Inside: Here are fifteen things that I stopped buying after simplifying. Did decluttering your home change your shopping habits too?

The journey to simplify my home and my life was not a quick or overly dramatic one. I started by slowly and methodically decluttering our home.

We didn’t get rid of 90% of our stuff in a year. But we did begin to pare down slowly. My husband and I weren’t on exactly the same page when it came to decluttering, but I did what I could to get rid of some of the excess stuff we had.

Through that process, I came to many realizations about what we owned and why we owned it. Facing past purchasing regrets helped me to be rethink how I was shopping.

It doesn’t feel good to get rid of things you never even used. No one likes to waste money or to have buyer’s remorse.

Decluttering changed my mindset. I looked at stuff differently. Because of this shift, there were many things I stopped buying after simplifying our home.

things I stopped buying after simplifying

Why I Stopped Buying Certain Things After Simplifying

I have always been a very frugal shopper. I was never one to splurge on expensive or high-end items, but I was likely to get sucked into things that I perceived as a good deal.

However, simplifying helped me to re-evaluate what a good deal is and taught me to look at stuff differently.

Decluttering forces you to look at what you own. As you sort and decide what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of, it can remind you of why you bought the item in the first place.

Looking at things I regretted buying helped me to become more intentional with my shopping habits going forward. I did not want to re-clutter my home and the way to avoid that was to be a lot more careful about what I bought and brought into our house.

Simplifying gave me a better understanding of what I truly used and loved. It also helped me to see clutter more clearly.

15 Things I Stopped Buying After Simplifying

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are fifteen things I stopped buying after simplifying and decluttering our home.

1. Buy one get one free

I’ve always been a frugal shopper. I find joy in getting a good deal. However, simplifying our home helped me see that it’s not a good deal if you won’t use it.

Buy one get one free sales are often a way to force you to get two of something when you only needed or wanted one. Sometimes they can work in your favor, such as when you have two girls who could both use a pair of shoes and it’s buy one get one free.

However, if you won’t use the free item then you are really paying full price and taking extra clutter with you. Reframing how I view sales prices and taking clutter into account has changed how I shop.

Of course, there will be exceptions and it does depend on the type of item that’s buy one get one free. With food it can be a great deal and if you don’t need the second item you can donate it. But for other types of items, I’m careful not to get pulled into sales that encourage me to take home more than I need.

things I stopped buying after simplifying

2. Subscription boxes

In 2020, the global subscription box market totaled $18.8 billion. (source)

When I first heard about subscription boxes, they seemed really enticing. I loved the idea of getting a curated mix of items to try at a significant discount.

So I tried a few different kinds. And after just one month, I canceled each of them. Subscription boxes were something I stopped buying after simplifying because I realized that they created clutter.

I’d end up with random items I would not have chosen to buy on their own. Initially, I thought I might try them and love them, but it turns out about 80% of what was included were not things I even wanted or would ever use.

And as with many things, the initial deal is what sucks you in and then they hope you’ll either fall in love with it or just continue buying it because you forget to cancel. Subscription boxes ended up not being a great deal and the amount of clutter that came with them was simply not worth it to me.

3. Extra items for free shipping

Have you ever wanted to purchase something online only to realize that you needed a minimum purchase to get free shipping so you searched for additional items to buy to ‘save’ on shipping? I’ve gotten caught in that trap more times than I care to admit.

The challenge is if you are now buying things you don’t really need or will use, then you’re not really saving anything. You’d be better off simply paying the shipping fee to avoid purchasing more things than you intended.

The same is true for a free gift with purchase if you spend a certain amount. Advertisers are trying to appeal to your desire for a good deal, but if you don’t need anything additional, it is not a good deal for you and you likely don’t need the free item anyway.

stack of magazines

4. Magazine subscriptions

Magazines are another thing I stopped buying after simplifying our home. We only had a few subscriptions, but they began to pile up each month and I was annoyed at seeing them sitting out and becoming clutter on the flat surfaces in our house.

During busier times the issues would pile up and by the time I was reading them they were off-season. I didn’t want to just recycle them when I was done, so I tried to donate a bunch at once, but even that became another thing to do.

Ultimately, I didn’t enjoy them enough to want to keep up with them. They created extra work when I could typically find the same type of content online.

5. Books

Before you get upset with me for including this one, let me be clear. I love books. I enjoy reading a variety of genres.

However, I don’t like having bookcases full of books I will never read again. When I decluttered our home, I realized how many books I had that were just collecting dust.

Books can become clutter and a lot of them had in my home. I got honest with myself decided to let go of the books that I knew I wouldn’t read again or want to lend out to someone else.

This process caused me to think twice when a new book comes out that I want to read. The majority of the time, I wait and borrow it from my library or use the Hoopla app to borrow the digital version.

That allows me to still read while not having to think about what to do with the book afterward.

air fryer

6. Kitchen gadgets and small appliances

There are some products that I’ve found that helped simplify my life, but they have been the exceptions. There always seem to be new products that claim they will make your life easier.

Unfortunately, a lot of them end up becoming clutter. Kitchen gadgets with a single purpose take up too much real estate in my kitchen, so they were the first to get decluttered.

I avoid buying the newest small kitchen appliance trend too. While we do love and use our instant pot, there are a lot of other appliances we have avoided purchasing.

Instead of getting sucked into the marketing of how much the item will simplify cooking in your life, make sure you will actually use it enough to make it worth your money and space they take up.

7. Seasonal decor

Seasonal decor was another one of the items I stopped buying after simplifying our home. I realized that I don’t like storing items for eleven months out of the year nor do I like the hassle of constantly changing out decor items.

We have just a few items for various holidays and seasons that we switch out, but we keep it very simple. For Christmas, we do have a few bins of decor that we keep stored in the garage.

Due to our space limitations, I know I can’t buy more holiday decor unless I get rid of something we already have.

I don’t find the seasonal items in stores tempting anymore because I know it would mean letting go of something I already have. And I typically don’t think it’s worth my money for how little it would get used.

woman shopping

8. Dollar items

Right when you walk into your local Target, you’ll see the dollar section. They’re relying on you making an impulse purchase that you’ll justify because it doesn’t cost much. But cheap purchases add up (and so does the clutter that comes along with them).

