Urgh. The ‘stuff’ just creeps in, doesn’t it?
With the best will in the world, there is always something – paperwork, till receipts, keepsakes of woodland walks, and if you have kids, pockets full of the weirdest things… I felt inspired to write this as I went to pay for an item at my local shop and struggled to find my wallet through all the junk that had accumulated in my bag:
I’m talking hoarder level amounts of crap. Coupons, leaflets, snack wrappers, leaves, pebbles – I’ve taken messy minimalism to whole new heights this week.
Let this serve as a reminder that even the most minimally minded of us still fall foul of clutter from time to time, be that in your handbag or your junk drawer. Anywhere that mess can gather needs a clear out periodically.
Related reading: Can You Become a Minimalist if You Are a Hoarder?
So here are 16 quick-fix things you just don’t need, which you can get rid of today without any stress, freeing up your time, your space and your life!
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Let’s start off with the wallet, as that is partly what inspired this post:
We all know you have some. Those ‘£3 off your next purchase’ ones that print out with your receipt and you have like, a week to use and you shove them into your purse thinking “ooh, that’s useful, I’ll remember that” and then promptly forget about.
Get rid of any of that have expired, as well as the ones you know you won’t use because they’ve zoned in on that one time you thought it would be cool to try all the different plant milks to see which one you like best, and now you can get ’20p off your next bottle’ of the one you liked least.
Just get rid of them.
Likewise receipts. Not the kind you may need, like the ones for large or unusual purchases (although make sure you go through these occasionally too, I once found I was still hanging on to the receipt and instruction manual for a TV that I didn’t even own any more), I’m talking the receipts that come with your food shop or from the petrol station. The ones that add up and fill your bag with litter.
NO need for them.
If you are sticking to a budget and keep your receipts to make a note of your purchases, then throw them away when you are done recording your expenses.
Note on getting rid of paper: Small bits of paper are generally fine to go into the compost, larger ones can go into recycling provided the paper fibres are white when torn. For anything else, if you have a fireplace, you could consider getting a paper log maker – you basically soak and mush up all your paper and squash the liquid out, compressing it into paper bricks which can be burnt. We used to do this when we had a woodburning stove, and it was an activity the kids loved getting involved with 🙂
Store cards you don’t use
Store cards for everywhere? Even shops you don’t recall ever having visited? NO. Have a good look through and divest yourself of any that are not useful to you. You can thank me later.
Debit cards which have expired, credit cards which you know you shouldn’t be using… these can go too.
Note on getting rid of cards: If you are of a crafty disposition, this post from diyzero.com has loads of creative ways of repurposing old cards into decorative items!
Have a tonne of plastic bags?
I feel like this stopped being such a problem for a while there, everyone got really good at bringing their reusable bags with them wherever they went, but since the madness that is 2020 began, I feel like it’s back.
We started placing click & collect food orders, and for a long time during lockdown and beyond, the food came pre-packed in plastic bags to enable a swift and safe transaction. As a result, plastic-bag-mountain has taken up residence again under my sink.
Take them to a recycling point or turn them into plarn and crochet them back into one, durable, master shopping bag!
That bag of cables
You know what I’m talking about.
We all have one. It moves from house to house and you can’t get rid of it because you just know that somewhere there is a device or appliance which needs to be reunited with its lifeline.
No, no, no. Just… no. There will never be a time when that old Nokia 3310 charger becomes useful to you. Free yourself!
Clothing you know you’ll never wear
Got clothes you haven’t worn in the last 6 months? Or ‘best intentions’ clothes – the ones you are saving for when you are thinner/curvier/going to the Bahamas? Get riiiiid of them.
Any you really struggle to let go of, give yourself a challenge to wear them in the next week. May revamp your style, may make you realise that they just weren’t for you. Either way, you’ll know and can move on.
Ditto shoes. This is a hard one for me personally, having just recently decided to sell my collection of vintage cowboy boots. So I get it.
I love my boots. I really do. But if I’m honest about how often they actually get worn? I just know that somebody else could make better use of them.
I’ll keep my favourite pair and send the rest on their way to their forever homes. 🙂
Books you’ve read
Some are keepers. We all have that favourite book which we know we could never tire of and opening that first page is slipping into the warm embrace of an old friend.
But how many books do this for you really? Donate an old book that you are unlikely to read again to someone who you think would enjoy it or take them to your local charity shop, community library or book recycling.
