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52 items to add to your decluttering binge – try one a week for a year!

52 items to add to your decluttering binge – try one a week for a year!

I’m on my annual summer decluttering binge. Something about the new year gives me energy and makes me crave order.

Over the past few years I have gone through most of our house so we don’t have much unwanted clutter, but it is still amazing how much stuff can build up. Kids grow out of clothes and toys, things break, our life changes.

So far I’ve gone through the kids books and got rid of a whole lot of ones that just aren’t suitable for the kids, or that they have grown out of (somehow I can’t see my son reading magic ballerina or rainbow fairy books anytime soon).

I’ve done a light cull of the linen after buying some new sheets for the kids’ beds (their old ones were looking a bit worn and grey). And I’ve gone through my wardrobe, after I was given a whole lot of hand-me-down clothing that had hardly been worn.

Still to go is the top shelf in the kitchen, as well as the spare room (which is actually pretty good – I just need to go through my teaching stuff with a critical eye).

If you’re feeling the urge to go on your own decluttering binge, here is a list of things that are easy for you to start with. Pick one or two, and cull, then repeat. You could even pick one a week and keep your decluttering binge going for a year. Each item includes some suggestions for ‘getting rid of it’ to help you make a quick decision.

Your decluttering binge starts… now

1. Novelty hats

All those hats and caps with logos that come “free” need to go. No one really needs more than one or two good hats. 

Donate to a charity store (or throw if particularly used).

Declutter your kitchen shelves

2. Unwanted kitchen appliances

You know the ones:  juicers, donut makers, popcorn makers, waffle irons, etc. All the those ‘timesavers’ you bought but never use.

Donate to a charity store, sell online via Gumtree, or offer for free in your local Facebook Group.

3. Clothes

Anything you haven’t worn in 12 months (unless you’re planning another pregnancy?). Anything you’re keeping to ‘fit back into one day’.

Donate to charity store or sell via Swap Up or Poshmark if designer.

4. Coat hangers

If coat hangers are broken or don’t hang properly, it’s time to remove them from your life. You should also get rid of any ‘excess’ hangers, even if they are in good condition. The temptation to fill them is just too great.

Throw broken or dodgy versions, dry cleaners will take back their wire hangers if in good condition or check with your local op shop as they may need good hangers.

5. Broken pegs

Goes without saying that these need to be purged. But how many of us ever actually do it?


6. Cookie cutters

I know you had the best of intentions to make batch after batch of biscuits with the kids but… turns out you’re not a baker. Add those unused cookie cutters to your decluttering binge piles.

Donate to your local preschool for playdough fun.

7. Instruction booklets

Chances are if you haven’t used them yet, you’re never going to. Instructions for most appliances and tools can be found with a quick Google search anyway.


Declutter your cleaning products

8. Cleaning products

We’ve all bought the next miracle cleaning product only to find that you still have to scrub and it doesn’t actually work any better than our tried and trusty one. Rather than leave all those rejects in the cupboard gathering dust, add them to your decluttering binge and feel… cleaner.

Drop them off at your local council’s household chemicals cleanout. 

9. Books

It’s so hard to get rid of books you loved, but if you won’t read them again, be ruthless and honest. This is especially true for books your kids have outgrown or never liked in the first place.

Offer  free in your local community Facebook group, donate to Lifeline for their Giant Book Fairs or package them into bundles and sell them on Gumtree.

10. Toys

The same goes for toys the kids have outgrown. Why are we keeping them, really? Pick one or two sentimental toys to put away for them for years to come then add the rest to your decluttering binge immediately!

Offer  free in your local community Facebook group, check if your local toy library needs them, or package them into bundles and sell them on Gumtree.

11. Colouring and puzzle books

Why are you keeping completed or abandoned colouring and puzzle books? Out they go!


12. Gift bags

We all have a pile of gift bags that we simply won’t use again. Time to pass them along.

Offer  free in your local community Facebook group, check if your local preschool would like them, offer them to your child’s school for the mother’s day stall, recycle.

13. Advertising fridge magnets

Sorry, Plumbers, no one needs 26 emergency plumber fridge magnets. Please stop dropping them in our letterbox.

Check with your local school or preschool as they sometimes use magnets for crafting, throw.

14. Earrings

The uncomfortable, the gaudy, the missing-a-pair, the tarnished beyond repair – they all have to go.

Offer them to a local jewellery maker for spare parts; if you simply don’t like them, offer them on your local Facebook page because someone else might; throw.

