The best way to get rid of clutter is to identify objects which you should never keep, as this makes decision-making much easier. So following on from last week’s post “Ten Items You Should Never Keep”, here’s my list of ten more things you should never keep.

1. Pointless Instruction Manuals

When sorting through our clutter, we often find instruction manuals for gadgets we no longer possess. For example, our old washing machine, our previous DVD player, the blender we had before our current one, even a car manual for our last but one car.

Why we choose to keep them, nobody knows. We didn’t even read them when we owned the appliances, and their potential usefulness ceased as soon as we got rid of the gadgets. But we still kept them. Get a grip on yourself and throw them away.

2. Empty Cardboard Boxes

I don’t know why people love these, but they just do. They seem to think that a huge pile of empty cardboard boxes might be incredibly useful one day. So they gather dust, get damp, and if you keep them for long enough, simply fall apart. In the meantime, they’re taking up precious space. Unless you’re moving house in the (very) near future, destroy the boxes.

3. Ancient Makeup

Maybe it’s because we want to get our money’s worth, or perhaps we think we might actually wear pink eyeshadow, gold lipstick, or bright orange nail polish one of these days. Whatever the reason, many people have makeup that’s been lying around for so long, that they can’t even remember buying it.

We keep it in the fond belief that one day it will be useful and it seems such a waste just to throw it away. But if you don’t wear it then clearly it was a mistake, whilst the quality won’t be improving over time. Firm your resolve and ditch it all.

4. Books For Show

Some of us have bookcases full of books we’ve never read and never will read. We think that having the complete Shakespeare, or Jane Austin collection, will impress our friends and visitors with our intellectual and literary superiority.

Your visitors may well be impressed, but unless you intend to read them, they’re just window dressing. What’s more you could be caught out if someone were to start a conversation about any of them! I applaud your desire to seem educated, but it’s even better to be educated. By the way, the same applies to books upon languages, science, history or art. Read your intellectual book collection, or show it the door.

5. Old Medicines

Your old medicines had a purpose once, they made you better when you were ill. We may think they’ll be useful again one day, but bear in mind that not only do medicines have a use-by date, but that they might be the wrong prescription for your current ailment. In addition if children were to get hold of them, then they could be dangerous. Don’t flush them down the toilet, but take them to your chemist or pharmacist to be disposed of safely. You remove a potential danger and gain more space, all at the same time.

6. Duplicates Of Anything

We get a new kettle/camera/winter coat/computer/mobile phone, and we keep the previous one because there’s nothing wrong with it. We don’t need two kettles, as we can only use one at a time, but we keep the old one because it seems too good to throw away. This kind of clutter is pointless. We don’t need two of everything, just one good one. Thin out your collection of duplicates now.

7. Surplus Posters And Pictures

We only have so many walls, but we keep buying or being given, posters and pictures. Eventually we run out of wall space and start hanging them in unusual places; above doorways, along the stairs, in the toilet, or squeezed between furniture; until every available piece of wall space is used up. Then we wonder why the walls seem to be closing in on us! Half of them we don’t even like! Thin our your poster collection and free up precious wall space.

8. Unloved Toys

Despite owning enough toys to stock a good-sized toy shop, the average child knows what it wants to play with. Sometimes it’s the box the toy came in! Children have favourite toys and they play with them all the time. Birthdays and Christmases come and go, and their toy collection grows. But your children still play with twenty per cent of their toys, and the rest just adorn their bedroom gathering dust.

Bear in mind that just because you liked playing with a train set or a building blocks, doesn’t mean that your child will. Cut down on the toy clutter by quietly removing the toys your child never plays with. They probably won’t even notice and it will free up precious storage space.

9. Awful Reminders

You know the type of thing I mean. The present from your ex-boyfriend, the one who dumped you and made you miserable. The evening dress you can’t fit into since you put on weight. The reference books for the exam you failed. This type of object makes you feel bad whenever you look at them.

We should surround ourselves with things that make us feel good, not things that remind us of failures, mistakes, or bad experiences. So clear out the awful reminders from your life. You need the space in your head as well as in your home.

10. Rusty Screws and Nails

There may be a reason why we keep these but we can’t think what it is. Perhaps we think that one day, a DIY job will require a rusty screw of that exact size before it can be finished. Well think again. Throw away your rusty screw and nail collection; you’ll feel better for it.

Your Mission

Hunt through your home on a ‘seek and destroy’ for these types of objects. Now you have a crib sheet it shouldn’t be hard. Then when you’ve finished, you can feel victorious and have a clutter-free environment.