Decluttering: Bathroom and Kitchen Items

July 28, 2014


Today’s post is the last in a series that has chronicled a massive declutter/purge of items from my apartment. So far, I’ve removed 105 clothing/shoe/bag items, 70 books and office supplies, and 110 other random household objects from my home. In those three posts alone, I surpassed my goal to get rid of at least 250 items in total, so anything in this last post is just a bonus.

I need to start by saying that, before tackling my bathroom, I honestly believed I didn’t have that much “stuff” in the cupboard under my sink. I thought I’d find a few bottles of shower gel, some travel-sized containers and an extra lotion or two… but that’s about it. After pulling everything out, I was stunned to find I owned all of that + dozens of other items. Seriously, I filled the sink to give you a visual.


The tricky thing about purging items from your bathroom is that, unlike random decor items on your shelves or old clothes in your closet, there is a good chance you’ll use this stuff one day. And since you’ve already paid money for it, should you really toss it? Or should you take inventory, keep it and make a plan to use it? I did a little of both. If any bottle was almost empty or just looked old, it got tossed (read: cleaned out and recycled). If any item was brand new but I knew would never be used, I put it in a small bag (and filled that bag). Everything leftover was put back in the cupboard under the sink, with all travel-sized containers (and nail polish remover) in the basket and everything else in the bag. It was as easy as that.

When I started, I had 121 items in my bathroom and linen closet. I removed 50 items, or 41% of what I originally owned, and kept 71. Not bad…

Into the final room we go: the kitchen. You may remember that the idea for this purge stemmed from one frustrating moment of not being able to find my can opener. Well, here’s the drawer it was supposed to be in. (And funnily enough, it’s not even in these pictures, because it was in the dishwasher – oops!)


I think everyone has a drawer like this; where you keep a mix of things you do/don’t use, but never bother to go through it and see what you could get rid of? But I actually use most of what’s in this drawer, except for that bag of 30+ clips strewn around the back. (I kissed most of those goodbye and put a few in a container.)

The rest of my kitchen purge was tougher to chronicle through pictures, because it simply involved removing 1-2 items from each cupboard/drawer/countertop. I got rid of 2 small appliances, 4 cookbooks, 5 bowls, 5 mugs, 3 extra cutting boards, a strainer, a few cloths, and lots of random odds and ends. It started to add up quickly, but the total number of items I kept is still fairly high. Actually, the number almost bothered me at first, but I love to cook, I have a well-stocked kitchen and I do use everything I kept. So, I guess that’s the way it works in my home: kitchen items trump clothes/shoes/bags!

When I started, I had 170 items in my kitchen (not including food/oils/spices). I removed 42 items, or 25% of what I originally owned. Just for fun, and because it’s my favourite room in the house, here’s what my kitchen looks like now:


I’m in love with my gas range. Love love love.


On the side countertop, I have two cards I bought for $2 in San Francisco last summer, each in a $5 frame from IKEA. Jose, the littlest penguin, also hangs out in my kitchen. He moved here from Mexico a few years ago. Not seen in this picture: my kettle or beloved French press.

I removed a total of 92 items from these last two rooms. When I started this process, however, I had a total of 904 items in my apartment – crazy, right!? After decluttering and deciding what to keep/toss/donate, I removed a total of 377 items, which means I CUT DOWN MY BELONGINGS BY 42%! And I’m still alive to tell the tale, which shows that none of it was important or essential in my daily life.

I have to admit, there are a few spots in my apartment that look a little bare. However, when I walk around and do all my daily tasks, I can see that I still have more than what I actually need! So, I have a new goal: from now until the end of the year, I want to continue to purge until I’m left with no more than 452 items – half of what I originally owned. Since I plan on donating more books and using up all the products in my bathroom, I don’t think this will be too difficult, but that is another 75 items that need to go. Eek!


The spreadsheet started to get messy, so let’s just leave it at this:

  • Towels, face cloths, bath mat, etc.: 18
  • Bathroom products (shampoo, soap, lotion, razors, sunscreen, etc.): 53
  • Small kitchen appliances: 7
  • Everything else (plates, cups, utensils, cookware, etc.): 121

Approved Shopping List

There is nothing I’ll need to buy for either room, in the next year. Well, unless my Magic Bullet dies.

I’m so glad this project is over! While I’m going to continue to purge a few items here and there going forward, the hard work is done. On the weekend, I filled the trunk and back seats of my car with everything pictured in these last two posts, and dropped it all off at Value Village and the Port Moody Library. Now, my space is all mine to enjoy again.

