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10 Unessential Items to Dump and Declutter During Quarantine

If you’re like me (and most of the world), you’re probably nearing week six or more self-isolated quarantine, and IT’S KILLING YOU. You most likely have way more time on your hands than you ever imagined possible, or you’re a one-woman army playing mommy, wife, teacher, and professional at THE SAME TIME.

Quarantine is a stressful time behind closed doors, but it doesn’t have to be. Follow these 10 easy methods to destress and declutter your home and start living like a minimalist. What better time than now!?

The Ultimate Downsizing Checklist in the Age of Quarantine

Our homes require daily maintenance to keep clean and free of clutter, and that’s when we aren’t on lockdown in our homes 24 hours a day 7 days a week for weeks at a time. Managing clutter during a quarantine is nearly impossible.

But what if you just had less stuff to begin with?

By following these simple tasks, we can declutter our homes and lead a minimalist life that will destress our lives and brighten our mindset. Don’t trust me? Let’s give it a try it!

Declutter During Quarantine by Getting Rid of These 10 Items

1. Nearly-Empty Bottles

Because, let’s face it, you weren’t really going to finish them anyways. Maybe you already bought a new product that you were way too excited about and started using it right away and forgot about the old one. Or, you just loved the new product so much you thought, “I’ll just save this little bit for later cuz…you never know,”. Nah. Let’s either transfer those contents into an empty travel size bottle for reuse, or rinse and recycle.

2. Old Papers

Maybe they are piling up on your desk because you didn’t have time to deal with them one at a time. Now’s the time to batch this task and sort through this procrastinated mess. If you think you might need to refer to it in the near future, save it. If it’s clearly junk or you’ve held onto it for the last month and haven’t used it, get rid of it.

You could even crumple each paper and make it a fun basketball game to play with your kids…basket that ball right into the recycling!

3. Clothes, Clothes, Clothes

I can’t say enough about this. Grab a large glass of wine or chocolate, whatever you need to get through the tough times, cuz this one may be a difficult one for the shopaholics out there.

Surprisingly, clothes take up so much space in our closets – especially when you have ten coats and only use three regularly. I always recommend this step to be done in waves. If you need some advice on how to get started downsizing, check out my post on 5 Crazy Easy Ways to Downsize Like A Minimalist. 

The best way is to start slowly and ease into it (unless, of course, you’re ready to overhaul right away!). For all items you haven’t worn in the last year, meaning that the season came and went and you didn’t even touch it, make sure it’s on the way out.

I personally like to create a bin for charity items, and a separate bin for items that potential friends or relatives may want. Many clothing shops, like Colombia, recycle clothing directly at their store with Rethreads. If the item has value, try posting it on Facebook Marketplace or consignment.

Unfortunately during these times of quarantine, items and bins will have to go in storage until stores and charities open. But hey, at least it will be out of the way!

green potted plants on wooden rack

4. Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

The same goes for shoes. If you made it an entire year without wearing them, it’s time to move on. If they are in poor shape anyways, it may be a great opportunity to get rid of them and make room for newer, more versatile shoes.

I always think about the versatility of each pair of shoes I own. Are they both comfy and classy? Are they professional and comfortable enough for a right out?

Also, Colombia’s Rethreads program accepts both clothing and shoe donations!

woman sitting on armchar nead glass window and flower

5. Your Kitchen Pantry

This is another prime location for clutter to pile up. Is the food expired or even stale? Probably a good sign you should toss that sucker. Do you have non-perishable canned goods that have been sitting there for ages? Consider donating it to a food shelter or canned food drive.

Believe it or not, the food will not disappear from the shelves of grocery stores, so there is no need to panic buy. It only causes further disruption, and of course, clutter. Only buy what you need and maybe one or two extra of the essentials in case you can’t make it to the store right away. You can always go back for more later.

6. Junk Drawers

They are notorious locations for all things, well, JUNK. They are the definition of procrastination. Most junk drawers are in the kitchen, so once you’re finished downsizing your pantry, why not head on over to the junk drawer and toss all those twist ties you’ve been collecting, or that really nice pen you can’t part with even though it ran out of ink ages ago.

How about the odds and ends you thought you may need but never have. Or random pieces to things that you forgot you had because you didn’t need. Say goodbye and don’t look back!

7. Mug Collections

My mug collection has been known to get out of hand over the years. But realistically, you only need two mugs per person. The extra one is just in case one is in the wash, breaks, or for any guests you may have. I cheat on this a bit by placing meaningful mugs in storage. If you are not ready to part with them yet, this will at least get them out of the way. Maybe you can even switch them out with the ones you already have in use when you go through your things again next season. *Hint *Hint.

8. Water Bottles

Water bottles are another great item to sort through, similar to vetting your mug collection. Although, I couldn’t imagine many have sentimental value, unlike mugs. That should inevitable make it easier to part ways with them.

And, I mean, how many do you need, reeeeally? I’d say one person and one extra, no more.

9. Magazines

Not only do they become outdated and no longer relevant, but they also take up a lot of space in our homes. AND when we move they are also incredibly heavy. We almost never refer back to magazines, and they become inevitably outdated after a year anyways. They can easily head over to the recycling bin.

pile of hardbound books with floral ceramic mug

10. Books

The reason I split books up from magazines is because most books are donate-able, while magazines are mostly not and should instead be recycled.

Unless you are a collector, the first way to downsize your book collection is to give away books you have already read (unless they are your all-time favorites). Secondly, similarly to clothing you haven’t worn in a year, books that you have held onto over the years but never made time for and didn’t really have an interest to read are a clear sign that you probably won’t mind parting ways with them.

I have only one physical book in my possession at a time, any other books I want I read electronically on my Kindle. If you haven’t yet discovered E-books, they are life-changing! Especially for avid travelers and those always on the go. I can even access them from the Kindle app on my phone and take them with me wherever I go.

I can read them again and don’t ever have to get rid of them if I don’t want to. I do cheat a little on this one because I also have a storage collection of classic books from my childhood. But who knows, they could be worth money some day! Everything in moderation ;).

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Does it seem like too much to take on all at once? Let’s start one step at a time. I am always looking for ways to minimize my life, but it wasn’t always that way.

Minimizing is not always easy, especially when you are first starting out. My advice is to pick one room/space to downsize at a time, keeping in mind the checklist above. Alternatively, you could start downsizing one item (or group of items) at a time.

Think of it this way, minimalism is like a relationship. If it doesn't bring you value or you don't gain anything from having it around, seriously consider parting with it.

As you move about your day over the next seven days, I challenge you to consciously remain aware of where you have the most clutter in your home.

Where can you downsize the most with the least amount of difficulty? After seven days, this is ground zero, where your decluttering begins.

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Other Posts You Might Like… 5 Crazy Easy Ways Minimalists Downsize That You Can Try Today

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