56 Things You Can Toss Out Now - Christine Kane

We hold onto things for two reasons: Love or fear. We either love them. Or we fear letting them go.

We cherish them and know they have value to us. Or we fear that we’ll need them someday. We fear that we wasted our money on them. We fear what others will think if we let them go. We even fear making the decision to release our mishaps or mistakes, so we don’t make any decision. Instead we hold onto stuff out of guilt.

Well, guess what?

Love is the only reason to do anything. If you don’t love it, toss it. Give it away. Your abundance and energy will increase when you begin to live by love and not by fear.

Here are 56 things you can toss out (or give away) right now…

Thanks to Julie, Sandra, Lisa, Eva and Sue from last week’s retreat for contributing to this list. 🙂

1. All the hotel key cards you’ve brought home with you.

2. The doilies your Aunt Edna crocheted 35 years ago that got handed down to you.

You can fondly remember your Aunt Edna without having her doilies around.
In fact, you’ll probably have more fondness once you let go of the doilies!

3. CD’s you haven’t listened to in three years or more.

4. The boxes of cassettes you’ve been meaning to transfer to CD’s.

5. The bread maker.

Seriously. When was the last time you made bread?

6. Your wedding dress

You can say you’ve been saving it for your daughter, but here are three signs that your daughter doesn’t want to wear it: a] she’s already married and wore her own dress, b] she’s been roommates with a woman named Pat for nine years, or c] you don’t have a daughter.

7. Credit card bills from 1995.

8. The Allen wrenches from every piece of IKEA furniture you ever assembled.

9. The jacket you spent way too much money on and never wore.

C’mon. Keeping it around just to punish yourself for your bad choices is like going to parochial school all over again.

10. Every scratching post or toy your cat doesn’t like.

Your cat didn’t go to parochial school so there’s no sense punishing him.

11. House plants you no longer love.

12. The stacks of O Magazine you swear you’ll re-read

13. Every little zippy bag that came with a Clinique purchase.

14. Every unopened perfume that came with a Clinique purchase.

15. Leftover scrunchies in case you grow your hair long again.

16. The “Cherries Jubilee” flavored lip balm that makes you nauseous.

17. Every single regretful lipstick color you bought on a whim. (And yes, “Cherries Jubilee” is probably there, too.)

18. Your last four cell phones and all their chargers and blue teeth.

19. Single socks.

Face it. Their partners have moved on.

20. The Spode Christmas plates and mugs you don’t like. (Along with the Christmas bath towels and welcome mat.)

These – all given to you by various in-laws – won’t prove your familial devotion. If you can’t stand Spode, then let it go. If you’re not the Christmas towel type – then call the gifter before she visits for the holidays, and tell the truth. “I want to honor our relationship, and I love you, AND here’s the deal. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to let you know…” You might be surprised at how open relationships become when you teach people how to treat you.

21. The framed posters you had in your college dorm room.

Really. You get to move on to something nicer.

22. Old stereo wires.

Husbands refuse to let go of any of these mysterious wires. Try this: Put them in a bin and label it “Random Cables and Wires.” After two years, bring it out of storage and kindly note that no one has thought about it in two years. Ask if it would be okay to let go of half of them. Repeat process until all mysterious cables and wires are gone.

23. The nails, screws, anchors, and cup hooks rusting in the bottom of your tool chest.

24. Remote controls that don’t remotely control anything you still own.

25. Lamps, toasters, blenders, coffeemakers that no longer work.

26. The notion that you will ever be one of those moms that makes beautiful scrapbooks.

Put your photos in boxes. No one will judge you.

27. Old blankets and linens you keep in case you suddenly have 27 sleepover guests.

28. College text books

29. Any boring decorative item that does little more than fill space.

30. Vases you don’t love or use.

31. Candle holders you don’t love or use.

32. Picture frames you don’t love or use.

33. All your class notes from college.

34. The idea that you have to save every piece of your children’s artwork and school work because it might mean you don’t love them if you don’t.

35. The “good silver” you don’t use that was passed down to you.

36. Old VHS movies

If they’re really that important to you, get them in DVD. If you haven’t watched them in 2 years, you can rent them when you need them next.

37. Unlabeled VHS tapes.

And don’t waste your time watching them just in case.

38. The stationary bike that got even more stationary after you got it

39. The fabric pieces you’ve been collecting in case you ever become a quilter.

Sandra wrote: I have bought many odds and ends of materials to try and
use in different craft projects. Do I sew? Nope! Have I started any
projects with these materials? Nope!

