10 Tips to Declutter without Regret

How to Declutter without Regret

Determining what items to let go is an important part of the decluttering process.  Having fewer items in a space instantly makes the space feel less cluttered. The problem with throwing things away, is that sometimes you may need it later and find yourself repurchasing the same item. That can be extremely frustrating!  I currently have curtains still in the packaging that I purchased 2 years ago.  I have about 5 yards of unused Tulle and Sequins that I purchased for my wedding over 3 year ago. I’ve held on to these items because I might need them some day. Letting go of unused items can be a huge source of regret, especially if the items were expensive.

I currently have a basement full of furniture and collectibles from deceased relatives.  It can be challenging to let go of objects that were cherished by someone you loved who is no longer here. You want to respect their memory, but their heirlooms may just be sitting around collecting dust. Discarding their belongings may feel like you are disrespecting their legacy. Ultimately if heirlooms are cluttering your home, you have to let some of them go to live clutter free.

How to Declutter without Regret?

To declutter without regret, discard expired items, temporarily store things that you might need, and invest in storage to organize the items that you decide to keep. 

To Declutter without Regret, Start with Expired Food Items

Expired items are a great place to start. There will be no regret when discarding expired items.  Inspect the pantry and the fridge and find all of the items that have expired and throw them out.  Some of the usual suspects in my pantry are canned goods that “never expire”, pasta, & cereal. In the fridge half used bottles of salad dressing , sauces, and left overs are often on the toss list when I clean out the fridge.

When you toss expired items there is zero regret because you would have had to repurchase them anyway!

Some cosmetics also have an expiration Date, It is OKAY to let those items go to declutter without regret.

Similar to food some cosmetics have recommend shelf lives.  Trying new cosmetics can be exciting! It can also lead to quite the stash of skin care items, makeup,  and Bath & Body products. Maybe you prefer your tried and true skin cream to the “miracle” skin cream you wanted to try. That is OK! You can check the back of cosmetic containers and some have an image indicating the shelf life. The clock on cosmetic shelf life typically starts when you open the product.  Most of my cosmetics have a shelf life of 6 to 12 months.

Here are some examples:

Most sunscreens only last for one year so if there is snow on the ground and you don’t have a winter getaway plan you can discard unused sunscreen.

Nail polish: if it is dried out toss it.

Temporarily Store Items that you “Might Need” to Declutter without Regret

Do you have a stash of crafting   gear paper, buttons, etc that are collecting dust?  Perhaps a closet full of clothes, some of which you have not warn in years? Or maybe a growing stash of magazines?

To Declutter without Regret, consider gifting or donating items from deceased Relatives

Throwing a loved one’s cherished items away is difficult. So try gifting , selling, or donating deceased loved ones belongings. We started by going through the boxes and deciding what items we wanted to keep. We offered close friends and relatives of the deceased the opportunity to take a few items if they wanted. After that we held an estate sale. We donated some of the furniture. Posted some of the furniture on Facebook Market place cheaply or for free.  We still have a way to go, but in order to respect the memories of our loved ones we are trying hard to avoid throwing things away.  If/When we finally do have to resort to throwing things away, there will be little to no regret.

Sell Expensive unused items to make space and Declutter without Regret

Maybe you purchased an exercise machine with the intent to use it frequently, but it is currently sitting around collecting dust.  Perhaps you stocked up on gear for a new sport, but only played a few times.  These items are in good conditions, but you haven’t used them in a while. They may have been pricey and you MIGHT want to use them again someday.

The real regret in these situations is that you purchased something and did not use it as much as you had planned. That is okay.  List your item for sale on an online marketplace. Selling the item, helps you to recover some of the cost of the item, this helps to ease the regret of throwing the item away.

Add Additional Storage to give your items a home, and declutter without regret.

Our bathroom sink always felt cluttered. Everything “cluttering” it belonged in the bathroom. Facial soap, facial moisturizer, brushes, comps, etc. After discarding items that we no longer used. The Kitchen sink still felt cluttered. The issue was that we needed a place to tuck away our cosmetics when they were not in use.

We purchased a wall cabinet and mounted it over the toilet. Now we have a space to tuck away our cosmetics when they are not in use.  Leaving the bathroom sink clutter free.

Storage ottomans & coffee tables with storage provide great functional storage. I use my storage ottoman to store extra blankets and board games. I use the drawers on the side of my coffee table to tuck away chargers when they are not in use.

To Declutter without Regret, get organized!

I tried to use “catch all” baskets to declutter. I just ended up with several catch all baskets and never sure what was in each basket. Any time I needed to find something I had to look through several of the catch all baskets. I also kept purchasing catch all baskets because they would eventually fill up and run out of space. Catch all baskets can be good short time, but it is important to find a space for everything you want to keep.

You can declutter without regret by organizing junk drawers, using baskets & bins in an organized way. Keeping like items together and tucked out of sight will allow you to keep your belongings.

Repurpose or Renew items to declutter without Regret

Do you have a lot of empty shoe boxes laying around? You could decorate them and use them as storage for other items.

Sell clothes with tags to Declutter without Regret

Have you ever bought something and never gotten around to wearing them and probably never will? If they have been hanging in your closet for over a year or they no longer fit, it can be hard to get rid of them.  You may regret getting rid of these clothes because it feels like you wasted money on them. TO avoid the regret associated with getting rid of them, you can sell them at a reduced price on an online market place. There are tons of online marketplaces to sell clothing.  Create an account and recover some of the cost of the clothes you never got around to wearing. 

Sell or Donate baby items to Declutter without Regret

I currently have a room full of baby clothes, bibs, bottles. I am holding on to those things for now, since we are expecting our second. However, if you are DONE with having children. Donate, gift or sell gently used baby items.  These items will be more useful to someone, who currently has or is currently having a baby, so there should be little regret with parting with these items.

Get Rid of Ridiculously Old Electronic Adapters to Declutter without Regret

I am guilty of this as well. I still have chargers for phones that I haven’t used in over 3 years. “Just in Case”. I’ve never had to actually use them, so I will be discarding them when I start decluttering. Recommend you throw any chargers for devices you no longer use. Also recommend getting rid of any chargers that you are uncertain of what device they belong to.  

Mimi D.

Mimi D is the creator of Dream Plan Smile. An NYC native, she is a wife and mom with a passion for crafting. She holds a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Project Management. In her current role as a working wife and mom, she is getting a crash course in budgeting, planning, & organization.

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