If a month of posts re: decluttering was boring, I apologize, but that was one of the most eye-opening experiences I’ve had in a long time. I’d originally planned to let that be my summer project, but quickly realized I had to push through it, because of all the emotions and ideas it stirred up. There’s so much more to discuss in my path to becoming a minimalist, now that all those useless “things” are out of my life.

It’s time for the real fun to begin. :)

  • L July 28, 2014 at 4:25 am

    It was fun seeing the process, and watching your numbers go down! It never occurred to me to keep track of what I get rid of when I go through my stuff, but it was fun (and impressive!) to see the number of things you got rid of. :D

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      Well, I’d read so many blog posts and articles online about how people only live with X number of items, so taking stock just seemed to make sense. The number of items I still have bothers me though – it feels like too much. Anyway, for another day. :)

  • Andrea July 28, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Hi Cait – I have to say that your decluttering posts inspired me, over the weekend, to do some purging of my own. Two year ago I moved from Ottawa to the UK bringing two MEC duffle bags full of every piece of clothing I owned. Since being here, I’ve shuddered at the thought of travelling back to Canada with all this clothes (extra baggage costs are bananas!!). I realized that I was getting frustrated by my closet and lack of storage in my flat (ha! I just said ‘flat’ instead of apartment!). And clothing requirements for the UK are considerably milder than Ottawa! Anyway, I went through everything I have and threw out anything I hadn’t worn since being in the UK, or was damaged. Three black rubbish bags later (two going to the heart foundation and one needing to be tossed) I can see what I now own and feel like the mess is under control.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 10:52 pm

      Oh, I have first-hand experience with those extra baggage costs – ridiculous! And is that true? Winters are milder in the UK? When are you heading back to Ottawa?

      • Andrea July 31, 2014 at 5:03 am

        Winters are definitely milder here in London compared to Ottawa; perhaps not so for the west coast. I pretty much wear ballet flats all year round in London. Can’t say I’d do that in Ottawa in February…or jan…or dec…or nov, for that matter.

        I’ve got another year before I head back to Ottawa. But with a couple of trip back home over the next year perhaps I can spread out the extra baggage if I can. OR maybe I have to declutter again!

  • Kristen July 28, 2014 at 5:06 am

    Congrats for such a successful purge. You have inspired me to tackle many hidden places in my house next week during my vacation. I plan on tackling, my bedroom closet, the front hall closet, the guest room closet (home to the boxes we haven’t unpacked since we moved, there are items to keep there like photo albums once we save up for the shelves for them), and my scary, scary home office.

    I find your blog very inspiring. Thank you for sharing your journey with us!

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      Spending part of your vacation decluttering – now that’s dedication! But I can guarantee you’ll feel amazing, when it’s all said and done. Just don’t get stuck in the period of wondering what you got yourself into and giving up – that’s where I was at, which is why I had to push through it. Good luck! And thanks for reading. :)

  • Meg Jones July 28, 2014 at 5:14 am

    well done!

    I cleared out my bedside cabinet this weekend. Apparently I hoard notebooks in there! And ancient chargers for things I don’t have any more. So that all went out and it feels much better.

    Kitchen is on the list still but that will definitely happen soon.

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 10:55 pm

      Yes! My nightstand was also full of random cables/old chargers! What the heck is up with that? So glad it’s all gone. Good luck with the kitchen!

  • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction July 28, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Not boring whatsoever! It’s been fascinating to me, and a big kick in the pants to get my own butt in gear. I’ve been working on it slowly, which I think is a mistake… I should just be a whirlwind one weekend and do it ALL! It’s been too easy for me to say “okay, I did X (a small spot)” and then stop. But I’m definitely getting there. It’s amazing how much stuff we have, and some things are doubled because there’s two of us in our space. So it will never be fully minimalist (I don’t think I want that any way) but with the clutter gone, and things actually having homes… it is a huge sigh.

    PS, your series inspired my post today :)

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 10:57 pm

      Ahhh, I’ll have to go give it a read!

      And yes, I remember how much extra stuff I had when living w/ boyfriends in the past – especially my last, as he was a bit of a hoarder, haha. Love that you’ve started tackling everything though.

  • Meagan July 28, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Thanks for this series! It’s been inspiring.

    I don’t think we’ll ever really be minimalists, but we decided that since we’re on vacation this week, we’re going to go through a few spots in the house that are just gathering grounds for “stuff” and donate/toss/sell things we haven’t looked at since we moved into our house 10 months ago. I’m hoping to use a more critical eye when deciding what stays and what goes, because I have a habit of letting something stay because I “might need it!”