40. Flashlights that dimly light up only after you bang them over and over on your thigh.

41. Old keys that open some door somewhere in the past.

42. Suitcases you don’t use.

43. Old computers.

44. Old stereos.

45. Promotional duffel bags with ugly logos and bad acronyms stitched all over them.

46. Anything that makes you say, “But I got such a good price on it!”

47. Anything that makes you say, “But I paid so much for it!”

48. Half-full cans of paint

(Take these to Lowe’s and leave them in the paint department – they’ll either re-sell them or give them away.)

49. Extra baby items/Old baby items

50. Record albums.

And don’t spend your extra hours in a day trying to figure out if someone will buy them. Really. They won’t.

51. Gifts you never liked.

52. All the cross-stitch, knitting, or sewing projects you never finished.

Just THINK of all the extra creative energy you’ll have once you’ve let those go.

53. Any glassware or dinnerware that is a “memorabilia” item from proms or sororities or sports events.

I have to quote Julie on this: “I have, on a shelf but will now throw out, some of my sorority formal glassware I had kept to remember that occasion. Upon looking back… do I really want to remember that I threw up in the parking lot that night?”

54. Old information packets you no longer need or that you can easily find on line.

Lisa writes, “I’ve thrown out a whole 2 drawer filing cabinet full of out-dated nutrition booklets, and information about breastfeeding (which I finished doing about six years ago) that ‘I might need someday.'”

55. All the hotel soaps that you took with you.

(And stop taking them. You’ve got plenty of soap!)

56. The belief that you only have to go through the de-cluttering process once and won’t ever have to do it again.

Need some motivation? Here’s some articles from my favorite Organization Bloggers:

The Power of the Purge by Organizing Junkie

The Why of Clutter by It’s Not About Your Stuff

Purging e-Waste at Clutter Control Freak

How to Start Getting Rid of Stuff at De-Clutter It!


  • Mama

    We’ve moved three continents, several countries and can barely recall what we owned. Talking about no.44 (old stereo), my Dad-in-law pointed to a music system sitting in his living room and said ‘do you remember that’, my response was ‘no’. He then directed me what to do to get it started, i fumbled and tried again. He repeated the instructions and they sounded way too complicated. Then he said ‘it belonged to you’.
    It works fine, just that I have no recollection of owning it.

  • Gillian

    This so made me laugh. It was as if you knew me and my little tricks to keep things personally. I promise I shall try to be good and get rid of stuff.

  • Juliette

    This makes me laugh, oh and I certainly recognize my self here!
    Gotta get going with decluttering. Thanks for the friendly kick!

  • Teresa

    I’m turning 60 this year. Is that too late to believe that my life can change in HUGE ways? Any advice for an aging gal as far as manifesting big life changes?

    • Gillian

      A lady I met backpacking did her PhD in her late 50’s, became a college lecturer and travelled the world. She was mid-60’s when I first met her and that was a good number of years ago. So Teresa – follow whatever excites you – it’s never too late. My mum got her first collection of poetry published (by a real publisher) in her late 80’s and at 90 has other business plans. Just go for it !

  • Sam

    Thanks for this article, Christine. I’m an artsy person so I have plenty of fabric scraps and unfinished projects in addition to all the other things I never use any more. I do suggest though that if anyone is throwing out old cell phones, they recycle them instead due to the huge negative impact that one cell phone thrown in the trash can have on the environment. There are businesses that let organizations turn in used cell phones as fundraisers, some electronics stores will let you turn them in for store credit, and there are also organizations that donate recycled phones to the troops.

  • Lee

    Hi Christine

    Thanks for writing this list and hitting the nail on the head -fear is the reason why I hold on to “stuff”. I have the save in case mentality and also look at all the stuff I have bought and never used and think what a waste of money if I throw it out so I hold on to it. Really it is a waste of money me holding on to it and never using it instead of donating it to someone who will love it. As I look through the list I am laughing and cringing at the same time realising how many of these items I actually have.My mum is a clutterbug too and I am determined not to pass this one down the line to my sons.
    I have printed this list out and will use it to cross them off as I de-clutter and “lighten my load” on myself.
    Just the reminder I needed, thanks

  • the Bag Lady

    Love your list! So many things can be recycled and treasured by someone else…. donate all those extra articles to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.

    (Ha – listen to me – my house is stuffed to the gills…. time to get de-cluttering!)

    So glad I stumbled in here and found some motivation. As soon as I finish the quilt, the rest of the fabric scraps are going to scrap heaven.

