[Lifestyle] 21 Things to Declutter in 2021
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
It's finally December, and thank Goddess 2020 is coming to an end. Although I have to say my year wasn't actually that bad, let's be honest, 2020 is probably no one's best year in life. While Xmas is around the corner and we're about to embrace the arrival of a new year, this is the perfect time to declutter all the shit in our lives so we can start 2021 fresh and new. In this blogpost I am going to share with you 21 things you could declutter in the year of 2021.
1. Unwanted (Xmas) gifts
As much as we appreciate receiving Xmas gifts, we don't always necessarily like what we've got. While it may make us feel bad giving unwanted presants away, it's not worth having that gift becoming a burden in the form of clutter in your house. Most people give presants to make their loved ones feel happy, not troubled. So if you received a gift that do you no good, give it to someone else who would appreciate it more than you would, or donate it to people who would need it. Pass on the love.
2. Greeting cards
We get a lot of greeting cards every year. Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, you name it. It's all very sweet until you have worked in the same company for 5 years and ended up with a stack of cards at the back of your desk drawer. Let's be honest, how many of us actually revisit these cards like, ever. It is the memories that we should treasure, not objects. If you really find it hard to let go of it, maybe consider digitalizing it. Take a photo of the card so you don't loose all those lovely messages, but you can part with the physical card that's taking up precious space.
3. Nostalgic items that has been sitting in the garage.
Ask yourself this question: when was the last time you went over that photo album that's been collecting dust in your garage? Our past is an important part of us but that does not mean we need to cling onto old items that no longer serve us. Letting go of an object doesn't mean letting go of our past; it is just us accepting the fact that we have moved on in life. After all what's the point of having a stack of photo albums sitting at the back of your garage when you don't actually ever go through them? Unless it serves you a purpose otherwise it is noting more than just rubbish. Say thank you to these once dearly loved items and greet them goodbye. Letting go of clutter isn't that much different from letting go of an relationship. It's like a detox really. It's time to put your past behind and move onto 2021 fresh and new!
4. Clothes that no longer fit
After multiple lockdowns and devouring the festive seasons, most of us have understandably gained some considerable weight! If your 2021 new year goal is to loose a few pounds, that's totally fine. But if your weight loss goal has been there for 5 years now and you simply no longer fit into those 10 years old jeans, maybe it's time to get rid of them! While we should all embrace our body regardless of sizes and shapes, there really is no point holding onto clothes that you no longer fit it, or clothes that you no longer wear despite of the reason. While we welcome the future and say goodbye to the past, what better time is it than to also say goodbye to clothes that we no longer wear? During this sale season it's also the perfect timing to sell your old clothes and get a few bucks to buy yourself some new ones maybe, or to donate them to people in need.
5. Things in your pantry that you were never going to eat/ use.
If you've a pair of jeans that has been sitting in your closet for 5 years and you haven't worn it a single time; equally you aren't going to eat those crackers that you deemed disguising, and yet are still sitting in your cupboard for who knows how long. Just get rid of them now. You were never going to eat it and by holding to it you're practically paying rent for something you didn't even enjoy having!
6. Food that has past their used by date
Even if you did like that food, if you're like me and your pantry is always stuffed, more likely than not you'll have something that you have bulk bought in the past, which has now been sitting at the back of the cupboard for years. And you probably have already forgotten about it. This is the time to remove everything you have from the cupboard, go over each item, find out what's past its use-by date, and tip out anything that are no longer good or safe for consumption. The same goes with the fridge and freezer really! I cannot tell you how many times I've found bags of squished, freezer-burnt bread at the bottom of my freezer which I definitely had no plan of eating... Not only it's taking up space, it's also a hazard if you or someone in the house ate it by accident without looking. In an ideal world food stock should be closely monitored regularly to ensure everything is fresh and edible. But if that wasn't the case, you really should do it today.
7. Expired medicines
As if expired food doesn't gross us out enough, let's talk about the box of paracetamol that's been expired for a decade and yet still sitting in your medicine cabinet... Medications and first-aid supply is definitely not something you should use once they're expired. Bin them now and replace them with new, in-date items!
