I am moving to LA in precisely five days and I need to pare down my apartment at least by half because I am essentially moving into a really nice, spacious closet with zero storage. I have two closets, but one of them holds a massive furnace, and I’m worried that if I put anything in there, it will ignite and set my apartment complex on fire which would probably be very embarrassing. So, for the last week I’ve playing the "Do You Actually Need This Or Do You Just Think You Need This" game with all of my belongings. It’s been an emotional week, to say the least, but my life already feels way more organized and decluttered, so at least there's a silver lining.
If you’re moving too, you’ll probably need to make some similar decisions. You know my struggle. Even if you’re upgrading your new digs and have closets and cabinets galore, it’s still best if you toss some old or superfluous junk before you move in. The less clutter we have in our lives, the better. Plus, you won't melt into a puddle of frustration and despair when you’re unpacking an overwhelming amount of crap you don't actually care about nor use. So in the spirit of getting down to the most essential and most beloved items, and liberating yourself of the stuff you don't really need/want, here are 17 things you definitely need to either throw out or donate (and always try to go with the latter—it’s an awesome way to give back, and you’ll also get a tax write-off).
1. The Crockpot you got from Grandma that you barely ever use
I love my Crockpot in theory. You get to throw a bunch of stuff into a pot in the morning and nine hours later when you get home from work, you are blessed with a delicious meal fit for a queen, or at least for a person who really likes stews. Sounds amazing, right? It's convenient; I will give it that. However, the thing about a Crockpot is that very few people actually take the time in the morning to fill it with stuff, so mostly it just sits in that cabinet full of Kitchen Stuff You Would Use If You Actually Cooked Which You Don't Because Seamless. Also, anything you can do with a Crockpot, you can do with a normal pot—you just have to actually babysit your dinner while it cooks, which can be the worst. I know. But it will save much-needed room in your kitchen, trust me.
2. The books you know perfectly well that you will never read
We all have at least an entire row of those behemoth anthologies we have no reason to ever pick up, or books we've read and don't even like, and all of those need to go. Unless you plan on teaching in the future, I really doubt you will need to brush up on your Victorian British literature anytime soon. Pick a few that really speak to you. Donate the rest to college students who will actually use them, or make some extra cash and sell them on Amazon.
3. That mug with a crack in it that you’re sentimentally attached to
It might be from 1994 and make you think of your childhood bestie from preschool, but how many times a day do you actually think about this mug? Do you really, really need this thing? Is it vital to your existence? Ask these questions as you're going through your nostalgia treasure chest.
4. Your waffle maker. Face it, you’re better off going to IHOP.
When is the last time you used your waffle maker? Maybe two years ago? Unless you are That Waffle Person who is always having people over for brunch and making actual waffles, you should totally give this sucker to someone who will appreciate it more.
5. Christmas lights that kind of, almost, sort of, sometimes work
Christmas lights are expensive, and always nice to have in the event of a porch party or, ya know, Christmas, but bringing shoddy lights with you is pointless. If they're broken, release them to Christmas Light Heaven.
6. Any articles of clothing you have not worn in the last year
Chances are, you will never wear that Forever 21 crop top you bought three years ago, or the metallic leggings from American Apparel that were soooooo rad in 2009. Cleanse your closet of its impurities, and give yourself an excuse to go shopping as soon as you move. (Yes, I'm possibly using this article to justify the shopping I plan to do as soon as I move. Sue me.)
7. That random piece of furniture you’ve kept for no reason
Mine is an old table my grandma gave me that I liked because it's old and vintage-y, and it holds my record player, and I really like it. But it's also falling apart because it's at least 50 years old, and it doesn't match the rest of my furniture. Whether you got it from a family member, a flea market, or a yard sale, if it doesn't match, doesn't work, or just isn't necessary, stop letting it take up space in your home.
8. Those $40 bookcases from Target with shelves that bend
Time to upgrade, babe! You're a grown-up who needs grown-up bookcases that aren't put together with high-grade plastic.
9. Your unframed Pulp Fiction/Marilyn Monroe/Led Zeppelin posters
If you're older than 21, you have no business to be taping up tired, iconic movie and band posters on our bedroom wall anymore. And if you absolutely cannot part with Samuel Jackson and John Travolta cooly holding up guns, then at least frame it.
10. Cleaning products you won’t need in your new apartment
If you're moving to an apartment with all hardwood floors, you have to ditch that carpet cleaner, and maybe even that vacuum. (Hooray! No more vacuuming!)
11. All those beauty samplers, because you don’t actually need them (and there will always be more)
Don't worry, my fellow beauty junkies—you will amass more mini-tubes of lipstick, lotion, and mascara in no time. Nothing grosser than old, worn-out, unused cosmetics. Yuck. Please chuck.
12. Beat-up, tattered luggage
Luggage takes up a lot of space, as I have come to realize, and you might as well make sure it's decent. If the zipper hasn't properly zipped in ages, and it was never fancy enough to bother getting repaired, or it's beyond repair, stop acting like it's doing you any good. Maybe use it to haul all of your other cast-offs to the donation center.
13. Those stained bedsheets. I know you have them. Throw them out.
For some reason, Target's jersey t-shirt sheets absorb stains like it's a competitive sport, and once they've made contact with orange chicken or coffee, your bed sheet game is over. If you keep them, you will look like you had an "accident" in bed, which is not a good look.
14. Your massive pile of magazines
Either throw them away, or use them to wrap dishes while you pack. Look at you, being all resourceful.
15. Anything you ex gave you
You don't need this kind of bad juju in your personal space. Always make way for ~The New And Less Dysfunctional~.
16. Important Papers: Go through them
Legal documents, taxes, pay stubs, DMV documentation...all of that. Sift through what you actually need, and make sure it's filed and in order, because you never actually know when you'll need to prove you're a real human being.
Images: Mbtrama/Flicker; Giphy(6)