  • LA Blogger Gal

    This is not only completely accurate, but exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve been telling myself for weeks now that I’m going to empty the kitchen cupboards and the bathroom cabinets. Yep, it seems that I’ve yet to do it. But that’s all changed now! Thanks!

  • Brad

    That list seriously made me laugh out loud! Mission accomplished even if I never threw out or gave away a single thing. But…there are 18 things on list that will be going away today! And thanks for the additional comments and anectdotes…very funny! HA! 🙂

  • susan

    Comment #56!

    LOVE this list! I sent the link via email to my daughter last Friday, and she spent the entire weekend spring cleaning, “thanks for the list, MOM!” I didn’t know she was so impressionable, maybe I will make another list to send her – things to do for MOM.

  • mary tempesta

    I’m back and the feelin’s good..Just threw out 2 bags of old clothes that had been sitting around for months.

  • mary tempesta

    Hold on a minute….I’m gonna go throw something out…
    I’ll be back in 5 mins…

  • Peri

    I’ve read all of the above and would like to add a few things

    1 – when you have lost a loved one, think carefully about what to go. My hubby lost both parents to cancer within 3 years of each other. He has all their stuff and their parents things. Because I value family history we are slowly pruning things – but the family history items are too important to just throw. Some things will de saved elctronically, then some of the items can go. After all the eqivilant of 1 double wardrobe worht of space is a lot in a small house. I’ve never lost a child and can’t imangine how that would feel. But I have resolved to make sure my future children know what and why i want them to keep items, or would like them to keep.

    2 – Some of us have been taught by our parents not to waste – so we keep things that are not useful – society has changed and at least with freecycle.org, etc many things can go to goodwill/charity/recycle rather than the tip. But it is a hard habit to break.

    3 – My job has exasibated my ‘save it, just in case’background. But i am endeavouring to try and release as much as i can so that it doesn’t clutter my life and space.

    4 – You can’t predict your life – i had a month to move out of the long-term 3 bed rented home i had, it was a completed funrished home, and i had to get it down – I wish i had got it down further. I wasted money and time moving and storing items i still haven’;t used, becuase his families stuff fills the sapce and so there’s little space left for mine. However less stuff is less to move (less energy, money and time wasted). Agree with comments above = don’t take it with you!

    Be positive and remember ‘always look on the bright side of life’

  • Christine Kane

    crazy daisy – it’s great that your hubby’s up for it too! it makes it more fun!

    jean – all I can say is that when you begin to feel the freedom of letting go of these old patterns, you can’t imagine how much more energy you have. it’s huge. if you read my post “are you leaking” or any of the posts that are linked at the bottom of this post, you’ll read about that phenomenon. this post was mostly just for fun!

    chrissie! congratulations on being pregnant! when are you due?

    jean – you go girl! we’re all cheering you on!

    anne – see my comments above about #5. and yea, it’s always surprising when you realize how easily things accumulate!

  • Christine Kane

    petra – ah, email inbox cleaning always feels good.

    heather – thanks for the input. and yes, i only use those things as examples – not to say everyone should toss them. it seems that some people actually USE their breadmaker! 🙂

    deb – excellent example!

    caryn – i actually should have put in a request that if someone is letting go of a breadmaker that they can send it to me! I, too, would use a breadmaker. But most people who have them don’t use them! (my friend kathy makes killer bread in hers.)

    hagit – yep, i have issues with those chopsticks. i’m always torn because i don’t want to throw them out. Sometimes I gather them up and return them to the place they came from if I happen to be driving by.

    deborah – you voiced the thoughts of many many women!

    7th sis – habitat is a great place to take all kinds of tools, screws, paints, etc. You’re right. thanks for the suggestion.

  • anne

    great list!
    We are moving, and despite thinking that we are super-organized and have ‘hardly anything’ to take to goodwill, we managed to fill a jeep-load. And frankly, I am a wee bit defensive about #5….but we totally ditched the random cable box this weekend. whew.

  • jean

    i am talking again but i have to; i threw out 79 albums and kept about 12…only the artists i love to look at and/or the covers were really cool; i.e. bob dylan, rolling stones, van morrison, and of course the one my daddy gave me-south pacific. i hung them up on my basement wall.

  • chrissie diangelus

    HILARIOUS. I read the Random Cable on aloud in front of my husband as we sat next to (and started directly at) that very container of old wires and cables. We are now going through it. It also helps being preggers and nesting. LOTS of the above has been chucked or donated.

