Decluttering: Random Household Objects

July 23, 2014


I was going to save this post until next week but, honestly, I feel like I want this summer-long project to be done in July. In August (which is only 8 days away, eek!), we’ll get back to regularly scheduled programs re: budgeting, savings, etc. Until then, the remainder of this month’s posts are going to chronicle the rest of my massive declutter and purge. Here we go!

This was the toughest part of the process, so far, because it involved more than just the inspection of a few shelves and drawers. To truly declutter all the random household objects in my apartment, I had to open up 3 unpacked moving boxes that I’d shoved into the back of closets and tried to forget about. Remember that I lived in 3 different apartments in Greater Vancouver in 2013, so I’ve literally just been picking these boxes up and moving them from place to place. What was inside? Well, a lot of useless cr@p that was really easy to get rid of.

Box #1 contained 30 DVDs, 30 CDs and 1 tape (yes, like a cassette tape – MC Hammer, to be specific). I took out all the DVDs and started to go through them. For most, it was an easy decision to put them back in the box and donate everything: Twilight (don’t judge me, ok judge me), a few seasons of Supernatural, some old surfing documentaries, etc. What a random collection! I loved them all once, and watched some of them repeatedly, but I don’t even own a DVD player now and believe everything will be digital soon (oh wait, it already is). So, back into the box they went.

I did get tripped up on a couple DVDs. How can I get rid of the 1964 version of Rudolph? That’s my favourite Christmas movie! Or The Little Mermaid? I neeeeeed to keep that and give it to my future daughter! Umm, what!? These are the thoughts that make us keep “things”! I had to remind myself that I hadn’t watched the DVD copies in years, that they’ll always be available online and I don’t actually need to keep moving them from place to place. Bye DVDs. I’m donating all 61 entertainment items in that box.

Inside Box #2, I found more entertainment items: specifically, an XBOX 360, 2 old modems, 1 old digital cable box and 14 random cables/cords! I don’t need any of them, so that’s another 18 entertainment items out the door. I sold my XBOX 360 yesterday and put the money in my “Shopping 2015” savings account (woo hoo!) and the rest of the items will be donated. Finally, in Box #3, I found my yearbooks, diplomas, degrees, old pictures, photo albums, etc. There were 5 random items I tossed into the donate pile, but I packed most of this box up and put it back in the closet.

Aside from just going through those boxes, I also walked around my apartment in search of any clutter I could remove. Truthfully, it wasn’t easy – this is seriously what my place looks like all the time:


On top of my dresser, I have a print that one of my old co-workers designed, a small mermaid, a penguin, a shell my parents brought home from Tahiti, a small pot another friend made and a vase.


Beside my desk, I have a side table with the two drawers I keep my paperwork in, which also holds a poster (ignore the blurred out words, it’s not safe for work), two more vases and usually a candle.


My cork board is probably the “messiest” thing in my apartment. So, I organized that (say hello to the Vancouver firemen) as best as I could and kept some of my favourite reminders up there.

In walking around, I did pick up and toss a few things into bags: there were actually 4 more vases (apparently I like vases), 3 candleholders, 1 old duvet cover, a set of 5lb. weights (too light to do anything) and 16 tote bags. SIXTEEN! And I’m keeping 8 good ones, which means I actually had 24 tote bags! Where the heck did they all come from!? Bah! It doesn’t matter… they’re gone now.

And finally, I set aside a camera I’m going to try and sell.

In total, I removed 110 items from my apartment. This weekend, I’m going to take all the bags and boxes seen in the picture above and drop them off at various spots (donation boxes, the library, etc.). I also finished going through the bathroom and kitchen last night and have to bag/box that stuff up now too. I’m not really sure what to do with some of it, but we can talk about that next week.


When I started this process, I had 190 decor/entertainment/furniture/random household objects. Now, I’m left with 80, which means I removed 58% of what I had from my home. Here’s what’s left:


Approved Shopping List

While I couldn’t identify a single book, desk or office accessory I would need to purchase in the next year, there is one thing I’m finally going to buy myself in the furniture category: a new bed. I’ve been talking about this for… well, just way too long. Mine is now 13 years old and seriously needs to be replaced. So, at least that’s a 1-item-in-1-item-out situation? Anyway, I added it to my approved shopping list.

