If you’re a hoarder it’s probably for one of three reasons.
1. You’re afraid of throwing away something that you might need in the future.
2. You hate waste.
3. You have sentimental attachments to lots of stuff.
All of these reasons are totally valid, however if you allow each of them to become excuses you won’t ever throw anything away and then you’ll become like one of those people on TV with 16 birds in your house that don’t live in cages and your couch is a stack of newspapers from 1992. Here’s how to throw things away that are cluttering up your life. I’m talking about items that are useless, broken or un-giftable. I’m a huge believer in giving items away and recycling things but sometimes, sometimes you’ve got to be a grown up and chuck that stuff away. Here’s how.
How to Throw Things Away Like A God Damn Grown Up
Old Magazines and Newspapers
Most magazines are monthly and most newspapers are daily so by the time the new edition of either has been released, the previous edition should be gone from your home. If you collect certain magazines, that’s fine, but limit your collections to one or two titles or be super brave and ditch this habit completely. I used to collect Frankie magazines but after a few years I realised I had a pile of out-of-date magazines that I never had the time to re-read so their only purpose seemed to be making moving house a nightmare. Although it’s a beautiful publication and letting go of the collection wasn’t easy, I haven’t once regretted ditching them. I actually tried to give them away but no one wanted them. So I recycled them. You may be really attached to your 30-year-old mint condition collection of Wallpaper magazines but what purpose do they serve other than to add clutter to your life? Just have a think about it.
I was at a friend’s house not long ago and he was packing up dinner leftovers. He grabbed a plastic container from the cupboard, and although the container was clean he saw that there was a ring of crusty and irremovable scum around the inside of the container, he said ‘Ew!’ and promptly put it back in the cupboard and selected another container. Throw. That. Shit. Out. I understand that people hate waste, believe me I’m a toothpaste tube cutter from way back but if something in your home becomes un-useable through wear and tear you need to throw it away. You could also chuck it in a corner of the garage with 50 other gross plastic containers to use ‘one day’ but I can guarantee you will only use about 5% of them. Be in control and throw it away.
If socks have holes in them, throw them away. Laddered tights? Throw them away. Underwear that has lost it’s elastic? In. The. Bin. I love to upcycle and recycle as much as anyone but there are very few ways for you to reuse shreds of material that have spent years cupping your nether regions. Do not donate them to charity because no ones wants your skanky grundies. Just pick them up and chuck them in the bin. Do it.
If you offer it to friends and there’s no takers you have few options other than to chuck it in a corner of your garage because you can’t bring yourself to throw it away or you can just throw it away. Chuck it in the hopper, take it to the tip or leave it on the street for hard rubbish collection if your city does that. If it’s broken and un-fixable and no one else wants it, get rid of it. There is absolutely no point in keeping furniture that is broken beyond repair.
Confession: I’m a bit of a sap and if there’s one thing that I tend to hoard it’s little notes, birthday cards and random little gifts from friends that I’ve collected over the years. I keep anything truly meaningful like cards from Mr Smaggle but I ditch EVERYTHING else. Any card that says ‘Dear Carly, have a rad birthday love from Insert Friends Name’, wedding invites, birthday invites, thank you cards, Christmas cards, cards from students and crap from old boyfriends get thrown in the bin. I have a friend who has about 10 shoeboxes, each one dedicated to an ex-boyfriend and she’s MARRIED now. It’s insane. I understand keeping a sweet note or necklace from an ex but a whole box full of crap including an empty Maltesers packet from the first time you went to the movies is a bit overkill, especially if you aren’t even with that person anymore.
Bank Slips and Misc Papers
You only need to keep the last 7 years of your payment slips, bank statements and tax return documents. The rest can be shredded and recycled. What about that box of papers you brought home from that job you quit 10 years ago? Do you need those? Nope. Didn’t think so. Recycle them. What about every university assignment you’ve ever done? That poorly researched essay that you wrote about Madame Bovary that you got 51% for? Do you need that? Nope? Recycle it. What about all the text books you spent a fortune on and weren’t able to sell? Recycle them. Giving stuff like this valuable real estate in your home isn’t going to give you any more value for money out of them. Ditch them.
DVDs and CDs
It’s been about 6 years since I’ve had a DVD or CD player in my home, however up until about a two years ago, I had shelves FULL of CDS and DVDS. I finally copied all my CDS and DVDS onto a hardrive and I donated the hard copies to charity and to be perfectly honest if Spotify and Netflix had been as awesome back then as they are now, I wouldn’t have even wasted four days copying them. I know this sounds drastic and many people can’t cope with the concept of ditching all their CDS but if you literally can’t remember the last time you put a disc in a machine then you need to cleanse yourself of that mess.
Also… Don’t Buy Cheap Shit
This is the most important point. If you continue to spend money on poorly manufactured crap your imprint on the earth is going to be massive. It took me a really long time to realise that buying one horrible $20 fry pan every year adds up to a beautiful $120 (on sale) Scanpan over the course of six years. Same goes with plastic lunch containers. 10 x $3 supermarket lunch containers = 1 awesome Tupperware lunch container that you can RUN OVER WITH A CAR and it won’t break. Start making better purchasing choices and you’ll save both the planet and your wallet.
Do you have problems throwing things away? Are you inspired to throw away anything you’ve been holding on to for too long?