08/13/2012 11:39 EDT

Declutter The Home: 5 Things You Have You Probably Don't Need


Even if the state of your home is nowhere near "Hoarders"-cluttered, we often have a tendency to hold onto things longer than we need to. Perhaps we think we’ll make use of it one day, or we don’t have the energy to deal with getting rid of our old stuff. But before too long, objects can accumulate, and the situation can become overwhelming, causing you stress in a space that’s meant to be your sanctuary.

Deal with these five common clutter culprits before you’re drowning in stuff you don’t need:

Photo gallery Things You Don't Need In Your Home See Gallery


With the regular influx of mail and paperwork we deal with every day at work and at home, paper is perhaps the most common clutter culprit. The key to keeping your volume of paper under control is to have a system for dealing with it. Anything you have no need for should go directly into the recycling bin -- think weekly flyers from shops you don’t frequent. Paperwork you want to read and have to take action on should go into a dedicated spot/pile that you go through and deal with regularly (and once you’re done with it, into the recycling bin it goes). Any important documents you have to hold onto long-term should go immediately into a filing system. Don’t let your filing system grow too large, though. Once a year, go through it quickly and get rid of anything you don’t need any more. For example, you only have to hold onto records related to your income taxes for the last seven years.

Sentimental Items:

Your son or daughter has painted so many darling pieces of art, and you want to hold onto them all. Or perhaps your favourite aunt gave you a wedding gift that you never liked, but you love her so you hold onto the tchotchke. As cute and heartwarming as these items are, you shouldn’t hold onto all of it. Be ruthless with these sentimental items. Keep only your absolute favourites, and then donate or recycle the rest; you can take photos of them before you get rid of them if you’d like (it’s much easier to file a digital photo than a lifetime’s worth of a child’s projects!).

Clothing And Accessories:

Trends come and go, and most of us continue to add to our closets each season -- but often we’re not making room in our closets for our purchases, we’re just piling more new things on top. Make a habit of editing out pieces you haven’t worn in more than a year whenever you make the switch from your cold-weather wardrobe to your warm-weather gear. And don’t fool yourself into thinking a certain look will come back into style again. While trends do re-emerge, they’re always given a modern update, so those flared jeans won’t look exactly right the second time around.

Books And Magazines:

There’s something about books and magazines that make us want to hold onto them. It might be the pretty glossy pages of a magazine that make them seem a shame to discard, or the wealth of knowledge we gain or the emotions we feel from reading a book we love. By all means, hold onto the ones that have truly touched your soul and that you’ll refer to again in the future. But any others should be passed onto friends, donated to a not-for-profit organization or library, or sold at a yard sale.

Appliances, Gadgets And Tools:

Stationary bicycles may be more often used as clothes hangers than for fitness. And you may have mocked your parents for holding onto that giant television in their rec room for years, but is that an old VCR collecting dust in your basement? Sometimes it’s the initial financial investment into these items that keeps us hanging onto them. But if you only ever think about making fresh waffles at home but never follow through, it’s time to give it the waffle-maker the old heave-ho.


If you found yourself thinking, ‘Yup, I’ve got books/paper/tchotchkes/old clothes/George Foreman grill cluttering my home’ while reading our tips, it’s not too late to save yourself the stress that too much stuff can create. As designer and writer William Morris famously said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” It’s a simple rule that can save your space and your peace of mind.

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