Likewise dollar store items are something we don’t buy often anymore. There are just a few types of items we would get from there, but we shop with a list and avoid getting extra stuff because it’s just a dollar (although now it’s technically $1.25, but you get the point).

Cheap items can end up simply creating cheap clutter. It’s great that you didn’t waste a lot of money on them, but they’re still junky and are annoying to have laying around your house.

9. Trendy clothes

The average family spends $1800 per year on clothing. (source)

I’ve never considered myself one to really keep up with the trends, but from time to time it has been tempting to get that new style of top or pants when you see them on other people. The problem with trends is that they’re trends, meaning that they go as quickly as they come.

Trying to stay on top of trends is not only tiring, but it’s expensive and fuels the fast fashion industry.

After decluttering my clothes, I opted to keep clothes that met three criteria. They had to be comfortable, I needed to feel confident in them, and they had to be in good condition. Whether or not something is trendy doesn’t even come into play.

new cellphones

10. Newest technology

In 2022, U.S. consumers spent a total of $505 billion on electronics/technology. (source)

Part of learning to live more simply in a consumer culture has meant not trying to stay on top of any types of trends…technology included.

If you’re someone who loves staying up to date and the newest and greatest technology, this may be a difficult one.

I tend to be more practical and frugal when it comes to devices. I want something that isn’t too expensive that will work for a long time. Sadly, those are both more challenging to come by these days!

With the rate that technology advances, almost immediately after you buy something it is replaced by a newer (and supposedly better) version. In my efforts to live more simply, I have let go caring about whether or not I’m keeping up (spoiler alert: I’m not).

I use my devices until they stop working properly and require replacement.

11. Toiletries & beauty products

According to a recent survey, the average American spends $322.88 on skincare per year. (source)

Before having kids, I really liked trying new types of toiletries and beauty products. I ended up with a collection of entirely too many of them though. And after having kids, a lot less of these items got used at all.

I decluttered a lot of shampoos that didn’t work with my hair, makeup I never even opened, and nail polishes that were no longer being used. Some of the things I used to have time for and considered a priority weren’t anymore and that was ok.

Unncesseary makeup and toiletries were both things I stopped buying after simplifying my home. I knew which items were my staples and favorites and no longer felt the need to try all the things.

things I stopped buying after simplifying

12. Good enough stuff

Have you ever been shopping for a particular item, but you can’t find it so you settled for close enough? I know I have and it often didn’t end well.

For me, this one came up most often with my clothes. I wanted to get a particular type of item to go with something else I had and couldn’t find something I loved. So instead I settled for good enough.

The problem was these good enough items were rarely worn and ended up becoming clutter in my closet. When I finally decided to get ruthless in decluttering my wardrobe, the items I had previously deemed good enough were some of the first to get donated.

I’m now very intentional with what items I bring into my home. If I am not sure that I love it, I’m not buying it.

13. Impulse purchases

According to a recent survey, the average person spends $314 per month on impulse purchases. (source)

Shopping in a home store shows you how purposefully they line both sides of their check out line with items that could be considered impulse purchases. Mugs, candles, and other cute or practical low priced items surround you as you wait to check out.

Even in a grocery store, you are surrounded by sweet treats as you wait your turn. The stores are hoping you won’t have enough time to think through whether you really want to make this purchase or not.

They are counting on you adding it to your cart and checking out before you even really realize what you’ve done. Online stores sometimes have their own version of these last minute purchases by asking you if you ‘forget something’ and showing you items you’ve purchased before prior to checking out.

Choosing to shop more intentionally takes discipline. As you realize the tactics companies are trying to use, it does become easier to resist them, but it still takes practice and intentionality.

things I stopped buying after simplifying

14. Things I like

How many times have you heard phrases like ‘treat yourself’ or ‘you deserve it’? Even the messaging in dressing rooms encourages this kind of thinking.

After decluttering our home, I stopped buying things just because. I didn’t need to buy items to treat myself or as some sort of retail therapy.

Instead of shopping, I opted for things like coffee or a walk with a friend. I found that simple activities that were often free were a better option than buying things I didn’t really need.

Just because you want or like something doesn’t mean that you should get it. You can simply appreciate something without buying it. Those feelings are often fleeting anyway.

There are better ways to take care of yourself than buying things.

15. Free stuff & clearance items

When we think about the stuff we bring into our homes, we typically think about shopping. However, I had also discovered ways to get things for really cheap or even free in many cases.

And in the end, I found that you can bring a lot of clutter into your home under the allure of it being free. But free still costs you. When you have too much stuff it takes aways from your space and your peace.

While I do still buy clearance items from time to time, I am much more selective with it. It needs to be an item that I already know we needed and not that I’m just buying because it’s cheap.

For awhile free items in my local Buy Nothing group were a temptation for me. I still like to participate and donate items that way, but I took the group out of my Facebook feed to avoid wanting to bring additional unnecessary items into our home.

What things have you stopped buying after simplifying? Share them in the comments section!

Are there additional things you’d add to this list of things you stopped buying after simplifying? I’d love to hear about it.

The key with maintaining a clutter-free home is being purposeful with what you buy and bring into your house. And an added benefit is that you save a lot of money in the process too!

Sign up on the form below to get weekly decluttering tips sent straight to your inbox. You’ll also get the free Your Home Decluttered Jumpstart which includes 100 easy items to declutter and 12 high-impact areas to declutter in 10 minutes.

Sharing is caring :)


  1. This is really interesting, thank you.
    As I continue trying to declutter – long way to go yet, believe me! – I am also much more intentional about what I bring into my home.
    I am a member of a frugal living Facebook group because it belongs to someone I know and want to support, but some of the charity shop purchases made by others “because look how cheap” are really just clutter.
    And yes, I love books too – the real thing rather than digital. My copy of Jane Eyre dates back to 1983 because randomly I wrote the date in it! But I do ask if I’m ever likely to read a book again, and if the answer is a definite no, it goes. Fortunately we have a superb second hand book shop locally, so I can donate to them. Books are a bit of a drug for me, but if I can donate two bags and only come out with one or two books I’m still winning! 😂

    1. Oh my goodness – I so agree with you on so many things! Especially the book thing!! I try to do most of my reading on my kindle-but even THAT takes up space! Decluttering is a process every day! Enjoy your books, and reread at least one book a year! The old ones are the best!

