65 Big and Little Things It's Finally Time to Get Rid Of
Your new decluttering motto: #Ruthless
Even though you might be a well-organised person, it's so easy for clutter to take control of your home (time to review our decluttering tips?). Holding on to huge piles of old magazines, defective electronics, and unwanted clothing not only leads to stress — it can also take up the space you really need for the things that matter most to you.
If you're finally ready to start organising your space, we have you covered. Setting aside just a few hours to unload the items you no longer need can bring you the sense of calm and relief you've likely been craving. From useless kitchen utensils to impractical office products, consider this list of the top household items that are worth parting ways with. We promise that you'll feel good about getting rid of all that junk once and for all.
- Old Cords
Sorry to break it to you, but you'll probably never use your old cords again. Technology becomes dated so quickly these days, so it's safe to say you can get rid of that cord you're holding onto from your iPhone 2.
- Expired Coupons
Have you actually used that plastic baggy holding all your coupons lately? Most of them are probably expired, and therefore unusable. Comb through your coupon book, or better yet — just throw it out and start over.
- Old Calendars
As soon as it turns into a new year, it's safe to say you won't need your outdated calendar from last year. If you haven't thrown out your old calendars or planners, now is a good time to get rid of them.
- Old Takeout Menus
Almost all delivery places have their menus online now, so there's no need for the paper clutter of a takeout menu. Just toss them in recycling!
- Glasses With an Outdated Prescription
If the only thing wrong with your glasses is that they're the wrong prescription, donate them! A person in need could be using them.
- Product Manuals
Once you put the furniture together, there's no need for the manual. You'll never use them again, so toss any directions or manuals you have lying around.
- Last Year's Sunscreen
Old sunscreen loses its ability to protect you from the sun's rays over time, so it's better to just get a new bottle if you don't know how old it is.
- Old Receipts
Unless it's a tax-deductible purchase, you don't need them. So you can definitely throw out those mile-long drugstore receipts.
- Cardboard Boxes
When you're done moving, it's time to get rid of the cardboard boxes. If you need long term storage, try some nicer storage boxes.
- Board Games You Don't Play
It's no fun to play a board game that has missing pieces, especially if you rarely play board games as is. Consider donating them to your local charity, hospital, or library instead!
- Unmatched Socks
Everyone has a sock drawer with at least a handful of single socks that lost their partner somewhere along the way. Maybe the laundry gnomes got to them, or maybe it was the family pet. Either way, the only reason to hold onto single socks is to get crafty and repurpose them.
- Excess Hair Ties
Your hair deserves better than something that's been on your floor for who knows how long.
- Plastic Utensils
Whether you've stockpiled forks and knives from takeout food or you have a stash leftover from some party, it's definitely time to ditch the plastic. The environment will thank you. Consider bamboo cutlery as an alternative.
- Open Bottles
Alcohol doesn't stay good forever ... Who knew? Hard liquor has a longer shelf life of about two years before it starts to evaporate and change. Uncorked bottles of wine are a different story. Red wines should be drank within two weeks of opening a bottle. White wine should be used within three days. These rules may require a restocking of the liquor cabinet.
- Old Condiment Packets
Your favourite takeout place gives you enough packets for four people when you're ordering for two, but you really don't want the unfortunate surprise of opening up a drawer and finding one has sprung a leak.
- Baby Stuff
We'll acknowledge that it's seriously sad to get rid of those old onesies. But if the clothes are in good condition, they can help a family in need.
This one might sting a little. People carefully curate their movie collection only to find the technology get phased out. You don't need to abandon all of your favourites, but you could easily clear up some space in your house by dumping the movies that are available to stream.
- Dull Knives
It might be time to toss your old knives, especially steak knives that were cheap to begin with and can't easily be sharpened. They're actually more harmful and dangerous than your sharpest knife. Donate old knives, but make sure you wrap the blade with cardboard beforehand (and label it!) for safety.
- Old Workout Gear
There's no reason to get rid of perfectly good clothing or accessories, but athletic gear gets worn out faster. For example, sports bras worn consistently for several workouts per week should be replaced every six months. Running sneakers are good for about eight months. Things like yoga mats and water bottles can be used for several years before it's time to upgrade.
