Living with less isn’t about the number of things you get rid of it’s about living with enough to be content and getting rid of the rest. The rest is just clutter, unnecessary, energy-draining clutter.
Here is a list of 200 Things to Throw Away. This list isn’t a list of things that I have gotten rid of myself but of things that I
want to will get rid of!
I’ll be tackling this list ten or so items a week and I look forward to a less-cluttered house at the end of it. This post contains affiliate links.
As you look ahead at this list I want you to remember two things:
1.) Remember you can sell, donate, recycle or throw away. Knowing that I’m allowing someone else to enjoy my things makes it easier for me to let them go. (Edited to add that the comments are full of great places to donate items. Schools were by far the most recommended location.)
2.) Keep things that make you feel good. If it doesn’t make you feel happy when you look at it, get rid of it quickly. Surround yourself with things you enjoy.
Now on to the list:
1. Old product boxes (Apple products, TV, etc.)
2. Hangers from the dry cleaners
3. Plastic hangers from the store
4. Expired make up
5. Half-finished projects…you know the one!
7. Old emery boards (buy a nice glass one and be done with those scratchy things!)
8. Old paint (Visit Earth911.com to find a place to dispose of it safely)
9. Ugly undergarments you hate to wear (You have those “just in case” pairs too, right?)
10. Bills, taxes, paperwork over 7 years old
11. Socks with holes or without mates…also those lonely socks that have holes too. 🙂
12. Extra cups and mugs – How many does your family use in a regular dishwasher load? Add a few more for company and be done with the rest.
13. Books you’ve never read or will never read again
14. Old technology (8 tracks, floppy discs, VHS tapes w/o a player, etc.)
15. Unloved toys
16. Cleaning rags – You only need a few before you’ll wash them again, right?
17. Tea light candles – Use them or lose them.
18. Take out menus you never look at
19. Old greeting cards (Save the super sentimental ones and recycle the rest)
20. Outdated over the counter drugs and vitamins
21. Old sneakers (Recycle through Nike)
22. Plastic cutlery
23. Old spices – Spices don’t actually spoil but they lose their potency. A good rule of thumb is 1-2 years for seasoning; 1-3 for herbs and ground spices; and up to 4 years for whole spices.
24. Duplicate power cords (USB, etc. We have 3 vTech ones for the kiddos’ toys but only need one)
25. Bobby pins
26. Games with missing pieces
27. Dried up nail polish bottles
28. Video games you’ll never play again
29. Recalled baby items (Car seats, cribs, etc.)
30. Jewelry you don’t wear
31. Expired food in your freezer/pantry
32. Rugs or home decor you haven’t used since you redecorated
33. Unused perfumes and cologne
34. Old towels that make you cringe when you look at them
35. Extension cords (Am I the only one who has a bazillion of these?)
36. Extra sets of bed linens – two per bed tops
37. Unused plastic containers – especially those without a lid and those old plastic containers. Avoid containers with recycle codes 3 or 7 as they may contain BPA.
38. Old bills (Switch to online banking and stop the clutter before it comes in your home)
39. Paychecks older than 2 years
40. Stretched out hair ties
41. Matches you never use (Maybe save a few in case of a power outage)
42. Old newspapers
43. Expired Rx meds (Visit fda.gov for proper ways to dispose of them)
44. Extra pillows
45. Ticket stubs (Sentimental like myself? Store in a scrapbook or fill a mug with old stubs)
46. Make up you’ll try “one day” If you’ve owned it for more than 2 weeks without trying it, toss it.
47. Clothes that are more than 2 sizes too small. Don’t give up on your weight loss dream but WHEN you do lose that weight go and buy new clothes to reward yourself.
48. Things you’ve bought and haven’t returned yet (Return them, sell, or donate them)
49. White-out bottles – You know you don’t need it!
50. Unneeded notebooks
51. Pens and pencils – Keep your favorites and let go of the rest
52. Little shampoo bottles from a hotel you went to 5 years ago
53. Knick knacks that don’t make you smile every time you see them
54. Cords that don’t belong to anything you currently own
55. Lose all those loose screws, nuts, bolts, etc. unless you happen to be a handy man who would actually reuse them one day
56. Kid’s old art projects (I have an upcoming post with loads of ideas on this so for now just set them aside)
57. Old party supplies
58. Old wedding favors (Keep a few, toss the rest)
59. Old Christmas cards of your family (Save a few, recycle the rest)
60. Holiday decor you never remember to set out (Thanksgiving turkey Aunt Sue gave you)
61. Holiday decor that you use once a year (ex. Easter deviled egg tray that collects dust 364 days of the year! Buy a lovely one that you can use for other holidays too.)
62. Cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, shampoo that you used once and didn’t like. Donate to a local shelter.
63. Flower pots. Plant a flower or toss the pot.
64. Watering cans if you don’t have flowers.
65. Too small kid’s clothing. Only save favorites if you’re saving for another child. Sell the rest while they’re still in style.
66. Extra buttons (If you don’t sew, toss them all. Reduce your supply if you will use a button in the next few months)
67. Old calendars
68. Unidentified frozen objects (Label ya’ll! Keep a Sharpie by the freezer for quick labeling)
69. Movies you’ll probably never watch again
70. Bags from the mall you might use one day (Keep only 1 if you must)
71. Multiple pair of scissors (One or two tops, right?)
72. More ear buds than you’ve got family members
73. Curling irons, crimpers (ha! flash back), or straighteners you don’t use
74. Highlighters unless you’ve used one in the past month, then save only that one
75. Travel mugs that leak, or are ugly, or that you don’t use because you have to hand wash it
76. Boxes – shoe boxes, diaper boxes, cereal boxes. Recycle and be free.
77. Samples of any kind – Use, donate, or trash.
78. Games you haven’t played in the last year
79. Tape measures – You know the rule, keep one and toss the rest.
80. Old phone covers, styluses, screen protectors, etc.
81. Misc. ribbons or string
82. Expired coupons
83. Organizers you bought to get organized that didn’t work
84. Belts that no longer fit, are worn, or are out of style
85. Duplicate kitchen utensils – Have you ever used three whisks at the same time before? Me neither.
86. Cookie cutters unless you’ve used them in the past year and foresee using them again
87. Rarely used cake pans (think Mickey Mouse head) – Our bakery supply store rents them for $2 a day. I no longer need to keep any on hand for those rare occasions I bake.
88. Old teeth whitening trays or strips. Use ’em up or toss ’em out.
89. Hard candy that you’re not sure where it came from or how long it’s been there
90. Unloved stuffed animals
91. Half used chap stick containers – Buy a new one! I LOVE my new EOS one with coconut milk.
92. Duplicate measuring cups and spoons
93. Old day planners (and current ones if you don’t use them!)
94. Candles – If it’s not lovely to look at and you’ll never burn it, let it go.
95. Mason jars (or baby food jars, spaghetti sauce jars, etc.) that you won’t use
96. Expired sunscreen
97. Staple remover – unless you can make a very compelling argument to keep yours.
98. Travel alarm clock – We have phones now.
99. Stress balls
100. Plug in air fresheners without a refill
Join our January Declutter Challenge!! Details are here.
101. Unloved dog toys
102. Extra USB flash drives – How many does one family need?
103. Promotional swag
104. Key chains you don’t use
105. Recipe books you don’t ever use
106. Push pins in the junk drawer just waiting for unsuspecting fingers
107. Keys that you don’t know what they go to
108. Lanyards, name tags, bags, etc. from previous conferences
109. Carabiners – Unless you rock climb, trust me, you won’t use them.
110. Lotions, face washes, serums that you don’t use
111. Random batteries you’re not sure where they came from
112. Multiple bookmarks – Unless you’re a bookworm…you know what to do, toss them.
113. Combination locks – Chances are slim you’ll use one again but if you do, they’re cheap to replace.
115. Near empty bottles of bubbles or little nubs of side-walk chalk
116. Completed coloring books
117. Markers without lids and lids without markers
118. Goodie bag toys from previous birthday party celebrations
119. Empty bottles of anything
121. Old invitations
122. Travel brochures
123. Tissue paper/gift bags
124. Unused sticky notes
125. Extra shoe laces
126. Stickers from a previous yard sale
127. Hair products you don’t use
128. Take out chopsticks – Buy a reusable pair if you use them a lot
129. Old prescription glasses – Great donation for the Lions Club.
130. Old sunglasses – The cat eye is coming back but definitely toss those purple hued ones.
131. Worn out flip flops.
132. Magnets – Unless they are lovely or useful, discard.
133. Posters you’ll never display again
134. Excess decks of cards
135. Phone books
136. Broken Christmas lights
137. Notes/gifts from old romances
138. Hats you don’t wear or that look like you shouldn’t
139. Extra bubble wrap (or am I the only one who has a supply?)
140. Twisty ties (another one that hits close to home!)
141. Chip clips
142. Craft supplies for a project that has already been completed
143. Paper plates – Use them up!
144. Loyalty cards – Use the key ring version or enter your number for even less clutter
145. Gift cards – Go and enjoy them!
146. Touristy knick knacks
147. Business cards – Keep an electronic record
148. Puzzle books you don’t use
149. Old textbooks
150. Unused vases
151. Stockings with runs in them
152. Fancy serving bowls you haven’t used in the last year – Use them or sell them.
153. CDs unless you use them regularly
154. Old boombox
155. Piles of “scrap paper”
156. Purses/dufflebags/old luggage you don’t use
158. Christmas ornaments that aren’t lovely or sentimental
159. Instruments you’ve given up on mastering years ago
160. Clothes that make you feel ugly
161. Instruction manuals – Most are online now.
162. Calculators – Phones have replaced these for most people.
163. Remotes that have no purpose
164. Emergency sewing kits – I own many and have never used one even once.
165. Dry erase markers without a board and a board without markers (or both if you don’t use it!)
166. Extra pencil sharpeners – Only one is needed
167. Rusty tools you’ll never use again
168. Lawn and garden pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers you won’t use
169. Fireworks that are unused (Am I the only one?) – They can be soaked in water overnight then disposed of in a plastic bag.
170. Dried up super glue (btw, this is my favorite super glue that has never dried out on me!)
171. Old and ugly t-shirts
172. Hair accessories you don’t use
173. One orphan earring
174. Dried flowers
175. Extra photo prints
176. Gifts you don’t love
177. Scarves you never wear
178. Damaged/stained clothing
179. Plastic children’s plates/cups that they’ve outgrown
180. Junk mail
181. Address labels – Do you ever really use them?
182. Extra folders, binders, labels, etc.
183. Old cell phones – Recycle!
184. Old fortune cookie fortunes (Someone else keeps the good ones too, don’t they?)
185. Used ink cartridges – Recycle them for a little money back
186. Use Unroll.me to rid yourself from pesky email subscriptions (It’s free but I would pay for this fabulous service!!)
187. Outdated computer software
188. Old wallets
189. Dull or duplicate pocket knives
190. Spare change lying around – Take it to the bank!
191. Unused picture frames
192. Old baby gear that you no longer need – Great donation item if you don’t want to sell it!
193. Kitchen knives no one uses
194. Old sports equipment from days gone by
195. Broken clocks
196. Coasters that go unused
197. Plants – Yes, plants that don’t brighten your spirits. Buy ones that do!
198. Hole punch you never use
199. Place mats, napkins, table cloths that never get displayed
200. Ruled notebook paper – I hate to throw it away but I never use it. Donate it!
Don’t be afraid to let it go. You can do this!!!
What items did I leave off this list that should be included?
Want more encouragement? Here’s how you can stay motivated:
- – Check out the rest of our Live With Less series.
- – Join our Live With Less Facebook group where you can share your challenges and seek encouragement in a friendly, non-judgy atmosphere. PLUS, we’re going to have a new Live With Less Challenge starting next week where you can enter to win a CASH PRIZE! Join us, it’s fun!
- – Sign up for our weekly email updates. Yes, it’s just one email a week – I don’t like email clutter either!