      1. Local library provides free books audio and kindle. I use and love my library, returns automatically (best part for me, de-clutter’s my mind not having to remember).

        1. Books are my indulgence. I loathe digital books so I buy print and paper editions, not a lot, but enough. After reading, many get passed on to people that I know will enjoy them, some go to the thrift store or free library, but others I keep just for the joy of having them in reach when I want to reread a section, or the whole book.

    2. I made a pact with my sister to try going a whole year without buying any clothes. I feel appalled at the waste created by the fast fashion industry and it is third world countries that end up with all our landfill. After buying from jumble sales and charity shops for most of my adult life and donating clothes I no longer had need for back to charity,I was feeling rather pleased with myself until I saw a documentary about the waste surrounding charity shop donations. I have far too many clothes and less occasion to wear most of them as I get older and my social life shrinks. However I have always enjoyed fashion and decided to change my mindset. I can only bring clothing into the house via a swap, and I can change, recycle and mend current clothing to give it new life.

      1. I also do this for my son’s, husband and myself. My daughters buy a lot of clothing unfortunately but one daughter is now buying second hand instead of new.

        1. I struggle with hobbies and collections. There’s always that cool item to add. For the most part, I have learned to just stop the impulsive thoughts and say no. The key is not to look in the first place. Too much = clutter.

    3. Yes book n magazines are my weaknesses .But now I m giving them away or bring a book with me when I go on trips n read or reread them n leave them behind for someone else to enjoy . I keep asking myself , wat would happen to the stuff that I keep once I m gone .. haha wat headache my loved ones would have to go thru … so I give away some stuff each month n m a long way to reach my destination 🥰🥰

    4. Books are a weakness. Since 2005 I’ve purchased 660 books from Amazon and slightly more from independent bookstores. I tell myself that I am entitled – they are necessities. I am a writer. The justification doesn’t hold when I scan my 950 square foot apartment and acknowledge that no matter how I redecorate I have run out of wall space to properly house the piles of books on the floor in the living room. Those piles are the bane of my existence now that the rest of the apartment is decluttered and simplified. [My closets are gorgeous!] So what’s the answer to the book problem when I not only can’t depart with what I have, but also can’t say no to the next great collection of poetry? Someone help!

  2. Interesting post, thanks. Just a small thing, but I have stopped buying kitchen roll. My son has OCD and was using a roll or more a day. I thought it would be hard to manage without it, but it’s not. We use washable microfibres cloths for wiping stuff. I collect vegetable peelings etc when I’m cooking on a plate which gets washed afterwards. Just as hygienic and simple, but saves money and better for the planet too. And, let’s face it, kitchen rolls and their holders aren’t exactly pretty.

    1. I agree with you!!! I have been trying to explain this to my husband, but he thinks using paper towels is better than using towels you can wash. I am glad you shared this! Thank you.♥️

      1. My aunt suggested I use cloth kitchen towels and napkins around the late 1970’s. I tried it and have done it ever since. I keep a roll of paper towels around for only the worst messes. Rarely buy the stuff, maybe once a year. I figure I’ve saved a bundle over the decades, compared to what most people spend on it. Cloth cleans and dries better, too.

        1. I basically use paper towels to remove grease from pans and dishes so it goes in the trash and not the drain. Otherwise I use old towels ( cut up into squares) and old ugly washcloths or mismatched socks until the washing machine or the bleach renders them tatters.

          1. Use your paper towels as napkins first 🙂 THEN add cleaner & reuse once more on windowsills, baseboards, grease in pans, or around toilet. I even use them in place of facial tissue which has so much small lint that flies under my contact lenses.

          2. If you feed the birds, you can soak up any left over oil or fat with ordinary oats and put on the bird table, where it will be much appreciated. No need to make fatballs.
            I use washable bamboo kitchen roll, bought in 2020 and still being used.

          3. I use newspaper, brown paper bags, flyers from our mail, etc, to wipe greasy pans. Works great.

      2. I’m working on the decluttering of my clothes and I am fighting the temptation to give away anything I own that is older than a couple of seasons. My closet is very large so I can fit whatever I would like but it is stressing me out. Will I regret this radical move? I’d keep dresses and special occasion items.

        1. Possible idea for your closet clutter is look at Color/Colour Me Beautiful and figure out what color season you are. Donate the other stuff and or also incorporate a capsule wardrobe idea.

        2. If you have space, you might try putting the items you plan to cull out in a separate space for say 6 months and then if you never take the items back out, you know you can part with them without regret.

          1. I place things in bags and put them in the boot of my vehicle before I donate them. That way I can bring something back in if I discover that I want it still and I can donate them if I have not needed anything.

          2. We swap out seasonal clothes and store on racks in the attic and cover with a sheet.
            If it stays in the attic 2 seasons and never gets brought down to the bedroom closet, we donate.

          3. Great idea! I try to go through my closet and cupboards at least once a year to see what I can/should donate to our church rummage sale for missions. They donate “left-overs” from the sale to the local city mission, so one way or another what we donate is going to a good cause. I even donated a half dozen books this year–only have 4 more bookcases to go through!

        3. Kathy, I did the “turn all your clothes hangers around for a year and anything you haven’t worn at the end of the year, donate”. Holy WOW, it worked for me! I kept 5 items that I did not wear during that year but within 6 months I got rid of 4 of those. I was able to consign some so that made it even better. Good luck!

          1. I’ve been turning my hangers once a year for about 10 year! I have it timed so I do it in my birthday month so I don’t forget that it needs to be done. I am ruthless, I very rarely keep something I haven’t touched in a year. My classic office wardrobe always stays in my closet as office dress clothes are spendy!

        4. You can always put the things you’re thinking about donating into a box and store it for a bit to see if you would have regretted it, or if you feel better with the items gone!

        5. I kept a special occasion outfit in my closet for a few years-I pulled it out to wear it and the zipper fell apart! I had to quickly put together another outfit! Never again-if I haven’t worn it in a year-it goes to donation box!!

      3. If you could see the bacteria clustering on a damp kitchen towel, you might be more willing to fork over a few bucks for paper. Saving money isn’t worth getting sick.

        1. Same with bath towels. Wash both frequently, with a capful or two of bleach to kill microbes, even with colored towels, unless you’re washing at 140 degrees or above.

