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15 Surprising Things You’re Hoarding (Even if You Don’t Think So)

You think you’re tidy and organized. After all, everything has its place. 

But look closer. Open your drawers, peek under the bed, and check those shelves. Surprise! You’ve got hidden stashes of stuff you didn’t even know you were keeping. 

It’s not your fault; it happens to the best of us. Little by little, everyday items pile up, and suddenly you’re drowning in a sea of clutter and hoarding. Let’s break it down and see what you’re unintentionally hoarding.

Takeout Menus and Flyers

Young hispanic woman laying on couch at home, holding a travel flyer and planning next trip. Copy space on window.
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It’s easy to collect takeout menus and flyers, especially if you frequently order in or live in an area with many restaurants. These papers pile up because you think you might need them later.

Instead, try going digital. Save your favorite restaurants’ menus on your phone or bookmark them online. This way, you can easily access them without the clutter.

Receipts and Old Bills

Inflation rising, costs increasing. Business woman holding Rising costs, declining standard of living, worried woman looking at increased costs on a printed receipt.
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Receipts and old bills often rack up because you think you might need them for returns or record-keeping. However, most transactions can now be tracked online.

Adopt a habit of scanning important receipts and storing them digitally. Shred or recycle the physical copies regularly to keep your space tidy.

Instruction Manuals for Appliances

Concentrated young woman reading the instructions to assemble furniture at home in the living room.
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You might save instruction manuals for appliances in case you need to troubleshoot. But in reality, most manuals are available online.

Create a dedicated digital folder for these documents. Recycle the physical copies, freeing up space in your drawers and shelves.

Free Promotional Items (Pens, Notepads, Etc.)

Pens and marketing advertising for business and company promotion, unfocused background and free space for text.
Image Credit: Joaquin Corbalan P and Shutterstock

Promotional items from events or businesses can quickly fill up your space. These items are often kept because they are free and seem useful.

Evaluate their actual use in your daily life. Donate or discard extras that you rarely use to avoid unnecessary clutter. Or better yet, just don’t take stuff you don’t need. Nothing is free in life…even if they say it is…you’ll be paying with your sanity later when your house is a mess.

Greeting Cards and Gift Wrap

Pile of Holiday Greeting Cards Shot from Above.
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Special occasions often result in a surplus of greeting cards and gift wrap. These items hold sentimental value or seem reusable.

Limit yourself to a small box for sentimental cards and only keep wrapping materials you genuinely like. Recycle or donate the rest to clear space.

Travel-Sized Toiletries

Travel toiletries.
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Travel-sized toiletries are convenient, but they accumulate because they are often given away or collected from hotels. You think you’ll use them on your next trip, but they often go untouched.

Consolidate these items and use them up before buying new ones. Donate unopened items to shelters.

Reusable Shopping Bags

Shop carrier bags.
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With the rise of eco-conscious shopping, reusable bags have become common. They collect because stores frequently give them away.

Keep a few sturdy ones and recycle or donate the extras. Store them together in a convenient container and place so you remember to take them shopping.

Holiday Decorations

Christmas stuff stored in boxes in the attic ready for a new christmas unpack.
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Holiday decorations can multiply as you add to your collection each year without discarding old items. Evaluate your decorations annually and keep only those you love and use. Donate the rest to reduce clutter and make decorating more enjoyable.

Old Keys and Locks

A woman takes house key that is hanging in the holder before she goes out, concept of forgeting key.
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Old keys and locks linger in drawers because you’re unsure what they unlock. Over time, they become forgotten relics.

Test keys to determine their purpose and label them if necessary. Discard or recycle those that are no longer useful to avoid confusion and clutter.

Outdated Medication

Joliet, Illinois _ USA - October 29, 2017_ A medicine cabinet full of prescription drug bottles. Medicines include prescription opioid pain killers.
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Medications expire or go unused but are often kept “just in case.” Holding onto these items poses a health risk.

To keep your medicine cabinet organized, regularly check expiration dates and safely dispose of outdated or unneeded medications at designated drop-off locations.

Empty Boxes From Electronics

Wrexham, UK - January 24, 2019: Various appliance and product boxes stored in a home attic. Disorganized hoarding.
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You might keep empty boxes from electronics for warranty or moving purposes. These boxes take up valuable space.

Keep boxes only if you plan to sell the item soon. Otherwise, recycle them to free up storage.

Unused Spices and Condiments

Hand holding jar of spices on kitchen counter.
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Spices and condiments tend to linger in kitchens long after their prime. They are often bought for specific recipes but rarely used again.

Regularly check your pantry and dispose of expired items. Only buy what you need to keep your kitchen streamlined.

Craft Supplies

Yarn storage organization textile hobby supplies contemporary cupboard shelves with decor pictures and lamp. Craft sewing knitting art work accessories cabinet wool needlecraft accuracy arrangement.
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Craft supplies are easy to hoard because they are versatile and inspire creativity. However, they can quickly take over your space.

Organize supplies and donate items you no longer use. Set a limit on how much you keep to ensure your crafting area remains manageable.

Empty Candle Jars

Empty candle glass jar on rose background.
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Empty candle jars often gather because they seem too nice to throw away. You think you might reuse them, but they often sit untouched. Recycle or repurpose jars you truly have a use for, and let go of the rest to reduce clutter.

Decorative Pillows and Blankets

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Decorative pillows and blankets are collected over time as tastes change, and new items are purchased. They add coziness but can become excessive.

Rotate your decor seasonally and store or donate items that no longer fit your style. This helps keep your living space fresh and uncluttered.

17 Cleaning Shortcuts That Make the Most Dreaded Chores Easy

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Let’s face it, cleaning sucks. It’s one of those grown-up traps that seem designed just to eat up your weekends and free time. But what if you could slash that chore list in half and still live in a place that doesn’t look like a dumpster fire?

No more wasting beautiful Saturdays doing laundry or scrubbing grout with a toothbrush. Let’s hack your way to a cleaner house with the least amount of effort required. Here are 17 cleaning shortcuts that can slash that chore list in half and still live in a place that doesn’t look like a dumpster fire.

Theresa Bedford is a nationally syndicated writer. Her work has been seen on the Associated Press Wire, Blox Digital, and MSN. She writes about productivity, money, and simple living to help people focus on what really matters in life.