8. Expired Makeup
Although not as bad as expired pills, old makeup is no good for anyone either! When you think about it, lipsticks and powder makeup especially are in contact with our saliva and sebum repeatedly everyday, possibly for years for long lasting items. I can only imagine the amount of bacteria growing on it. If the product is starting to smell, it's definitely time to say goodbye. Even if it didn't, if you have been using it for over 2 years, it is time to get rid of it already really. If you have not been using it, well then there is even more reason to remove it from the house! Why would you keep something that you don't even use or like?
9. Makeup brushes
While makeup brushes don't expire or go bad, some of us have way to many brushes while we only have one face. It makes sense if you've just started doing makeup and are still trying to figure out what works for you and what doesn't. But once you get to that point of knowing exactly what you like and what you'd use, inevitably there will be a pile of brush that is just sitting there and are not going to use. Now is a good time to give those brushes away and have that drawer emptied!
10. Books sitting on your shelves that you are never going to read.
I know. Books are tricky. I have this issue myself as well! But let's face it, out of our entire library worth of books on the shelves, how many of them do we actually revisit? Probably only a handful really. Some of the books I used to own were from my childhood. Before I got rid of them, they were sitting on my shelves for like 10 years and I haven't read them once. I bet if I had let them sit there for another decade they still wouldn't have been read and will only collect dust. That's why I decided to give them away to people who will truly appreciate them. And now I have more space on my shelf for new books. Isn't that lovely?
11. Old magazines that you never revisit.
Just like old books, if you have a magazine subscription like I do, they are another thing that could easily get piled up over time. In a way old magazines are even worse than books; because magazines usually contains information that are time and/or season sensitive; things like spring recipes and fashion trends. After a few months the chance of me revising an old magazine is honestly near to zero. During this holiday, it's time to go through that dust collecting magazine pile, and put anything that you haven't paid attention to for a while into the recycling bin.
12. CDs/ records that haven't been played for years.
It's (almost) 2021 and let's be honest, how many of us actually listen to music on a regular basis using a CD/record player? I bet that the majority of us don't even own a music player anymore, since Apple music and Spotify these days are just so convenient and easy to use. Unlike CDs they also don't take up any physical space, making them much more portable as well. Of course, some of us are still big music zealots and still listen to records using a turntable on a daily basis. If this is you, fair enough. By all means keep all those CDs that sparks joy. After all decluttering shouldn't be stressful. It's something we do in order to improve our quality of life. But for those who don't actually play these discs anymore and yet still owns a gazillion on them, this is the time to declutter and digitalize your music collection. You might be surprised at how much money you can possibly make by selling some of your vintage pieces.
13. Decors in the house that you don't even like
I'm not sure which is worse. Things that are being kept but not being used, or things that are being used but you don't even like... This happens more commonly when the item was a gift, but it also happens sometimes to things we bought ourselves. We all go through phases. Sometimes we buy something because we needed it then, or we liked it then. But time passes and circumstances changes. Have a very good look around you in the house. Are there things that you walk pass everyday and don't even give it a second look? Are there things around that you don't even like, but it's there only because 'you have to', may it be a gift or something you thought you 'might need one day'? Let me tell you this right now: there is no such thing as you 'have to keep it' or you are 'going to use it someday'. If you don't like it, or not going to use it in the foreseeable future, just get rid of it. To be honest, even if the day came where you may need that one item someday in two decades, by then the item probably will have became faulty (this is especially true for electronics or consumables), or you won't even remember you owned such a thing by then. When the day comes when you need it you will go and buy another one. Now just stand up, and get rid of that piece of rubbish and stop paying rent for it!
14. chipped dinning ware.
This is a bit of a controversial one. If you didn't have much tableware to start with and drinking soup from a chipped bowl doesn't bother you, then by all means go for it. But if you're more like me and are a fussy perfectionist who frowns every time you see a chipped or cracked bowl, and then move on to get another bowl behind it which isn't chipped, then maybe it's time to say goodbye to the imperfect one. For the simple fact of , well, it didn't spark joy did it?
