7 Things You Have Way Too Many Of in Your Home, According to Pros

Decluttering your space is simple in theory: just sell, donate, or discard/recycle anything you don’t use or need anymore. But it’s the practice of that simple theory that can be hard. 

Lauren Saltman, professional organizer and owner of Living. Simplified., often needs to ease her clients into the process.

“Encouraging my clients to let go of items is so much easier once we group like items together,” she says.

You might be surprised by how many similar items are lying around your home. If you’re ready to declutter, start with these all-too-frequently found items that organizing pros would gently encourage you to part ways with.

Cooking Utensils and Appliances

The Spruce / Eric Brockob

Let’s be clear: home chefs need tools like spatulas, knives, and cooking spoons. But Saltman recalls working with one client who amassed an “astounding” number of kitchen tongs.

“We had a good chuckle, keeping two long pairs and one short, and then we donated about 15 pairs,” she says. 

What number is “too many” to have of any cooking utensil? Saltman says if you have several of one item in a drawer but keep rewashing your “favorite” one, it’s time to declutter the rest.

“My rule of thumb is to make sure an appliance has multiple uses and that you don’t already have something else in the kitchen that can get the job done,” she says.

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The Spruce / Henry Wortock

If you’ve got a kitchen junk drawer, we’d bet good money there’s at least one too many screwdrivers in it.

For starters, Saltman recommends getting rid of any that are worn down at the tip. Next, pick up each of the remaining ones and see if any are too uncomfortable to grip—those are ready for the chopping block as well.

Lastly, sort them by size and type (flathead and Phillips, for example). Saltman says it’s not a bad idea to keep a couple of different lengths of each type on hand for convenience.


Domm Dot Com

We might lose some bookworms here—and it’s painful for yours truly to even write this—but there comes a time when the amount of books you own is simply not conducive to the size of your space.

If that’s a foreign concept to you, then by all means, bypass this tip. But if not, then you might consider donating books so that others can enjoy them, too, says Saltman.  

Coffee Mugs and Water Bottles

House of Chais

No one is getting in the way of your caffeine fix. And we all know how important it is to stay hydrated. But if you’ve got a full cupboard, it’s time to make some decisions.

Minimalists can get away with just two of each, says Saltman, but if you’re eager to keep more, keep them organized.

“If you’re always taking out the mugs in the front to get to your favorite in the back, then it’s time to declutter your collection,” she explains.

Plastic Containers

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

If you’re a meal prepper or simply love leftovers, then you likely have enough plastic containers to prove it.

Aaron Traub, owner and lead organizer at My Professional Organizer, has noted an “overwhelming amount” of them at client homes.

“In reality, only a few are needed for food storage, and the excess takes up valuable space,” he says.

Expired Food

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

When was the last time you looked at some of those cans tucked away in the back of your cabinets or pantry? Traub recommends especially checking on spices, sauces, and other canned goods. “Regularly checking expiration dates and discarding old items can prevent clutter and ensure fresher food options,” he says.


The Spruce / Lacey Johnson 

Even in the digital age, it’s easy to amass too much paper by way of old bills, documents, and receipts.

“Regularly reviewing and shredding unnecessary paperwork can significantly reduce clutter and make it easier to find important documents when needed,” says Traub.

He adds that there are some services, including certain professional organizers, that offer this type of service if you’re struggling to find out what should stay and what should go.

When to Keep Duplicate Items

Of course, if you felt personally attacked by any of the decluttering suggestions on this list, you have the right to fall back on the “my house, my rules” philosophy. Saltman might even back you up on it.

“It is fine to have duplicate items when it comes to your hobbies,” she says, noting that many of her clients are collectors of items that interest them. “If you enjoy and display them, then by all means, keep them in your home.”

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