I must admit, I am a sucker for cutting out the pictures I like and using them for scrapbooks and mood boards, which does rather render them a bit useless for donating – but they can be recycled…
Get rid of anything that isn’t necessary, useful or needs to be kept for reference. Most companies offer paperless billing now, so make sure you opt for this if it’s available, it reduces paper clutter by a HUGE degree and is better for the environment. #win
All the jam jars
I have been guilty of this in the past. I’m all in favour of reusing jars and bottles, but when you become fearful of opening the cupboard door because you know that all the glass bottles are going to come rolling out when you do, then it’s time to have a clear out. Keep what you know you will use, recycle the rest. (Or make some jam and give them away!)
The Junk Drawer
Clear out your junk drawer detritus! When we moved, I was adamant we wouldn’t have another junk drawer (although, we didn’t have a spare drawer in any case, so it wasn’t so much an insistence as a statement of fact…) but as a result, I have noticed that the junk squeezes into any gap that will accommodate it.
That drawer we used to have seems mighty tempting sometimes – somewhere you can just scoop all of the stuff to deal with at a later date. However, not having the junk drawer is a good incentive to keep on top of the mess. Now, I can see when we are being guilty of not putting things away, or bringing in rubbish which hs no place. Before, it would all get hidden away and that was that. Until the day would come when I felt the need to purge.
Give your terror zone a clear out. Be it a drawer of that gap down the side of the fridge. You know it makes sense.
All those bathroom products
This is something which puzzles me when I go to other peoples homes – why do y’all have so many bathroom products?? I look in some peoples showers and there are like, 10 different bottles in there… at least! Do you have a different shower gel for each day of the week?
Sometimes if you buy bottled soaps rather than bars, you might get a new one as you start to get low, and then open it before you actually need to. This results in an embarrassment of bottles rolling around in the bottom of the shower tray getting in the way.
If this is you, let your inner child (or your real one if you have kids) come out to play and pour aaaaall the spare dregs into one bottle, Hogwarts potions style. Boom.
So as a reminder, to stay fresh as a daisy, you will need:
- Shampoo (actually, that isn’t true… you don’t need shampoo, but I appreciate that not everyone is a convert to the no-poo thing… so for the sake of argument let’s assume that you do)
- Maybe conditioner if you are so inclined (again… no, I won’t say it, shhh)
- Some soap to clean your fine self with.
Stay clutter-free in the bathroom, folks.
Spare craft supplies
OK. I may have been a bit harsh on you over the bathroom thing. It’s time I confessed something: I have a paper habit.
There I said it. Over the years, I have become pretty good at decluttering. I have unleashed a ruthless streak which enables me to send items off to their new homes without a backwards glance or a tear for the time we spent together. But stationary will forever be my downfall.
Notebooks, pretty paper, wrapping paper, anything which may be useful in some scrapbook or other becomes next to impossible for me to repurpose or rehome. Yet I persevere because with the best will in the world, if it aint gonna get used, it’s gotta go.
So have a dig through your own craft supplies, be that a yarn or fabric stash, paints and pencils, or paper, and keep only that which you KNOW you will use. We got this…
Your overflowing inbox
Just because it isn’t physical doesn’t mean it won’t make a difference. There are few joys that can rival an empty inbox. That’s a lie. There are LOADS. But it’s still a pretty cool feeling.
Having read, archived and/or deleted your way through, keep on top of it by unsubscribing from mailing lists which aren’t serving you. We all do it – you sign up with good intentions and then don’t gel with the person sending the emails (or else claim whatever the freebie was which caught your eye in the first place and then don’t even bother reading the later missives. ) or else miss future emails because they got lost in the chaos.
The trouble with this is that there is a good chance that you are signed up to some stella newsletters that you are missing out on because they get lost amongst all the dross. Have a clear out, and keep your favourites, you’ll all be happier for it, and so will they.
I have a mailing list. One of my very favourite things in the world is when people read and reply to what I am sending their way. But that can only happen if they are engaged, and that can only happen if they see my emails in the first place. So yes, this last point is rather self-serving, I admit, but I also just did a digital declutter myself, and IT. FEELS. GREAT. so I’m thinking of you too 🙂
If you’re curious, head over to The Slow Days to see what being on my mailing list can help you achieve. (Only if you want to, of course, I do mean it – if the people you are subscribed to ain’t doing for you, leave their lists, and certainly don’t join mine if you aren’t interested in what I have to say! But if you’re keen, I’d love to have you!