• Peter Young

Pain-Free Decluttering!

Pain-free decluttering - 70 things to throw away today

Did you know the UK has more clutter than anywhere else in Europe? In fact, a whopping 47% of us have second thoughts about inviting over guests because of it, and it can be a major source of stress.

But despite this, the word “decluttering” can strike fear into the hearts of the even tidiest homemakers. Facing up to the things you’ve accumulated over the years and letting go of sentimental objects can seem like an impossible task.

If you’re struggling to keep on top of the things in your home, a quick and easy decluttering session may be just what you need. So we’ve compiled a list of all the things you can definitely do without. You’ll be surprised at what you were hanging onto all this time!

Tossing out or donating a few items a day makes a massive difference, but don’t take our word for it. Take a look below, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get started! You may even be able to sell some of your unwanted bits and pieces on platforms like eBay, Facebook marketplace, or Gumtree.

Just before you get started... We thought a downloadable checklist that you can print off would be really handy. That way, you can just tick each bit off as you go. We realise that most of us will need to do this project over the course of a few days, weeks or even months depending on the level of clutter and time availability! Click the file below to download the checklist. Don't worry, it's safe!

Declutter Checklist
Download DOCX • 41KB

In the kitchen

The kitchen is the perfect hiding place for objects with no home. Ancient books, months-old food, and an assortment of bits and bobs can be found lurking in once-tidy cupboards. But not for long! Here’s our list for a clutter-free kitchen.

  • Out-of-date food

  • It’s time to throw away last month’s frozen leftovers, or that one crisp flavour nobody will touch.

  • Any broken or chipped crockery

  • Let’s be honest, you probably have more than enough mugs, and that cracked plate is a disaster waiting to happen.

  • Expired cleaning products

  • Cleaning products last for ages in most cases. If they’re out of date and still in your cupboard, you’re likely not using them if you’re honest with yourself! They also often lose effectiveness past their expiry date so do yourself a favour and just pop them in the bin.

  • Nearly empty packaging

  • You may be surprised at the amount of empty cartons, boxes, and bags you find. Throw them in the recycling and watch your cupboards practically empty themselves.

  • Any untouched condiments

  • Novelty hot sauces and niche spice blends are fun to try once or twice, but how often do you actually use them?

  • Any broken appliances

  • These are annoying at best, and plain dangerous at worst. Drop them off at your local recycling centre to give them a new life.

  • Containers without lids, or lids without containers

  • Every single one of us is guilty of hoarding one or both of these. Stop it!

  • Gross old pots and pans

  • Unless they’re super high-quality, old pots and pans tend to disintegrate as they get older. Trust us, it’s for the best.

  • Alcohol glasses that aren’t for wine

  • If you’re a lover of vintage whisky, or a cocktail connoisseur, feel free to keep them around. If not, chuck ‘em.

  • Novelty appliances you never use

  • You know the ones we’re talking about: waffle irons, soup makers, smoothie blenders.

  • Expired vouchers and other pieces of paper stuck to the fridge

  • 10% off at that new restaurant does sound tempting, but is it as tempting as a clutter-free home?

  • Speciality teas you never drink

  • We’re all guilty of this one. A triple-blend lavender and hibiscus green tea does sound lovely, but you’re better off sticking to your usual choice.

  • Outgrown children’s dining sets

  • As much as your teenager once loved their Thomas the Tank Engine plate, I doubt they need it now.

  • Threadbare tea towels

  • Rather than throw these out… Why not cut them up and use them as reusable antibacterial wipes. We are working on a blog post on how to make these in the near future. We'll pop a link to that here when it's up!

  • Stained oven gloves

  • Invest in a silicone pair! They’re highly durable, and as stainless as they are protective.

  • Dead plants

  • Ah, dead plants. A mainstay of every UK windowsill. Sadly, when your plants are resisting every attempt at resuscitation, they’ll be happier on the compost heap.

  • Old water bottles and thermoses

  • We know you bought these with the best of intentions. However, if these have been sitting in the cupboard unused for 6+ months then those intentions are probably gone!

  • Obscure baking tools

  • Artisanal icing bags, upside-down cake tins, you know the sort. Baking can be a great stress-busting hobby, but not if it’s cluttering up your life.

  • Plastic bag collection

  • Be real with yourself; you never take them with you to the shops! One idea is to keep a little Tupperware box full of bags in your car to increase the chances of reusing them.

In the living room

As the main family room, the living room becomes a hotspot for random items. In the evenings, the last thing you want is toys and books overpowering the otherwise calm atmosphere and stressing you out. It’s time to get to work.

  • Burnt-out candles

  • If, like us, you burn loads of cheap candles every day then the chances are you have quite a lot of poorly burned wax leftover at the end of the candles’ life. We are working on a blog post on how to make these in the near future. We'll pop a link to that here when it's up!

  • Books/toys your children have outgrown

  • As heart-breaking as it can be, it’s good to know when to let go. You can even donate anything that is no longer played with, to make another child happy.

  • Old newspapers and magazines

  • Unused chargers and cables

  • Some of these can find a new home via eBay, bringing you a few $s while clearing some clutter! Bonus!

  • Faded rugs

  • Perhaps the dog would like a new carpet for his cage? Otherwise, get rid of these if they are bugging your happiness!

  • Board games with missing pieces

  • See also: pieces with missing board games.

  • Unwanted or broken toys

  • If Barbie has lost all her hair and both arms, she’s better off in the bin.

  • DVDs, video games, and CDs

  • There are a similar sites, or of course places like eBay and Facebook local selling pages, but companies like Music Magpie will often take a large quantity of your old DVDs, games and CDs (for low prices - but it’s quick and simple to do).