        2. Wash your towels as often as you want. Properly hung up to dry after use and washed as often as you choose is a small blessing to our planet.

        3. Just learned from the Science Museum of London that humans are 30 Trillion human cells and 39 Trillion bacterium cells.

        4. Leave the sponge on a soap dish to dry between uses; sanitize in the dishwasher weekly. Hang the towels to dry. Replace with clean ones every few days. They are not what’s making you sick!

        5. In regard to bacteria….I boil a kettle of water on the stove to wash dishes in a dish pan. I rinse the dish cloth and microfiber, as I pour the hot water into the pan over dirty dishes…..I’m sure no germs survive! Of course, you have to wait til the water cools down….

        6. I also use them in the bathrooms during family gatherings, a bottle of hand soap, paper towels and a small trash can placed by the sink keeps the germs in the trash and not shared!

          1. I buy the pack of facecloths from Costco and keep them in the bathroom for company to use as individual hand towels. They are also handy to grab to give the sink and counter a quick wipe over. I also keep some by the kitchen sink.

        7. I have a ton of cute kitchen towels that are cheap from Target or other stores. I switch it out daily bc of germs. I enjoy buying seasonal ones. I use these as bath hand towels too and they get pulled every few days or right away in our guest bath if people have visited that day. Some people would consider these decorative towels but not in my house. When they get pretty worn they get switched to cleaning towels for household chores or used for pets.

      4. There are good websites like Poshmark and Pango Books that creating alternatives to wasting items! Very good condition clothing and books while avoiding the landfill. .

    2. Paper towels are an expensive waste-both monetarily and environmentally. My late husband passed away 13 years ago, and I’m still using the paper towels he purchased. I only use it for bacon.

    3. I am starting to buy washable napkins to save money and less going into are land fills it’s hard though we have gotten so use to the luxury of using something and throwing it away

      1. Something I have stopped doing…I stopped going to thrift stores or regular clothing stores. I only go to a consignment shop that carries consistent clothes I like. They run around $18 apiece but i love each item. I do spend money on a new area since decluttering…my garden! I didn’t know i was a good gardener!

      2. Anita — My SIL uses cloth napkins. She has clothes pins that she & her kids all fancied up (decorated) and monogrammed with each family member’s name. (Artistic AF, unique, and soooo stinkin’ cute.) After each mealtime, if a napkin is able to be used again, they clip the person’s clothes pin to their napkin and keep it at that person’s “spot” at the tale, so it’s there for them the next time they all dine together. 🙂

    4. I moved from a big city to a country town nearly 7 years ago. I haven’t bought plastic cling film, paper towel or tissues in all that time. I already sadly had plastic containers so that’s what I put food in and they are reused endlessly. Like you I use a washable cloth instead of paper towel and I use washable hankies instead of tissues. Nicer in your nose also. just had Covid and thankful for my great supply of hankies!

  3. Love this post! You are my kindred spirit, ha! I do most of this myself but I can’t say I set out to ‘simplify’ – it’s just the way my husband and I live. I do agree on the technology. We both just upgraded our phones from iPhone 8 to 13 – nobody else we know was still using an 8! And clothing trends is a big one. I am also very tempted but if you hop on the trend bus it never ends – there’s always something newer and better to get. We live frugally compared to our friends but what we spend money on is travel. We’re going to Italy in a month with our family of five for 3 weeks! We wouldn’t be able to afford this trip if we didn’t live simply 🙂 Great content thank you!

      1. I think that’s smart, not embarrassing! My husband has the same and I have an Android. The phone industry is a racket!

        1. My husband and I have you beat. We still both have flip phones. Of course, I have my laptop for puttering on Fb and e-mailing friends.

        1. Same here, not only didn’t have enough memory to download the latest code, but then my app wouldn’t load. Got the SEv3

    1. I just upgraded from an iPhone 6 to a 12, but it was a refurbished iPhone and works great!! Only reason I upgraded was the battery would no longer hold a charge in my iPhone 6.

      1. I had to do the same a couple of years ago because my old phone wouldn’t hold a charge either. It seems that either the battery or losing the ability to update are two common reasons that you end up needing to upgrade.

  4. My husband and I are in our mid-seventies and we have accumulated a lifetime of things. After handling my mother’s estate, I wanted to make it easier for my sons when that time arrives for them. This is what I did:
    • Got our legal affairs in order
    • Started saving boxes
    • Cleaned all closets and donated unwanted items
    • Donated all unwanted decorative items
    • Donated unwanted books and magazines
    • Organized kitchen cabinets and donated what I don’t use
    • Collected unneeded hazardous waste for disposal
    • Took all unneeded electronics to an electronics fair
    • Emptied the attic of everything. If it was in the attic, we gave it away or threw it away.
    • Sold one of our two cars

    It’s still a work in progress so my future projects:
    • Keeping our home well maintained so it is ready whenever we decide it’s time to sell.
    • Updating our files and shredding what we no longer need.
    • Organizing our garage and shed and keeping only the things we still need and use.
    • Using what we have and only buying what we need and truly want
    • Giving thoughtful gifts such as experiences that won’t cause more clutter for others

    1. I wish my parents, especially my dad, would have done this for us. Mom now has Alzheimer’s and dad thinks his stuff will magically sort itself. So glad I pushed them into setting up a trust 15 years ago.

      Dreading when mom gets moved to a memory care home and my father will be forced to downsize. Will be a nightmare for my sisters and I to have to deal with everything at the same time – loss, change, moving, sorting, cleaning and repairs.

      You’re giving your children the best gift possible – peace of mind and a clear direction for how you want to live.

      1. My parents were hoarders. They advised that after they passed, cleaning up their property was earning our inheritance.

        1. Oh, no, Burdi!?! How awful.
          My sister in law was a hoarder and when she passed, my niece just threw everything away. It was too overwhelming to go thru it so out it all went. No telling if anything of value was tossed but no matter at that point. I doubt my niece and her parents shared the same perspective of “value.”