Join our January Declutter Challenge!! You can get all the details by clicking here.
Kathy Jones says
You can recycle old towels, blankets to a local shelter. They are always looking for stuff like that for bedding for animals. Most will bath animals when first brought in due to the flea factor.
They also accept newspapers to line the animal cages.
Joan Reinke says
Our local shelters wil
l not accept old newspapers anymore so call first before taking them to a shelter.
Think art teachers for old newsprint. Paper maché, etc. I’d call one first, however.
Brian Steele says
Yes, call first because most secondary schools get free newspaper subscriptions and recycle through the art classes.
Oh, that’s great to know! I have about 30 ratty old towels for emergencies (like the ice dam floods we had last winter) but I definitely don’t need all of them.
do you have any John Travolta polyester shirts left? They are even more popular than “ratty towels”
I guess our shelter is picky. For towels, they say they only want full-size bath towels.
Ellen Helms says
Any old clothes that are unwearable, those socks with holes in them, can all be cut up and put inside a pillowcase, not super tight though, and then sew up the end of the pillowcase and you have a pet pillow. I’ve used large fabric remnants to make the pillowcase; any soft, strong fabric works. I filled a “pillowcase” with small fabric remnants and small yarn remnants to make a pet pillow for our SPCA.
That is a fabulous idea!!!
Susie in the country says
Pleas do not add fabric to the already crowded landfill. Try to find a place or organization that recycles fabric or garments. I locally have a “grinder bin” that takes items and grinds them for other recycled uses.
Marjorie Peirce says
What a great idea. I don’t sew, but have friends who do and who love animals like I do… they are always looking for new things to do. I’ll supply the material and they will do the sewing!!! I also wonder if those would work for people who need pillows for things like: back injuries (sleep with one between the knees), etc. It would be cheaper than buying a pillow. Will have to play around with that one.
Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says
We had a dumpster in November, filled that baby and it doesn’t even look like we made a dent. Sigh.
Great idea Robin- I was thinking it might be cool if our neighborhood got one.
There are so many things we can’t put in the trash now.
Our neighborhood does this quarterly. There is a program in our city that allows for a dumpster to be delivered and left (I believe for 48 hours) at no charge to the neighborhood every 6 months. Because our neighborhood is technically divided by a semi-major street, we are technically two neighborhoods, allowing each half to order a dumpster every 6 months, therefore we stagger them and have one every three months. Greatest thing EVER in helping me slowly whittle down the clutter.
If you can’t put them in your household trash you should not put them in a dumpster either. There are environmental regulations in place for a reason; to protect people and the environment from harmful products. Nobody’s going through the dumpster taking out fluorescent lightbulbs, TVs, batteries and the like. Items that can’t be thrown in the trash should be taken to your towns transfer station, recycle center, or similar. You can sometimes find local outlets for reuse and recycling at first 911.com
Sorry that’s earth 911.com
Sometimes trash pick up will not take things like broken down furniture. Doesn’t mean it can’t go int he dump. Our curbside pick up will not take anything that isn’t/ can’t be put in a trash bag.
oh, shut up
Who and why are you saying shutup? seems a little rude
Love your comment elsa 🙂
DeAnn Anderson says
Really shut up? WOW
You must have been told to shut up your entire life who says that? You did>>>>
Our county trash pick up wouldn’t even take sticks unless they were small and bundled a certain way. What could possibly cause a stick to be harmful to the environment? No, the reason is so that the trash collectors are not expected to haul more than what one man can pick up while the second drives the truck.
Rhonnie is correct. Trash companies often have restrictions that are established for reasons other than the environment. Sometimes it is just to save the back of the person who is lifting your rubbish.
Rhoda Stern says
I take my trash to the dump and recently bought a new car. Therefore, I need a replacement sticker and the dump employees are too busy to get me one. Yeah, right. They are too busy because they are picking through everything and bringing it home to re-sell and make some money on the side. Very sorry to have snuck in a little tv when they weren’t looking. Since I am poor and they charge to bring such items, I will be passing.
Chriss Flagg says
We get a dumpster every summer for a couple of weeks. Then the neighbors will pitch in to help clean up the neighborhood. Everyone that uses the dumpsters will pay for part of the rental fee. This has allowed us to keep our double cul-de-sac clean and safe for the kids.
T. A. Velasco says
we downsized recently from a 2250 square foot house and 700 ft storage to a 1450 square ft….we gave to 5 different charities and felt good about it rather than thrown away or make a buck on it…..
Maria Johnston says
Wow…….have been married for 45 year nnow and soon after we moved into our first home I have had a garage sale …we had gotten rid of hundreds of it men’s the money has helped the private school tuition for our daughter …now my niece and friends bring their items to the “legendary garage sale…..it is work but I do enjoy them and the interaction with the clients 🙂
Kelsey Apley says
Well looking at your list I got some items I need to get rid of! We will be moving at the end of July so better downsize now!!
This is quite a list. I love going through all of my stuff at least every 2-3 months to see what I can get rid of. I hate clutter and there are so many things that just sit around unused or stuff that simply should have been thrown out a while ago. I just recently started going through my sons baby stuff and we’ve been able to donate a lot of it.
This is such a great list. My husband walked by and said, “You’re going to do this, rigtht?” He’s right. I really should…
Get the husband to help:)
What does HIS list of 200 Things to Throw Away look like?! 😉
Joan Reinke says
I’d love to see his list too! Good idea!
I think it said nuts and bolts on there somewhere. lol My husband saves some things that I think are absolutely stupid, then I look at all the crap I have and keep my mouth shut!
Old over-the-counter medicine long expired, old cologne and after shave, old meat in the freezer, tons of recipe books, finance and accounting books that are outdated, old computer monitor, old stereo and record player, old TV that still works, old software, throw blankets and most of all that old ugly “favorite” chair of his that just this week dropped a spring and a large bolt but he insists it is the most comfortable chair in the world that can’t be parted with
Don’t look for equality here, darling. We women own a lot more unnecessary things than they (10 pair of shoes, 15 pairs of earrings, cuddly toys, kitchen stuff, decorations, too many beauty products, etc.). They might have kept 1-2 old pairs of boxers, maybe some identical screwdrivers, old videogames and old toys they crafted years ago, but you will fail to find 200 things they could throw out I can assure you (if he’s not a hoarder, of course).
Or a farmer with no money…he fashions all sorts of things and his hoards are way worse than mine…every time I get him to let me haul a load to the dump it isn’t a week later he’s asking for something like where that old fan that hasn’t worked in ten years is…sigh. I hauled it off…finally…two days before he needed it.
Normally, I would agree, but I live very minimalist and my husband does not. He’s the one that owns 30+ pair of shoes and like 20 belts. I own 3 pair of shoes, 1 belt and have very few items around the house. Electronics stuff is probably the worst. Cables, cords, monitors…
I remove the from cover of Christmas cards (if they haven’t been written on) and use them the following year as Christmas “post cards.” I haven’t bought Christmas cards in years!!
What a great idea! However, with the price of stamps being what they are, I send very few these days!
Amy Desrosiers says
I always try to donate old things whenever I can. I hate throwing out perfectly good stuff.
Me too! My biggest stress about decluttering is throwing out something useful 🙁
Good to declutter, but when it comes to throwing things away, remember that there is no AWAY. It’s going SOMEWHERE. So how great to make sure it goes somewhere that will do the least damage – donate, sell, upcycle, recycle . . . you get the idea! 🙂
I agree with the Cat–nothing goes away and though this article was good for getting the declutter process started, I didn’t thing the constant use of ‘throw away’ was appropriate . I sort and donate–hotel shampoos go to the homeless shelter, clothing and nick nacks go to the a local resale shop that sorts items for further recycle (example–worn clothing is donated to a company that creates rags then uses all ) and the resale shop funds support the local homeless shelter. Schools in our colder states will take children’s coats, gloves and hats for the increasing number of low income students. Schools might also be interested in craft items, games (in good condition) books, notepads, pencils, markers, etc. Make use of Face Book for local give aways–in the fall students heading to college are looking for housewares to set up their apartments and those crafty friends will be interested in almost anything. A yearly yard sale (priced to go) is my gradual downsizing plan. All broken items are put in a FREE box (electronics included)and I’m amazed that it is always emptied by creative and/or handy people. All of my half used lotions, shampoos, polishes, etc were bought by an elderly woman who said she has spa night with her grand daughters and can’t afford to purchase the items new. What doesn’t sell, is sorted and donated. I only throw away under garments. It does take time but the effort is well worth it. Everything is reused and my junk isn’t adding to our landfills.
I admire your efforts! Great ideas to recycle.
Great comments Debbie. I too did not like the use of the word ” throw away” because there are so many ways to recycle and re-use or give away the things that we are not in need of anymore. Thanks for your comments. I hope many read your post.
Flo Fawcett says
Thanks for pressing the need to as the old folks say ‘ Use it up – wear it out – make it do – do without’ mentality which most of our grand parents and many of our parents grew up with. Google Maldives Resort and see what is happening to paradise – scary. Creative energy is a blessing – let’s try to use it this year!!
Definitely check out local recycle options before tossing… It’s amazing what can be reused and repurposed, and is not impossible to do with just a little effort. Best closet cleaning tip: bring your wire hangars back to the dry cleaner the next time you drop off clothes. They’re happy to take them (and Joan Crawford would approve).
Thank you!!!! Unless something could be harmful, I never “throw away” items that someone else could use. SUCH A WASTE!!!!!
The post also encourages donating, recycling, and selling before throwing away.
Dolayne Schraden says
I went from a 3 bedroom house to a tiny 1 bedroom apartment! Talk about having to downsize!! My life in the house had to go! All of my collectibles, or nearly all. And I was so upset and stressed. I finally came to the realization that someone else could enjoy MY love too. I posted what I had to my friends on facebook and amazingly a lot of my friends wanted a little piece of me. It made me cry. But I was able to give some of what I loved to people I loved and de-clutter that way. The rest I gave to the local thrift store. Over the last couple of years here, I’ve gotten rid of lots more in the way of clothing and clutter as well, every “season” when I change from winter to summer I decide what I wore or didn’t and get rid of it. If I didn’t wear it last year I’m probably not going to this year either and then it goes into the donate bag. I now have all my clothes in the closet for the year and not packed away for the season. Time to whittle it down some more!
That is a great idea! I was just saying to my husband tonight as I was putting laundry away, that I have too many clothes. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve given away TONS of clothes over the years (I have a girlfriend who collects clothes from everyone she knows but our women’s shelter told her “no more, we have plenty!” so now she takes them w/her upstate and donates them to the women’s shelter there) but now, I’m down to stuff I’m having trouble parting with — either they still fit, or there’s some other reason I don’t want to give them up just yet. They say you only really wear a quarter of your wardrobe, plus the occasional holiday item or “fancy” for a party or going out. Although I have no “seasons” where I live, I think I will start hanging the things I wear in the opposite direction from the things I don’t and, at the end of the year, I’ll have a pretty good idea of what I should get rid of.
I cleaned out 2 closets and 3 dressers last weekend. I filled 9 garbage bags full of clothes. My friend’s daughter took all of the bags. She was very excited to have new clothes. So many items still had tags on them. After I wear something and wash it, when I hang it up, I will turn the hanger backwards so I don’t wear it again until I have worn everything else.
What I do with old clothes that I am sentimental over is turn them into quilts….. I make jean and tshirt quilts- so much fun to make and boy do they come in handy when the temperatures drop to 20 below like last week.
I donate the rest of the clothes that don’t fit…..
I use free stuff on Craigs List quite a bit. If it is something useful, all I have to do is post it, answer the email and leave it out for them to pick up. Never even have to meet them. I think it’s reall a shame to throw out useful stuff. There is usually some useful place to donate it.
I use Freecycle. Items can be left at curbside. Our police department also has a spot in the parking lot if you want to meet and pass off items safely.
