Young woman folding her clothes and packing them in a delivery box, she is changing her wardrobe, decluttering closet.

Contrary to Popular Advice, Don’t Declutter These 19 Items Too Quickly

Decluttering your home can feel empowering and liberating, offering a fresh start and a cleaner living space. Removing excess often brings a sense of order and calmness, enhancing your environment and mental clarity. However, in the zeal to achieve a minimalist space, it’s crucial to approach the process with caution.

While it’s beneficial to remove items that no longer serve a purpose, decluttering too hastily can lead to regrets. Certain items, though seemingly unnecessary at first glance, hold practical, financial, or emergency value that isn’t immediately apparent.

It’s important to thoroughly look through each category of belongings before making the final decision to discard them, so you don’t part with items you’ll soon wish you had kept. Here’s a list of 19 items that you’ll probably regret tossing when the decluttering session is over.

1. Extra Chargers and Adapters

Smartphone charging with cable on light stone table.
Image Credit: New Africa and Shutterstock

Extra chargers and adapters are often discarded during decluttering sessions under the assumption that they are redundant or unnecessary. However, these items can become crucial when primary chargers fail, when hosting guests with different device needs, or when traveling.

To avoid regret and the expense of replacements, it’s wise to organize these extras efficiently. Labeled bins, dedicated drawers, cable management boxes, and cord ties to sort chargers and adapters by type or device can help maintain order and accessibility. This way, you keep your space tidy without sacrificing the practicality of having backups ready when needed.

2. Unique Spices or Cooking Ingredients

Various dried spices in glass jars.
Image Credit: Hazal Ak and Shutterstock

Rare or expensive items that you might need for special recipes.

Due to their infrequent use, unique spices and rare or expensive cooking ingredients are often tossed out during decluttering. Still, such decisions can lead to regrets, especially when a specific recipe calls for them. These ingredients, often costly or difficult to source, can elevate a dish with distinctive flavors that are hard to replicate with substitutes.

To prevent such losses, organize your spices and specialty ingredients in a clear, accessible manner. Consider using a dedicated drawer, spice rack, or clear, labeled containers within a pantry to keep them visible and orderly. This organization preserves your culinary arsenal and inspires usage, ensuring that nothing goes to waste.

3. Family Heirlooms

Gift box, necklace and senior mother with woman on sofa for present, giving and surprise in living room. Family, pearls and happy daughter with mom heirloom for celebration, birthday and bonding.
Image Credit: – Yuri A and Shutterstock

Family heirlooms, whether they are treasured recipes, vintage kitchenware, or handed-down cookbooks, form an emotional bridge to past generations and carry immense sentimental value. Discarding these items can lead to deep regret, as they are irreplaceable and often become more cherished over time.

To preserve these precious items while keeping your space organized, consider displaying them in a dedicated area of your home or storing them safely in labeled protective boxes. This way, they remain part of your life and heritage without contributing to clutter, ensuring they are passed on and appreciated for generations to come. If keeping them is more mentally taxing than letting them go, consider giving them to another family member rather than tossing them.

4. Emergency Supplies

Young man packing the bag with documents, water,food, first aid kit and other items needed to survive.
Image Credit: Skylines and Shutterstock

Emergency supplies are crucial in unforeseen situations, such as power outages, natural disasters, or other emergencies, and discarding them during decluttering can lead to significant regrets when needed most. Flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, and non-perishable foods are essential for safety and preparedness.

To keep these items organized and readily accessible, store them in a designated and clearly labeled emergency kit in an easily accessible location. This organized approach ensures that you can quickly find and utilize these critical supplies in times of need without hassle.

5. A Set of Spare Linens and Towels

Close-up of hands putting stack of fresh white bath towels on the bed sheet.
Image Credit: Papzi555 and Shutterstock

Spare linens and towels are invaluable for accommodating unexpected guests, handling emergencies, or replacing items temporarily out of use due to laundry schedules. Tossing out your backup set might seem like a space-saving measure during decluttering, but the inconvenience and expense of not having these essentials when needed can cause regret.

To keep spare linens and towels organized without taking up too much space, consider storing them in vacuum-sealed bags or under-bed storage containers, clearly labeled by size and type. This method maximizes space efficiency while ensuring these items are fresh and ready when you need them.

6. Fine Jewelry

Businesswoman is putting earrings while preparing for work.
Image Credit: InesBazdar and Shutterstock

These items might not seem crucial during a major clean-out, but their absence can be keenly felt later. It’s a good practice to carefully consider items’ future use and importance before deciding to discard them.

7. Holiday Decorations

Christmas stuff stored in boxes in the attic ready for a new christmas unpack.
Image Credit: A-photographyy and Shutterstock

Seasonal decorations for holidays like Christmas, Halloween, and others are used annually, so it’s practical to keep them stored during the off-season. If they’re not being used anymore, of course you can donate or give them away.

8. Occasionally Used Kitchen Appliances

clean dishes pots and rice cooker on kitchen counter.
Image Credit: New Africa and Shutterstock

Appliances such as a slow cooker, food processor, or specialty coffee maker may not be daily necessities but are invaluable for certain recipes and occasions. Are you going to continue cooking a variety of meals? Thank carefully about the types of meals you’re going to prepare before letting go of these items.

9. Basic Tools

Man making draft plan using pencil on the table with tools.
Image Credit: Kerkez and iStock

When decluttering, it’s common to regret discarding basic tools, as their utility often becomes apparent only when a need suddenly arises. A set of tools (hammer, screwdriver, pliers) is essential for everyday repairs and maintenance around the house, and replacing them can be costly and inconvenient.