        2. I am in a similar situation…My mother 91yo her house basement and garage are full to the rafters. In the last ten years I have cleaned, organized, taken loads to the thrift stores and had an auction….but to no avail. Her house is so full of stuff it is uncomfortable because she continues to buy. She also moved important paperwork and other items from her safety deposit box to her home and placed them in various places in the house. We had agreed years ago to put things together in a safety deposit box for convenience. Her reason for doing this…the price went up. I offered to pay for the box as it would be helpful to me as her executor. My mom is very responsible except for this ? Obsession with stuff. I have voiced my concerns to her numerous times…her response, “Oh well, it will be like a treasure hunt” I am worn out and stressed out and do not want to spend the rest of my life sorting this out.

      2. My Mum, living on her own, latterly with Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia had accumulated collections over her life and began to hoard as well when the dementia took hold. My sister & I used to joke that when she died or had to go into care we would turn her house into a charity shop. But no joke when eventually it was decided by the authorities that she had to go into care as she was no longer safe living there and we had to clear her home so it could be sold to fund her care. It was so stressful even though she was a ‘a clean hoarder’. Charity shops who were initially enthusiastic began to feel overwhelmed by our repeat visits. A good example was her jigsaw collection, my husband stopped counting at 350 boxes. Then when a disabled chap came to choose some and we began opening the boxes we found each large puzzle had a medium box in with it and inside the medium puzzle box was, yes you guessed, another small puzzle!!! Hopefully I will leave a better situation for my daughter’s.

    2. That’s fantastic, well done you. I had to clear my Mom’s clothing, books and personal papers following her death recently and it’s a very depressing and sad task. My Dad has asked me to do the same for him now while he’s in reasonably good health. Your foresight is to be much admired and your family will benefit from your forward planning.

    3. I absolutely love this….you’re definitely paying it forward for your children & future generations! Sadly most items get tossed when “the time comes”

    4. Hi Linda,
      That is so awesome for you to do that for your sons as you get older. Last year my husband and I: resigned from teaching, moved back home (to our family ranch) and our starting a campground business.
      Now that we do not have the income we did before I have barely started to downsize on a lot of material things and really look at our finances differently. It is such a good feeling to start this journey. Thank you very much for sharing your information and being an inspiration.
      From Yolanda

    5. Good for you!! I have done about half the things you listed. You are an inspiration to get the rest done!. Thank you.

    6. Fantastic! May I copy your ideas?! I’m in my mid 60’s but if I start now, I may get ahead of the game. I try to donate 3 items per day in order to downsize from a lifetime of collecting. If something is no longer needed but I have a sentimental attachment, I take a photo to remember it.

    7. I’m turning 70 this year and I’ve been doing this for the past 5 years. I could have written what you listed. It gives me a sense of peace knowing that my sons will have very little to do when I’m gone.

    8. Hi Linda!
      This is great! When Mom moved to assisted living, she was able to get rid of so much stuff! (Much of which she now wishes she had kept!) Her move had me start on decluttering my home! I’ve stalled lately, but your comment and the article it’s attached to, have inspired me! We’re in our 60s, but it’s never too early!

    9. I’ve been doing a lot of that for 10 years and now I’m downsizing my home and moving across country. I’m so glad I’ve been doing that. It’s so much easier to pack with less.

    10. Linda, thanks for your ideas. I am doing the same thing. One idea I had is to buy large storage tubs and label them for each family member. I ask family what special items they would like from our house, pack items into their respective boxes, and write a description/ history of items to leave in their box. The rest is donated or sold. I don’t have to wonder what to leave my grandchildren. They have already selected what they like.

    11. Awesome advice! I screenshot this so I can show my husband! Living in Iowa I switch my seasonal clothing out twice a year. I box up what I’ve grown tired of or grown “out” of thru the winter and rather than donating out of season items I wait til the following Fall. This way if the weather changes (and it always does) I can hit that box or tub. Same thing with my Spring/Summer items. I have been actually getting down on what I store and don’t have the angst of donating something I’ll miss. As I get older I find I don’t need as much clothing as I used to and that also is a plus!

    12. That is considerate of you. When I last moved, as I was packing I would ask myself, if I die would my kids want this. If answer was no, out it went. Some things I wasn’t sure about I asked them n if answer was no, out it went. Only kept everyday things but even now I’m still getting rid of things. Never ending

    13. Linda Moore, we have done the same. We also went to the funeral home and planned our funerals and paid for everything, even the opening and closing of graves at cemetery. When I am not loading donations in car, I sit and think about what I might get rid of next. 😁

  5. Thoughtful article, thanks.

    When I have an itch to buy something, but don’t really need anything, I let myself browse online. I even put stuff in the cart. Then I let it sit at least overnight before I decide if I want to buy it. Usually I don’t really care about it the next day. And the urge to buy is gone.

    1. That’s what I do too!
      Most of what goes in the cart gets deleted within a couple of days.
      In fact putting stuff in the cart is also my way of doing comparison shopping. I am currently looking for a split ac for my son. So I put six I thought he would like in the cart. Now I can peacefully shortlist!

  6. I have stopped watching shopping channels on TV. I’ll watch and decide I really could use that item, piece of clothing or whatever. Ok, some are pretty cute. But the reality is that I wasn’t even thinking of buying anything before I tuned in to the show. Then you get in the mail and if you don’t want it it’s a pain to return. Now I just don’t watch!

    1. I stopped watching the shopping channels, too. I was spending a fortune on things I didn’t need or use. I have brand new things still in the box now that I’m retired, I sure wish I had the money I’ve wasted. 😢

      1. It’s very easy to sell items on Poshmark. I was amazed how much money I made selling my unneeded clothing and household items.

  7. I’ve been decluttering for awhile. I go to our library for books. I do have books I’m getting rid of. My husband wouldn’t let me get rid of anything. Since his passing I’m really decluttering. If I buy a piece of clothing I get rid of 2 pieces. I’m also taking one room at a time. I get overwhelmed easily. I’m now in the closet that’s the big one to declutter. I no longer buy to buy. If I don’t use it, it goes & I don’t buy to just buy. When you’re single you don’t need much.

    1. Im sorry for your loss.
      I did the same thing. I decluttered very successfully.
      Then I remarried after about 13 years. Back to clutter…his.
      I love him, but he’s a compulsive canteen shopper.

  8. Luckily, I was never trapped into most of these issues that causes clutter to start.

    The problem is my mother. She’s a hoarder, albeit not one that you can’t walk through her house, but enough that she’s working on decluttering now-and it’s coming to me or my sisters! I prefer this as she’s not letting it linger, but causing my own clutter.
    I trash, recycle, and/or ask my son if he wants the items. Otherwise, they are repurposed, donated or sold.

