For inspiration, sometimes it helps to know what others are getting rid of in order to simplify and downsize. So here are 8 things my friends or I have decluttered lately.
- Motor Oil. We had multiple years’ worth of used motor oil that Dear Husband had stashed in the garage. Our recycling center takes hazardous household liquids, so they took our old motor oil.
- Cookbooks. You can find every recipe from every corner in the world on the Internet. You don’t need these culinary books taking up your space. Foodies, I know cooking is your thing. You may have to keep your favorite cookbooks for the sheer pleasure of reading them!
- Coat Hangers. Take all of your unused wire hangers back to the dry cleaners. Some dry cleaners will take them, some won’t. Likewise, some recycle centers will take wire hangers, some won’t. Call ahead or check online before you go. After getting rid of wire hangers, do you still have extra hangers, those made of other materials? Ask your local thrift store if they need any hangers. You can fancy-up wood ones with paint and gold leaf lettering for gifting. DH and I had way too many plastic hangers hanging around. (“Hanging,” and coat hangers, haha!) Most recycling centers won’t take plastic hangers, so, even though it felt wrong, I ended up throwing a stack of them in the trash.
- Old Letters. I made a pot of coffee and sat down to read through old letters. If I had, say, three letters from the same person whom I adored, I kept the best of those three. If I had letters from people with whom I’ve lost touch, I recycled those. The other letters I recycled were from people who have changed SO much that they would be embarrassed for me to know their former selves . . . like from young people who at the time were going through stages of, um, exploration, as many young people do!
- Old Shoes. Those pointed high heel pumps or those stiff men’s dress shoes are no longer comfortable when you have bunions. Your third pair of sneakers? Let ‘em go. There are old sneaker recycling centers scattered around the country. Check online to see if there is one near you.
- Jigsaw Puzzles. You worked ‘em once. Now donate them to Goodwill or the DAV. If they have pieces missing, take them to the recycle center.
- Rectangular Dust Magnets. . . I mean Paperback Books. Recycle them or donate them if you can find a place that isn’t already overwhelmed with old paperbacks. If you have a favorite author, remember you can revisit that author at the library.
- Photos. We got rid of duplicates and an amazing number of old photos of people whose names DH and I don’t remember.
But my friends and I have not decluttered our personal styles. You can have an overstuffed, paisley sofa and be a minimalist. You can keep your grandmother’s full china set and be a minimalist. And you can put your adult son’s 30-year-old teddy bear on the bed in the guest room. I think too often minimalists are depicted as having austere décor, a neutral wardrobe, and white dinnerware. Declutter, sure, but don’t donate your own personality when you donate your things.
Make today even better. Consider:
• Forgive someone for a past hurt. Sometimes our thoughts need decluttering, too!