- Former Best Sellers
Pass on your former favourite beach reads to friends by holding a book swap. Or, find a Little Free Library— these are mini-bookshelves that pop up anywhere filled with free books to take.
- Dated Reference Books
Outdated information won't expand your horizons, so unless you use these for historical reference, pass them on. Many thrift stores say no to old reference books, so look for community groups who use them for crafting and collages.
- Old Medication
We tend to hold onto these for fear of making a mistake of throwing out new pills, rather than a temptation to hold onto these for future maladies. For peace of mind, follow the FDA's advice by first checking to see if your old medication is on the list of those that should be flushed. If not, they recommend tossing medications by mixing it into coffee grounds or old kitty litter (key word: old), and blacking out any info on your prescription bottles.
- Unused Craft Supplies
You heard that knitting can be great for de-stressing, so you threw yourself into it, but haven't touched your supplies in months. Either you knit, or you don't. If you're leaning toward "you don't," donate these excess supplies to a local senior centre.
- Expired Spices
Because at some point, it's no longer cinnamon — it's flavourless dust. Find out when to get rid of other pantry basics that are past their prime.
- CD Collections
There are arguments to be made for hanging onto these, but anything that you don't love can go straight to a thrift store. Anything you do love? Take a day to upload it to your computer.
- Old Towels
You can cut them up to use them as rags, or you can donate them to local animal shelters, who always are in need of these for bedding.
- Worn Sheets
They've been washed so many times they're practically translucent. Like old towels, many animal shelters need these for keeping pups and kitties warm. And keep your set in tip-top shop for as long as possible by avoiding these mistakes.
- Plastic Grocery Bags
You know not to throw them out, so you hold on to them in an ever-increasing mass. Instead, round them up, then take them to a place that'll recycle them for you. Better yet, start using reusable grocery bags instead!
- Reusable Totes
If you frequent eco-friendly marketplaces, yet always manage to forget a tote, you've likely developed quite a collection. But these aren't eco-friendly if you're not using them more than once. Donate the excess to a charity, or give them to friends the next time you head to a flea market.
- Promotional T-Shirts
You probably won't wear that random t-shirt you got free with a charity donation, so either donate it or DIY with it.
- VHS Tapes
Don't fall for that eBay urban legend that certain tapes command a ton of money. Though many thrift stores will refuse these donations, VHS tapes can often be recycled with e-waste.
- Extra Buttons
With the way clothes are made these days, by the time you need to replace the button on your cardigan, it'll be worn out. Give them to a kid for crafting (buttons are like jewels to kids for some reason), or donate them to your favourite sewing friend.
- Clear Florist Vases
These freebies pile up underneath sinks across the world, taking up real estate that's needed for cleaning supplies. Keep a few favourites (you can even turn them into a fun DIY project), then donate the rest.
- Lidless Containers
Where do they go? Maybe one day Neil deGrasse Tyson can teach us about the black hole these manage to find. Until then, recycle any without a partner.
- Fancy Moisturizers
This is a special shout-out for those types who invest in skincare, then become too afraid to use it up too quickly, then just flat-out don't use it. It's safe to assume these little jars are now filled with bacteria.
- Old Makeup
Again, you might hang on to that ancient mascara because it was expensive, but using old eye makeup can lead to a nasty infection. That's why experts recommend tossing it after three months.
- Dead Batteries
It's such a tease when you need new batteries for the remote, and none from the junk drawer actually work. Don't make yourself go through this experience ever again.
- Wire Hangers
We keep a few since they're handy for random household use, but they stretch out clothes, so they're not ideal for sweaters or shirts. Don't worry, you can recycle them!
- Plastic Hangers
While these are better than wire, they can also stretch out clothing. Donate them as you switch to velvet hangers for slippery items and inexpensive wood hangers for jackets.
- Damaged Dishes
A chip may not seem like a problem, but over time, water can soak into the plate with every wash, leading to nasty bacteria growth. And the moisture can create bigger cracks if the plate or bowl is microwaved.
- Old Nail Polish
One of each colour will suffice. You'll likely never use all of it, and it's almost impossible to tell the difference between "ballet pink" and "whisper pink" anyway.