    As a business owner, I have 6,000 business cards. I have been working towards eliminating 20-50 a week by updating information. As I had many as long as 20 years, I do the updates to make sure I still need the card. The last time, I reviewed 20 cards, 18 cards were ditched due to invalid websites, emails or numbers. Of course, there is also the business is no longer a business.

    I started eliminating that clutter by taking pictures of cards/information.

    It also eliminates confrontation with the presenter if you really don’t wish to take their card.

    1. Usually when you move, you comb through the clutter and weed some out. If you don’t move, it doesn’t happen! I faced 32 years worth! My husband passed, and then I had too much! The children “helped” by urging the sale to motivate me. I sold it and due to health issues hadn’t been able to physically get rid of much. I had to get out and way too much was trashed by said children. Found myself replacing things that I really use. Several absolutely treasured items were accidentally tossed as well! I don’t regret downsizing, but I would have liked to do it mindfully. Grieving is not much of a motivator. Do it now, folks, so it goes more smoothly. You’re welcome. ♡

      1. I only shop when I have something in mind that I want to buy. No shopping just to look and have fun. Nope! And I only look at sale racks for women’s clothing. It really narrows my purchases as my choices are fewer. In addition, I buy quality from bricks and mortar stores. If something is not right, I can return it and not keep stuff because it was so cheap but I did not really like it.

  9. I have to disagree on one point…buy one get one free. Why not get the free one and give it to the local food bank? I have a box that I put food, etc. items in and when it is full I take it to the food bank. Just a thought. Sometimes when they say you get it free they actually charge you half price for each item and, of course, this is a different scenario.

  10. Thank you for this
    I have learnt a lot
    I have just taken frugality as one of my core value
    I had also decided from 1.6.2022 to 1.6.2023 i have enough clothes and shoes
    But after this I am going to look at books ,kitchen

  11. My mother hoarded fine things and junk, so after she passed, it took a long time to go through her home and items. I had retired early to provide caregiving to her so I opened a booth in an upscale antique mall and let go of all her fine furniture that didn’t appeal to me and lots of small collections she had. It made the process enjoyable for me since I am a hobby interior designer and it was fun to stage the booth and talk to customers! Once her items had sold, I began shopping to fill the booth, but closed it down as I went back to full time employment. The caregiving was very hard for me, but the end result provided me with a wonderful hobby business for a few years after. She would have loved knowing her treasures became treasures for others because she also LOVED to shop!

  12. I have almost decluttered my home to a place of maintainable. Now I’m starting on my family home and helping my father downsize some of the items accumulated by the family over many years. The garden shed was easy as old paints and bottles of this and that just went to the tip. Now I’m trying to put like withlike to prevent more purchases of items like batteries, bulbs, cleaning products. My dad’s method of storage is to place tge items in a carrier bag and it’s never seen again. I’m slowly getting rid of the carrier bags and finding so much . I don’t think we will ever have to by cleaning products again .

  13. I love kitchen gadgets (got it from my mom) but my space is limited so the rule is if I get something new it has to fit in the cupboard so that means something most often goes. I was surprised how well this worked for me.

    When we got our new home, a few years back, it was so pristine that it took me months to move a lot of our stuff back into the home. I ended up not putting up all the pictures that had been on the walls and no more knick-knacks. Less to dust and that means I am saving money by not buying every place we go.

    I loved this blog, found I am doing some things already and have new things to try.

  14. Thankyou for this info..I recently got my apartment painted after 16yrs but you would never know it but it was way over due.
    Now I want a fresh beginning.had my own apartment since I was 18yrs old with a 2yr old son..I love love decor but modern,clean organized things.
    I always felt everything has a place..Now that I’ll be 55 june 8 I get exhausted trying to keep my apartment perfect.I Love HomeGoods but I also am very mindful of a need or want..been dusting,wondering ect..since 13yrs
    I want a modernized 70ish look now but enough with the lamps,candles ect.
    I just put things on my steps n put a sign Free

  15. Windex windows ect..since I was 13🤦‍♀️PS I have alot of books on health,documentaries,self help..I’ll just purchase a nice ladder book shelf that doesnt take up space

  16. Loved this post Julianna. I think most of the clutter i used to have came from “good enough” items. Now I’m picky. If it’s not what I want and love I don’t get it. I also use the digital library. I’ve recently been trying to avoid buying NEW clothes and using thrift shops and Poshmark instead because of the sustainability/ethical issues. Another way to really cut down on buying stuff you don’t need is to check that the store actually has what your looking for online before you go. That way you aren’t reeled into buying stuff you don’t need cause you went to the store.

  17. We have two huge outdoor silos and I store almost everything in them. There are sections for each Holiday. I try to keep everything de – cluttered in our big old farmhouse. I learned a good trick from a French woman who said “ When buying something, if it’s not a “WOW!!” . it’s a “NO”. I also donate my old clothing to thrift stores. I constantly work on keeping everything organized. I have a few closets to work on again!

  18. Lots of great ideas and thoughts! Another deciding factor in what to keep is “How easy is it to clean?” I have only kitchen items that don’t take a lot of effort to clean and reassemble, etc. Almost all my clothes are washable and easy to keep stain free. Still a work in progress 🙂

  19. Advice on how to get people who love gift giving to stop. We personally gift money to others if and when we gift and have spoken up to those people who constantly gift unnecessary stuff to just gift but they don’t listen. I’ve even tried to explain why it’s a bad idea for the environment, we don’t use a lot of stuff given, you could save so much money not gifting to us. I feel so bad getting rid of these “unused gifts”.

  20. It’s amazing how one generation views items that we think are of value. Example my mother was a collector of very expensive fine china with the solid gold fringe on each dish. After her passing these where offered to the grandchildren. First question was can they be used it the microwave? Answer was NO and they said we don’t want them. So they where donated to church missionaries. As they say what is an antique to one person is junk to someone else.

    1. Excellent point! My mother has collected very expensive cut glass for years. It is beautiful but no one wants it anymore and the value has greatly depreciated.