Ellen Helms says
I use Freecycle a lot of stuff or donate elsewhere, but Freecycling is wonderful!
Tammi @ My Organized Chaos says
What a fantastic list! I need to replace my spices, it’s been far too long. And, I’m a product box collector – it’s almost insane!
Keep boxes only for the length of any warranty, then you can get rid of it
Exactly!! The only exception I’ve made to this is our flat screen tv boxes…we tend to hang on to TVs for a LONG LONG time so we’ve kept those in the event of a move. Our movers told us they prefer the original boxes and it saves the customer money on custom crating. That being said, if space is a concern…there’s always a way!
You don’t even need the box for a return or warranty repair! Yay!
I keep odd shaped boxes that would be useful in a move, but the boxes are in the basement out of sight!
Mona M says
I always keep just a few boxes, mainly small ones for mailing items to grandkids, but my rule is never more than 10 of anything is to be hoarded, example, 10 twist ties which I wrap in a little circle and store in an empty medicine bottle , I also store loose tacks and pins in the medicine bottles too for an example. Now I do had a handed down tip from my mom, she always keeps the glass pickle jer or a mayonnaise jar with lid, to store chopped onions in so not to smell up the fridge, one for chopped garlic too
I always break those little boxes down and the store great this way in another box one size larger.
Jennifer Rodriguez says
Cardboard boxes are a haven for cockroaches and other critters to nest (the glue is tasty to them). So unless you have an excellent and frequent exterminator, better to get rid of the stored boxes and only buy when you need one.
Who knows when you might move and need those boxes! While removing moving boxes from my crawl space (cira 1984), I discovered a cache of aviation magazines, some older than my 1968 house. I think the guy sold the house in the mid-70s and probably forgot where he stashed his magazines.
A great list to start chipping away at this winter.
Ann Bacciaglia says
This is a great post. I have been going threw all our things and organizing it as i go. It always feels good to donate things.
through, not threw
Ann, not Anne
Anne is the classic, more beautiful spelling.
Dana, you missed the joke completely.
Teri Gemmill says
Toss the “e” in Ann, don’t really need it…! lol
Rose McDonald says
Well, that’s just rude. What are you two,
I am laughing so hard at these “corrections!”
Really? That grammar check was not necessary.
Sandra Warnock says
Totally agree, rude, and not helpful.
Maybe that threw was a Freudian slip – your subconscious trying to tell you something!
Chelley @ A is for Adelaide says
This list is my new Spring cleaning chart! I need to stop holding onto stuff!
Kelly Hutchinson says
What a great list! We just threw away some keys we had no idea what they were for. I am a box and tea light hoarder myself!
never throw things away that u can still use or use for something else
Joyce Rowe says
I have seen some nice wind chimes made from old keys -JS
Please send a picture of the key chimes I would love to make one with all the old keys I have.
My grand son is autistic. We have always put old keys on a key chain for him. Every once in awhile he finds a lock and has actually located the key on HIS keychain.
Liz Mays says
Well this is an eye opener. I know I have plenty of these things littering the house.
What a great list. A glass emery board? Really? Never heard of that. Thanks for sharing.
Once you have a “good” glass emery board you’ll never go back to the old style again. They last forever and your nails will really get better and not shatter like they did before. Win/Win!
Where can you get one of these? I would like to try one.
Debi Fiegener says
Glass (crystal) nail files are the best, but they have to be really good ones. Online is the only place I’ve found these. Not at Walmart, Target, Grocery stores… my nail shop doesn’t even use them. But I will never, ever go back to regular files and emery boards again. These glass (crystal) files are miraculous! They smooth and shape nails in record time. My set had one large one for the feet, and I didn’t have to trim my toe nails. That large one simply shortened them with a few strokes. As you can see, I am a true advocate for glass nail files….if they are quality. I bought a couple of little short ones at Sally’s Beauty supply for under $3.00 each and they were terrible compared to mine.
Amazon has many different styles, and I wish I could remember what the name of mine is. Mine came in a set of 5…..and they are top notch. The original price was something in the $50 range (for set of 5) but I only paid $20 for the whole set. Later I bought a set for a friend who loved mine, and they were marked at $13.00
If you look for them, they are one of the few that have several in a set (most are sold as a single file) and have a kind of tie dye look towards the top. I promise you will love these files.!
Mama to 5 BLessings says
If I could just do it my house would not be so cluttered! With 5 kids it happens fast! !
It’s funny that you say old boxes, cause I have a cabinet full o f boxes from old cell phones, tablets etc. I need to get rid of those!
Sarah @ Must Have Mom says
Great list! I didn’t even realize that Nike did a sneaker replacement.
Michele James says
Donate any shoes, new or gently worn, to Soles4Souls, who have distributed over 22 million pairs of shoes to those in need in 127 different countries. The shoes you are no longer using could make a tremendous difference in the lives of those without shoes around the world. Children in Haiti, and other third world countries, are not allowed to attend school without shoes, so they are denied an education and the cycle of poverty continues. Your donation could not only change a child’s life but also provide an opportunity for someone to walk with dignity in your shoes that you are no longer using. There are many donation sites around the US. Donation locations can be found at Soles4Souls.com, by putting in your zip code, and the closest location can be determined. Please help change the life of those in need around the world with the shoes that are collecting dust in the back of your closet. Your kindness will be greatly appreciated by the recipients.
Shoes that are too worn to donate can be used to make playground mulch, etc. I think Footlocker might have a donation box.
c. brown says
Usually your local running store will collect old shoes and get them where they need to go.
Vera Sweeney says
This is a great list of things to get rid of. I have been doing some major spring cleaning and this is a great list to go by.
Carole- Ann Flynn says
This is amazing information, I have started on the clothes last week sent to an orphanage, now starting collecting for the Old age homes nice to get rid of stuff you don’t need, thank you for this information.
Kaye Lucas calgary ab canada says
I have taken stuff i don’t need anymorem put them on the lawn with a sign saying free for the taking.
Within a few hours every thing is gone to a new home.
Alena Belleque says
Man, that’s a lot to think about! On the bright side, I’ve pretty much gotten rid of all of this stuff in the past couple of years. All that’s left is to go through my books, and my craft stuff – they’ve all been in boxes since my daughter was born, and she’s turning three in two weeks…
Craig Clan Captain says
I have twins turning 3 soon and my craft boxes are slowly being opened again. Outfits, presents, rainy days……. I’m hoping at least one of them will follow my lead and enjoy craft, my 3 older boys are not too bothered (although they can all sew a button back on!)
I love this list. We have a bunch of things on here that I should get rid of. Except magazines. I am a hoarder when it comes to them.
I used to have piles of magazines… Till I realized that either I never read them, or that I tended to just look at the same recipes or articles over and over. So, I cut out the pictures/recipes/articles that I kept going back to and put them in a folder. I then hauled the rest of the magazines to the recycling plant.
Haaaa…. I did that, and still have the plastic box with all my saved pages……20+ years along!!!
Time for that to go!!! 🙂 LOL
I used to cut out the recipes, etc. from magazines that I liked, but recently I just started taking a picture of them with my iPhone. Then I don’t need a folder and if I am out and decide that I want to make one of them, I have the list of ingredients with me to shop for.
That is a great ideal which just recently I started doing because dgd is always asking for recipes
I started doing that also because you have the cell home with you
Sherry Norton says
I take a stack of magazines to a local nursing home. . .visitors enjoy them and so do the patients, also
Dr. offices as what they usually have is old and outdated (or Field & Stream or Hot Rod magazines that
women might not enjoy). Clothes & bedding, personal products go to the homeless shelter, and our
church has a rummage sale each year. . .we only ask for people to donate what $ they can, or we give it
away to them. There are free stores here close by that we can donate to also. Good to spread around
We take old magazines that don’t have any weapons or people in skimpy clothing (like fitness magazines) to the local elementary school where they are used for collages by the kids. Since otherwise they mostly get “Mom” magazines, they love the car, guitar, Lego, etc. magazines we drop off. Win!
Kristin Wheeler (Mama Luvs Books) says
Great post! I definitely have 200 or MORE things to throw away!
This is a great list. thank you for reminding me what i really need to get done and tossed!!
valerie g says
wow, I have a lot of those and could really throw them away. i just need motivation.
If you live in a cold climate, the homeless could really use coats, shoes, gloves, scarves, sweaters, hats, socks etc.
I’m in Australia, and a local Middle-Eastern Restaurant is collecting warm clothes for those in Nepal and Tibet who were affected by the earthquake last year. Have just been through my 12yo daughter’s wardrobe (our yearly project every holidays) and am donating all her clothes in good condition to this worthy cause.
Stefani Tolson says
This is a great list. I have been Spring cleaning and throwing away stuff I don’t need and also donating lots of stuff too.
Great list! I’m currently in the process of donating/tossing things in an attempt to live minimally. This list gave me ideas of things to be rid of that I didn’t even think of.
I remember hearing this, if you collect something, display it, enjoy it. Otherwise you are hoarding and need to get rid of it.
Rebecca Costin says
is there a printer friendly version of the list?
Rita Garrett says
Rebecca – I’m trying to break the “print everything” habit. Trying to go green and not bring any more paper into my house. Do you really need a printed list or can you do one thing at time then check back.? I’ve found I can copy and paste a lot of things and email it to myself so it shows up 1st in my inbox snf it’s right in front of me when I need it. I use a small $60 mini notebook for recipes now and stopped printing – now my inbox is clutter (lol) but I’ve stopped a lot of paper clutter.
Cindy L says
I personally need to print things like this out. this is my first time to this blog, and I’ll never find it again or I will forget to look for it when I need it.
Pat Glasscock says
Cindy can you do a bookmark? That will save the list for you to access easily.
I’m a “print & physically check off” type of organizer. I feel like I’m actually accomplishing something that way! 🙂
Here’s a printable list for you. 🙂 https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TgVO6sEY_xjNcUFJhvCZgwkybTEkDyD2ewSdETb37Zk/edit?usp=sharing
I use Pinterest.com for saving anything I want to be able to read or reference later.
I was asking myself about printing the list too. Im wondering if I could copy and paste it to a Word document, then email it to my phone??
I do that for almost everything….recipes, jokes, quotes, addresses, etc. then put them in folders. Then when I need my mother’s pimento cheese recipe, I can pull it up no matter where I am. Bless my mom, she typed up all her recipes when she got herself a computer. After she died, I put them on a shared Google drive so family members& friends can access them.
Download Pocket. It will appear on your browser next to the address line. Whatever you are reading you can save it to Pocket by clicking the Pocket icon! Use on all devices! I use it instead of printing everything.
The main thing I print is recipes.
Here’s a printable version! https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TgVO6sEY_xjNcUFJhvCZgwkybTEkDyD2ewSdETb37Zk/edit?usp=sharing
Just take a picture of it with your phone
Patti B says
I use print preview to find where the list ends and the comments begin. In this case I printed the first 8 pages and–although they are interesting too–left the 40+ pages of comments on the internet. I also printed on the back side of paper I’m recycling.
nikki neva says
Im the queen of reporpusing. …old beads,buttons,broken jewelry. ..cut em up,sort by color,etc..make something better, fresh,new..SELL It…pictures i get sick of looking at i replace with my paintingor drawing and SELL it..broken glass,use the frame to hang inspirational pictures or words with scrapbook material make it 3D..Sell it…LOL. .A creative mind can prevent more garbage from going in the landfill. ..one mans trash,another man treasure. …i have so many broken picture frames, glass,jewelry,empty bottles and jars.. ..pretty things i could make look even better. ..make money of your “garbage ” ..after all you bought it. .make some money back before throwing in a landfill. ..or even save your money by making pretty things you don’t have the money for or want with things that would end up useless being thrown away. ..DONATE “garbage ” to your creative and artistic friends if you feel guilty donating to good will due to poor condition, broken, etc… 🙂 Make the habit of getting rid of something when you buy something. .STAY ORGANIZED
Amen, Nikki! Donate, reuse, repurpose. Pinterest and Hometalk are full of unbelievable ideas using things you’d think have no further use. FREECYCLE is great to donate your “junk” if you’re not up to repurposing items yourself. There are probably several charities near each one of us that would be glad to take most of the things on this list. Let’s keep stuff out of the landfills… simply tossing things into the trash because we are too lazy to find a better option is such a shame… we are such a wasteful society. 🙂
If you have a desk top computer (ie Apple iMac) keep the box as it is designed to hold the iMac safely. You never know when you might move or need to have it repaired. Keeping the original box makes transportation easier. Same would go for flat screen tv’s (esp if you are a frequent mover).