Instead of hastily getting rid of them, consider organizing your tools neatly in a designated area, ensuring they are easily accessible for when you next need them. This approach keeps your space tidy while preserving the practicality of having essential tools at hand.

10. Backup Devices

Close-up of Man Holding a Hard Drive Connected to His Laptop.
Image Credit: Arina Krasnikova and Pexels

When decluttering, it’s easy to overlook the long-term value of backup devices like hard drives or USBs containing critical digital files. The loss of such backups can lead to irreversible data loss, from cherished personal photos to important documents. I

External hard drives or any backup storage containing important data or photographs should be kept safe. Instead of discarding these items in a rush to clear space, review their contents carefully and transfer important data to a secure cloud service or a newer storage device.

11. Books of Personal Relevance

Cozy home library interior with collection of different books on shelves and comfortable place for reading.
Image Credit: New Africa and Shutterstock

You don’t have to limit your book collection to just two or three that you love. Books are important. They may have significantly impacted you or that you return to repeatedly, and they deserve a permanent spot on your shelves.

As you’re decluttering, reflect on why you’re keeping the book and if it is worth valuable real estate in your home. Take time to go through them at least twice before parting.

12. Photos and Significant Memories

White Card on Brown Wooden Table.
Image Credit: cottonbro studio and Pexels

Photographs and mementos that capture important life events and memories are irreplaceable. These physical mementos often hold emotional value that isn’t immediately apparent during a hurried decluttering session.

Instead, consider digitizing old photographs and documents to preserve their content without taking up physical space, and store original items that hold special importance in a dedicated memory box that can be revisited and cherished for years to come.

13. Health-Related Items

cheerful business woman.
Image Credit: PeopleImages and iStock

It goes without saying that prescription medications, glasses, and essential medical equipment should be kept readily accessible and in good order. Broken equipment should be tossed and replaced if needed. However, items that are still working shouldn’t be tossed right away. Be careful when rummaging through health-related items, including workout gear, and make sure they’re organized properly so you know what you have when needed.

14. Financial Records

Image Credit: Ijeab and Depositphotos

Keep tax returns, significant receipts, and records of major purchases for at least the period required by law or for warranty and returns purposes. In some cases, you may be able to scan them to your computer or cloud. Either way, they need to be organized and not tossed. Many documents need to be kept for years before you can get rid of them.

15. Key Pieces of Furniture

Interior of light living room with cozy grey sofas and wooden coffee table.
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot and Shutterstock

High-quality furniture that is versatile, durable, and meaningful can serve you for many years and even be passed down. An old end table could be refurnished and given to a friend as a gift. Old bookshelves can be repurposed as shoe stands or used to store dishes. Think about repurposing and saving money when you can.

16. Classic Pieces of Clothing

Woman choosing outfit from large wardrobe closet with stylish clothes, shoes and home stuff.
Image Credit: NewAfrica and Depositphotos

Just because you haven’t worn something in a year, doesn’t necessarily mean it should be tossed. Be sure to consider how these pieces can be mixed and matched with current trends, or store them away for a season to reevaluate their value later. You don’t want to discard something you’ll wish you had kept.

Classic garments, like a well-tailored blazer or a timeless little black dress, can be difficult and costly to replace with equivalents of similar quality. Instead, come up with a plan for your wardrobe. Consider how each piece of clothing serves you and when you could need it again. If you’re honest with yourself and not going to use it in the future, it’s okay to let it go. If you don’t want to go shopping for your next event, keep a few classic pieces in your closet.

17. Quality Kitchen Essentials

chef cutting onion with chef knife cutting board cheese oil on table.
Image Credit: Anton27 and Shutterstock

Getting rid of quality kitchen essentials during a decluttering spree can be a major source of regret, especially as these items, like a good set of knives or cast-iron pans, are built to last and perform well over time. These essentials are often expensive to replace and can significantly enhance the cooking experience.

Instead of discarding them, assess your actual needs and frequency of use, possibly reorganizing your kitchen space to keep these valuable tools accessible. If you have things you’re not using regularly or have multiple, let them go. This way, you maintain a functional kitchen without surrendering tools critical to culinary tasks.

18. Valuable Collectibles or Art

Light modern kitchen located upstairs in spacious house.
Image Credit: Charlotte May and Pexels

Artwork or decorations that bring joy and character to your home add to your living environment and should be treasured and properly displayed. If the items have a place in your home, you don’t have to let them go. Spend time thinking about your current style and your expectations for the future before tossing them.

19. Important Personal Records

The Saga of Health Insurance.
Image Credit: Shevtsovy and Depositphotos
Birth certificates, passports, marriage licenses, wills, and other legal documents should always be secure. Medical records, educational certificates, and professional credentials should be organized and accessible. Eventually, you will need these important documents. Once organized, they’ll no longer feel overwhelming to keep.

11 Simple Money Habits to Learn From Minimalists to Streamline Finances for a Richer Life

In today’s fast-paced consumer society, the art of minimalist living offers more than just a decluttered home – it presents a pathway to financial serenity and empowerment.

Minimalism, at its core, is about stripping away the non-essential to make room for what truly adds value to our lives. This philosophy extends powerfully into the realm of personal finance, where minimalist habits can lead to a healthier, more mindful approach to money.

How to Stop Wanting Stuff – For Real This Time

Smiling young woman using credit card to buy online outside in a cafe.
Image Credit: Patricio Nahuelhual and iStock

Look, I feel you…the constant tug-of-war between wanting more stuff and knowing deep down it won’t truly make you happy. It’s real. And in our culture, that means a bigger house, a faster car, the latest iPhone, name-brand shoes you just name it. It’s too easy to get caught in that trap.

But here’s the thing – buying material objects to fill an inner void never works. It’s just a temporary high, then you’re left feeling empty again.

+ posts