  21. I no longer buy bottle water, although I do routinely buy Gatorade Zero or Fit because I tend to get dehydrated. Also no more paper towels , I use microfiber cloths to clean and make my own cleaning mix for tub and toilet. I use hydrogen peroxide for appliances and rubbing alcohol for sinks and counters.

  22. Thank you Juliana for the declutter your home advice. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article. I am not a hoarder but have experienced some buying frenzies in my lifetime and cluttered my closet and home with clothes n nick nacks for no reason. In the last ten years I have declutterd my home and am still working on it. I don’t buy anything unless I feel it’s something I need not want…I am very happy doing that and have saved my money along the way… thanks again for letting me revisit the declutter my home and closet..I feel free now

  23. To use cloths in the kitchen, get a new set for each meal, don’t leave them sit around to grow germs. I do this, and with the cloth napkins , sheets and bath towels, we still only have one load of “whites” most weeks.

  24. Recently our land lord decided she wanted to sell the Town House we had rented for almost 12 years, and we had to move. It may have been one of the most traumatic experiences I have ever been through. ( Not that I have never moved prior, but I am now 71 years old, and it was a very slow grueling process- Clearly… not the same. ) We moved from an upstairs/downstairs 2 bedroom/2 full bath home with a craft room & attic for ” overflow, ” to a one story duplex with two bedrooms and a garage. I had enough craft materials to literally open a craft shop. I had collected them over the years, and loved being able to just access materials for a project at will. There were, however, many things I no longer used, because I have Arthritis in my hands and am no longer able to do real fine work. I had to decide what I ” realistically” COULD still do, and was going to use here on out in this “winter season” of my life. I gave a lot of things away, and took the rest to my Thrift Store. It pretty much came down to Painting, and I kept my Scrapbooking materials to finish several albums I have already began. That allowed me to STOP buying beads, cross-stitching thread, tiny embellishments, felt, eyeballs, buttons….I could go on all day !

    I also can relate to everything you said about books ! I donated a plethora of “collections” I was going to read , ” down the road, ” and used the ROAD to drive down it, and fill up neighborhood little libraries all of my city ! I got it down to 2 small bookshelves containing my Art History books, my Van Gogh & Robert James Waller collections, a couple self-help books that I still benefit from, and a few Christian authors that I really like and actually read. I no longer buy books just because they look enticing.

    I am still whittling away at sorting, labeling, and getting rid of many things. Clothing is a culprit,( I am not a high-end buyer, but love older styles, and am fierce about accessories and things matching. ) Dishes, old china, and how many coffee cups does a woman really need ? ( Though each one tells a story ~)

    I love your Blog, and emails, which have been most helpful-and perhaps by the time I leave this old Earth, I may have my life in check ! I will probably always be a bit of an ” organized, borderline hoarder, ” however.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy the emails and posts, Christine. And I am so sorry you’re having to suddenly relocate. That does sound very stressful. It sounds like you’re making good progress. I hope you end up loving the new place.

      1. In the grocery store whenever I see “buy 4, get this price” I buy them, keep the one that I need and drive straight to the local food pantry and drop off the 3 to help someone that has less than I do.

    2. I admire what you have accomplished. Change can be difficult and challenging but also very rewarding. Your post has helped me as I approach my 71st birthday. Despite the fact that I have tried to de clutter with some success over the past few years… I need to make this a priority. Blessings to you.

  25. My home is pretty decluttered, but every time I go to my moms house, I grab all the catalogs and mailers and sit on the couch sending e-mails to the companies to unsubscribe her. I rarely see any when I go now, but there used to be huge piles every month. I never told her I do this, but she hasn’t complained about missing her LL Bean catalog Either.

  26. There are a few places around the country called “creative reuse centers.” These places often have secondhand art supplies. (Earth911 has a good list.) They are a good place to take your unused craft supplies. Don’t forget local teachers, either, who might like to have craft supplies. Books can sometimes be donated to your library: they often sell them at Friends of the Library fund-raising and the money goes back into the library. Also consider those little free libraries. If you don’t have one nearby, you could build one! Non-perishable food items you aren’t going to use can be put in little food pantries (similar to the little free libraries.) Habitat for Humanity, too, will often come and take your unwanted things away, saving you a trip – ours takes furniture, building supplies, books, and the kitchen sink! I part with my junk easier if I think someone else might be able to use it.

  27. Hello! I have become a more intentional shopper. I have become very mindful of what I am purchasing. I will literally stop and question myself on the potential purchase. And 99% of the time I don’t buy it (and that’s b/c I really don’t need it). And Julianna is spot-on with the savings aspect of it all. I am still plugging along with the decluttering process too! A little effort everyday can really amounts to big results by the end of the week/month (and I feel so much better for it). Thank you for all the open and honest chatting, as I was able to gain some new decluttering ideas (and hoping this will keep me motivated and I don’t feel like I am all alone with these challenges). I enjoy Julianna’s post and emails as they keep me on-track and they give me the kick in the pants to keep moving forward. It’s a process for sure! My current goal is to declutter 50% more than what I have been doing before the Holidays! Happy Holidays, be well and happy decluttering everyone!

  28. I’m in my mid 70’s, going through back and knee surgeries, unable to lift like I used to. The smartest thing I’ve ever done is hire a personal assistant/caregiver. We have decluttered the barn, the garage, my former classroom, each bedroom, closets, etc. I decide what to keep, toss, or donate and she puts it in a boxes, loads the stuff into her SUV and we take it to a local thrift store that day. She works quickly and tirelessly in ways I can’t any more. She knows how to list things online and find groups that can use my stuff. She organizes meeting places so no one is coming to my home. it has been a worthwhile investment for me. I didn’t mention that my husband is very opposed to de-cluttering. By having someone else put the boxes in her car and carrying them off, he never notices what goes.

  29. What a great read!!! In August we had to move out of our 3 bedroom 2 bath 2 car garage house and into a furnished trailer. You can imagine the decluttering that went on there!!! Then came Hurricane Ian in September and we lost all that we had, except for what was in our storage space. We’ve been living in a hotel since but will soon be moving into a permanent home. We’re in our low 60’s, and can’t afford to pay much for a rental & can’t buy a house so I will be definitely watching the clutter situation!!! Thanks for everyone’s help & suggestions as I will be using them to keep our “tiny” space clutter free!!! De-Clutter 2023!!!