Pencils, misc art supplies and odd socks can be donated to your local elementary school. The socks are used to clean mini white boards.
I agree with the Apple computer box. I was told by Apple to keep it and I have needed to transport it before and it is easier and safer with a built in handle. I didn’t want to look at the ugly box so I took cool wrapping paper and omg posed over it. Now i have a pretty box and it has a water repellent layer. Also it won’t get tossed by unknown people. I also pasted my name and cell # on the top. I want to get the correct computer back. you could also do the same with fabric. I just used wrapping paper as it was what I had at the time.
Use old socks that are cotton in the bottom of planters. Plants in planters require frequent watering and the socks hold moisture longer. Use packing peanuts (do a test in water first to see if they melt first if so, toss) in large flower pots at the bottom. It will lighten the planter if you move them in or around a lot. You will be surprised at the weight difference as well as saving soil and your back. I try to repurpose as much as possible. I live in the country and use boxes broken down to put in flowerbeds or places a mower can’t go to keep the weeds from growing. In flowerbeds the mulch will cover the cardboard that will eventually break down into the soil. Works way better than weed fabric and saves money. There are a lot of things on this list that can be repurposed rather than go into a landfill. Give your buttons and other items to a scrapbooker or artist as they will find a use to create beauty.
Donna wilson says
I recently sold a quart jar od miscellaneous buttons to a collector for $25.
Lana F. says
Buttons and many household things can be donated to the art department at your local schools for recycling.
This is awesome, have not heard this one before. BTW, there are 4 Rs not 3: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and REPURPOSE. Humans are the only ones on the planet that make waste unusable by another organism. Vote with your dollars by only buying what you truly need, or will enjoy. Great site.
I use washed meat trays and egg cartons stacked in the bottom of my huge planter pots. You are right it makes a lot of difference in the weight and keeps the roots from rotting in the bottom if you accidently overwater. Keeps them out of the landfill. I also prefer to repurpose rather than dispose of items.
Did you know you can donate unwanted garments (in any condition) to H&M and they will recycle them? I was pretty excited when I found out I didn’t have to throw stained/holey clothes in the trash! http://about.hm.com/en/About/sustainability/commitments/reduce-waste/garment-collecting.html
What a great idea! I always have things I take to Good Will, but there are always those things that have a tear or missing buttons or a stain and it’s just such a shame to waste them. I will definitely be keeping this site in mind for future donations.
Use Salvation Army instead— the donations actually do help homeless, Vets, unwed mothers and abused children and adults. The Goodwill CEO is a multimillionaire living off other’s disgards under the guise of helping the less fortunate.
FOr sure- give to salvation army or disabled veterans or a local catholic charity. Good Will gets all their product for fee and makes money off your free stuff- while helping very few!
I never donate to Goodwill for this very reason as Kathy stated. Everything I donate got to The Council on Aging where all proceeds goes to Meals on Wheels.
What is H&M? I never heard of it. I could give them a lot of things. Thanks
H&M is a clothing store. I never knew they offered this service. I will use this service in the future.
Yes, and H&M will even give you a discount on something you purchase if you bring in a bag of used clothing to donate. Good for them!
I had never heard of H&M. I looked it up. They are in SWEDEN.
H & M is in this country as well, usually larger cities
Absolutely rude and does she feel better now?
H&M is also in the United States.
There are H&M in many countries… US and Canada included.
You can usually find them in large shopping centers.
A lot of the things on this list can be donated. Bobby pins are treasure for my daughter’s dance school — they use so many during shows. And stuffed animals in good condition can be donated to firefighters — they give them to children in the ambulance.
This is a great list! There are definitely things here that I need to look at again.
Marilyn K. says
I just sent you an e-mail and forgot to request a reply, so here it is!
Marilyn K. says
I read thru 99 then the next and only number was 200. Could not find a way to get the remaining 100. Love this site. They are such great ideas and I so need them. Have so many of those items!!
I had the same problem too.
I put this whole awesome list in a word file and can send it to you. Needed a real check-list printed on paper so I can check my progress! email@example.com
Would love your Word file check-list, if you are still into sharing
I can send it back to you as a form that you really can check-off, as you go, if you like. 🙂
Thanks so much.
Consider donating books and DVD s to your local library!
Our towns local Literacy Program takes book donations for books sales twice a year. Also, put them yard sales.
C. McIntyre says
Assisted living facilities are also a good place to donate DVDs and gently used books.
Brilliant! I no longer feel like the only person on the planet with an ‘everything drawer’. I am going to do it…. Just not today!
I don’t think you can have too many scissors.
Kristin R says
Agreed! I have a problem getting them put back where they belong, so I’m always hunting for them.
My mom said every room needed a pair of scissors, a mirror and a trash basket.
I keep a pair of scissors in every room…makes my life a lot less frustrating…
I keep a pair of scissors and a pair of reading glasses in almost every room in the house. Nothing more frustrating than needing to cut or see something, having to stop, find scissors or glasses, then forget what you went looking for! (This one’s for the older set) LOL
Krys chap says
My husband decided to declutter the houses when I was in the hospital and rehab after a stroke. I had a few special sewing scissors, he decided to start declutter in my sewing room he felt only one pair of scissors was needed. wrong! He got rid of my very best very expensive pair . He also got rid of material, patterns, in other words my sewing room is empty. Next was my closet, because I have a leg brace I had to go up 2sizes for shoes. He decided there was no need to hang onto shoes I may never wear again. Also clothing, the rehab home was always cold, since I asked for my long sleeve tops he decided that all short sleeve could go in the trash same with my “dress”clothes, his thought, you are not going anywhere to wear them, Hello, I’ve had a stroke, I’m not dead! One day I hope to recover and get some of my life back. My daughter was looking for a whip in the kitchen, I said second draw don to the left of the stove. She informed me that dad reorganized the kitchen, and nothing is where you hard it before. I believe he crossed the line, I would never dream of going to his work bench to declutter what I would not use,, does he really need 3jars of bolts, nuts, and tack nails, can we get it down to one each? yes I could use some decluttering, however, I believe that I should have been allowed to do this on my own in my time. This is a great list, I do have some issue with some of those items, some boxes you should keep, I have collectibles. The value of which goes down if you do not have the original box. The hotel size shampoo, I’ve mad small drawstring bags and those along with a few other sample products were collected by a girls ot troop and donated to, a women’s shelter.
, to be given to the women who were going to stay, often they leave the home in a hurry, and don’t bring those items with them so don’t always toss think of a better way to recycle the items. Also I put a basket on the counter of bathroom, in there I have sample items and hotel shampoo, lotion, Also smaller packaging items tampoons, pads tooth paste and a toothbrush, I pull this basket out refresh with newitems if needed and place on the counter when we have overnight guests, add a note, to let them know to help themselves., often I hear how nice it was to have the item and not needing to ask about forgotten items when traveling especially now with airline restrictions
Sounds like some good ideas.. I can’t believe your husband decluttered your areas and not his..
Krys, I’m so sorry your husband did that. My husband has seen it done to members of my family, and we vowed that all decluttering is to be done by the owner of the clutter. That doesn’t mean he’s never made a mistake, but overall he’s been great. My dad only did one piece of furniture that my mom, an artist, loved to use when creating art. His attempt to replace it was something she never used. My sister had the heartache of her kids and her husband getting together and getting a dumpster and making sure to do it when she was at work. Mind you they never threw out any of their own junk! They threw away a beautiful drawing of one of the kids drawn by my mom. They threw away a beautiful, perfect condition, quilt, hand quilted by our grandma. They found my sister sobbing, looking through the dumpster before they admitted that they took that quilt to the dumpster of a nearby grocery store, and were able to retrieve it. The downside of my deal with my husband is that we have a terribly cluttered house now that I’m unable to clean. I’m working on him though. I will use many on this list, but could never imagine doing the entire list.
That would be MY worst nightmare. I have a sewing room with over half a dozen pair of scissors….each one for a diffent purpose. I think my husband knows to stay out of my sewing room. He has been eyeing my craft stuff though (paints, brushes, etc.). Guess I need to let him know that’s off limits, too.
And you are still married to him??? He’s lucky to be alive!!!!
I feel your pain. My x husband decluttered All of my things while I was visiting my mother, I was 25 at the time. If someone did that to me now, I would have to have a restraining order put on myself so I would not end up incarcerated for actions due to temporary anger insanity. ESPECIALLY if they cleaned up MY areas and not their own. Before taking on this great decluttering, please be thoughtful of those that you live with and consult them in this endeavor, and that goes for your kids too, chucking their things without an explanation that they can understand can be traumatizing .
karen SugarNest.com says
My husband, trying to help declutter, gave away lots of custom-made pillows to our cleaning lady. I was SO mad! I could not believe it!
I realized then that I had to much “stuff” and was too attached to it.
Has anyone read ” The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo?
Will totally change the way you look at your “stuff”.
I love the Kon Mari Method! I am almost done with my house. It has taken almost a year, but so worth it! No matter which method of decluttering you use, you will feel so much calmer in your home. I have donated everything I could, recycled the rest, sold nothing, I was ashamed of all the stuff I bought that wasn’t being used, and unhappy with stuff I was saving for someday. I buy very little anymore.
I agree. Sewing scissors should never be used for cutting paper and not all scissors are created for the same use. I too keep pairs in each room. And also have them from tiny to huge depending on the purpose. But I am also a crafter therefore repurpose many items that are on your list. As I posted on an earlier post about socks, there are a lot of uses for many of the items you mentioned throwing out. Have a quilt made from your kids favorite old clothes, use them in scrapbooks, they can be used as a frame around a picture. The key is having a place to keep them. Decoupage old shoe boxes from storage. I could go on, but some of the items on your list are a little overboard in my opinion. And I too prefer a printed list. My email becomes just as cluttered as my computer. If you are getting rid of magazines or catalogues, remove your address and in mail order catalogues the order form from the center as they have your name, address, and many have pre approved credit on them. Then take to the paper recycle bins in your area. Plastic bottles and glass can be recycled as well. Become green and earth friendly when disposing your products. The half life of many products can be light years. T
Here’s a printed version for you, or you could make a copy and save it in Google Drive. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1TgVO6sEY_xjNcUFJhvCZgwkybTEkDyD2ewSdETb37Zk/edit?usp=sharing
You hide your sewing scissors all three or four. of them. And hide your office scissors. Because you never know when someone will take them outside to trim up the hedges … or cut some wire with them … Yes I had some one do that to me couple of times … Yes and he said he didn’t do it. I caught him timing the shrubs. Cutting wire does big time damage to the scissors. Oh about 18 years ago my pruning clippers were destroyed. From cuting the dryer vent tube. Oh yes I do have couple wire cutters. And Vise-grips that have the wire cutting tool, on them. And plenty of yard clippers.
So I wish I could downsize on some of my tools . If other people would not be so lazy. And go get the right tool to do the job.
Chriss Flagg says
My husband bought me a craftsman tool box that locks for Christmas one year. Imagine the look on his face when I put it in my sewing room and loaded it with my good tools then locked it. One of the best gifts for sewing rooms.
Stacy bauman says
Don’t take the plastic hangers from the store in the first place. Wire hangers can be recycled at most dry cleaners.
Good Will or Salvation Army will also usually take plastic or metal hangers. Store clerks tell me they just throw them away, if you don’t want them. I try to recycle everything I can.