Next week: I’ll tackle the bathroom and kitchen, and be done with this massive declutter/purge!

What’s hiding in your closets right now?

  • Elizabeth July 23, 2014 at 4:50 am

    You won’t regret the new bed :) I replaced mine a couple of years ago and what a difference it made!

    One thing people often overlook in the budget is the up-sells – the mattress pad that is required for the warranty, new pillows (if you need them), a head board and frame (if you’re upsizing). It’s not as easy as people think — perhaps a good topic for a post?

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Yep, good thinking. I’ll just be looking for a new mattress/box spring set, as my frame/bedding is all fine. But all good things for others to consider!

  • Dayle July 23, 2014 at 4:52 am

    Ha… not too much… my closets are pretty organized… but I will still be going thru them and getting rid of whatever I can in the near future.

    Hall closet on the main floor – shoes (need to get rid of lots), and jackets + winter accessories both of which I purged recently but will revisit. Not too much else in there.

    My bedroom closet has only clothes… will be reviewed very soon.

    And I have two spare bedrooms, one closet has no bar or shelves of any kind so it only has luggage (on the floor) and a large duffle bag containing a few bags and purses that I will probably keep, just went thru those last weekend. The other spare bedroom closet has about 10-15 sweaters (I rotate winter clothes out of my bedroom), a few boxes of random things that need to be gone thru, and also a big bin of stuff to get rid of.

    So, closets are ok, but I need to go thru books and clothes and kitchen things and everything else I can think of!

    Last week I sold my Wii/Wii Fit and all accessories and games with it that were in my house… not a lot of money for it, but I hadn’t touched the thing in 3 years so I really didn’t need to keep it. My 7 year old nephew would play it when he came over up until recently, but now that he has a Wii U, mine is too old! lol


    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:09 pm

      Man, kids totally change their minds as fast as technology changes, eh? It’s crazy. Good for you for selling it all! It felt great to get rid of my XBOX.

  • Retired by 40 July 23, 2014 at 5:16 am

    hahaha! Love the firemen! When I lived in my college apartment, I accidentally set my stove on fire. To this day, my husband jokes that I did it so I could see the firemen! They weren’t that hot though…….

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:10 pm

      Bahaha, yes there’s a good joke going about how much my girlfriend and I like firemen, so we buy the calendars every year to support them. I can see the firehall from my deck… coincidence!?

  • Abby July 23, 2014 at 5:25 am

    This purging series is my jam! I’m glad you’re into it. It inspires me, and also confirms that I’m not crazy to love purging– other people do it too!

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Your jam! I love that you said that. I’m really enjoying this process – minus having to physically bring all these things down 20-something floors to my car, haha.

  • Jules July 23, 2014 at 5:38 am

    Hey! Just a tip on buying a new mattress that worked really well for me — get a quote from the cheapest place you can find (usually it’s a super sketchy warehouse of surplus/custom rejects), get a quote (written is preferred) on something with the specs you want, then take it back to Sleep Country and get them to price match it and also deliver for free. My roommate and I got more than half off this way. There’s an insane amount of mark-up on mattresses – the process is much more like buying a new car than it is like buying a dresser.

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Ooooo, I like your style, Jules! Thanks for the tip!

  • Kate@GoodnightDebt July 23, 2014 at 5:59 am

    I would have justified keeping Rudolph and the Little Mermaid- Disney and old classics are hard to find!… but then again I’m just a hoarder.
    My closet has a lot of bags, t-shirts and stuff animals. For the bags, I have 10-15 of the same drawstring backpack bag from an event.. just in case I need a back up for my back up. I have 10 of the same T-shirt from an event I’m way too sentimental about from 1994. I haven’t worn one of those shirts or 5 years… why am I keeping the back ups? I’m also stumped about what to do with the stuffed animals. I’m a grown woman. I don’t need a herd of stuffed animals, but for some (hoarding) reason, I can’t seem to let them go.
    I’ve got a lot of work to do….
    Thanks for doing this Cait and letting us come along on your journey. You’ve provided the motivation to re-evaluate why I keep what I keep.