  30. I have finally realized at 71 🙃 that it is past time to start purging and being more organized. We love having people over for dinner, our table will seat 12 comfortably. But…..each time I would have to clean everything off the table and move it to another room. FINALLY I get it! I’m wasting my time with things, it keeps me from enjoying life, building relationships and steals me from my peace of mind! first major, gigantic project, I have invited 20 dear young women to our home 1 1/2 months out for an evening of a light snack supper and a ‘Buy Nothing’ event. Asked them to bring 2-3 totes, and have fun picking and choosing and taking my stuff home! I have tried yard sales a few times, not worth my time, and this is my solution to get things out of my home and give to people that can and will use them. And it warms my heart that knowing maybe when they use that item, they will say, oh yeah, Mimi gave me that! 💗🥰. Anything left will be give to our local charities. Now if I can just get my husband to adopt this idea, I will be a happy girl! (And thank you Julianna for your FB page, I just found you!)

  31. I have fine china and crystal that I’ve asked my children if they want it. Of course, the answer was no. These items for this generation are replaced with mugs and pottery dish sets. These items I find letting go of difficult. I moved from North to South and a lot of clothing became irrelevant and went to goodwill stores. I was one to have a zillion mugs which I have tossed what I didn’t use or need (friends pointed this out). Decluttering is definitely a process which is a good habit to have and continue.

  32. wow. this blog on FB sure caused a stir with the mention of books. I am on both sides [?] I am a book lover that learned to curb my enthusiasm. History and humour at the top of my list, I found myself often ‘reinventing the wheel’. Tudor England and the U.S. civil war at the top, I discovered even the best of books had all pretty much the same information. [on point: Tudor history by Alison Weir, Antonia Fraser. Carolly Erickson] Some even had the same title. I reduced the number by keeping the ones with text/style I felt were an ‘easier’ more captivating read, [David Starkey being the exception as he is a stand-out historian] put the de-facto duplicates in a yard sale and they were happily snapped up by a home-school family. Books of many, many topics and genres can be bought in thrifts and an equal number re-donated to keep the clutter down. I have a shelf or two of ALWAYS keep, then continually re-evaluate what I have, if it’s a pete or a ‘re-pete’ and try to be honest if I will ever read again.

  33. Instead of having a new photo album printed for every occasion, I choose the 10 to 20 most beautiful photos per calendar year and keep them in a nice folder.

  34. I love your articles and advice on decluttering. My question is how do you actually get these things out of your home without putting a lot of stuff in the trash? I try to donate things to charities/schools/etc., but it seems that a fair amount of stuff is unwanted and would end up in the trash/landfills which is tough for a crazy recycler/composter like me. Can you advise?

  35. I say “cute” is a four-letter word for me. I would buy things because they are cute. Certainly, these cute things weren’t useful or practical or needed. If I hear myself saying, “Oh, this is CUTE,” I know to move along.

  36. Thanks for this thoughtful list! My biggest problem of the 15 is buying something extra to get free shipping. I rarely shop anymore because I no longer use shopping as a hobby. But still when I do, and I see that little flag that says, just $3.41 away from FREE shipping, I almost always look for something else. Of course, it’s never $3.41 — it’s usually six or seven dollars. Ah well. I’ll try to hear your voice in the future!

  37. I love these kinds of posts, as we’re a large family that lived “tiny” and mobile for a few years so we had to be great at constantly evaluating if we were bringing too much stuff into our space.

    We’ve had a smallish house now, stationary, as the C19 lockdowns changed a lot about our traveling. And now we are about to make another move in April to a new acreage so I’m looking around the place to declutter stuff we’ve accumulated since upscaling to an actual house.
    My “issues”…if I call them that… is that the world is very different since C19 and we see the breakdown in supply chains (hubby owns a small transport company), inflation rising drastically, etc. So now I’m not as keen to let some of my stuff go 🙂 Since we already own it, it might come in handy in the future, to use or barter, or whatever.

    We still live pretty simply, like I make my own household cleaners, tinctures, etc. So we don’t have drawers of skin care, hair care, toothpastes, etc. But that means I’ve collected extra white vinegars, tubs of shea butter, etc. that I can make future products from. Items to barter with, or sell in the future when demand is higher because supplies are lacking.

    And books…love love love books as an unschooling mama of 30+ years. I’ve gotten rid of tons of books (& quite a few DVD’s…but never had a big collection of them) but I believe in having/keeping good reference type books. We might not always be able to access books or movies online, so a plant identification book/pamphlet in hand can be worth keeping.

    I am thinking of a big change when it comes to my wardrobe, though. I’ve been guilty of taking freebies that I don’t currently need just because they’re offered and they still have lots of wear available. I’m also currently losing weight via carnivore way of eating, so fitting into clothes I’ve gotten free in the past 2 years…the ones I took in hopes that one day I’ll fit in them. And now I DO!! So I can easily pass on the ones that are too big for me now…that’s a great feeling.
    My new plan re: clothes…I’m looking to create more of a capsule wardrobe. I did a challenge with wool.and company, wearing 10 items of clothing for 10 days. So now before my big household move, I want to scale down my entire wardrobe into a capsule of sorts, and pass everything else on. If I can hold myself to only purchasing great quality clothes (usually have higher price tags, which should help limit them, too!) then that would be a win. Better for the world, better for our pocketbook.

    Sorry, that was long. But I love your posts, even if I don’t share comments often.

  38. Much of what I own is my academic level library. I cannot get these rare books anywhere else. It has taken me years to acquire and yes I use them. I cannot read a book on line. I have to print it out in order to read it. My brain does not work like that. I also have lots of canning. I can my own food. That is what much of my stuff is. I am in a small house with little storage. I need work clothes ie stuff that gets oily, and torn up. I canot wear this in town. I need clean and not torn up clothiing for shopping and dr apts. I need skirts for churh. I need clothing for single digit temps as well as 100 + days. I need specialized kitchen stuff for some of my cooking. I could not cook without it. Its what I like to eat. The problme is a house with 30 in wide cabinets, small rooms and little other storage. No garage. I need a larger house. Problem is not much for sale with acreage. I could not live in a small lot situation. How do you grow your food? Where can you put your shop building? ugh. so many people moving here not much for sale that is not on tiny lots

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *