Dejunk Your Life: 10 Useless Things Every Runner Must Get Rid Of

Something happens when you start running. You collect kit. A lot of kit. And at some point, you realise you now have drawers full of the stuff – drawers that won’t shut. However, if you look carefully, you’ll realise something. That those drawers will contain at least one item, you really don’t need to keep. That there’s a lot of useless stuff in your kit cupboard and, you’ll do better to get rid of it.

clothes spilling out of a drawer

Why Is It Good to Clear Out Your Kit Cupboard

Well, to make it look nicer is one thing, but, it could also make it more likely that you’ll exercise.

Think about it, if you just feel like going on a quick 15-minute jog it’s going to be a lot easier if your kit is sorted out in a way that means you can be out of the door in 2 minutes (rather than spending 6 minutes finding socks that match).

Ditto if you can see everything in your drawer, you know you’re running out of shorts or sports bras and must therefore do the kit wash – rather than discovering this just as you’re wanting to head out of the door.

Keeping your kit updated might also motivate you. Wearing kit you feel good in (rather than things that pinch or make you feel heavier than you are) can boost your confidence and just make it more comfortable physically to work out.

Also, if you actually are heavier than you used to be, keeping workout kit that doesn’t fit can increase negative feelings. Yes, some people see it as a challenge to get back into their old clothes, but for others it can just make it feel like your workout is pointless.

Now, before we get to identifying what you might want to get rid of, let’s look at how you might want to start decluttering it. You could just do it all at once, Marie Kondo-style throwing everything in the middle of the floor and only putting back those items you really need or that spark joy – or, you could try what’s known as the Get Chucked Challenge.

How to Do the Get Chucked Challenge

This is for those who need to declutter their life generally, it’s also known as the 30 Day Get Chucked Challenge which might give you an idea of how long it takes but here’s what you need to know.

The premise is simple each day for thirty days you get rid of things.

Day one you throw away one thing, day two, it’s two things, day three, three things… can see where I’m going can’t you, by the end of day 30 (when thirty items must go) you will have decluttered a whopping 465 items you don’t need.

Now I say throw away – of course, you can rehome them, take them to charity shops, flog them on eBay – do whatever with them so long as they are no longer cluttering up your home.

I started with my clothing and a pair of Primark plimsols that cut my feet, worked my way through t-shirts, shoes (bit traumatic) and today, on day seven, we reached the gym kit drawer.

It had to be done – the main drawer doesn’t shut. There’s also now a second drawer developing under the bed for things ‘I might need one day’ – that drawer contains such items as five pairs of old trainers and a snorkel.

I do not need a snorkel. The times I have been snorkelling recently, I was a few thousand miles away from the drawer under the bed.

So, I went in – I actually ended up throwing away 25 items (which means I’m now ahead on days 8 and 9 too) but there were a few things I’m pretty sure would appear in any runners drawer and that perhaps, might also need to go the way of the declutter for you too.

runners kit on the floor to be thrown away

The 10 Things You Need to Get Rid Of

So, when you go to sort things out, what should you dump….

1) Anything That Doesn’t Fit.

This is my 2003 Keri Keri Half Marathon shirt from New Zealand – I have worn it once in 5 years.

At that point, I realised it had shrunk a lot and reveals my stomach – as I am yet to achieve washboard abs this is not a sight that needs to occur. I love the little happy oranges and really don’t want to lose it, but it’s taking up space and I do have 19 other running tops!

2) Old Water Bottles

These bottles dont last forever. They can get mouldy and if they are scratched, plastics can leak into the water.

These ones that I had got rather mouldy at the end of last year and probably caused the throat infection I got just before the Avengers half marathon.

Chances are if I use them again I would get another infection plus The Boyfriend bought me a new Fuel Belt for my birthday and while I can’t quite bring myself to throw away the actual belt yet (as I haven’t tried the birthday belt yet) the bottles need to go.

3) All Socks That No Longer Have a Friend

Where do the other socks go?

4) Any Kit That Encourages Unwanted Attention

I manage to wear most of my clothing without looking like Rachel in Friends, but some kit just seems to make you look rather pointy in the chesticles department.

As I have realised that running with hands-on boobs does not make you go faster these tops must also go.

As should anything that goes see through when it rains, leggings that show your thong when you bend, short shorts that ride up and flash your thighs higher than you might like and sports bras that have zero support (and not just for reasons of attention – read this post to discover why the wrong sports bra might actually be slowing you down).

That’s not to say any of these things are bad if they don’t concern you, but if they do – dump the items. You want to feel confident when you work out if anything about your kit stops that, it should go.

5) Sports Bras That Pinch, Rub or You Pull a Muscle Getting Into

This one is brilliant at keeping things where they are supposed to go, but it pinches on the weight machines and trying to wriggle into it is enough to put me off going for a workout.

If you have the same problems, check out my review on the Lululemon Enlite Bra which is probably the most comfortable sports bra I have ever tried.

6) Any Race Shirts That Don’t Wick

They are just baggy t-shirts. White baggy t-shirts. I do not need these in my life. Unless I was doing painting…..I don’t do painting.

7) Old faithful trainers

It breaks my heart to do it as we have been through so much together, but they have to go.

Oh, and if one reason you do hang on to these is that you can’t face going to be fitted for a new pair, take this tip from our 46 Best Running Tips Ever – write down the model number and size whenever you buy new trainers. Then, if you do find a pair you absolutely love you know what they are, what size you need and can see if you can find them online.

8) First-generation Fitbits or Other Gadgets

I had to laugh when I started updating this blog recently as back in 2012, I wrote a post about this revolutionary device called the Fitbit that was going to change everything about fitness  how things have changed.

So, if your devices are no longer supported by the company that made them. If you have lost the charger. If they no longer talk to your computer – or, if you already have bought two newer models, they need to go.

The exception to this is if they are first-generation and you have the box and instructions – then put them in the loft, they might pay off your mortgage one day!

9) Leggings That Ride Up or Fall Down

If you need to adjust them more than twice in a run – especially if that run is less than 10 minutes, it’s time to buy some new ones.

10) Anything Washing Can’t Save

A lot of gym kit is made from polyester as it’s particularly good for wicking away sweat – however, the germs that live in sweat also like to take up residence in polyester and after a while, it can make its presence known in your old kit.

It might smell okay when it comes out of the washing machine, but, as soon as your kit gets warm, it starts to, erm, pong.

This needs to go – for you and all those around you.

Oh and for more tips on how to look after your gym kit, check out this post on mistakes you might be making with your kit including why you should never wash it with softener.

So there you have it – the ten useless things ever runner must get rid of. Did I miss anything? Why not add it in the comments.

Who is The Wellness Nerd?

My name is Helen Foster and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.

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