I find the hangers from the store quite nice and use them instead of shopping for more after you’ve thrown the store ones out. I don’t buy the gold plated hangers the store ones are fine. re-use
My dry cleaner recycles their hangars. I just put the empty ones in the bag with my dry cleaning and return them whenever I drop off my cleaning.
Pass along birthday and Christmas cards to special needs homes and schools. A lot of them use those cards to make new cards and sell them for a fundraiser.
As a teacher, I know a lot of classrooms could use all your extra office stuff. I would love the donation – otherwise I have to go and personally buy the paper, highlighters, etc. for my less fortunate kids and class projects in general. Even paper plates and plastic spoons are used in younger grades. I once had a former parent bring me two boxes full of odds and ends from her craft and sewing room. It took some sorting, and time, but I did eventually use around 3/4 of the tidbits that might have otherwise been trashed.
School budgets are annually reduced as prices increase and students need more…. Maybe separate your throwaways into boxes of office supplies, crafts, and misc. Then offer them to a school (I teach high school, so don’t ignore us) and teachers will snatch them up FAST!
Jill Hanna says
We have a fantastic shop here called Creative Junk. You can donate all your excess craft/office stuff /containers etc. Teachers, parents etc can buy a membership to the shop and go hunting for all sorts of creative ‘junk’. What you don’t use can be returned. They often get large donations from manufacturing companies too.
Love it!!! I just retired from 32 years of teaching! My goal was to just come home with my purse on my arm. I did good! Just a few things for the grandkids! Where are the other 100 ideas??
I sooo wish I had done this. I’m still trying to wade through all the boxes of stuff I brought home thinking it would be useful.
Nice article! I just want to point out that old nail polish needs to be disposed of as hazmat. Earth911.com to the rescue!
Ooh, good catch! I wonder if you still have to do that with the 5-free polishes? I wonder how many other chemicals are hiding in there even if 5 aren’t. Hmm.
Keep your nail polish in the fridge to keep it from going bad in the first place. Your panty hose will be less likely to run and will last longer if you put them in the freezer when you bring them home from the store. Also, if I lived alone I could get rid of more than a few things on this list – but scissors, pens & note paper are never returned to their “home” and I have to go hunting again! The top drawers of my dressers (in the way, way back) hide these “necessaries”! I CANNOT imagine throwing away unused post its! I usually have one on my checkbook so I can add to my list of things to get at the store.
Like others have said, donate rather than filling our ever growing land fills! If your town/city doesn’t have a yearly drive for old, outdated meds; batteries, paints, herbicides, & other toxic waste; contact your favorite service/civic orgNization to suggest they get involved with collection drives for these items to keep them OUT of our landfills. Volunteer to help when they take up your suggestion.
Thanks for the list!
Our local police station collects unused/outdated/expired meds and burns them. Remove label before putting them in the depository. They won’t take liquids, however.
Our national chain pharmacy will accept old prescriptions and medications and dispose of them
I believe the police station program is a national program. At least once a year there’s a national day that police stations take unused/outdated/expired meds. Besides liquids they don’t take sharp things like needles and blood test lancets. When I found my elderly step-father taking expired meds prescribed for my Mom, I cleared their house of expired meds.
Some of these things would depend on your situation – with two kids in school I won’t be throwing out notebook paper any time soon. 😀
However, I think it’s important to note that as per #20 you should never just throw out old medication. Take it to your local pharmacy so that they can dispose of it safely!
Renne Leiviska says
I was thinking the same thing. Just before we go shopping each year for school supplies, I go through our drawers to see what we already have. Unless they need a specific color, we haven’t bought highlighters, scissors or pencils in years!!
FYI I work at a pharmacy and we are NOT allowed to take old medicines we have to refer people to the sheriffs station…
Go to dea.gov for disposal of medications. As a pharmacist, we can’t take back old medications. Some police precincurs may also have drop off area for old medication also.
Nancy Buttke says
In our town, the fire stations have a big secure box outside that takes pills and will dispose of them as appropriate. We also have an occasional donation day at one of our bigger parking lots where we can bring pills and liquids for the police to collect and dispose of.
Stephanie Martin! says
Great list! The only thing I would not agree with personally is bobby pins. I’m constantly losing them and leaving them other places. But for people who aren’t using them (or are more careful than I) it makes sense!
Dr. B says
Less is more. Love these suggestions.
I would keep any candles or things for my emergency kit needed. Hurricane Katrina was a lesson for me. My chickens love old spices in their feed and they are great to keep bugs away depending on which ones. Also ebay is a great place to sell extra cords. Great ideas I know I will be throwing out a few myself. Thanks.
Wow what a list! For the expired or no longer used prescription medication, I just wrote a post on National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which is today, September 26th. I’ll be coming back to your list often. Thanks, Adrienne
The hardest one for me is keeping up with shredding the “junk mail” that arrives daily.
I’m going to go slowly- one room at a time. I don’t have much but my husband has to hold on to everything! It drives me nuts.
We have a large family with several nieces and nephews, I find that constantly buying gift bags is a waste of money so after christmas or birthday parties I keep them and reuse them. We have saved hundreds of dollars by doing this. We have a 3 drawer organizer that we keep left over party and holiday stuff such as bags neatly organized in. There has been times when a birthday comes up and I have a few balloons left over from this party and that party etc. Just seems to work for us. Some things on the list I think could actually be kept and used in a home if recycled properly. Old towels that you dont like or shirts we cut up and use for cleaning rags. We do declutter every few months and I tend to set a few things out at a time by the curb in a box with the word free on it for people.
We do the same thing. I can’t justify pitching or even donating bags and tissue paper that I will likely be able to reuse within the next year. Sometimes I will even use plain gift bags for misc item transport because they’re sturdier than plastic shopping bags and in this household full of males, sometimes I just like things to look pleasant. It’s the little things! Haha!
At times, My people go through lots of rags between laundry days so we, too, save worn out old towels and tshirts for that. I’d prefer to wash a good sized load of rags than to rewash a small load over and over. My kids aren’t little and tend to dirty up/destroy a lot of rags working on our vehicles and mowers and other messy stuff.
Re: getting rid extra sd cards, flash drives, etc., that is a potentially expensive suggestion. How many does one person need? Depends. Do they have more than a passing interest in digital photography? Are they in college? Do they ever find it necessary to have documents printed on higher quality printers than what the home office has? Security is another issue I have with getting rid of data storage devices. Make sure you know what you’re doing before you get rid of something like that. You wouldn’t want sensitive personal info getting into the wrong hands.
I appreciate many of the suggestions on this list. I am far from being a minimalist, but I do like to keep my possessions from getting out of hand, so thanks for this post, Ashley. 🙂
I have been simplifying my home for about a year now. I’ve gotten rid of a lot of things on this list, but there are a lot of great ideas of things that I have been holding on to. It was comforting to know that I am not the only one that has been holding on to so many of these items. Does anyone know where to recycle old or broken computers, cell phones, anything electronic? I tried to recycle and old laptop battery at Home Depot, but they charge you to do that. I want to recycle, but I can’t pay someone to do it.
Our local Staple store will recycle electronics, ie., computers, screens, phones, etc.
Also, Goodwill will accept computers and electronics although you have to sign a form but there is no charge.
Best Buy takes electronics too and toner cartridges. I just dropped off a box with our local store but they advise calling the store first to confirm that they can accept your recycling items.
Our Salvation Army will take electronics, working or not.
Somany of these can be used later if and when TSHTF.
The composer of this list is definitely not a prepper.
Sheets?? They can be used for many things.
I stopped reading @ # 37. People, lots of these things have uses. If not now, later.
Yah….I thought that w. the old towels! I think it all a matter of degree though. We are amok in “stuff”. Now the holiday season is upon us….and more unneeded stuff soon to be thrust upon us. I just want to run away this year. Where can I run to?
You can ways ask people not to buy you gifts, or make a pact with certain people that you both won’t exchange gifts with each other. Or, suggest you share lists, meaning, they give you a list of wanted/needed items and you do the same, then you each only buy gifts from the lists.
You can create a wish list on amazon and share with certain people or make it public….this includes wish lists for grandkids at Christmas….even if you don’t buy it from Amazon, you have a description and often a picture of the item.
Dang straight, JJ!
Not only junk, though…VINTAGE! I just BOUGHT a travel alarm clock at a junk store for the sheer memory value.
I think the point is to help us identify things we hold onto that are just cluttering up our homes/lives. There are things on this list that I certainly use a lot, such as
Old towels — washing the dog, cleaning up nasty spills, using in the workshop
Plastic containers — holding screws, nails, small tools, hooks, seeds, etc. And yes, I use those screws and nails!
Buttons — for crafts projects and when I need an odd one to replace a lost one.
Extra pillows — I make cushions for the dog, use the filling for new toss pillows, stuffed toys, etc
Flower pots — For starting seeds, planting cuttings, “potting up,” and more
Extra shopping bags — for tote bags to pot lucks, meetings, when my tote bag miht get lost, for storing odd shaped things, for holding weeds when I garden, and more. And I keep some in the car.
If YOU have a use for these things, no one expects you to get rid of them. But do you really use everything in your house? Hoarders say, “I might need that SOME day.” I’m bad about that, too. The goal is to look at things and decide if they are a positive or a negative in your life. Most of us do hang on to too much stuff. I’m all about repurposing, but there are many things on this list that I need to get rid of.
I use my box bottom paper grocery bags for recyclables… one for paper, one for bottles one for plastics, and the bags get recycled then too!
Amy M says
I got increasingly frustrated as I read this list.
Who has mason jars they never use? I run out. Same with matches and candles. Why would you buy highlighters if you never use them? Many of the objects on this list are office supplies that I use frequently. I clean a lot, so I will use my rags and old towels. I try to have a pair of scissors for each room. It’s frustrating to have to hunt for them.
I realize this list is a suggestion, but I question the wisdom of it.
I think it just depends on your life style. We have 2 boxes full of mason jars. We only use a few at at time for canning spaghetti sauce or maple syrup etc. I wouldn’t get rid of matches or newspaper since we have bon fires often but office supplies do sit around here. My kids get them for school and never end up needing them even thought they were on the supplies list. I think everyone just has to look at their own life style and their clutter and see what they can live without. Everyone’s list will be different.
Boxes?? No way. They make great back drops for target practice targets!!
Ok so this is a good list but some of the things on it are kinda ridiculous. Yes I am an old pampered chef mom and yes I do use more than one whisk when cooking big meals. I also use all of my extra measuring utinsels I use old ones as scoops in flour and sugar containers. And my last item when I went through my old desk on the spring I needed my staple remover to remove any staples in old documents that I needed to shred so yes there is your excuse for keeping the staple remover. But thanks for sharing the list.
Great list! I’d like to point out that old candles can be used in case of an emergency power outage. Put them in a plastic box with matches in a pantry up high. A couple of winters ago, our power went out for an entire day with below zero temps. outside. Our old candles and fireplace really came in handy that day!
We are moving into a smaller house. My oldest daughter has moved out and left tons of shampoo and body washes. We gave away the ones we won’t use but are working our way through the rest!
Twice a year I refuse to buy shampoo/shower stuff, canned food, freezer stuff, etc …. Until all the cupboards are empty. With 4 grown kids in the house, they buy stuff and then forget about it!
Now that 3 have moved out we are using up the stuff they’ve left. It means I save money AND don’t have to move their crap!
I also have a rule about clothes. 7 shirts, 4 pairs of jeans, 2 pairs pajamas x
Sure are a lot of things on your list that we use all the time. Why would you want to throw out stuff you’d just have to replace? That could get very expensive.
So if you throw out all of your twist ties and chip clips, then what do you use to close chip bags and opened bags of frozen vegetables????
Clean clothes pins. We use contact paper over top of frig to keep it clean; let it hang over to put clothes pins on when we need for bags of chips and/or anything in frig…bags of vegs, chicken patties, etc.
I use clothes pins as chip clips and bags in the freezer too! I keep a tin of them on my kitchen counter, I use them so much. They are very versatile. I use them to keep laptop wires out of the way when I need to have it plugged in. I use it to keep pages open in a cookbook. I clip mail together. Love them!
Great list! Remember, folks, if not every single item on the list applies to you, ignore those and use the helpful ones.
Thank you! 🙂
great list but your article says that the list has 200 items and I really has only 100 !
No, it has 200.
On smart phones, they place ads throughout the list. Just keep scrolling down!
this list is perfect evidence of the throwaway consumer mentality of our current society!!! How is this supposed to be a good example of the rising generation!!!??? what ever happened to the motto of use it up, wear it out, make do or do without!!!
Mary Ann says
Getting rid of things does not necessarily mean trashing them. I donate most things to goodwill. Sure, the junk piles up but this reminds me to keep it moving. Once I have completed my purge I will get rid of an item when I buy a similar item. If others can benefit I do not feel one ounce of guilt about not keeping something forever. As I go through my “treasures” I keep reminding myself that just because a loved one used an item the item is not my loved one. It really helped as my sister and I cleared out our parents’ home. Thank you, Ashley, for a great list.
I just wanted to add, in Aus when u are prescribed antibiotics the DR always puts a repeat supply (just in case) and I always seem to keep the things lying there in my medicine cabinet. One thing you could add to the list ?
Freecycle.com is a great play to re-home the things you no longer need or use! Help keep thing out of our dumps and landfill, while allowing others to improve their lives 🙂
Old magazines . Read them -recycle them !
Hourd but haven’t read READ THEM then recycle 🙂
Nursing homes and schools will accept these for projects and for residents to read.
Lana F. says
Old magazines and newspaper can be made into “logs” to burn in your fireplace or other receptacle (fire pit, stove, etc.). You can google a how to information or video, but think you roll the paper tightly, soak in a detergent/water bath, dry, then stack to burn.
Shredded paper can be used in packages to safeguard the contents when shipping. It can be used as mulch, used in compost bins, in Easter or fruit baskets. Regular newspaper sheets are great to use as mulch in garden and flower beds. You cover the paper with other mulch for prettier gardens and to hold the paper in place.
OMGoodness! You must know me, or have spied into my apartment!!! I’m sooo glad I’m not alone! In my recent move, I am proud to say, I have – on my very own, discarded; donated; & “tossed” quite a few items on this list. Some, I’m still clinging to. Although, I did lose weight & am so glad I don’t have to buy new jeans that I can’t afford! And I did, just two days ago, finally get out the sewing machine I hadn’t used since I bought it 4yrs ago, & started hemming up the worn at the knees jeans I’d been saving forever into shorts I also can’t afford! ?
I’ll be working for the next couple weeks to get through the boxes I never went through after the last move! Wish me luck! This list is definitely going to help, a lot!!! Thank you!
I love your list. It coincides exactly with what I’ve been doing over the past few months. When I clean the bathroom, I check the medicine cabinet or outdated and never used items and simply toss them. I also check my makeup for expiration dates and things I just don’t like and/or never use. If I haven’t used them in the past year, I’m probably not going to use them. I recently inherited a lingerie cabinet from my mother-in-law so I’ll be sorting through all those danties and discarding probably half of what I have. Why do we keep them? Ugh! After those are cleaned out of the dresser I can start on my husbands clothes…..some haven’t been worn in 5 or 6 years but I can hear him now saying “but I might want to wear it someday.” Ugh! He’s also a hoarder. Really bad about boxes. He actually has the original box for his Commodore 64, if you can believe that. So, when it comes to sorting and tossing it’s usually just my stuff that makes it out the door. Oh, well, better than nothing. I give regularly to Good Will and Free Cycle but am always looking for new ways to recycle these items rather than just trash them.
Hi, it wouldn’t be wise to just throw out the Commadore 64 box. Believe it or not it is worth money to a collector but probably more to your husband.
To get rid of junk mail, I love the free app Paperkarma. Take a photo of the address label with your name and the senders name, the app does the rest. It works – it has stopped almost all junk mail addressed to me. (It won’t stop stuff addressed to “resident” though, like those grocery store flyers I never read – I wish it would)
Rebecca Costin says
Thanks for the tip Sally. 🙂 Just installed it and I’m looking forward to trying it out.
If I got rid of the stuff of this list, that would be my decluttering problem solved! Thank you!
Love the list! I donate all school type items to a teacher who teaches in a Title I school (low income students). She and her co-workers are very excited to get whatever I donate.
Am I the only one who finds this list has ALOT of items that should automatically be gone from your house right away? Who keeps stuff like dried up nail polish?
The person who buys frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and throws them out because they bought more so in 2 weeks the older ones get tossed because they are not the newest. Stop buying because this is exactly what companies want. We don’t finish what we have and don’t finish the job of picking up after ourselves. The advise of many show the right direction but what happens after the declutter?
Auch, some of these are really gonna hurt…!
A lot of these things can be recyclred. Especially electronic stuff. Cords and such will fetch you some money, just like alumimun containers. Nuts, bolts, rusty stuff, all metal Things. So much to not throw away, but recycle instead
I agree with nearly all the things on your list except panty hose with runs. Stow a couple pair in your trunk to use a belt on your engine in case of an emergency. They can be kept neatly in a zip lock bag until needed. That, a roll of duct tape, and a gallon of water can save your bacon in an emergency. Even if you can’t follow the diagram for the belt chances are some one can help you. Sure beats walking miles in those great new shoes!
A girl after my own heart! Amen, sister!
Great list! Don’t forget those horrible little toys from the fast food kids’ meals – those things drive me crazy!! When we can wrestle them away from the kids, we save them to put in shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child 🙂
Agreed! We rarely get fast food kids meals but a couple weeks ago we did stop at Burger King for lunch and they offered ice cream cones instead of toys in the kids meals, it was awesome. The kids didn’t even miss the toy a bit.
Another great spot to donate items is your local Buy Nothing fb page. You never know what someone else might have a use for.
Merry McSpadden says
I always try to recycle whenever I can. I donate to the local thrift stores where the proceeds go to benefit organizations such as the battered women’s shelter and the Humane Society.
Becky Gibson says
I have a lot of clothes hangers from dept. stores and I don’t want to throw them away. Does anyone know where I can recycle them? Becky
Sally Gemmell says
Try your local Hospice store or the Salvation store. I often donate my un-used items to them for resell to help someone else.
Great list, thank you.
I had no idea about the clothes and shoe recycling. I just threw out a trash bag full of each of those bc they weren’t up to my condition satndards. And trust me I wear things out. But donating for needy children in less fortunate countries would have been perfect. I can definitely say that after my yard sale I will be making use of those organizations. I also donate useful things to our local rehab house thrift store. They use the money for upkeep and it gives the residents jobs. Old stuffed animals can be donated to the police and fire departments. They use them to comfort children in bad situations. Thanks for the ideas and many of useful comments
Any paper, notebook, pens or pencils can probably be given to a school in your area. Some schools even make teachers by their own (I had to supply my own lined paper for my students where I used to work). If you have kids in school, you can probably ask their teacher if anything can be used.
Kristin R says
About that staple remover… They are great for separating key chain rings easily. If you have manicured or weak nails, keep one on hand if you find yourself having to add or remove keys from your key chain. Or if you just hate having to separate them in general (raises hand). I also work for a storage facility, so I deal with keys and key chains.
Ann Carpenter says
What the #$%^& I tried that UNROLLME and I got GOOGLE wanting me to make an account!!!!
Just a note, you should never throw away batteries. When they end up in a landfill, they can leak and be very harmful to the environment. Search for a local store or service to recycle your old batteries. Some electronic stores, such as Best Buy, offer this service.
Also, advice from my mother’s pediatrist; it’s best to only keep that nail polish you only use on your toes in the summer for just one summer. Bacteria and fungus can grow in the bottle over time.
Lol, I have the opposite problem, my family complains, oh, mom probably got rid of that too. I get blamed for things that are just misplaced! But we homeschool, so I do have to keep several things from this list, like lined paper, extra pens and pencils. And I’m a crafty person, so I keep many crafty things, I never know what will strike my fancy ? But I did see 1 thing I should get rid off, hats we don’t wear. I keep quite a few extra things for when my many nephews and nieces are over, and they’ve forgotten thiers. You’d be surprised how often that happens.
You can donate unused perfumes and cologne to the zoo, they use them in the tigers and other cats habitats
What? I have never heard of that.
I keep an emergency sewing kit in my luggage. It never fails that when I travel, I or someone else looses a button or needs to adjust a strap on their shirt…you get the picture. Some hotels have stopped caring them so at least I know I’m prepared.
Don’t judge but this list made me laugh. Why? Well….This is why friends come to my house and ask where’s all your stuff. I don’t like clutter and I don’t have stuff. I don’t have a junk drawer either. I am amazed people need a list or have to have a clean out day once a year. Just handle it as it happens no big deal. Thanks for telling all my friends they can live happily without all this junk!!! Also just don’t spend extra money on crap that just winds up becoming trash. If I don’t love something and I mean really LOVE something I don’t buy it just because everyone in the neighborhood did. Keep on making list and getting people out of their clutter.
My local library does not take used books but the hospitals and thrift stores do.
I use my bobby pins, no tossing them. Especially since I sometimes lose them along the way when I’m out running.
Don’t throw out dry erase markers if you don’t have a board! A mirror, even the stainless steel appliances are great “boards!” I leave notes for my husband and kids on mirrors all the time!
Jennifer, I do this also, great way to remember appointments.
Bobby pins? Clearly she does not have long hair.
As a teacher, I know a lot of classrooms could use all your extra office stuff. I would love the donation – otherwise I have to go and personally buy the paper, highlighters, etc. for my less fortunate kids and class projects in general. Even paper plates and plastic spoons are used in younger grades. I once had a former parent bring me two boxes full of odds and ends from her craft and sewing room. It took some sorting, and time, but I did eventually use around 3/4 of the tidbits that might have otherwise been trashed.
School budgets are annually reduced as prices increase and students need more…. Maybe separate your throwaways into boxes of office supplies, crafts, and misc. Then offer them to a school (I teach high school, so don’t ignore us) and teachers will snatch them up FAST!
Oops! It commented under the wrong caption. What I wanted to say was I thought the same thing. I have long hair and bobby pins are a must for the worn to often bun!
Nice list–LOTS of things on it that I like the agreement of “you don’t need it”! Although we no longer move a lot, breaking the habit of saving for the next place combined with a crafters eye and a love of antiques/family stuff made “keep the things flowing” a big challenge for me! When I first got the less-is-more bug, the things I “just couldn’t” part with went into a closet as a half way spot. Whenever I checked it [or added to it…lol] anything I thought was already gone could now freely go! I don’t recall ever putting anything back into my house and the closet has now become a small spot in the attic. I’m preparing a decorative trunk now to put the family things into–calling it a “family time capsule” for things that were FUN to find that a previous generation decided not to part with, but I don’t want to display–Again, very helpful list and great timing for me. Thank you! I’d enjoy a list made from all the places for recycling that have been suggested (I’m new here, maybe it’s already been made? 🙂 It’s Saturday–maybe I can get to #20 today!!
check with day care centers, school teachers, pre -schools. sometimes they are looking for buttons, keys, the soap d
dispensers for large detergent boxes, etc. I know the one that my grandchildren went to was always looking for strange things to work with on projects
A few years ago I challenged myself (New Years Resolution) to 1 large black garbage bag thrown out every week. 52 in a year! At first it was easy and I’d be taking bags to recycle/thrift store/library/garbage every week. Eventually I’d get to the point of just walking around the house and opening every drawer to find things I could throw out. It didn’t seem so daunting to do 1 bag a week.
I agree with all but the paycheck thing. When I applied for a state pension at one of three contributing jobs I had over the years….one workplace had NO RECORD of my six year employ! My only verification were those paystubs and a few typed performance reviews I had held onto. That verification let them sign off and rubber stamp ergo allowing for the modest pension I earned and now enjoy.