- Forgotten Condiments
Are you hosting a hot dog eating contest? If not, there's no reason to have 10 different bottles of mustard. It's likely that the bottles are all kind of dried out anyway.
- Costume Jewellery
We're not talking about valuable gems and jewellery made from precious metals, but the cheaper pieces that are usually made of plastic. Maybe it was a gift. Maybe it was a bargain too good to pass up. But if you don't wear it, send it off to the donation pile.
- Office Supplies
Even if you work from home, you'll never go through 20 Post-it note pads. Donate them to a non-profit or charitable organisation.
- Unidentifiable Leftovers
If you can't identify that foil packet or filled freezer bag with a glance, toss it. After all, frozen mush is far from appetising, right?
- Your Loofah
Apparently, these are only supposed to have a lifespan of three weeks before they actually get you dirtier than cleaner. Yikes.
- Big or Small clothes
Follow this rule of thumb: If it's more than two sizes in any direction, chances are it'll be out of style by the time it fits. Don't let college-era clothes take up precious closet space (or brain space).
- Dated Magazines
We give you permission to save a couple of prime vintage copies; otherwise, recycle the entire stack. If your collection goes back to include issues from the early '00s and above, it might be worth putting issues up individually on eBay. Especially if you browse them for some hilariously outdated advice.
- Old Pens
While watching TV, test each pen out from your over-flowing cup. If it doesn't work, it goes into the garbage.
- Leftover Paint
You've dutifully kept it in your garage after painting the living room. But even if it hasn't dried out completely, it's likely to no longer match the room — wall paint can lighten or darken over time depending on the formula or environment.
- Painful Shoes
They may be cute, but, boy, do they hurt. Organise a clothing swap with friends to see if there's a Cinderella who doesn't find peep-toe platforms torturous. And no, you're not imagining things if you find many styles of flats to be just as bad.
- Novelty Appliances
Whether it was a Star Wars toaster or an ordinary waffle maker (and it's always a waffle maker), you used it once and decided it was more trouble than it's worth. Liberate it from your cabinet and make someone else's day by donating it.
- Old Bras
Not only are most of us not washing these correctly, we're also hanging onto them for much longer than we should.
- Specialty Baking Pans
Sure, everyone loves that super-cute flower-shaped cake you make once a year, but the rest of the year, it just takes up space. It's better to stick to the basics.
- Forgotten Candles
If it's still new, donate or pass the candle you were gifted in a scent you can't stand to a friend who does love it. Or toss it if it looks like it was found in the Haunted Mansion.
- Excess Mugs
These are always given as gifts, so it's likely that you have more than there are people in your home. Keep your favourites and donate the rest.
- Change Jar
No, we're not saying to throw that away. Instead, cash it in!
It's one thing to decompress with a glance through social media, but if you find yourself scrolling and scrolling and scrolling instead of connecting with others, you could be doing more harm than good to your mental well-being — not to mention to your relationships.
- Empty Journals
Either take up the habit, or pass along the empty journals to someone who could get use out of them. Although, these health benefits might convince you to embrace it once and for all. You might also want to consider conserving paper by upgrading to a reusable smart notebook.
- Old Mattresses
Don't clutch your imaginary pearls just yet — this is only recommended if yours is old. Experts say that a mattress should be replaced every eight years, by which time it would have amassed 10 pounds of dead skin cells.
- Old Phones
You've upgraded, yet that old phone has languished in the junk drawer. Are you creating a museum of outdated tech? We didn't think so.
- Travel Toiletries
There are better ways to remember a vacation than the tiny bottles of toiletries that are currently cluttering up your under-sink cabinet. If they're many, many years old, it's time to toss 'em. If they're on the newer side, either use them or donate them to a shelter. It'll make it easier to organise the ones you're holding onto.
- Exhausting "Friends"
Yes, even on Facebook (block or hide their updates if unfriending them will cause more trouble). Trust us: "Friends" that exhaust you just aren't worth the trouble.
- Old Cards
This one is an emotional minefield, but you'll feel better once it's done. Let yourself keep a few cards (especially if from a now-departed loved one) that are meaningful, but recycle the rest. Or, use them as the basis for a craft.
- Unwatched Programs
Watching episodes pile up on your DVR can be oddly stressful for something that should be a relaxing activity. Clear it out and start fresh.