  • jean

    today is one of those days i feel the clutter of life getting me down and fate via the internet or is it internet via fate brought me to your website…I have mountains of New York Times from perhaps 2002 though the present in my closet…mostly sections pulled out that i am interested in reading..noone understands why i want to read “old news” ..but to me, there are some newspapers and magazines that are like reading mini-books…there are always interesting human interest stories, the science section is my favorite…i mean a discovery about the pyramids..is that old news or what? and how can you resist Eudora Welty’s obituary? the things i learned about the woman i thought i knew so much about……anyway….i’ll get to the point….my friend came over for An Intervention regarding My Newspaper Problem. My friend looked at me. She looked at my newspapers. She said…in a monotone, harsh voice “you won’t be even be alive long enough to get thru half of all these papers..do you really want to spend the rest of your days reading old papers? now to me, at 52 years old and feeling 35 most of the time it was a rude RUDE RUDE awakening. It hit hard and i mean hard. Those papers were out in the street the next time our recycling truck appeared…and i didn’t look back….but the day of recycling i pulled in my driveway to find newspapers scattered around my front yard..as to tease me…they picked up YEARS of LOST knowledge packed away in all those newspapers -knowledge I will never be able to claim–and they had to leave me a few just to see what i missed..and as i walked up my porch steps there she was ..the face of Eudora Welty..the obit jump i never had time to read

  • Crazy Daisy

    This is a great post! My husband and I read through it together and had many moments of laughing in agreement and understanding. We are deep in the process of organizing and decluttering. It does seem like it will never be done.

  • seventh sister

    I just got rid a some old clothes, some that I had had at least 12 years. I have a box of earings, too. 21 pairs! I haven’t decided how to get rid of them. Maybe I’ll have a blog contest of some kind and the winner has to take, I mean gets, a couple of them or something equally silly.

    The old paint can go to Habitat for Humanity and there is a group that collects hotell soaps, shampoo,etc. for homeless and women’s shelters. I don’t think you would have to be part of a group to do that, though.

  • deborah

    I really appreciate #26. i’ve been thinking about getting rid of all that expensive and fancy scrapbooking stuff, as well as a lot of other crafting things that I never used and never will. Not only am I not good at it, I don’t enjoy it! Instead I will focus on one or two things I really love to do, and do well and not try to conquer every single craft that comes along!

  • Hagit

    This really makes me laugh. I’ve thrown away so many things recently, and there are still things I can’t part with, which make no sense. A good one I would add to the list: all the chopsticks and plastic utensils you get with take-out and keep “just in case”. I threw out a drawer full of chopsticks. 🙂

  • Caryn

    Oh, I’m so guilty of keeping far, far too many of these things (or similar ones)! Spring’s a good time for that sort of decluttering, and it’s on our schedule. Must, must, must be pickier about what I keep this time around. Though I will keep my bread maker because I actually do use it several times a month.

  • Deb

    I definitely agree that the reason for hanging onto something has to be weighed into the decision. Case in point; these five water glasses came to me after my mom died. They were depression-era with a band of engraved holly leaves and berries new the rim. They sound cute right. Well, not so much up close and personal. The rims were so chipped that it would have been dangerous to drink from them. All my life (at all the houses we had lived) these were in the cupboards over the refrigerator and that’s as close as I’d been until they came to me. But even though I couldn’t use them and didn’t have space to store them, it still took almost 10 years to get rid of them because all those childhood years when mom would open the cupboard she would say that those came from Great Grandmother “C” and they stay in our family, they are never to go to the P*****’s. Insane, I know. Trust me the P*****’s didn’t want them either.

    Oh, and yes; I do read all of that.

  • Heather

    Hey, I use those soaps! And the good silverware!

    I think what you are speaking to though is when people DON’T use those types of things, and they are just sitting there doing nothing but cluttering up your life.

    So I would say too, if there is anything that you *actually like* (not the stuff you don’t like and are holding on to out of guilt) that you are “saving for a special occasion”, just use it! Every day is a special occasion! Wear the frilly nightgown, make every Friday the good china and real silverware day. Celebrate life right now instead of waiting for an event! (and maybe if you wear the frilly nightgown a few times you’ll figure out if you love it or hate it.)

    Sometimes when I’m holding on to something for the memories, I take a picture and/or write a journal entry about it, and then it’s much easier for my mind to let it go.

    This is a very creative site with ideas of how to let go of the wedding dress: http://www.trashthedress.com/

    And I echo Vicky in the plea to please recycle or donate whatever you can, I know you say most of your readers are of the same mindset, but I’ve been pretty shocked lately at the number of clueless people I’ve met when it comes to recycling. The other side to that is to start thinking about the new stuff you bring IN to your life. Sure, decluttering will never be a one time thing, but you could cut it back a lot less with mindful acquiring.

