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With spring (and spring cleaning) fast approaching, it’s tempting to purge a lot of stuff. While purging and focusing only on that which brings you joy (like Marie Kondo suggests), it’s important to also take a step back and focus on what you should keep. There are certain items that may feel like clutter but are actually important to make space for.

1. Photos

While many of these may already be digitized, you’ve likely got albums or boxes full of old photos somewhere in your house. Even though you don’t look at them regularly, don’t throw them away. Somewhere down the line, you’ll regret it. Instead, set them aside and commit to getting them digitized or organized before you dump them.

2. Infrequently Used Kitchen Utensils

Sure, you made not need that giant spatula on a regular basis, but what would you do if you needed it and didn’t have it? Set aside space on a less used shelf in your cabinet for kitchen items you use only a few times year.

3. Family Heirlooms

Maybe those family heirlooms don’t bring you joy or look that great with your décor. But they are family heirlooms. If you don’t want them and they don’t bring you joy, be sure you ask the rest of your family if they want them before you donate or sell them.

4. Electronics That Haven’t Been Wiped

You may not have used that old computer in years, but your personal data is still on it. Even seemingly innocuous electronics like a smart TV may hold some personal information. Before you get rid of them, be sure your data has been wiped and can’t be retrieved. Find out more from the FTC.

5. Vital Documents

Sure, you can toss out old birthday cards and other loose ends, but be sure you keep birth certificates, passports, social security cards, and other state and federal paperwork in a safe place. These items are quite difficult to replace and may be needed at a moment’s notice.

6. Collections

Maybe your ceramic pig collection no longer brings you the joy it once did, but your family and friends have probably spent years gifting you additions for it. Avoid hurt feelings by displaying the few that bring you the most joy and pass the rest on for someone else to love.

7. Emergency Supplies

It’s possible those extra batteries, band-aids, and flashlights are taking up space you’d rather use for something else. But the thing about emergencies is that you don’t know when they’ll happen. Use a box or tote to consolidate your emergency supplies, but don’t ever get rid of them.


In the process of getting your house ready for the nicer weather, what you keep is just as important as what you toss out. Follow these tips to be sure you don’t mistakenly get rid of something you’ll later regret. And don’t forget, in the process of organizing and properly disposing of recyclable and reusable items, you’re taking care of the planet too.