7 Things You Can Get Rid of to Start the New Year Off on a Good Foot

year ago

As the year is drawing to a close, it’s the perfect time to pay any outstanding debt, complete important tasks, and — last but not least — get rid of unnecessary junk! We all have useless things sitting at home, including stuff we don’t even remember buying. These redundant items clutter not just our shelves, but our lives as well, preventing us from having a fresh start!

1. Paper trash

Cause of appearance: laziness. Usually, we can’t be bothered to look through various receipts and notebooks to determine whether or not we still need them. It’s easier to dump these pieces of paper on a shelf than to decide which ones are worth getting rid of. Examples of such paperwork include:

  • Old bills and receipts
  • Gadget manuals and warranties
  • Advertising flyers and booklets
  • Old postcards and magazines
  • Useless documents and certificates

How to avoid this:

Don’t let useless documents and more pile up at home — get rid of them right away! Keep in mind that manuals and certificates are available in electronic form. As for the papers that might still be useful, they’ll all fit in a single table drawer. Check this drawer regularly to see whether the contents are still relevant. Additionally, make it a rule to look through your bags and wallet every evening, removing unwanted receipts, shopping lists, and flyers!

2. Expired products

Cause of appearance: forgetfulness. It’s impossible to memorize the expiration dates of all the foods and medicines you have lying around. And constantly checking dates takes up too much time, diverting us from more interesting activities. As a result, many products outstay their welcome. This is especially true of:

  • Medicines
  • Spices
  • Grains and cereals
  • Beauty products

How to avoid this:

Regularly inspect your fridge and cupboards, checking products’ expiration dates. You should do this at least once a month. By the way, such inspections might prompt you to prepare a new, imaginative dish or to experiment with makeup. So this actually could be fun!

3. Broken or damaged things

Cause of appearance: failure to solve household problems in time. A faulty coffee maker, a boot that’s missing its heel, a broken e-book reader...it’s better to take the damaged thing to the repair shop as soon as possible. If you keep putting this off, chances are, you don’t really need the thing anymore! The likely examples of this include:

  • Damaged clothes and shoes
  • Faulty appliances
  • Broken umbrellas, jewelry, and other accessories

How to avoid this:

Set yourself a deadline for getting broken things fixed (let’s say, a month). If during this time, you fail to do something about the malfunctioning item, then it has no use to you anymore, period!

4. Unwanted presents

Cause of appearance: various holidays for which it is customary to exchange gifts. All too often, people have neither the skill nor the desire for choosing nice or useful presents. Yet, traditions must be observed...

How to avoid this:

To prevent worthless stuff from amassing at home, ask your relatives and friends in advance not to buy you trinkets. It’s better to make a list of things you’d truly like to have, and share it with those who genuinely want to buy you a nice present.

5. Things set aside for future occasions

Cause of appearance: our habit of keeping things that are of no use right now, but might come in handy on some grand future occasion. We always tend to believe that the best is yet to come. There’s nothing wrong with that but such an approach leads to buying/keeping items that, most likely, will never get the chance to shine. We’re talking about things like:

  • Clothes that don’t fit you right now
  • Clothes and shoes that are out of season
  • Dinner sets for big occasions
  • Outfits intended for some possible future event (such as a dream date)

How to avoid this:

Purchase only items you need right now. Avoid buying things on sale and try not to hoard stuff “just in case”.

6. Things related to memories

Cause of appearance: Our desire to hold onto memories by tying them to objects. Over time, we amass too many of these mementos. What’s more, the memories they represent become less important. In any case, there are better ways of keeping the past from fading away. For instance, you won’t forget a vacation abroad if you make sure to try national dishes and take part in local festivals. Fridge magnets and other souvenirs are nothing compared to vivid emotions and experiences! As for the things worth getting rid of, they include:

  • Old letters
  • Gifts from our exes
  • Childhood toys
  • Old movie, concert, or exhibition tickets
  • Souvenirs

How to avoid this:

Get rid of useless mementos and try not to amass a fresh batch. As for the things that are too dear to part with, store them in a special box or folder. As a rule, you should keep all your souvenirs in one place. This way, you’ll have no difficulty sorting through them and can remove the things that no longer matter while occasionally adding new ones.

7. Things that might come in handy “someday”

Cause of appearance: excessive thriftiness and fear of scarcity. Try to keep in mind that you can easily buy, repair, or replace almost any item. It’s not worth keeping useless things at home just because there’s a slight chance you might need them down the line. The stuff in question includes:

  • Ragtag small items and spare parts that serve no clear purpose
  • Spare buttons and thread
  • Empty jars and boxes
  • Accessories for hobbies that you’re no longer fond of

How to avoid this:

No matter how many things you hoard, this still won’t make you immune to various household crises. In the end, you’ll just spoil your living space with pointless rubbish. Stop turning your home into a junk-shop. Unless you’re living on a desert island, you can always borrow the items you need from friends or neighbors!

What can you do with all these useless things?

So, does all this unwanted stuff have to go in the trash bin? Not at all! There are many ways you can put these items to good use.

  • Donate things to shelters and other volunteer organizations. For instance, jackets with broken zippers and old bedclothes can give warmth to homeless animals, making their lives a little more comfortable.
  • Take your old books and magazines to public libraries. Also, you can hook up with book collectors or leave some of the books at the nearest bookcrossing point. Why not put a small note between the pages; this way, you might even acquire new, interesting friends!
  • Give useless objects a second life. The Internet is full of advice on how to make new and useful things out of virtually anything. Besides, nice handmade items are always in fashion.
  • Finally, you can put some of your unwanted stuff up for sale, posting ads online or in local newspapers. This way, you’ll not only help others find desired things, but you’ll also make some money in the process.

Why getting rid of junk is a good thing

  • You’ll free up your living space. This will immediately make your rooms less stuffy. Additionally, house cleaning will become much easier.
  • Some memories keep us from moving forward, hindering our self-development. The fewer items in your home remind you of the past, the more chances you’ll have of building a successful future!
  • Getting rid of old things is highly motivating. This simple step might prompt you to start a new life or to move to a more dynamic neighborhood. At the very least, you’ll be able to finally buy that dream dress, you know, the one you’ve wanted forever but kept being discouraged by the abundance of old dresses you already had in your wardrobe. And then who knows — changing your image might lead to finding a better job or making new friends!

We at Bright Side wish you a happy holiday season! May the new year bring fresh opportunities for personal freedom and creativity! Do you have other neat solutions for getting rid of unnecessary things? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Please note: This article was updated in December 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Illustrated by Anastasiya Pavlova for Bright Side


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Always a nice and understandable point of view...mine are every bit as sïmple but need lots of explenation. you wont get t


Keeping broken things is one of my problems and I really should just give them to the garbage truck


Good wakeup call, I'm gonna fix my shoes tomorrow ? I've been wanting to do it for 3 weeks


Reminds me of my mom, she needs to get this tool to remove ice from the windshield of the car because her old one broke, says she always forgets to pass the car store.. it's right next to the product store that she visits 3x a week ???


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