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      I know a lot of people who are the same, Kate – especially an ex of mine. I’m pretty sure he owned 100-150 t-shirts and like 40-50 pairs of jeans. And kept all kinds of random things because he felt sentimental about them. But what I’m starting to realize is there are other ways to hold onto those memories. And if you’re not actually touching and enjoying those things on an even semi-regular basis, is there really a reason to store them? Anyway, only you can answer that. Good luck :)

  • Meg Jones July 23, 2014 at 6:02 am

    Love the fireman calendar! I had a sexy priest* one at Uni for a couple years.

    That’s quite an excellent haul! I’m planning to tackle the kitchen this weekend – there’s definitely things we don’t need in there. Plus, as I am getting back into home brewing (currently: 5l of white wine, 1l of Kefir), I could do with the space! – but I’m going to do a sweep of my side of the bedroom tonight.

    *they were all models

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      Bahaha, your comment at the bottom made me LOL. So awesome.

  • Shannon July 23, 2014 at 7:18 am

    Hi Cait,

    I am loving this series of decluttering posts!

    You’ve inspired me to go through my condo and see what I’m hanging onto just for the sake of it. I started this morning, and found some old lab reports I had from my university days. Why on earth am I keeping those?! Into the garbage they went. I’m excited to see what else I can get rid of.

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:26 pm

      Thanks, Shannon! There’s only 1 more post left – in case anyone is getting sick of them! hehe

      Totally hear you on the old school stuff. I was bad about holding onto that kind of stuff before, but tossed most of it when I moved to Toronto a couple years ago. Look forward to hearing what else you get rid of!

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore July 23, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Wow Cait! You are doing amazing on your decluttering :) You’ll love having a new bed, it really helped me to sleep better when I got mine a couple years ago.

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks, Kayla! And yes, I’m really looking forward to getting a new bed. I’m thinking I’ll do that sometime between November-January.

  • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction July 23, 2014 at 8:35 am

    This is going to take me awhile to do, because I actually love knick knacks, if they’re tasteful. I have actually just recently started putting decorative pieces into shelves flanking the old school hot water radiator, and my bookshelf. So I’m trying to stick to the pieces I love, and get rid of the trash. Did I mention I have a gumball machine from when I was 3 sitting on my bookshelf? It’s a good punch of colour (red), and filled with decorative stones, but it’s so silly for it to be there!

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Haha, that’s hilarious. I don’t think I ever had one of those, when I was a kid. :(

  • J. Money July 23, 2014 at 10:40 am


    I’ve been fascinated by them for over 2 years for some reason, haha… so beautiful :)

    Also – about the bed, check your email….

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:28 pm

      Best email ever. You rock, friend!

  • Leigh July 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Love the fireman! And I’ve been loving this series! Inspiring.

    I have a lot hiding. My house was packed up 2 years ago, not all boxes done by me. Kept in storage for 1.5 years, and moved into a new place just before a kitchen/bathroom/bedrooms renovation began… in February. I can’t wait for it to finish and to be able to unpack, sort and feel like I have a home.

    I’m also pregnant again, and I’m looking forward to losing the baby weight (some time next year?) so I can review my clothes. But first I have to find the boxes with the newborn items to see what I kept (my daughter was 3 months old when I moved in 2012)… so much to do! I am looking forward to getting to where you are!

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm

      Sounds like you have a lot of unpacking/sorting to do, Leigh, but I’m sure it’ll be cathartic! And once you’re done, it’ll feel so nice to settle in… and soak up that time with your newborn. :)

  • Mackenzie July 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    LOL at the MC Hammer tape :) Good for you Cait, on getting rid of so much stuff!!

    • Cait Flanders July 23, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Thanks, Mackenzie!

