditch the wise-cracking fish.
By the time you hit 50, your wardrobe should be two things: elegant and understated. Unfortunately, shirts proclaiming, “I’m with Stupid” are neither.
A sports team blanket
That Cowboys throw on your couch may keep you warm, but it’s not doing any favors for your home’s overall aesthetic. A simple blanket without a gridiron on it will make your space look much more put together in the long run.
Wicker furniture has a time and place, namely summer and outside. If you’re using wicker in place of traditional furniture, you’re not only making your house look sloppy, you’re virtually begging for anything you wear around it to get snagged.
Any book by the Kardashians
There are tons of great books full of inspiring life advice out there. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for anything allegedly penned by reality TV’s royal family.
A collection of plastic utensils
Ask any environmentalist and they’ll tell you: single-use plastics are one of the biggest threats to the environment and continued habitability of our planet. Reusable cutlery really only takes a few seconds to clean, and better yet, it won’t melt the second you stick it into hot food.
That signed Eagles poster? The Grateful Dead blanket? That tambourine you stole from Phish? It’s well past time you got rid of them in favor of some more age-appropriate décor. If you want entertainment from your most-played musicians, just check out the 30 Terrible Original Names for Your Favorite Bands.
A collection of your ex’s clothing
Yes, everything that used to belong to your ex is perfectly worn and soft and just the right oversized. However, if you’re still wearing their stuff when you’re lounging around the house, you’re dwelling in the past way more than is probably healthy.
Good, inexpensive mattresses are easier to come by than ever these days, so why is that uncomfortable futon still sticking around? With so many cheap options out there that won’t make your home look like a dorm room, there’s no excuse to keep with that lumpy excuse for a bed.
Framed autographs may have a place in tourist trap restaurants or at your local dry cleaner, but they’re not exactly charming accessories for adults. If you simply can’t ditch your autograph collection, at least keep them contained in an album.
“The higher the hair, the closer to God” definitely doesn’t refer to those ridiculous ‘dos held in place by Bumpits. If you want to give your hair some volume, there are plenty of ways to do so without looking like you’re auditioning for Jersey Shore.
Those creepy dead-eyed frogs playing poker and that squirrel with a six-shooter may have seemed hilarious to you when you bought them on vacation after a few glasses of wine. However, back at home, they are nothing more than an eyesore—and a seriously creepy one, at that.
Ruffled sheets and a princess-style bed can be adorable in a little girl’s room. In an adult woman’s room, however, they just scream, “I’m not ready to grow up” and make it seem like you’re probably hiding a collection of terrifying porcelain dolls somewhere, too. “Ruffly bedding evokes a very specific, long past time and screams ‘aged and staged,’ like bad motel decor or dinner theater set,” says Gianna.
The purpose of the bolero jacket has never been completely clear. What situation might you find yourself in where your shoulders are freezing, but your arms and torso need no extra cover? If you’re still wasting hanger space on these perplexing outfit additions, it’s time to get rid of them.
A lava lamp
Lava lamps are essentially little more than period dressing for shows about the 1970s at this point. If you want to create an interesting focal point for a room, a great piece of art always works better.
Shoes with holes
Those sneakers you ran your first marathon in or those Chucks you were wearing the night you met your significant other may have sentimental value, but if they’re full of holes, it’s time to let them go. They’re never going to be magically wearable again, and in the meantime, they’ll only bring down your otherwise put-together wardrobe or make your closet smell like dirty socks.
Skateboards are a great way to get around—if you’re Bart Simpson. By the time you hit 50, it should be clear that there are more civilized ways to commute, and most of them won’t leave you with a broken ankle. And if you’re cohabiting, you may also want to check out the 40 Items No Man Over 40 Should Have in His Home.
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