  • “Space-savers” that take up more space than they save

  • Do you have a collection of storage boxes waiting to be used? Donate them to a charity shop, or to someone else who needs them.

  • Ancient blankets and cushions

  • Use these for one last blanket fort (you know you want to!) and then take them to the charity shop.

In the bathroom

How many times have you picked up a bottle of shampoo or shaving cream, only to remember it’s been empty for weeks? Or maybe you have a pile of bath bombs you swear you’ll use one day? Trust us, removing all unwanted cosmetics and soaps from your bathroom opens it up and puts an end to cramped showers.

  • Empty bottles and jars

  • Stop letting these build up! Use the last drops and then recycle the packaging! PLEASE! (Can you tell this is a big problem in our house?!)

  • Expired medicine

  • While the shelf life of most medication is several years, it doesn’t hurt to check every now and again.

  • Toiletries you never use

  • Unopened products are often greatly received from places like Women's Aid and Children First. They both have offices across the UK so take a look for one that's local to you.

  • Unopened gift sets

  • Worn out towels and bathmats

  • Most of us use towels again and again without thinking. If you can spot any holes or stains, it’s time to get rid.

  • Expired sun cream

  • Sun cream loses a lot of its protective power after just one year. So the bottle you bought before heading to Ibiza two years ago is a lot weaker than you might think.

  • Stretched-out hairbands

  • Ever wonder where all the hairbands you bought a month ago went? Challenge yourself to see how many you can find in a day.

  • Unused skincare products

  • Again, these are often welcomed by places like Women's Aid and Children First.

  • Excess decoration

  • If i’s for touch ups on the current colours throughout the house it’s fine. If it’s from the living room décor of 6 years ago…. Get rid!

  • Bath toys past their prime

  • Warm water is a prime environment for bacteria growth. Check on your bath toys to root out the ones that need throwing away.

  • Old toothbrushes

  • Why are these still around?! Our girls are awful for this! ARGH!

In the bedroom

Nobody likes a messy bedroom. It’s the one place you should be able to relax and wind down, which is hard to do when you’re surrounded by clutter. A clearer bedroom means better sleep, less stress, and a more organised mind.

  • Expired makeup

  • If it’s been sitting long enough to expire… You aren’t using it enough to justify the space it’s taking up!

  • Perfume more than 5 years old

  • If you haven’t used it all by now, you probably never will. Plus, this is the perfect excuse to go out and find a new signature scent!

  • Dried out nail polish

  • If you'd rather rescue your old favourite colour then we found this pretty cool hack over on Instructables' Blog.

  • Duplicate hair brushes

  • Books you never finished

  • Life is short, and you’re a busy person. You have better things to do than read books you’re not that interested in.

  • Books you never even started

  • Facebook book groups may be a great way to find a new home for these. A similar alternative are the book filled phone boxes that have started popping up locally.

  • Any clothes with (unintentional) holes in them

  • Saying goodbye to your favourite dress is never fun. But if it’s only taking up space? Either fix it, or ditch it.

  • Stained bed linen

  • Bed sheets can accumulate all sorts of dirt, sweat, and oil over the years. Chuck out any years-old sheets, or use them for building pillow forts.

  • Jewellery/accessories you haven’t worn in 3 months

  • The best thing to do with non-essential jewellery and accessories for sure, is eBay. If it’s vintage stuff you could also try Etsy as they have an ever growing vintage sector on their platform.

  • Single socks

  • Make some sock puppets with the kids or just get rid of them already!

  • Worn out shoes

  • Shoes are one of the hardest items to get rid of. If they’re worn out, but you really love them, take them to a cobbler to get fixed.

  • Shoes/clothes that don’t fit

  • Clothes banks are all over the place. Another option, if they’re in good condition, is eBay or Facebook marketplace.

  • Clothes you haven’t worn in 6 months

  • Top tip: put all your clothes hangers facing one way, then turn them around when you wear the item of clothing on them. After 6 months, you’ll be able to see what you wear, and what you don’t.

Around the house

  • Gifts you never used/opened

  • We all receive hideous gifts from time to time. Don’t feel bad about giving them the chop! Donate them to a loving home and enjoy having one less thing to tidy up.

  • Weather-beaten garden furniture

  • If it’s not salvageable.. Dump it!

  • Outdated paperwork

  • Is there anything more satisfying than shredding old bills? Documents, letters, and schoolwork get left on desks and stuffed into drawers all over the house. Take some time to filter out the unnecessary stuff, and organise anything that’s left.

  • Birthday/Christmas cards

  • It’s tempting to keep the funny ones, or the ones with heartfelt messages from old friends. But unless they’re really special, it’s best not to.

  • Old handbags/lunch bags

  • eBay, Facebook Marketplace, get some money back during your declutter because… well… why not?!

  • Coats that are never worn

  • As above, pop them up on some selling platforms and try to get some cash back for your unused stuff.

  • Old hats/gloves/scarves

  • Let’s be honest, when was the last time you wore a hat?

  • Old batteries

  • Got any non-rechargeable batteries lying around? Take them to your local recycling centre or a supermarket collection point.

  • Unused photo frames

  • Pop them up for sale or collection on local Facebook pages.

  • Random cardboard boxes/packaging

  • Unless you’re planning on shipping/selling something anytime soon, pop these in the recycling. Or better yet, give them to a friend that’s moving house.

  • Full notebooks

  • Take out anything you need from them first of course!

  • Small toys and gifts nobody wants

And, of course:

  • Anything you haven’t used in 6 months

  • Anything expired

  • Anything broken

Looking for more ways to keep your household spick and span? Check out the rest of our blog for even more useful posts and cleaning hacks.

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