15. DVDs

Unless you have a deep sentimental attachment to your 1999 Die Hard DVD Christmas compilation, it’s time to ditch the DVDs. Instead, make some watch lists of your favourite old movies on your streaming service.

Put them up on Facebook – you never know, throw.

16. Purses and bags

No one needs a wardrobe full of bags. No one. Pick a couple you really like that go well with most of your clothes and then move the rest of them along.

Donate to a charity store, sell on Gumtree, offer on Facebook groups.

17. Half-finished craft projects

Once upon a time you were a crafting fiend who couldn’t start a new project fast enough. Lately, not so much. There’s the half-knitted beanie, the cut-but-not-sewn skirt, the stack of triangles that were meant to become bunting, the sad attempt at quilting that was less quilt more lap blanket for a small child. You know what to do.

Throw or offer materials on Facebook group if they are still usable.

18. Kids art and craft

You can’t keep it all. You just can’t.

Take photos of favourites to keep digitally; get the kids to tear/cut artwork to make one collage artwork; wrap gifts in artworks; recycle.

19. Old school notes

Do you also tend to hoard paperwork? As if the 2011 note from the kindy teacher re. tomorrow’s incursion is worthwhile hanging onto. It’s not.

Recycle the lot.


20. Sports equipment

Sadly, the children did not take to Tae Kwon Do with any semblance of enthusiasm. Nor soccer, hockey or badminton. It’s time to move on.

Offer well-kept items for sale on Gumtree or Facebook, or give away.

21. Stuffed toys

There’s always one stuffed friend we can never say goodbye to… but just the one.

Throw or donate to a dog shelter (if you can bear to).

22. Board games

This is a tricky one because it only takes a week of rain for the entire family to start looking for the old Monopoly set. So if you add this to your decluttering binge, choose carefully. But do chose.

If all pieces are in tact, donate to a charity store, otherwise throw.

23. Pretty stationary

You do mean to get around to writing letters to everyone you know, but somehow an email does the trick in half the time. So, email it is.

Give to a retirement home or school, or recycle.

24. Unwanted gifts

I know this is a can of worms because there is often so much attached to a gift. Even one we don’t want, don’t like and secretly don’t want to keep. So don’t keep it. It’s a very pernickety (not to mention observant) person who notices the gift they gave you has gone.

Regift to someone you know will love it (no shame, I can assure you), sell it on Gumtree, donate it to charity.

25. Bed linen

One set for the bed, a spare set for the cupboard. One extra doona or blanket per bed. That’s all you need.

Donate to a charity store or dog shelter.

26. Towels

While we’re ditching linens, don’t forget the towels. Especially beach towels – those things reproduce over winter, I’m sure of it.

Donate to a dog shelter.

27. Shoes

Every pair you never wear, every pair you do wear but hurt you, every pair you’ve worn far too much. This is the part of the decluttering binge your feet will thank you for!

Donate any in good condition to a charity store, throw the rest – old shoes are a bit ick.

Coffee cups should be decluttered regularly

28. Coffee cups

The kids are coffee cup collectors, so we wind up with cups with dodgy slogans or shaped like a llama. No one ever uses them because everyone knows it takes more than a joke to make a cup nice to drink from. Bye, Llama.

A charity store may want them (but they are probably already overwhelmed by their own novelty coffee cup collection), throw.

29. Paperwork

Unless you need it for tax purposes (generally five years), don’t keep any old receipts, notifications or bills after you’ve paid them. Take photos and store them digitally if you must.

Shred and recycle.

30. Tupperware/plasticware

Like beach towels, plasticware breeds as soon as the door is closed. Like socks, bottoms also readily ditch lid partners and move happily into single life. Either that or the lid has a bit too good a time with the microwave that one time and then refuses to fit with the bottom ever again. Get rid of anything that isn’t neatly paired or regularly used.

Recycle if marked with the recycle symbol, otherwise throw.

31. Makeup

I once got an eye infection from using a 15 year old black eyeliner. Don’t do that. Also don’t hang onto any makeup you rarely wear – 15 years comes around very quickly in a rarely-used makeup bag.


32. Old clothing

You know the ones: the shirts you keep for painting (all those times you paint). Or all the old clothes you swore you’d turn into rags one day, yet here they are, still clothes.

Actually turn them into rags or recycle them through a clothing recycler like Rcycl.

33. Baby stuff

Are you really going to have another baby at this age? Didn’t think so. Keep one or two sentimental outfits to pass onto the grandkiddies (see, that’s more our ballpark) and set the rest free for other cute babies to delight in.