15. Appliances ad electronics that no longer works or you no longer use.
I'm not sure if you are, or know one of those people who likes to collect different kitchen appliances and gadgets, but hardly ever use any of them. Things like an air-fryer or a deep-fryer for example. Maybe you'd use it once every year just because on an odd occasion you suddenly remembered you had it, or maybe after having it on the top of your cupboard for a few years you finally had this one occasion where you wanted to use it, just to find out it has stopped working. What about a bread machine sitting at the corner of your kitchen counter, when you literally buy bread from the grocery store every week? Does this sound familiar to you? Let's face it; if you're not using a certain appliance on a regular basis, it means not having it makes no impact to your life. And yet they all takes up so much space. There really is no point grabbing on to it, just let it go.
16. Or anything that's broken really
'Oh I'm going to take this broken electric drill to be fixed when I have time'. How many time you've heard someone said that? Or maybe you have said that yourself? The truth is, if you haven't fixed it already, you never will. Give yourself a week; by the end of the week if you still haven't fixed, it's time to say goodbye.
17. Extra cords and cables
Unlike the old days where every single unit has its own cable design, these days most electronics have standardized cords and plugs where most of them are interchangeable. That being said, more likely than not there will be a box somewhere in your house where all the 'extra cable' live. However, do you even remember when was the last time you looked into that box? Is there an first generation iPod sitting in that box that you haven't even turned on in 5 years? If you have not used an item for more than a year really, you are not going to use it in the next 10 years. Technology and electronics are evolving everyday, and the chance of us needing a cable from a gadget we bough 5 years ago is close to zero. Just get rid of it already!
18. The what if’s and one days
You may have start to see a recurring theme here; for the most part, what I found out myself as an ex-hoarder is that what haven't been in use, will never get used. I had all these 'just in case I need to go to this specific place' clothes and all the 'I might need this one day in the future' items. The truth is, I never actually end up using it. Either I just never needed the item, or by the time I needed it, the item was either no longer functional (a dress that no longer fits or an appliance no longer works) or I didn't even remember I had such an object. So what those items were, was just clutter collecting dust and I was paying rent for things that are practically rubbish. I managed to get rid of most of them, and I felt so good afterwards; and I believe that will do you good as well!
19. Contacts of people you no longer keep in touch with
Xmas has just past and new year is coming in a week. Take 5-10 mins to scroll through your contacts on your phone. Are there people who you haven't spoke to in ages? Did you send these people a holiday message? If you haven't spoke to them in a very long time, didn't send them any holiday greeting, and were not going to anyways, it's time to remove these contact from your phone. Honestly, we cross path with a lot of people in our lives. Some of them stay in our lives, but most of them don't. If if these people are not meant to have any more interaction with you, then maybe it's time to remove them from your contact list because they really were there for nothing other than wasting space.
20. Toxic Relationships
Even if someone is playing a role in your life right now, it doesn't always mean they should be part of it. As we have gone through Xams and now stepped into a new year, it's the perfect time to say forever goodbye to people we no longer serve us good in life. If being around someone you know stresses you out, or makes you do things that you didn't really want to or simply doesn't feel right; the relationship between you and that person is probably a toxic one. No one should have that in their lives. While we embrace the arrival of a brand new year, it's now the time to get rid of those toxic people and ask them to leave for good.
21. All the project you didn’t end up doing. At this moment London have gone through three lockdowns. Is there any 'lockdown project' sitting in your living room or workshop waiting to be done? Let’s face it, you didn’t do it when during the entire three lockdown, you're never gonna do it. And if you're not going to do it, there is no point letting it sit on your dinning table taking up precious space. It's never too late to give it away or sell it online for someone who would actually appreciate it.
There you have it! 21 things you could declutter in 2021. I hope this would help you sort out your life even just a little, and that you will feel good and be proud of yourself afterwards.