    And finally, yes, I read everything, and hrm, I think this comment ended up being long too! wow.

  • Petra

    I read all of it! Oh, and I cleaned out my inbox of emails that I might refer to again–now I’m down to a manageable 9 items.

  • Christine Kane

    Dang, that was a long comment. Do people really read all of that??

  • Christine Kane

    deb – i sold a bunch of old barbie clothes on eBay — and i priced them at $20 — the auction went all the way up to $1200 or so. (on two different auctions.) It was fun. however, that was when I was learning eBay and I had no attachment to the outcome. I’ve also sold things that were not worth all the effort i had to put into shipping, listing the items, etc. Antiques and collectibles are definitely worth looking into though!

    thanks sydney and organising queen! (i don’t know how you don’t know about me. but i like the way you spell organizing! so much cooler than the american way!)

    caren – indeed i am thinking of binge/purge. and yes, it does work in both scenarios!

    laura, i’m so sorry for your loss. i imagine it is quite painful, and i’ll send a little prayer up right now. i don’t have children, but most of the women who have come to my retreats decide that they want to save a few items, but not everything. it’s a personal decision of course. But it’s the GUILT that i’m speaking to – which doesn’t serve any situation or relationship. thanks for sharing your experience.

    joy – yes, i DO know about the homeless shelters. thanks for adding that! all the hotel soaps, shampoos (even partially used), and toiletries go to homeless shelters and women’s treatment centers as well.! thanks for adding that!

    lisa – let me know how the eBay auction goes! (have you ever read the book, “The Gallery of Regrettable Food”…?? It’s been a Christmas gift for many people in my life!


    Danny – that’s what this was meant to be – a lighthearted reminder. Thanks for noticing that! ALWAYS – this stuff is about your relationship to yourself. it sounds like you’re seeing those voices for what they are!

    thanks julieta!

    and vicky – you’re so right. i live in a very recycling conscious place – and I can assure you that most of the people who read or contribute comments to my blog are in that exact same mindset! thanks for the contribution!

  • Vicky

    My only comment is, Please, Please, Please DO NOT LET ALL OF THIS STUFF END UP IN THE LANDFILL! Computers, cell phones, clothing, all can be recycled, or donated. Just about anything can be donated to non-profit organizations, and most of them will have a wish list on their websites; for example, blankets to the SPCA or an animal rescue organization to make a cozy bed for a scared critter). Take it upon yourself to do some investigation, for the earth’s sake…

  • Julieta

    I enjoyed your list. Its about letting go of those items that no longer serve us. These can be useful to others or recycled in some way. Its important to stay focused on the present and future goals without distractions.

  • danny

    As I contemplate my impending Spring Cleaning project, I have been telling myself things lately. Things I see echoed in your post. Terrible things.

    “But I could sell that.”
    “But I might need this.”
    “But I am sure someone else will need this.”
    “But this, but that…”

    I have been meaning to get off of my butt and get rid of my “buts”. I suppose it is time to put myself in gear.

    Thanks for the lighthearted reminder. 🙂

  • Colin

    Hey, wait a minute! My sister works for Clinique at the Asheville Mall!Those little zipper-thingies carry-all dooflatchies are good for storing all those mysterious wires, single socks, broken golf tees, and of course, other Clinique zipper-thingies and carry-all dooflatchies.

  • Lisa Call

    I’m surprised you didn’t think of it Christine! Doesn’t everyone keep the decorations off their birthday cakes?

    I’m planning on auctioning it off on ebay – I’m sure there is a huge demand for such things.

    My sister mailed me a fruitcake this year for christmas – she found it in her freezer – our grandma made it 10 years ago.

    So maybe this saving of inedible food is a genetic thing.

  • Joy Gardner

    …oh yeah! And you know, homeless shelters around me LOVE LOVE LOVE to get the hotel soaps so give them away! It’s amazing how many good places I’ve found to pass along all my STUFF. Child & Family services organizations reaching out to those who are just coming off of assistance and have enough for rent but not much else…make their day…and yours!

  • Laura

    “4. The idea that you have to save every piece of your children’s artwork and school work because it might mean you don’t love them if you don’t.”

    I disagree with this one. I had a son who died at the age of 7. I wish more than anything I hadn’t thrown away all his artwork

  • Caren

    It seems like purge is an appropriate word to use, if you look at the dictionary definition. Are you thinking in relation to binge/purge? Or…??? I’m just curious what your thoughts are.

  • Organising Queen

    Why don’t I know about you????

