Getting Rid of Multiples


So many pens!

We’re going through a major sort and purge at my house this month. Yes, we’re a little late to spring cleaning, but I say better late than never! Something I’ve realized is that just because I have the space to organize something, doesn’t mean I should keep it. I typically have everything categorized and nicely labeled in containers. But those nicely organized things in those nice containers are still things I don’t need.
My biggest clutter problem is multiples. Really, how many water bottles do I need when I always use the same two? Definitely not the 15 or so that I have in my kitchen cabinet! I’ve put together a list of my problem multiples, all of which I plan to pair down in the next week. While some of these are small things, they really add up and take up a lot of space. My plan to “get rid” of my extras will involve garage sale, donation, recycle, or trash, depending on what’s appropriate for that item.
Travel Size Toiletries

I also have lots of empty bottles. Not sure where they even came from!

I have an entire box of travel size things, most of which are half used. I will be getting rid of everything except for the bottles I currently use. Anything new I will try to donate to a homeless shelter or the food bank.



I can’t even display these because they don’t match

I’ve collected quite a few vases over the past few years. I will keep about 3, in different sizes, and get rid of the rest.


Water Bottles

I haven’t used this type of water bottle in years. I still have about half a shelf, even after a purge a couple years ago

Oh wow, I have an entire shelf of water bottles! Really, I have about 2 or 3 I use regularly. I will get rid of the rest!

The pile of mismatched lids is so overwhelming, why even dig through it to save leftovers?

First step is making sure all the bottoms have matching tops. I have both glass and plastic containers. I will keep all the glass, and then select a few (non-stained, or deteriorated) plastic containers to keep.
I put gifts in quotes because this is really a big box of gifts that I got, that I plan to re-gift. Yep, I’m a re-gifter. Well, I plan to be a re-gifter but usually things just sit in that box. Unless I have a specific person in mind and have actual plans to send it to them, out it goes.

And these are just the “few” that were in reach when I need to take a picture!

This is another HUGE problem for me. I love making lists in a perfect notebook. Typically I buy a notebook, use about 3/4 of it then it sits around. I’ve put myself on a notebook buying ban and anything that I really won’t use I’ll recycle.
Office Supplies

Tacks! I only have one small bulletin board. I have the same problem with file folders, scissors, labels, and highlighters.

Tacks, paper clips, pens, pens, pens. I have so many office supplies, and since I’m not in school and I don’t work at home there is really no reason to have so much. I’ll either donate, bring stuff in to work, or figure out how to make it into an art project.

Has anyone ever seen me wear red lipstick? Yeah, me neither.

I don’t really wear that much make-up. But I have SO MUCH! I have a lot of lipstick (that I really will never wear), and various other things. I will throw out anything that is expired, and anything I haven’t worn in the last few months.

If we ever have a box shortage, I’m TOTALLY prepared

I save cardboard boxes. Because, you never know when you’ll need to mail or wrap something. Its crazy, but i refuse to give up on that need just yet. My box stash can get totally out of control unless I define how much space I’m allowed to fill up. We have cubbies in our garage, and I limit myself to one. Right now they’re in the biggest cubby (I make rules and then I find a loophole!), so I’ll move them to a smaller one and get rid of everything that won’t fit.
Tissue Paper

How many colors does tissue paper come in? Because I think I have them all.

I have a lot of tissue paper because I save every piece I ever get. I might not get rid of these multiples, since I do use them. But I won’t be buying any more!

Agh! So many cables!

Electronic cables and cords are definitely a problem at our house. How many RCA jacks should we keep? I think none. But there are so many others! I will keep a couple extra extension cords, and one or two of everything else.
First Aid Items

We have a lot of minor injuries at the house…

How many half-empty boxes of band-aids does one need? Because I have eight. Besides getting rid of anything expired, I also will consolidate all those half empty boxes.
Ok, I’ve talked about all the multiples I want to eliminate. Will you join me and get rid of your multiples too? What are the things you tend to collect, and how will you get rid of the extras?

8 thoughts on “Getting Rid of Multiples

  1. I just got rid of all my extra makeup in preparation for the move. That was my real problem. This week’s plan is to do the shampoo, body wash, and lotion. Luckily I got rid of most things a few years ago so I had already narrowed it down to my one water bottle that I actually use. The things that I did keep that’s haven’t used since then are definitely being tossed since I justified keeping them a few years ago but didn’t live up to my justifications.

  2. Socks! Good grief, who needs a whole drawerful dedicated to socks? Guess what I found while moving everything into the new drawers? And if you have price tags on items, you sure don’t need new ones. Thanks for a timely article.

  3. I have SO much trouble with this, Sarah, as you know! I feel like every item you have listed here, I probably have twice as many and in a fifth of the space. (I particularly feel your pain with the makeup, travel toiletries, and boxes). How do you discipline yourself to pare down?

    • The only way I can do it is to assign a specific space for that item, like a drawer, basket, tote, etc. I am allowed to hoard as long as it fits in the space. Otherwise I have to start to purge. Things that have lids or can close are great becuase there’s a point where it just won’t go anymore. It’s still really hard though!

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