We've all got a hoarder hiding in us somewhere, but there are some things that you just need to let go of.
Here are nine key clutter-causers that should go straight to the top of your pre-Christmas clear-out list.
Read more: Are you a secret hoarder?
1. Old make-up, nail polish and perfume
Crumbled old eye shadow, clogged-up nail polish, worn-out lipstick that went out of fashion last century... admit it ladies, we're all guilty of hoarding old make-up in a chest of drawers that we're never going to use again. Nor should we – lipstick goes out of date after 18 months, mascara after just four, so think twice before slathering on old products that might cause skin or eye irritation.
2. Greetings cards
Before you start shouting at the screen, we're not saying you should throw away ALL greetings cards... just 99.9 per cent of them. Traditionally, greetings cards are supposed to be fleeting sentiments to be enjoyed for a short time then cast aside. If you absolutely must, keep the ones with personal messages, sentimental value, or pretty pictures that you might want to frame in box files, then dump the rest in the recycling bin.
3. VHS tapes
Do you even own a video player? Consign old VHS tapes to history where they belong. While you're at it, you might as well cull your DVDs, CDs and (dare we say it) books as well. Sell them on ebay and use the money you make to buy digital music, books and films instead.
4. Ratty old towels and bed linen
It's great to have a spare set of bedding for guests, but do you really need five? Especially when three of them are faded, stained and missing half the buttons. The same goes for frayed old towels - it's a poor host who gives their guests towels they wouldn't use themselves.
Read more: 7 clever ways to organise and store clothes
5. Student posters
Yes, we know Bob Marley and the Athena guy holding the baby witnessed some of the most transformative years of your life, but they've been gathering dust for years and are never going to grace your walls again. Face it, you're a grown-up now and grown-ups deserve grown-up art.
6. Tacky ornaments you've been given as gifts (and, yes, this includes wedding presents)
That crystal unicorn that Auntie Val got you for your 18th birthday, that diamante-encrusted candelabra your parents-in-law gave you when you got married... take them to the charity shop, walk away quickly and never mention them again.
7. Any unmatched items
Lone ear-rings, solitary saucers, abandoned power cords, single socks - without their pair, they are nothing, so put them out of their misery and bin them now.
8. Old paint
It's handy to hold on to old paint for occasional touch-ups, but have you actually peered inside those pots recently? If they've been sitting there for more than four years, chances are they'll be dried up and crusted over by now. Solvent-based paints need to be disposed of as hazardous waste, so take them to your local recycling centre.
9. Unnecessary paperwork
It's important to keep good records, but do you need that phone bill from your first ever flat?
The same goes for school files full of old Geography homework, instruction manuals for that hi-fi you threw out six years ago and receipts for your favourite pair of shoes that you've worn to death and would never have dreamt of taking back to the shop anyway.
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Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.
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