    I LOVE this post, and the bathroom clutter one!!!

    I am the Queen of decluttering – I love, love, LOVE it!

  • Sydney

    Great list! I should save this. I’ve been slowly decluttering lately – software I’ll never install again and mounds of ancient paperwork. Just tonight I was thinking that I really should throw out all of those tiny half-empty dried up hotel shampoo bottles. (Why am I keeping them?) I used to be a declutterer but I lost my way the past few years. Thanks for the post!

  • Deb

    The ten years of our children’s growing up from late elementary through high school were lived in the same house. It was a 1912 Victorian revival-type with two and a half stories and a full cellar that housed 13 rooms plus extra closets and attic cubbies and so on. When we sold it and moved in 2001 we were in awe of the stuff that had gotten stuffed until “another day” and we would have time to sort it. Well that day had arrived.

    Six years later and the last one is out of college and the house. So it has been time to do it again. This week started with discarding 3 bags of textbooks that are no longer current.

    However, not everything is value-less. It doesn’t hurt to check if something could be sold or consigned. I rescued a complete set of Dickens from the 1890’s more than ten years ago. While it’s a great collection they are too delicate for me and I worry about their condition all the time. It is time to find a conservator to buy them and free my mind about what might happen to them. And unspoken-for cash for my business start-up kitty would be a nice plus.

    But I do agree with the spirit of this enterprise; and stuff can drag you down even on a good day. And when your partner is a buyer it’s a constant problem.

  • Christine Kane

    zach – i, for one, don’t love the word “purge” either. did i use it anywhere? and this list, obviously, isn’t all totally for everyone…i mean, after all, lisa had a frog made out of icing. i definitely couldn’t have thought of that! yea – let those keys go!

  • zach

    Am I the only one who is a bit bothered by the use of the word purge in regards to getting rid of old junk? It just seems… I dunno, a bit odd to me.

    A lot of the things on this list ain’t exactly directed towards someone like me (heh), but I probably should get rid of my key collection, no matter how neat they sound all jangling in my pocket.

  • Christine Kane

    thanks everyone for the contributions and humor! lisa – i laughed out loud at the frog made out of icing. sounds like a song title to me! you know, i’m sure someone in the comments could make some use of the frog made out of icing. caren – i haven’t heard of that guy – but I’ll go check it out!

  • Kelsey

    This was so timely for me. . . we are in the middle of a huge purge as we clean out the “guest room” (mostly full of stuff I couldn’t let go of), get ready to move my daughter in there, and get ready for my newborn son to get big enough to come home from the hospital and move into the nursery. We have wrestled a lot of junk out of those closets! I know that there will be even more things I’ll be willing to get rid of the next time I go through the closets, but I’m feeling empowered by all the things I’ve been able to throw out or donate this time around. . .

  • Kristina

    OMG! Have you been to my house?!

    I’m hanging on to nearly everything on this list–time for a serious purge. Thanks for another great post!

  • Lisa Call

    Decluttering totally rocks. I’ve done some major cleaning out since the retreat in December.

    Happily I don’t see ‘frog made out of icing’ on your list of things to toss. This frog was on my birthday cake when I was a kid – 37 years ago.

    I thought about donating it (does goodwill take these?) but decided I’m going to keep it for a while longer. Ya never know when something like this will come in handy.

  • Caren

    Oh, yes. I just moved, and we got rid of SO much stuff. When we were packing at the old place, then again, when we unpacked here! It was funny – there was a box that had these candles in it – various candles that friends had given to me. Some of them were very beautiful. They had been in a box since I had moved 4 years ago! And I found them when we moved this time. I do use candles, but for some reason, when I saw these, it just felt like… yuck. I had had them on a mantle in a house where I lived when I was really, severely depressed. I kept arguing with myself about keeping them: But my closest friend gave me that one! And it’s beautiful! So, finally, I asked a friend over to help me pack, and when I saw that box, I said to her, “Friends gave these to me, but I feel yucky when I see them” and she gave me permission to throw them away. (Crazy, huh? But… that’s where I was.) After I threw them out, I cried and cried, no real idea why. Thank Goddess I didn’t bring them here!! I have read before about how our *stuff* carries our energy, and I could really *feel* that with those candles. It made it so much easier to throw other stuff out after I did that.

    And, of course, I have to mention, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, a book I have read again and again. I always get so much out of it.

    Have you read about the guy who’s selling his life? http://www.alife4sale.com/ I think about that with him, that, wow, he is *really* getting a fresh start!

