In my work over the past decade, I’ve learned that most people own things just because they were told somewhere along the way that they should own them. Today is the day I break the news: you don’t have to own anything you don’t want or need! Here are the top 5 things that you don’t actually need to own:
We nixed the microwave when we opened up our kitchen and lost an entire wall of storage space. I thought it would be the end of days, but turns out we’re all ok. In fact, my kids noticed that reheating food in a skillet or on a baking sheet actually makes the food taste better. Good-bye soggy leftovers! Since we’re on the subject, it might be time to let those other bulky occasional appliances go – waffle makers, ice-cream machines, panini press, rice cookers, juicers…question how often you use these beasts, and make sure they are worth the space they take up in your kitchen or pantry.
Office Supply Overload
Sorry, not sorry. You do not need a massive collection of paperclips, post-its, thumbtacks, highlighters… you get the picture. Think about what you actually use in any given week and curate your collection carefully. I stock my own home office with a set of matching pens, scissors, a stapler, and a stack of index cards for notes and to-do lists. Everything else can stay at Office Depot.
Cards + Gift Wrap
I recognize that occasionally you have to write someone a card, or give a birthday or holiday gift, but I am consistency blown away by the sheer volume of this category that lives in the average home. I’m talking dozens of rolls of gift wrap, twisted up ribbons in every color, crumpled gift bags in every shape and size imaginable, drawers overflowing with gift cards and tags. It is simply not necessary – not to mention a pain to store and manage! Here’s what I suggest: A roll or two of neutral wrapping paper (I love natural craft paper) coupled with a few rolls of ribbon or twine and a set of gift tags and blank cards. Reclaim your drawers and thank me later!
I’ve seen it all in this category – dusty scrapbooking supplies from college, endless bags of knitting, canning goods, you name it. Unless you are actively practicing this hobby, let it go! If you decide to take up knitting/scrapbooking/under-water photography in the future, you can rent, buy, or borrow the gear you need. Until then, let’s reclaim your living spaces and donate these supplies to people who currently have the time, energy, and interest to make use of them.
The Precious China
Most of us have been sold a bill of goods that we need to invest in (and then store for the rest of our lives) a full set of precious wedding china. Now, here’s the deal – if you host elaborate dinner parties and actually use your china, we don’t have a problem. However if you’re like the other 99% of the population, your sets of china are withering away in a cupboard or attic or basement collecting a film of dust. I once had a client who had inherited so much fine china from family members that her entire house was overflowing and her living spaces were no longer functional. My suggestion – if you want to keep a token for posterity sake, choose one teacup (or plate or bowl) from each collection and donate the rest.
What items are you hanging on to simply because you feel like you have to? What items could you let go of now without really feeling the impact? I’d love to know!
PS. If you’ve inherited items and don’t know what you should keep, check out this post.
Image Credit: Vivian Johnson Photography
13 comments on “You Don’t Actually Need To Own These 5 Things”
When my mom passed away at 85 a few years ago, I inherited so much household stuff. You name it. Everything from that era. My grandmother’s china, sterling server ware, decorative decor, art, lamps, sterling trays and bowls, photo albums, Xmas decorations, etc. I reframed all of the art that I liked and hung it. If it wasn’t used, I let it go.I am down to a few photo albums to re-do. Slowly letting things go, but this is very difficult and only time seems to help me put a perspective on the sentimentality of these objects.
Barbara, thank you so much for sharing. It’s a challenging process and glad the passage of time has made it a bit easier.
Reading this felt like you were speaking directly to me! I listened to the Brooke Castillo podcast where you spoke about organization and holding on to items for no legitimate reason. I started with my sock drawer, which was 95% old Halloween accessories, soccer socks from high school (I’m 32….), and random charging cables. A week later and I have already donated two entire trash bags full of unworn clothes and still have two more closets to go through! I had an ENTIRE DRAWER of participant T-shirts! My crafts and art supplies are collecting dust in my closet and I’m eager to be able to breathe easier without so much distraction and guilt lingering over my head for not using them anymore!
Hilary – Love this! Keep up the great work. And the full drawer of participant t-shirts is incredible! Xx
Clothes are not my issue, but books and papers, as well as things from family members (deceased or otherwise) definitely are. : /
We do love our microwave and use it constantly, though! : )
I would like to think that my house inspired this post. With the exception of the microwave, which is indispensable, I think you covered all my flaws!
These are so universal, and the microwave seems to be the most controversial:)
One of your best posts ever!
We see inside so many houses, it’s funny how the trends emerge.
One time my friend’s husband was defending his need for multiple pairs of shoes. Knowing him, and having just worked in a couple of closets that week, I guessed he had 32 pair.
He went home and counted that night.
He had 32 pair. !!!!
So, yes. We are experts on what most people have too many of.
I think this post deserves a sequel… Looking forward to it. :o)
That’a pretty impressive!
So glad you enjoyed this one 🙂
We lived without a microwave for 4 years. I loved it and didn’t miss it at all. However, my husband works from home and I realized that he was running out and picking up food 3 out of 5 days for lunch! We purchased a small, doesn’t even fit a dinner plate!, size microwave and now he eats at home! I admit I have made the grandkids microwave popcorn a couple of times but haven’t used it for myself at all!
That sounds like a perfect solution!
We lived without the microwave for over 3 years after downsizing to 1200 sqft. I realized that my husband, who works from home, was going out to eat 4 out of 5 days because he didn’t want to “take the time to heat up leftovers.” I purchased a tiny microwave for him, doesn’t even hold a dinner plate, and he’s happy!
Ha ha china good one! I didn’t even care about it but my parents we’re really into the idea. I’ve used it once 🙁