You’ve been on a decluttering mission lately, and you’ve made amazing progress. You can finally see the finish line, but there’s this nagging feeling you’re forgetting something. Before it drives you completely crazy, check this list of 14 places people forget to declutter.
I know what you’re thinking, you’re certain you checked every nook and cranny. You followed all the tips on decluttering your home the easy way and smashed through the typical decluttering roadblocks.
The difference is visually obvious in every room of your home, and you know you rocked it, but that nagging feeling just won’t go away. Let’s call it women’s intuition, and you know as well as I that you shouldn’t ignore it.
So go on, check out the places people forget to declutter, so you can put your mind at ease.
14 Places People Forget to Declutter
You’re human, and you’re definitely not alone. We all miss something at some point in life.
Some people forget their keys when they’re walking out the door, because they aren’t sitting right next to their purse. Others forget to clean certain spots in their homes because they’re so busy.
It happens. You’re so focused on what’s in front of you, that you forget about what’s hiding behind doors. Like they say, out of sight is out of mind.
It’s okay, at least you didn’t forget to declutter your kids’ room. Just take a step back and figure out what you did forget to declutter.
1. Spice Cabinet
Spice cabinets are a black hole of good intentions and forgotten spices.
Back when you had more free time, you happened to catch an episode of your favorite cooking show and decided to impress your family with a fancy meal. After printing the recipes, you raced to the grocery store and bought all the ingredients.
The meal turned out perfectly, and your family loved it, but it was complicated, and you just don’t have the time to cook like that on a regular basis anymore.
Two years later, you can’t believe you actually bought that expensive jar of saffron threads, and you have no idea what recipe you might have used the cardamom in. You clearly don’t use either of them now, and that probably goes for half the spices in your cabinet.
You were thorough when you decluttered the kitchen, but you just assumed you needed all the stuff that was in the spice cabinet. Now you realize you don’t.
Pull everything out of the cabinet, and discard any spices that you won’t ever use or that have expired. While you’re there, you might as well check your cooking oils too. Especially if you experiment with different types of cuisine.
Next time you’re trying to come up with new meals, think twice before selecting ones that require specific spices that you probably won’t use again.
2. Medicine Cabinet
You’re already nodding your head in agreement. Nobody thinks about the medicine cabinet until they really need something, then it’s like playing ‘find the hidden treasure’ while digging through all of the medication and first aid choices.
Cold medicines, allergy pills, throat lozenges, and motion sickness medications are just a few of the items in most medicine cabinets that tend to expire before they are used up.
Think of the last time you were sick. You were at work and started sneezing, then the runny nose and sore throat hit.
You stopped at the pharmacy on the way home, and grabbed one of everything because you couldn’t remember what you had at home. Once you got home, you realized you already had two of everything.
Take everything out of that medicine cabinet and check expiration dates. A lot of medications lose their effectiveness once they sit beyond a certain amount of time.
CAUTION, don’t throw medications in the garbage or flush them down the toilet, because they can leach into the groundwater and possibly affect drinking water. Take all unwanted medications to a local pharmacy that can dispose of them properly.
3. Makeup Drawer
You’re guilty and you know it. You have makeup clutter, and probably a lot of it. It’s all stashed in a drawer, basket, or makeup bag, and you don’t even think about it anymore.
The facial cream that felt super thick and never seemed to soak in. The foundation that made your skin red and dry, and that lipstick shade that was way too red.
They’re all still there, collecting dust along with those eyeshadow palettes that you only used two colors out of the eight.
This is one of those areas you probably didn’t forget to declutter, you’re just avoiding it. I get it, you spent a lot of hard earned money on that stuff, but you’re never going to use it.
Go through your makeup drawer and throw away anything that’s expired, or that you know you’re not going to use.
Download the printable checklist here.
4. Jewelry Box
If you own any kind of jewelry box, I have no doubt you have jewelry clutter. It’s the one spot that I always forget (translation: avoid) to declutter.
How do you decide what’s clutter? Look for broken chains and watch bands that you intended to get fixed the next time you were at the jeweler. Sort out old jewelry pieces handed down from relatives, jewelry from old love interests, or any other stuff you just don’t wear anymore. You might even have a few drawers of costume jewelry you can’t believe you ever wore in public.
Whatever it is, sort through your jewelry box, and remove any of the items that are just clutter. Think about passing sentimental pieces down to another family member, and then sell or donate the rest to a local charity or second-hand store.
5. Game Closet
You decluttered the family room, but you never even thought about the game closet.
And what about the bowling balls. You haven’t bowled in fifteen years, and can barely lift that ball, let alone accurately throw it down a bowling lane.
Sort through the games, and identify the family favorites that you just can’t bear to part with. Trash any that are beyond saving, and donate or sell whatever is left. Maybe the kids next door would really love that old version of Battleship with the actual ships in it.
Bookshelves are tricky. People often forget to declutter them because they’re usually fairly orderly, and aren’t normally used for anything else. They rarely ever think of bookshelves as clutter.
Unless you’re a serious book collector, the chances of you reading those books again are slim to none. If you’re not going to use them again, they classify as clutter.