  • Marcy

    It’s funny because I was just thinking of this. My business/financial life is a bit stagnant right now, and my desk/office area is very cluttered. My business is very information oriented, so I see stuff everywhere and think…OH a client might need that info some day, or I might use that info in a talk, or that might be a good giveaway, and it’s all just kind of clutter that keeps me from laser focusing on more specific goals and plans. I need to get organized! Thanks for a great post.

  • m

    old cell phones/mobiles can be donated at Oxfam shops in the uk – they recycle them and the money they get helps their projects in the developing world.

  • Gladys

    Love it, love it!

    This has been one of the major issues in my life, and this year I have finally begun to get rid of things I couldn’t before. One issue I had to come to terms with was my belief that God will provide for me, and maybe He is giving stuff to me now to hold on to for later. I had thought about this for years, but it was only when I actually wrote those words in my journal that the light bulb went on. Why would God BURDEN me with stuff? Why would He ask me to clutter my life? If I honestly cannot see a time when I will need something, I need to let it go – and make room for what I do need now. If I let go of something now and do need it in the future, it will be available, somehow.

    I’ve also found that at the end of each decluttering session, anything I’m donating needs to be done then. Do not let it sit around waiting for more stuff. Get it out ASAP!

    And #56 is so very true!!

  • Diane

    I actually threw some keys away just yesterday! I just kept thinking I’d figure out what door they opened?! My main goal this year has been to get rid of all things I don’t love or have no use for! I’m sure there are others like me that want to live clutter free but it is just hard to throw away perfectly good things. When I go to a super organized home that is sparse I think to myself “Why don’t I have this gene?!” I suppose not wanting to waste things is some form of fear. For those of you that have a lot of little shampoos and lotions along with your hotel soaps…take them to homeless shelters. Every year my church actually has a “bring hotel toiletries” Sunday and then they are donated.

    For those of you with pre-schoolers that come home with a daily “art masterpiece” just take a picture of it…makes it much easier to throw away their creation. Also, in our area there are many scrapbook professionals. Just take your box of pictures and they will do it all for you.

    Lastly, this might motivate some to get rid of even more stuff. Hope this doesn’t sound too harsh but one day you will be dead and someone will be going through all your crap! I had just recently divorced last year when my X died unexpectedly. I had let him keep his stuff at our house until he found a new house. He was a huge pack rat and I feel like I do have to look at what is in every single box before I discard it….but now I’m thinking maybe I don’t. Thanks for the extra motivation Christine!

  • Irene

    Have you been reading my mind. I have been going thru mounds of papers and others the past few weeks. Quite funny. I had a great laugh this morning before going to work. I know in a few month I will do the same again. I know I have put things away that I could get ride of. I will use the question “Do I keep you for comfort, fear or am I really going to use you again? Keep sharing!!!

  • Susie Monday

    Great list, and certainly easier to master once you do a giant clearing. I moved after living in the same historic and history-filled house for 35 years. You can not imagine the mountain of “meaningful” clutter that I let go of when I thought my future was a much smaller house. And now I am determined (even though I ironically live in a larger house with the larger studio of my dreams) to never get in that state again. So when something comes in, something else goes out, no exceptions. Try a clothes trade for the closet sitch — you won’t take home as much as you clear, and it banishes those “too good to throw away but I never want to wear it again” items.

  • jill barnett

    this list is hilarious! I love it! lately I have been trying to slowly but surely rid my life of the crap! I’ve found freecycle.org to be of great help with that. people will take anything–including appx 9 bottles of half used bath & body works items that were gifts from random not-so-close family members! one man’s trash…

  • Elaine

    Great post! I’ve just got a really strong urge to turn my house upside down (literally) shake everything out of it and clear that clutter! This is DEFINITELY a work-in-progress for me over the next few weeks!

  • Christine Kane

    good morning everyone!

    sandy – if you ARE one of those scrapbook women – god bless you! my sister in law can kick some scrapbooking arse — but most women I know try and try to meet someone else’s standard, and they end up miserable. i see such a sigh of relief when i offer them permission to NOT scrapbook!

    elke – “discardia” — that’s great! i love it.

    org junkie – thanks! can’t wait to meet your readers…

    mags – yea. it was my husband who came up with that last one. the first list was actually called “55 Things…” and when I finished it, he said, “56 should be…” And it’s so true. I find that it’s a constant process. There are no events in life. Plus, we’re always changing — so the decorative pottery bowl that was once so perfect for us might be better served being perfect for someone else after a few years!

    thanks for the ideas, jen. i was hoping someone would offer resources like this.

    stacey – i find that husbands do better with “if it hasn’t been used in 2 years…” 🙂

    libby – wow. you go girl!

    laine – I’m the same way as you with paper and journals. I have lots of unused journals with beautiful paper in them. Of course, the ones I use are usually run-of-the-mill spiral notebooks. So, I give away journals a lot. I can imagine that fabric is even harder! and as for iTunes – I find that it takes some serious dedicated time to get those one song CD’s onto your iTunes. Make a day of it or something!

    petra – that’s funny. my sister almost shouted at me about how much she loves all her zippy bags! (And now, people come up to me after shows and talk to me about zippy bags. those bags are insidious!)