Donate to a charity store.

34. Tools

Some tools are great an worth keeping (the husband springs to mind – boom tish), but others are just gathering dust in the garage, taunting you. Work out what you actually use then give away or sell the rest.

Sell or give away.

35. Knives

Each kitchen needs a decent set of five sharp knives – a chef’s knife, utility knife, paring knife, bread knife and a carving knife.  All other knives are just clutter.


36. Hotel toiletries

I love collecting the little shampoos and conditioners from the hotel bathroom as much as the next person. It’s like a promise to hold onto that holiday feeling. A cupboard full of holiday feelings isn’t good for anyone, though. So pass those things along.

Drop them off to these guys or these guys.

37. Printer cartridges

Hands up if you have old printer cartridges for a printer you no longer even have. Yup, me too. 

Recycle them or sell them on Gumtree.

Time to get rid of odd socks

38. Odd socks

You wondered when we’d get here, right? Odd socks are the scourge of modern living. It can be hard to let them go because you just know that the pair will turn up the day after you ditch the odd socks. But ditch them anyway.

A preschool might like clean and non-holey ones to turn into puppets, otherwise recycle as per #32.

39. Takeaway menus

First of all, have you ever ordered from half the places whose menu you cling to? And, second of all, every takeaway menu you will ever need is online anyway.


40. Remotes and other electronics

You probably have no idea what that remote does, or where that lead plugs into and don’t get me started on the growing pile of USB cords. Out they go!

Take them to your local council’s next e-waste collection.

41. Pens

You can only write with one pen at a time. So you don’t need 237 of them.

Terracycle will take any, but if you have coloured, fun ones then check in with your local preschool too.

Don't hoard cookbooks if you can possibly help it

42. Cookbooks

It’s hard to part with books of any kind, but cookbooks hold such promise of being better that chucking them is like throwing out a piece of your soul. Just me? The thing is, if you’re not using them to cook with and haven’t even opened them to look at the pretty pictures in quite some time, then all they promise is clutter.

Giveaway in your Facebook communities, leave at a street library, donate to a Lifeline bookstore.

Don’t ditch the good ones: 19 favourite family cookbooks we come back to again and again

43. Vases

How many vases do you actually need? The answer is probably 11 less than you are currently storing.

Donate to a charity shop, give to a friend.

44. Disposable food containers

All the takeaway menus you’ve been using have resulted in eleventy-billion takeaway containers. All carefully washed and stacked in the cupboard waiting for… Godot? Time to set them free.


45. Drink bottles

There are always far more drink bottles than mouths in any household. It’s especially perplexing why we keep the broken ones…

Recycle if you can, otherwise throw.

Declutter your hat pile

46. Hats

Caps are the fridge magnets of the plumbing world: a promotion that got out of hand. Just piling together the number of hats and caps you have in your home will be eye opening enough to make you throw out at least half of them. 

Donate what you can, otherwise throw.

47. Mobile phones

Aussies are notorious for keeping old mobile phones when they upgrade. No, no, no.

Recycle at a MobileMuster bin near you or ask for an envelope to post it in.

48. Glasses

By this I mean you old specs as well as your excess drinking ware.

Recycle your specs through Specsaver’s Community Program and put your extra drinking glasses into the appropriate recycling bin.

49. Magazines

I haven’t bought a magazine in over six years – which is why the giant pile I am hoarding on my shelves are all from 2017 and before. Whhhhhhhy?

Check with your local preschool, otherwise recycle.

50. Knick knacks

You liked it at the time, but now that sweet little Willow Tree figurine is just annoying to dust. There will be plenty more where she came from. 

Gift to someone who will love them more than you or donate to charity.

51. Scented candles

Candles make an easy, suits-everyone gift. Which is probably why you have so many of them. The great news is, you can keep the cycle going and give a bunch of yours to grateful friends who can hoard them instead.


52. Everything you bought but never used

Yes, it’s time to open the secret shame cupboard and get rid of all that is lurking there. Don’t bother removing the price tags.

Sell what you can, donate what you can’t.

Read this next: 21 practical things to do to simplify your life and cut down daily stress

What else would you add to this list?

52 ways to declutter your life - one thing a week until it's done

Feature image by Sarah Brown ; kitchen shelves by Becca Tapert; dustpan by Jan Kopřiva; shuttlecocks by; mugs by Meg Boulden; odd socks by Nick Page; cookbooks by Alfred Kenneally; hats by Mary Oloumi