The rest of this list I love and am going to put to work! I saw it at a good time too because housebound due to extended inclement weather.
On a similar theme, there have been several bank scandals in the UK in recent years, which have resulted in customers getting compensation. Banks are required to keep records for only 6 years, but customers who’ve had paperwork going back for longer have been awarded for that period too – in some cases, that’s meant several thousand pounds extra.
Pens and Pencils – make sure the pens write and the pencils have more than one sharpening left then donate them to the local High School English Department. Kids never remember to show up with a pen. Our english teacher loves the zip loc bags I give her full of pens and pencils.
Carabiners – I snap a small one around the hadle of my handbag or purse and use it to hold my vehicle keys when I am not using them. They are never lost in the house or the bottom of my bag and when do you take your car without your handbag or purse.
We have a tall trash can for paper recycle, rip the back cover with the address off the catalog and recycle the rest same with junk mail, pull out anything with your name and address and toss in the recycle bin which sits next to the paper shredder for the address pages. Shredded paper accumulates and recycle centers do not like you putting it in plastic garbage bags. Go to Home Depot or Lowes or your local hardware store and buy a pack of paper leaf bags to put the shredded paper in. I bought a 5 pack 4 years ago and still have 2 bags left. They are cheap and you close them and dump the whole thing in the recycle bin. All junk mail is handled as soon as it comes in the house.
Old notebook covers and paper are always needed at the middle schools and high schools for kids who just can’t afford them. Donate.
The kitchen has a bin for plastic bottle and tin can recycles and a separate container for plastic bags on that rare occasion when I end up at the store and the reusable shopping bags have failed to be put back in the car. Any planned trip to the store the plastic bags are taken to that recycle bin, every grocery has one. When the bottle/can bin is full it is sorted in the garage into a tin container and plastics container. My hubby makes a trip to the recycle center about once a month. We seldom have more than one bag of trash for pick up each week.
I’m a Tupperware fanatic because in one of our homes we had some (not many but can’t stand rhem), so the first thing I do when I get home from the grocery, I empty everything into Tupperware. Roaches feed on cardboard, paper and water. I don’t have roaches.
#144 loyalty cards. Great app for your smart phone called Stocards. It’s free on play store. Just input your information or some cards can be scanned. Everything you need is on your phone.
I empty all food products out of boxes into Tupperware. Roaches feed on cardboard and water.
Oh my goodness! I kept holding my face and saying “Oh my goodness!” I save almost (except the baby items) all of these things! My husband always tells me, “do you really need to keep that?” I’m a crafter, so that makes me a dangerous keeper of all sorts of things. You know the ones that say, “someday I might need this for a project.” Thank you for helping me open my eyes! My husband really thanks you!
Check with your local Interstate Battery company or other battery supply. They will take old computer, camera etc batteries and recycle at no charge!
I find it easier to empty a drawer, closet, area then put back what I love and use in it. The stuff left behind get some to go. The end result is the same, but it takes the thought process easier.
Me, too. I’ll take a drawer, dump it upside down on the bed or counter, then set the drawer next to the contents. I put “like” things together which shows me how many, for instance, twist ties I have, then keep a few (especially the longer ones-great for tidying up wire bundles) & either put in a box for yard sale, recycling or donation, or throw away. As a girlfriend once told me (about a completely different topic), “you eat the elephant one bite at a time.” Truer words never spoken!
Great list! My husband his to stay in a motel several times a year. I save all the soaps, shampoos, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower caps and other stuff he comes home with in a Ziploc bag and once a year take it to a place like the Ronald McDonald house. They use the stuff for family members who have loved ones in the hospital and didn’t have time to pack a travel bag.
You can also keep baggies of these items in your car (except during the high heat of the summer) and give to the homeless you pass on the street or at stoplights.
Exercise equipment that is never used.
Jessica Lance says
Great list! Give your old pencils/pens and the kids’ old crayons/markers to your favorite teacher or local school.
Many of these items would be appreciated by Teachers: calendars with photos, book marks, travel brochures. My friend would use book marks as a reward once student has completed a task. She’ ll use calendar photos, travel brchures, pictures, ask child to write a story about the photo. Pencils, notebooks, makers.
Old cards: internet lists facilities that accept these, they recycle them into gift tags, etc.
Magazines: hospital and clinic waiting areas.
Stuffed animals:check with your local police and fire departments.
Sunglasses: Will the Lion’s take them?
Sticky notes: take them to work, eveyone uses stickey notes.
Chop sticks: supports to keep potted plants growing correctly. Row markers for gardens.
Small soaps, shampoo, lotions: local woman’s shelter or any other shelter.
Expired medicines and OTC meds: check internet and your local police station. We have local police station that has 24/7 open area for drop offs.
Dog toys: pet shelter, Humane Society. Maybe your Vet will take them?
Expired coupons: check internet resources. There is an organization that take coupons. They are used by those in the miltary service.
Retirements homes, memory care facilities, senior’ s centers: holiday decor, puzzles, old movies, party supplies.
Screws, nuts, bolts: check with a “business” that rents tools. There may be people who could use the hardware.
Old sports equipment: check internet. We have Play it Again Sports, equipment sold on consignment. Many sports clubs have swap meets to sell equipment.
Old t shirts: some will tear them into strips and make rugs, etc.
Old clothing, rags: contact you trash service. We’re able to clearly mark bags RAGS and they take them to a facility for recycling.
Many of these items do not need to go into a landfill.
Great list JMB. You gave me some good ideas to utilize. In terms of medication, many are medicines the police will only destroy themselves, such as narcotics. My posting tells how to destroy those type of drugs. Thanks again for a useful list.
Thank you for including senior centers, assisted living, etc. Some of them may also take playing cards (especially Skip Bo and UNO) vases (if flowers are donated from funerals, we would take apart the arrangements and bring fresh flowers to those seniors on hospice or who rarely left their rooms, so we always needed vases) and believe it or not, infant clothing (some memory care activities include folding baby clothes.) i would add that newer, non-classic board games may be better off going to schools for indoor recess. The seniors i worked with knew they wpuld not be able to remember rules for new games & stuck to the classics like checkers & backgammon. That said, as our population ages what qualifies as a “classic” will change.
Also, you can take books, music books, comic books, CDs, electronic games & DVDs to Half Price Books & sold for a modest amount of $. I take small piles of things there whenever i know im going to drive by. Sometimes ive only gotten $2- or nothing!- but it helped me let go of stuff i was holding on to. They donate or recycle what they cant sell, so i just leave it there am happy knowing & ive made more room in my home.
LOVE THIS. One note about old cell phones–if they still work, check with local anti-violence shelters in your area. Many of them will accept old-yet-working cell phones, so victims of domestic violence have a way to call for help when they need it.
Please encourage up cycling, recycling, scrapping metals( Christmas lights can be recycled too). Just feel throwing away is a bad thing to encourage. I will give away things to groups and organization who use items…love the input of the organizations who use things for another purpose. Souls4souls etc. and classrooms, teachers. I am going to put together some boxes – (love to have boxes on hand) for various people and schools and organizations now. Seems so much easier if I give them to people and groups who can use them. Also the Earth911 is wonderful..so dangerous things do t go into our landfills and water supply. We have a responsibility to properly dispose and/repurpose all of this stuff…not just throw away. I do save things..waste not want not.
Ashley, please remind people NEVER to pour pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers down any drains as they can get into the water supply. Always call a Garden Supply place to ask how to get rid of them. And prescription medicines—take the cap off of the bottle and pour liquid soap or liquid laundry soap or softener into the bottle to cover pills, replace the cap, shake, and throw away in the trash. The soap destroys the pills. I worked for a hospice for about 15 years and that is how the DEA told us to destroy them. NEVER pour them down the toilet or a drain because they are finding high levels of narcotics in drinking water.
I think the DEA is mainly concerned with people (or animals) intentionally or unintentionally getting hold of prescription medicines, especially narcotics. The pills will be disolved by this method, but the drug chemical itself will not be changed and can still get into the ground and water supply by eventually leaking out of a landfill. Best to recycle to the police, who someone commented will get them burned, which will actually break down the drug chemical and make them harmless. There are a lot of popular instructions for disposal of drugs such as mixing them with coffee grounds or cat litter. The reason these are suggested is so animals and children won’t eat them, but any method that doesn’t burn them will not destroy the drug itself. I wouldn’t try burning drugs yourself, since you might not get a high enough temperature and could breathe in the chemicals or harmful by-products. I’m a scientist, and knowing coffee grounds and cat litter don’t have special powers, had to do some research to figure out what really needs to be done.
AWESOME LIST. I SUGGEST A PHOTO WITH ITEMS THAT TUG ON YOUR HEART. A CHILD AND THEIR FAVORITE STUFFIE. I HAVE PICS OF ME AND MY LATE MOM’S POSSESSIONS THAT I HAD TO PART WITH. THE TUPPERWARE MEASURING CUP SHE HAD FOR OVER 40 YEARS, THE OLD SWEATER SHE DRAGGED AROUND ON HER SHOULDERS, HER CAR. MUCH EASIER TO SNAP A PIC THAN STORE SOMETHING YOU WON’T USE YOURSELF AND OTHER RELATIVES DON’T WANT.
Ahh, I am a hoarder!!!!
Love your list! Now, if you could just tell us how to get rid of junk phone calls. (The No Call Registry is totally ineffectual.)
Thank You! Great list. Some of these I’ve done, some I have yet to do. Also, Thank you for the shout out to the Lions Club. I am a Lion and we are always looking for used glasses. You wouldn’t believe how many millions of people that have benefited from them. We also accept old hearing aids !!
And bring everything to your nearest thriftshop, I’ll be waiting to buy it right there.
…….it’s like you were in my house.
Thanks for the nudge.
A comment on used greeting cards – I take the fronts of the ones I REALLY like to reuse creatively or donate them to St. Jude’s Ranch where they make them into new cards they sell to raise $ for their organization: https://stjudesranch.org/about-us/recycled-card-program/ or a friend’s of mine uses them for her daughter’s scout troop to send to nursing home residents : )
Great list! I agree with earlier comments I try to donate anything usable before just throwing away.
And item #198. It’s HOLE punch, not hold. And we actually use ours.
Yes, I agree with donating things before throwing them away too, that’s why I made a comment about it in a big box before I shared the list. Sigh. I don’t think many people read that though. I’m totally against throwing away something that someone else could use!
How do you know I don’t have a hold punch? 🙂 Just kidding. Thank you for pointing out a typo that no one else caught. 🙂
Well, if we’re getting nitpicky, #126 could use some attention: “Sticker’s from a precious yard sale” – stickers is plural, not possessive, and while I’ve had many a yard sale, I wouldn’t call any of them precious, LOL.
Great list. I follow the Minimalists rule – if I’m in doubt about saving something, I ask myself, “Can I buy this again if I need to for less than $20 in less than 20 minutes?” Makes it much easier for me to send things on to people who need the item right then and there (and in 2 years of decluttering, I haven’t needed to replace any thing I got rid of).
Don’t worry about the haters – the loudest critics are often the ones who need to hear the message most of all.
I actually laughed out loud when I read this one. I have a yard sale every year but none that I considered “precious.” LOL (sometimes, typos can be hilarious)
Penny Little says
Great prompt to de-clutter, but don’t just toss everything! There are many worthy organizations that recycle,sell, or otherwise make good use of what you may think is junk. Give these items a chance on the secondary market before feeding the landfill! Here’s to creative re-purposing!
shelli mansfeld says
I’m sorry you are a clutter butter – your list is cluttered.
Half way through I got bored and fed up.
Don’t you know how to condense; use bullets, subtitles etc?
Get your head in order and then offer some advice.
Hmm. This comment makes me think of the old phrase ‘If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all’. Why comment just to diss someone else’s hard work?