  • Petra

    Christine–I’ve got to tell you that after your Zippy Bag post (yes, I believe Zippy Bag is a proper noun!), threw away EIGHT of them! I have two left that I actually use for trips–the rest went to File 13. And the last time I had the opportunity to get a Zippy Bag, I said “no”.

  • Laine

    I sew, (I almost wrote I am a sewer, but sew-er and sewer are spelled the same, and I’m not a sewer), and I have all my fabric in a nice dresser, but at one point the scraps were getting overwhelming. It was almost physically painful to get rid of them. All those pretty pieces (which I never even pretended would be made into a quilt), it seem like throwing a away flowers. So I made a cloth bag for them out of scraps, and put it in the closet for a while, and then threw them out.

    I’m usually good about not holding onto things, but fabric is tough to get rid of. And I might actually start knitting again, so I can’t get rid of my yarn quite yet.

    But the VCR and Videotapes are on there way out, and the CDs that have one song on them that I like will be put into iTunes and brought to Goodwill (or the swap area at the landfill.)

  • Libby

    I love this list!

    Last weekend, I actually started a decluttering process, and for once in my life I’ve got a plan that shouldn’t make me quit before I’ve started. I made a “nook and cranny” list. Turns out there are 17 different “nooks and crannies” that I feel have enough extra “stuff” in them that they merit a cleaning out. (There are probably more… but 17 will hit the biggies.) Then, each weekend I’m committed to cleaning out one of those nooks and crannies. I can do more if I’d like, but I’m committed to one. Last weekend I went through a closet and the cabinets under my two bathroom sinks. Did you know that I still had the ugly towels and the expired cleaning products left here by “Martha,” the previous owner of my condo… which I bought almost two years ago? Ha! All week, now, I’ve just been gazing at my clean closet. Fantastic. This weekend? We attach the living room bookshelves and if there’s time and energy, the 4 boxes in the corner that have managed to sit there unopened since the move into this place.

  • Stacey

    This is a great list. I love to purge things, it’s very cleansing. I’m going to share this list with my husband who has a harder time. I love it! My rule is if it hasn’t been used or thought of in 1 year, it’s got to go!

  • Jen

    So True!
    In our area, there’s a “sewgreen” group that collects all that unused fabric, which is a great idea. (Other places that might want it: 4H clubs, girl or boy scouts, local elementary schools, day cares, etc).
    I have felt so much more free since embracing freecycle.org, where I can unload all that “it’s too good to throw out, but I don’t need it” stuff.

  • Mags

    I had to laugh when I got to number 56! We did a major purge when we moved countries, and I’ve always secretly hoped that that would be it for the rest of my life, especially since we promised each other faithfully to never end up with stuff such as items 1 – 55 again :). We were going to be proactive! But a year after the move… some of those things have started creeping in again, as have the old habits of keeping them “just in case”… oh dear ;). Thanks for the timely, and humorous, reminder that I can actually let these go!

  • Org Junkie

    Yes, yes, yes!!! You have no idea how much this list excites me. I couldn’t agree more. Why do people hang on to things they don’t love and only serve to steal their joy? Can’t wait to share this list with my readers!!!

  • Elke Sisco

    That is so timely! You know, it’s Discardia right now. What’s “Discardia”, you ask. Why, it’s my favorite holiday:

    Discardia is celebrated by getting rid of stuff and ideas you no longer need. It’s about letting go, abdicating from obligation and guilt, being true to the self you are now. Discardia is the time to get rid of things that no longer add value to your life, shed bad habits, let go of emotional baggage and generally lighten your load.

    Here’s all the info on it: http://www.metagrrrl.com/discardia/

    Happy discarding!

  • Sandy

    But, what if I really do want to be one of those women that creates beautiful scrapbooks?

    I think that it is more about time than anything else, but I totally agree that all the other clutter, physical and mental (which is something we don’t really ever talk about), out is something that I will have to do before I can be one of those women.

    Thanks for the great post. You got me started thinking about one of my own! I love that!