How To Declutter Your Life: 10 Items To Donate, Toss Or Repurpose

“People buy things they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t like.” – Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Minimalism. Declutter and focus on that which is really important to us. So many things that we have don’t fulfill a practical purpose. We got them as gifts; we bought them ourselves because we thought they’d be “really useful”; or maybe we wanted some entertainment. And a bazillion other reasons.

To me though, what is important is to spend your life with people you like. You only have a finite life. You don’t have enough time to spend it with the accumulation of dead objects in a big house that you maybe never fill. 

Think about it: when did you ever need a big room or many different items to talk to your friends? Yes, we need shelter; a house to get back to when it’s dark and cold outside. A little bit of food would be good too. However… imagine you could just up and leave and spend the summer at the French mediterranean coast without worry for a room to store your stuff. Wouldn’t that be great?

Then I saw this tweet:

Declutter JDiLillo Tweet

I decided to follow Joe and play the Minimalism Game. On day one, I threw away one item, on day two two items, three items on day 3 and so on and so forth until I got rid of 30 items. What seems easy in the first days becomes tougher beyond day 15. But in the end, I did it. Altogether 465 items (for math nerds: 1+2+3+…+30 = 15*31 = 465).

Here are some of the items I threw away to declutter my home:

Declutter Minimalism I(…)
Declutter Minimalism III


It is day 15 of the 180-day challenge “Become an Idea Machine“.

Declutter Pile of Notes

#1 – A huge pile of notes

I personally write almost everything down… however, I often miss reviewing my notes afterwards, so a huge stack of papers piles up.

If you regularly write down your ideas, that’s perfect. In fact, “keep those ideas written down” is great for keeping your life in order – so much so that it’s part of Victor Pride’s 30 Days of Discipline.

However, you have to regularly review your notes and start acting on them. If your ideas vanish on your desk, it’s like you never had them in the first place.

#2 – Old CDs and DVDs; old hard drives

If you – like me – still remember the Nineties, you may still fight with a pile of empty data CDs/DVDs that yuo never got around to using. Get rid of them. The DVD ain’t coming back as a backup device, let alone CDs!

I also still have a Seagate hard drive that needs to be plugged into a power outlet to work. And I think it’s capacity is 100 GB. That used to be a lot. Not anymore. Look at this:

Declutter Hard Drives
Big grey machine: 100 GB; small black stick: 64 GB

The thumb drive fits almost as much as the huge brick of a hard drive. And does not need electricity.

#3 – Books

If you have a lot of books, do you still regularly read all of them? Or can you store them – and even more – on a Kindle or iPad?

I recently marked more than  half of my print books for sale – there is a used book store called “Strand” in New York City.

 I kept all the books that were really important to me and that I could not easily retrieve via the internet or Amazon. The majority of the books though I do not really need in print.

#4 – Textiles

As mentioned by Claudia Altucher, the Salvation Army takes a lot of clothes. Sometimes you have to bring them there though. There is another organization, Vietnam Vets, that actually come by and pick your items up. Not just your clothes, also books and household items.

#5 – Old board games

I have this old, run-down chess board that I don’t use anymore. Another item Vietnam Vets will probably appreciate more than me right now.

Unless you are a fan of board games – which could be! – they will bring more fun to others.

#6 – Pictures and picture frames.

If you have a lot of photos stored away in drawers and boxes, you may want to think about taking them out of their dark corners. You could scan them in and have them on rotating display in a digital picture frame. Or keep them in their native form, get some frames and put them onto your wall. Or put them together into a collage. You can do some easy digital assemblies for free using canva.

#7 – Cleaning utensils

Maybe that’s specific to me, but I have several brushes and cleaning utensils double. i can only clean one surface at a time, so it’s pointless to have more.

#8 – Old cables and adapters

We live in an electronic world. Several devices come with extra cables and adapters; other devices run their course, we get rid of them and forget to toss the corresponding accessories. Just get rid of them. They don’t serve any purpose anymore, even though our mind may tell us otherwise. “Wait, maybe we’ll still need them!”

If you haven’t used them in a while, you won’t need them in the future.

#9 – Old textile bags

I still have some old bags for shopping. They are not all that pretty, and do I really need 10,000 bags to go shopping? They can go.

#10 – Open books

Don’t throw them away! But if you are like me, you have several books you haven’t yet finished reading. Do that before you buy any new books. Your mind relaxes the less open loops – in this case unfinished books – it has to think about.

If you want to check out “Become an Idea Machine”, you can do so here.

Yesterday’s challenge: Click me!

What is this challenge about? This link will teach you more.

And to get back to the main page, you can click here.

Do you have more ideas of what can be tossed, sold or given away?

Do you have experience with organizations picking up items you don’t need?

Thank you very much and let me know in the comments below!