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      Those are three scary words, when it comes to stuff! Here’s what I’ve learned in the past three weeks: I didn’t need anything I got rid of. Not. A. Single. Thing. I have two small boxes of yearbooks, photo albums, etc. and that’s about it for sentimental items that need to be in storage. The rest is all out in the open, doing its job. Good luck :)

  • Charlotte July 28, 2014 at 5:53 am

    Not boring at all! It’s neat that you’ve followed this idea through and I’m looking forward to a “check in” type post a few months in…like, if you actually miss anything you got rid of, if you ended up buying a replacement, etc.
    PS I’m soooo jealous of your gas stove.

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      Ahhh, I hadn’t really thought about that! Maybe I’ll do a post just before Christmas – take a quick inventory again and see how I’m doing.

      And it’s amazing! I’m just renting this place, but it made me realize I’d love a gas range wherever I eventually buy… you know, one day, lol.

  • Cari July 28, 2014 at 6:39 am

    Great job!! When I moved a little over a year ago, I purged everything and it was so liberating!

    The under the sink area is a bit scary at my house now though, it may be time to tackle that again!

    I’m ready to gather things to donate again. Thank you for the inspiration.

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      Yea, I’m already starting to wonder what my place will be like in another year from now. I shouldn’t accumulate much, with the shopping ban in place, but it’ll still be interesting to see. Good luck with your next little purge!

  • Will July 28, 2014 at 6:41 am

    I LOVE decluttering! It has the same freeing feeling as going on vacation, doesn’t it??

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:02 pm

      As going on vacation!? You might be taking it too far, Will. :P

  • Alicia @ Monster Piggy Bank July 28, 2014 at 7:24 am

    I had the same thought while I was reading this post. We have a huge kitchen but the number of stuff in it is overwhelming to me most days. But anything I might want to throw away has to pass my husband’s approval. We have different ideas about such things.

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:03 pm

      Yes, I feel extremely fortunate to have gone through this experience alone; it gave me full control to make quick decisions and not second-guess anything.

  • Ramona July 28, 2014 at 7:37 am

    That’s quite inspiring!

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:03 pm


  • Nadia July 28, 2014 at 7:53 am

    That’s awesome Cait!

    I’m even more inspired to tackle some purging now that I’m back from vacation. While staying at one of my relatives place I couldn’t believe how much stuff they had; it was everywhere! I don’t want to be like that so a purge is coming up.

    This week I’ll be canning BC peaches before work and after that’s tackled I’ll start going room by room through all of my stuff. I’ll see if I can’t get my other half on board.

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:04 pm

      Mmm, I love homemade canned peaches! We used to have a peach tree against the house and my parents always made them. Delish.

      Good luck this weekend!

  • Addison @ Cashville Skyline July 28, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I’ve said it before, but I’m seriously impressed by your commitment to de-cluttering. I need to take a closer look at my bathroom stuff. It’s true that there are many things I may use one day, but there’s also so much stuff that I don’t even know exactly what I have! Keep up the good work.

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks, Addison! I think I’m done for the most part now… but I’d like to get rid of some more things throughout the year, of course, so will keep my eyes peeled for “stuff” I don’t actually need.

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore July 28, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I would not say it was boring to read at all. I loved it and am exicted to see your changes. I still have a long way to go with decluttering, since I’m doing it more slowly, but I’m still starting to see some big changes in my home.

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      That’s exciting, Kayla!

  • melissa July 28, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Congrats on finishing your purge! Your progress was impressive, and has inspired me to start my purging and decluttering back up since I moved from a 2br 2ba condo to my 500sqft studio last year. I look around and see more and more stuff that I could stand to part with so I just need to take the time and DO IT!

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:07 pm

      Yes! Exactly. Take no prisoners! lol

  • Michelle July 28, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Hi Cait!

    I’ve moved three times in two years and I’ve got to agree with you. Purging is daunting but absolutely worth it. I live in a 700square foot condo in Toronto, and my fiance and I are always trying to maximize our space. We try and follow the rule, one thing in, one thing out, at a minimum. I love knowing where things are and not feeling bogged down.

    Good luck with your year long spending ban – I’m enjoying reading about it :)

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      When the ban is lifted, I also want to adopt that rule: 1 in, 1 out, no ifs ands or buts!