  • Rob July 23, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Happy to see that your de-cluttering activities are moving along so well, Cait. As for me, as in the past, I prefer to leave that activity to the winter months (when my other home improvement projects tend to slow down).

    As for your planned bed purchase, well I’m with you on that one. By this fall, after all my ongoing indoor house painting has been completed, my wife and I plan to buy new beds for both of us – adjustable beds. I bought one for my 93 year old mom last fall and considered it $$$ well spent (due to her bad back). Right now both my wife and I have problems sleeping due to ongoing shoulder pain. Mine started after all that snow shoveling last winter and hers has been ongoing much longer. So hopefully we’ll eventually be able to sleep much better at night, just by flicking a control button to customize the best sleep posture. Sure, it’s more expensive than your normal bed (along with proper mattress, etc.) but you get what you pay for when health is the issue (in my opinion).

    • Cait Flanders July 24, 2014 at 8:01 am

      Yes, I tackled the kitchen/bathroom this week, as well! Just need to get it all outta here now, haha. (And you’d think it was winter here. Dark clouds w/ heavy rain. Don’t tell people that I love it!)

      Sounds like it’ll be a good investment for you guys. I don’t know when I’ll buy mine, exactly, but I’m thinking sometime between November-January. Have some trips to pay for first!

  • Kassandra July 23, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    I just bought a new bed a month ago and I love it. I was visiting my mom in Montreal last week and every night I thought of my awesome bed and mattress waiting for me when I got home. I really noticed the difference while I was away. I have one box left to unpack from our June move and I intend to be done with that this week. Congrats on being able to exceed your initial goal of removing 250 items. It’s crazy to see how much stuff we really don’t use or need!

    • Cait Flanders July 24, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Aww, I love that feeling – knowing you’re going home to a comfy bed. And congrats on only having one box left to unpack. You did better than I! hehe

  • Sara July 24, 2014 at 4:53 am

    Not too much hiding in my closet…too small. Thanks, Victorian home.

    One thing I do have in there is something I might suggest for you- a guest box. I keep our extra sets of towels, sheets, silverware and dishes packed away until we have company over. We entertain enough to keep it around but not so often enough that we need all of it sitting around every day.

    • Cait Flanders July 24, 2014 at 8:03 am

      Yea, my extra sheets, etc. aren’t really in clear view. I have a huge bedroom closet that basically goes unused, so there’s a shelf on one half that holds “guest” stuff. :)

  • Gia T. July 24, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Random, but I find it so cool that you actually owned an Xbox, and that it was still alive after all that time (yeah I’m weird, I know)!

    What’s hiding in my/our shared closet… um the last time I checked it was an old Wii, some random tools, old textbooks, curtains, Ikea odds and ends, a small decorative water fountain (!) and a whole lot of other useless junk. I’m waiting until I get into “uaaargh this is too much!” mode and throw everything out without second-guessing it. :)

    • Cait Flanders July 25, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Haha, what’s so random about that? ;)

      Sounds like there’s some $$$ in your closet! Maybe that can serve as motivation.

  • J @ the expat investor July 24, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    Nice job purging unnecessary things, that’s a lot of stuff. One of these days I would like to do the same.

    • Cait Flanders July 25, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      Thanks, J!

  • Money Pincher July 25, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Really like all your posts about de-cluttering! I will be trying to declutter (more like empty) my parent’s house (both of them past away within 2 years of each other) and it’s been 8 months since my dad passed and I still haven’t gotten into decluttering his place because I just don’t know where to start!

    Reading your posts gives me a urge to want to roll up my sleeves and start decluttering first and then see what I can sell after.

    • Cait Flanders July 25, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      So sorry to hear about your loss. :( But that sounds like a good idea. Just start going through it (which I’m sure won’t be easy) and make toss/donate/sell piles. Good luck. <3

  • Judith Cane August 20, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I can’t imagine counting every single thing I own, but if I did, I’m sure it would make decluttering soooo much easier. I think I’ll start with my office (which is not in my home). Great blog as usual :)