It’s OK to keep a few of your favorites, but you should probably sell or donate the bulk of them. Use all that extra space to display a few favorite family photos.
I’m not sure we really forget to declutter our photos, I suspect it’s another one of those areas we avoid because the photos are hard to part with.
If you’re anything like me, you have boxes and albums full of every family photo you’ve ever taken, plus all of the ones handed down from parents, grandparents, and in-laws.
That’s a lot of photos, and even though they’re nicely arranged in storage boxes, they’re still taking up spaces you could use for something else.
This might be a good task to do while binge-watching Netflix on a lazy weekend afternoon (if you get those).
Go through your photos and eliminate any blurry photos, duplicates, or ones with people nobody can identify. Take the ones you kept, and have them transferred into digital format, and then dispose of the originals.
8. DVD’s & CD’s
Don’t pretend you don’t know what those are. You have a collection somewhere, and just aren’t admitting it.
I get it, with all the streaming options available today, nobody uses physical copies of anything anymore.
Just like the books, unless you’re a serious collector, or maybe an alternative artist that makes them into wind chimes, let them go. Sell them on ebay, or donate them to your local thrift store, then you can use the empty CD/DVD racks as display shelves.
9. Junk Drawer
Most people have at least one junk drawer somewhere in their home. Some have them in every single room. That one drawer that’s a catch-all for the things that just need to go somewhere, but nobody really knows where.
It’s full of random cords, broken glasses, mysterious keys, rubber bands, earbuds, pens, etc. Once the first random item finds it’s way in there, it’s a free for all, and becomes a convenient place for everything.
Dump it out on the counter and see what’s in there. If it isn’t really junk, then designate a specific place in your home for each item. Otherwise, it’s all junk, and you need to get rid of it.
10. File Cabinets
Do you still have a file cabinet in your house? File cabinets used to be a necessity to keep track of monthly bills, statements, maintenance records, and personal records.
In this digital age, a majority of those records are now available online. If it’s not available online, or you just want your own copy available, have it transferred to some form of digital media.
Any physical records that you do decide to keep such as personal information, car titles, and tax records, should be kept in a fireproof safe.
If you declutter enough of the contents, you can also sell, donate, or repurpose the file cabinet.
11. Linen Closet
Another one of those ‘good intentions’ places. Extra pillows, worn out towels, throw blankets, and extra sheets are just some of the clutter found in most linen closets.
That sheet set that never quite stayed on the bed, so you quit using it. The blanket that’s too itchy for your child. Regardless of what you actually keep in it, the linen closet can be a total nightmare.
Go through the closet and remove the pillows, towels, blankets, and sheets you no longer use. If they’re in decent shape, donate them to a homeless shelter. Animal shelters are always in need of blankets, pillows, and towels to care for the rescue animals.
Decide what you want to keep in the linen closet, and find new homes for the rest.
12. Pet Supplies
Ah, the pet clutter. I don’t believe there’s a pet owner out there that doesn’t have pet clutter, and it’s likely a majority of them forget to declutter the pet supplies.
The grooming brush that never quite worked right, the chew toy your dog turned her nose up at, and the grooming clippers that freak out your long-haired cat, all clutter.
And what about those little plastic balls with the bells in them? Seriously, how many does one cat need?
Put everything in one place, then start to purge.
Trash the chewed up and worn out toys, then get rid of any remaining items that your pets don’t use. You should be able to donate them to your local pet shelter.
13. Paint Cabinet
If you own a home, you most likely have cans of leftover paint labeled by room, and stored in your garage or shed.
Once opened, cans of paint typically only last two to three years, if closed and stored properly in a cool, dark place. If you store yours in the garage or shed, excessive heat and cold will ruin the paint much quicker.
Open leftover cans of paint, and make sure that the paint hasn’t thickened significantly, or gotten contaminated by rusty particles chipping off the edges of the lid, and falling in the can, before deciding to keep them any longer.
Most states have approved drop off stations where you can dispose of household paints and chemicals. Some allow water-based paints to be thrown away with your household waste, as long as they are open and dried out. Check with your local waste company for regulations.
14. Holiday Decoration Storage
If you do any decorating for the holidays, you have some kind of storage system or area for all of those decorations. It might be specific containers for specific holidays, or it might just be a corner in the garage.
Regardless of your storage system, you probably have decorations that are broken, or you no longer use.
The flying witch hasn’t worked in years and that singing Santa collection was cute five years ago, but you’ve outgrown it and moved on to handcrafted decorations. You’ve also tired of hanging all of these icicle lights and moved on to led lights.
Since you put your decorations away right after the holiday and forget about them, you probably don’t think about them when it comes time to declutter.
You can either haul it all out now, or wait until the next time you decorate for the holiday. Once it’s out, sort out the items that you typically leave in the container and don’t use. If you haven’t used something in a couple of years, either donate it or throw it out.
Forgotten Spaces Decluttered
Congratulations! You’ve checked all of the closets, cabinets, and drawers that hide clutter, and you can rest assured you’ve checked the normal places most people forget to declutter.
Did you find a different spot that you forgot to declutter?