      And I just have to say, I love when readers say where they are from. It’s so cool to know where comments are coming from. :)

  • Claire M July 28, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I LOVE following all of this, Cait!! Amazing work :D

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      Thanks, Claire! :D

  • Carrie Smith July 28, 2014 at 11:32 am

    My husband would like to jump on Twitter and show his appreciation for you inspiring me to declutter our entire apartment too (and by appreciation I mean annoyance, HA!). Seriously though, this is so fascinating, and something I do every year. It’s crazy how much stuff can accumulate in such a short period of time. But now you’ve really inspired me to take inventory of EVERYTHING and if it’s truly not needed or not used regularly, it’s not staying. You are awesome!

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:11 pm

      Too bad for him! hehe. One day he will thank me. ;)

      And YOU are awesome, friend. I’m so looking forward to seeing you! Not much longer now!

  • J @ the expat investor July 28, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Nice work purging all of your unwanted items. Keep up the good work.

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:11 pm


  • A July 28, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    PLEASE tell me you kept the salt. :)

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 12:54 pm

      HAHAHAHAHA. I actually used it all and need to buy more. ;)

  • Dayle July 28, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Ha, I have the same measuring cups as you. And the chip/bag clips from Ikea! I use them ALL the time, even on stuff in the freezer! I think without them any crackers, cereal, chips, snacks, etc. get stale super fast.

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:12 pm

      See, I don’t really buy that stuff ever: crackers, chips, snacks, cereal, etc. If anything, I might use one to close up a bag of frozen fruit or something… but they don’t serve a huge purpose in my place.

  • Kassandra July 28, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I had fun living vicariously through your de-cluttering experience. It was like deja-vu all over again for me. When I did my first purge I too was shocked at all of the bathroom and personal care products I had accumulated!
    Congrats Cait on finding that you didn’t need over 42% of your things, it’s an eye-opener.
    I still purge our space every now and then to see what I am using versus what has just been collecting dust or not being worn and either sell it or give it away. Love the kitchen by the way!

    • Cait Flanders July 28, 2014 at 11:16 pm

      Where do all the personal care products come from!? I mean, I know some of it is gifted… but STILL. I’m so happy some of it’s gone, and I know exactly what I have left to use up.

  • Shannon July 29, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Congrats on finishing your purge! It really was eye-opening as I completed mine. Consuming for the sake of consuming isn’t something I want to continue. You’ve inspired me to be more aware of that, so thank you!

    • Cait Flanders July 29, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Thanks, Shannon! Happy to hear it inspired you. :)

  • Jessie's Money July 30, 2014 at 2:02 pm


    Just Wow!

    What an incredible achievement…this is seriously inspiring to do my own de-clutter.

    • Cait Flanders July 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Crazy what happened after my email to you a month ago, eh? I wasn’t kidding about inventory! :P

  • Gia T. July 30, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    I hear you about the under-sink area! A couple months ago I bought a two-pack of contact lens solution because I thought I had run out.. only to find a week later that I had FOUR unopened bottles hiding in the back of the cupboard!

    Oh well… bright side is I won’t need to buy that item for maybe two years. :P

    • Cait Flanders July 30, 2014 at 2:48 pm

      Bahaha. There’s usually a bright side w/ bathroom products, yes.

  • Lisa E. @ Lisa vs. the Loans July 31, 2014 at 10:31 am

    I love the before and after pictures! I purposefully avoid looking under my sink because I know I have wayyy to much junk down there. One day I’ll put on a brave face and tackle that mess…

  • Ashley August 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I loved these posts! I’m actually a little sad you’re finished because it was really inspiring. You inspired me to get rid of a bunch of stuff (so far mostly clothes), and I actually found myself standing in my closet this morning thinking “what else can I get rid of?” Ha! I’ve even made $50 selling a few things the last few days!

    I definitely have (and like) “stuff”. I just bought a house a year ago and I spent so much time decluttering before I moved, and I STILL have just a lot of crap! I’m being very selective about what comes in my house though…if I don’t LOVE it and it doesn’t fit my style, it doesn’t come home with me. I’ll never be a minimalist, but it feels so good to only be surrounded by things that reflect who I am and that I feel good about. I hate clutter and want my house to be a reflection of me.

  • weenie August 14, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Well done on your decluttering project! My drawers and cupboards so need purging! I recently sorted out the dreaded cupboard under the sink and it horrified me so much that I’m delaying looking at other cupboards for fear of what I might find! Like you say, it’s difficult to throw away bottles of stuff that you’ve just forgotten to use.

    Perhaps I need to set myself a challenge…