If you’d like to declutter your home but are unsure where to begin, start with these 13 items you’ll hardly even miss.


Decluttering your home can be overwhelming, so here is the perfect place to start. These 13 things to get rid of today are easy projects to tackle, but also extremely satisfying. Once you complete a few of these, you’ll start to reap the benefits of decluttered spaces. It’ll be just the thing to motivate you to face the bigger projects on your list.

Let’s get you started on your simplifying journey.

Get Rid of These Things Today

Pile of Unused Cookbooks

1. Cookbooks and Recipes

First, open those kitchen cabinets. How often do you consult that shelf full of cookbooks or the box full of recipes? My guess is not as often as you used to since a majority of us find new recipes on Pinterest or Google these days. Pull out cookbooks you never reference and toss recipes for dishes you’ve never made (and honestly aren’t going to) or that your family simply didn’t like.

Colorful Mismatched Socks

2. Single Socks

Many of us have a drawer (or laundry basket) full of single socks. We never seem to find the time to try to match them up, so the pile grows and grows. Now is the time to let those single socks (and the discolored ones with holes!) go and maybe treat yourself to a new pair or two.

Tea Candles Completed Melted

3. Misshaped Candles

Do you have drawers and cabinets full of old candles that you never use? While it’s a good idea to keep a few candles around for a power outage, enjoy throwing away the ones that are warped, partially melted, or that no longer fit in your candle holders.

Nail Polish Collection

4. Old Nail Polish

Nail polish that has separated or that has gotten full of clumps will not give your fingers and toes a “polished” look. Get rid of these bottles and any colors that you simply don’t like.

Old Office Supplies Filling a Junk Drawer

5. Excess Office Supplies

Be honest with yourself. Are you really going to use the 10,000 staples that crowd in your desk drawer? Is your junk drawer overflowing with pens and pencils? It’s time to purge what you don’t need or won’t use in a reasonable amount of time. You can donate your extra supplies (if they are in good condition) to a local school or church.

Old Receipts on Sky Blue Tabletop

6. Receipts

Is your wallet or purse overflowing with paper receipts? Sort through them and trash any that you don’t need for budgeting, business expenses, or your taxes. This will probably be about 99 percent of your stack.

7. Wrapping Paper and Gift Bags

Do you always put presents into gift bags but still have a closet full of rolls of wrapping paper? Recycle that unused paper and any gift bags that have seen better days.

Red, Blue, Green, Black and Yellow Sharpie Markers Up Close

8. Dried Out Pens and Markers

Remember that overflowing junk drawer, stuffed desk drawer, and the kids’ art bucket? Let’s pull out all the pens and markers and make sure they work. This is a great job for the kids. Throw away any that are dried out or unusable. Donate any extras to your local school or church.

Spice Rack on Countertop

9. Expired and Unused Spices

Next, turn to the kitchen. Spices lose their flavor over time. Who wants to add old parsley that resembles dried grass to your grandmother’s special spaghetti sauce? Take the time to sort through your spices and get rid of the old, expired ones. This is also a great time to get rid of that strange spice you bought for a single recipe and never used again. Chances are you’ll never miss it.

A Room Filled with Stacks of Old Cardboard Boxes

10. Empty Boxes

Having a few empty boxes around for gift wrapping and packages can be handy, but it’s way too easy to save all of those Amazon boxes. Things can quickly get out of control. Learn which boxes are really worth saving for things like storage or moving (we’ve got a handy guide for everything boxes), and then recycle all that don’t make the cut. One benefit of this is that you will be getting rid of a much-loved home for lots of creepy, crawly critters.

Four 2-Inch Binders Stacked ontop of One Another Filled with Instruction Manuals

11. Instruction Manuals

When was the last time you consulted the instruction manual for your phone, your lawnmower, or your bicycle? Probably never. Since most instruction manuals can be found on the manufacturer’s website or on a site like manualsonline.com, it’s an easy decision to recycle those manuals.

Hand Hovering Over Decluttered iPhone App Screen

12. Unused Apps

Don’t let unused apps take up precious space on your phone and tablet. Many apps are data hogs that slow down your device and eat up your memory. And every time you unlock your phone to find something, you take twice as long searching through a long list of apps before finding what you need. Sit down with your device and browse through your apps, deleting ones you never use or don’t like. After all, you can always download them again if you find out you really need them.

A Blurry Photo of a Rocky Beach

13. Blurry and Bad Photos

Have you ever tried to take a picture of your precious toddler or of a beautiful sunset only to have your phone tell you that your memory is full? In a world where we are on track to take more than one trillion photos in 2020, you know you’ve taken some bad shots. Clear out the bad and blurry photos from your phone, camera, and computer, and make room for the ones that are truly special.

Want to Know More Things to Get Rid Of?

There’s plenty more where that came from. Here’s where to head next if you’re just getting started with decluttering your home:

Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared on the Life Storage Blog in September of 2015. It was updated on December 9, 2020, to make the information more helpful to our readers.

About the Author

Andi Willis

Andi Willis is a Professional Organizer, Certified Personal Photo Organizer, author and video host. Passionate about helping people organize their homes and preserve their precious photos, Andi can be found at goodlifeorganizing.net.

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