Gail B says
Concerning OLD MEDS : If any family members are Veterans, and go to the VA hospitals occasionally. … they have self addressed and stamped plastic envelops that you can mail all old meds to dispose of properly….for free. Just ask at the Pharmacy.
Shirley S. says
Did you go through my house to make this list? Definitely going to use this to declutter. Can’t wait to see your ideas on saving kids art ideas! My biggest weakness!! Thanks for the eye opener, as well as handy list to utilize!
Please donate everything that can be reused to a local shelter or thrift store so that someone else can get use out of it and keep it out of the landfill. Also, I work at a gold and silver buyer, don’t throw away ANY jewelry. Take it to a place that purchases gold and silver. You may be pleasantly surprised and what they can buy gets recycled, so that means less mining and $ in your pocket. 🙂 even missing earrings, earring backs and broken or tangled chains. It all gets melted
Mary K says
I really enjoyed reading the list and I had a good laugh too! In the past, I’ve had many of these things laying around, and managed to let go of most unused items; I am proud to be a recovering junk collector. Isn’t amazing to realize how much stuff we feel we need to keep.
Katherine C. says
Thanks for your list. It has prompted a large number of other very good suggestions. The suggestion to donate used towels to animal shelters & rescues is a good one. Our local humane society asked for comforters for the larger dogs & I was glad I had one that was in good shape to give. I filled a large garbage bag with bath towels & hand towels that were a little tired but still very serviceable. They also took some pillow cases to cover some small animal sleeping pads. They can also use cleaning supplies & laundry soap. Flannel sheets can be put to various uses. A call to your local shelter will give you ideas on what they need.
Throwing away dried up super glue is a given, but there’s a lot of things on this throw-away list I don’t agree with at all. I’m not a hoarder by any means. However, getting rid of something just because you don’t use it more than 2-3 times a year is wasteful and a pain to have to go buy, again.
I totally agree! Some of this stuff is necessary. Ex: I sew and craft so lotsa scissors for many purposes. A guy may only need one pair of scissors, but others understand the need for multiples. I will not cut my green onion tops with the same scissors I cut wires with.
This is excellent? How can I get into a format so I can print it out and post it?
You could copy and paste the list into Word, Notepad, email to yourself, or even Google Docs.
Where I live there is a maned donation station for SVDP near me that I always donate to….until recently. They have become picky…..they don’t want most of the stuff I bring (nothing is junk, just your average house stuff). They refuse toys. They will look at all the stuff in the back of my Jeep and point and say they have no use for many of the things.
I was just curious if anyone else has encountered that when donating??
The list is FANTASTIC by the way! Thank you for extra ideas that I would not have thought of!!
I managed the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in my community for many years. Our store was small and we didn’t want to take anything we felt we could not sell. We couldn’t afford the dumpster bill to take everyone’s stuff. We tried to always be tactful when declining items. Anyone wanting to donate to Habitat for Humanity should understand that ReStores are mainly home improvement, furniture, home decor type of stores.
Cant see anything on this list that isnt a nobrainer. Its sad our culture is this dysfunctional that it needs this list.
…and oh yes, it needs this list.
Ingrid P says
Well. Thank you very much for a very timely post. I have just finished redoing my bedroom (which has been in the living room now for about a month) 🙁 and was going to tackle that daunting job of sorting when I fell on this great post. I am taking it to heart!!! Off I go!
I thought I was the only person who saved old fortune cookie fortunes. I can’t bear to throw them away! Many of the things on your list hit home. Thanks.
My fortune: “Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.” Yet, I am also guilty of keeping things around far after their useful life – Just in Case!
201. Useless husbands
Absolutely perfect timing for this one! Since the dump will not likely take him, any recycling ideas?
Lol. Divorcing is good for downsizing.
lmao rofl and wiping tears from my eyes
u go, girl 😉
Pete veslocki says
Do I have to get these things in order to throw them away ?
I am a packrat at heart, though not quite as bad enough to make it onto that tv show. So many of the things on this list are camped out around my house somewhere right now. I may have to make a more determined effort to let go a little. Thank you for sharing this. Oh, and I love the idea in the first few comments about a neighborhood dumpster day! I think I’m gonna have to organize one of those for our neighborhood.
Alot of these are no brainers however getting rid of some of these items is just plain wasteful. The real problem is not hoarding these items its the fact that people mindlessly bought them in the first place.if you don’t need it don’t buy it. If you already have purchased it and its a given that you will need it in the future why get rid of it just to turn around and buy it again? Makes absolutely no sense. As someone who lives paycheck to paycheck it saddens me that people can be so wasteful.
Do you really trust Unroll.me to have unadulterated access to all of your emails? Not me.
Some of the things on your list I actually use. For example, ruled paper and 3-hole punch. The 3 hole punch for updates to the family tree. (I manage the book for 1 reunion & it’s in a 3-ring binder) & the ruled paper (in notebook form) is handy when I do go out for genealogy research. Oh, & twist ties as a cat toy. I just wrap it around my finger & it’s one of the few things my cat will actually bat around. I also won’t be getting rid or too many books simply because I won’t re-read them soon. I have dreams of a room that’s my library though & books as a whole have sentimental value to me.
I going home to start this tonight. I get off work and I am so tired that I forget what I need to do or I realize that my list is to cumbersome for the energy I have. This list is doable. Maybe not all tonight but a workable check off list.
Janet Hemnes says
I do too many craft to get rid of most of those things…if I do get rid of something it never fails I need it within a month
Would you mind if I shared your list if I gave you credit? I think it is great!
Would you mind if I shared your list if I gave you credit? I think it’s great!
Natasha @ Salt and Lavender says
Great list! I love decluttering… I am one of those crazy people that actually finds it fun!!
I deleted this list, it’s too long
I reused small paper shopping bags as party loot bags for my son’s birthday party. I had the kids decorate with stickers from my craft bin and they loaded them with our extra cans of Play Do, extra race cars, extra kid art supplies. The kids (and parents!) were happy. And I de-cluttered, too!
Karen M says
Do not throw away or destroy your tax returns. While everyone assumes the IRS only goes back seven years, if you are audited, the IRS can go as far back as your first return be it seven years ago, or 40 years ago. Ask any tax accountant or read the IRS tax laws.
When I checked my Social Security earnings, two years were missing out of the Social Security reported earnings. I had to contact my employer only to find out there were glitches for two calendar years in the 1980s, that never were reported. And the employer was only held liable if the employee reached out and requested validation of earnings for the missing yours. You do not have to keep each paycheck but you should have your corresponding W-2 form or 1099
Definitely. Do not underestimate the demands or inefficiencies of bureaucracy. Keep your “proof” documents which don’t take that much space anyway. One covered bin will be sufficient.
Or scan them – just make sure you have a backup.
Patti Wright says
I hate clutter and crowded closets, but there are a few things on the list that definitely would not go. My Apple computer boxes stay until the point I feel the computer is no longer worth repairing or giving away. There is no better way to take them back to the Apple store than in the original box with its nice handle.
I was raised to clean my room & our home to give alot of these items listed to less fortunate after Thanksgiving. This made room for the new items we received at Christmas. Fortunately, as I got older, it taught me to declutter and think about the things we keep all year long. I have passed this on to my girls and they are very open hearted to helping others. My Grandma packed alot of knowledge/lessons into “cleaning” house once a year. Less is more in alot of ways just different for everyone! It is so uplifting in many ways to declutter and donate. Great list compiled!
i s says
When I started downsizing, my goal was to move out a laundry basket amount of stuff every month. That was not overwhelming, but yet at the end of the year it was significant. In addition to the usual non-profits or eBay, I used freecycle.org (Google freecycle and name of your location). Also learned that U-Haul accepts used boxes that can be taken for free by others.
Where can I find the post about what to do with kids old art projects? I’m overrun with them, but just can’t part with them without some way of saving the memories.
that one is easy… take a picture of it then throw it out.. all except the latest and greatest… believe it or not the kids don’t remember most of them and probably don’t care.. it was just a school project to them (that is the way I reacted when my mother thinking she was being all smart handed me a box FULL of my art projects from kindergarten to 6th… I just chucked them straight into the trash… she went and dug them back out to keep. so I will have to throw them away after she dies again. cuz I don’t’ want them never did.
Judy K says
As for displaying artwork while your kids are young and producing lots: Designate a section of a wall, or a large corkboard, for each child’s work. Instead of agonizing over what there’s room for as more masterpieces are produced, let the child decide. They have X amount of room — if they want a new piece to go up, they decide what comes down. Good exercise in decision-making for them, guilt-free for you!
Funny. Obviously not a homeschooling parent by some of the things on the list, but still a good list to get a person thinking about how to begin downsizing family-sized clutter. One thing I’d add specifically: any pens with caps. You mentioned markers, but I banned pens with separate caps from my house, purse, etc. Capless pens are dangerous to clothes, upholstery & purses, and life is way too short to be spending any time looking for caps. Only “clicky” pens for me. One of the best life decisions I’ve ever made.
OMG! I thought my “husband’s right, who cares a bout what TYPE of pens you keep in the house?” I went through all of the pens/pencils/markers/highlighters one day, tested each to make sure they weren’t dried out, and decided “no more pens w/caps!” They are a PITA, like you said, if the cap’s lost, there’s a high probability of getting ink on things, etc. also, I keep most of the above in a circular, lazy Susan-type office supply organizer and I keep the pens pointed down so they don’t dry out. It’s much harder to fit the capped pens in head down, than the click-type.
Cards, magazines, catalogs, calendars, travel books and brochures can be donated to your local preschools or elementary schools
You can actually go to uhaul and buy a box for your TV with padding built in for moving. They cost less than 5.00 and you don’t have to hang on to the box.
To ship a TV I would have my local ups store pack it. Most the time companies have you ship ups anyway for warranty and upset will pack it better than that old tv box and they guarantee their packing.
Hi there! I would just like to add, as a teacher we would love to accept loved ones’ and friends’ gently used office supplies, craft supplies items as most of this gets purchased from our own pocket! Make sure to ask a teacher friend or your child’s teacher about specific needs, but we are resourceful and make use of just about anything for either organization or activities to help kids learn! Thanks!
Jennifer Klein says
I do have an addendum to this list. If you have school aged kids, or know a teacher, keep or donate those extra pens, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners, locks (my kids each need two per year), highlighters, sharpies, ruled paper, etc. I can’t explain or understand how much of this school aged kids and teachers need each year.
Half the things on this list are things I either currently use, or will use in the future. I understand the issue some may have with storage space, but if you have the space, why would you get rid of things you know you’ll use, only to have to waste money buying the same thing again?
I so agree, Dana!
Old college textbooks……..from 15 years ago and never cracked open again…
I keep 1 staple remover around (it’s not that BIG) for separating key rings to add or remove a key, reduces frustration and saves the nails and of course for the occasional staple that needs to be removed when copying documents.
Whoa there Nelly on the Apple Box…at least if it is to a desktop computer. You have to have that box if you need to send it in for repairs and a replacement box is $150. Great list! Thank you!
Katy Hansen says
After cleaning out my father’s home (of over 50 years) upon his passing last year, my perspective has dramatically changed. I was a very frugal, “I might use it someday” mindset. (Applied to everything, including partially-used college notebooks, camping gear from 27 years ago, fabric purchased in the 80’s and my overalls from the 70’s.) The slow evolution acquired over months of cleaning out his home, has been that I want my life to be about treasuring some truly warm memories that a few items bring to mind (the afore mentioned overalls). And about living in the present moment, respecting who I am now (not someone who enjoys sewing or camping anymore). I’m managing slowly to let go of the “what ifs” the “maybe whens”, and especially the “if only I deconstruct this, insert two new parts and give it a coat of spray paint, this will be perfects”. It’s a slow journey, with many side trips to Goodwill, shelters, and recycling facilities, but it seems like my mind’s clutter mirrored the physical clutter, and lately peace and contentment have been finding some room as the tangible clutter has ebbed.
Seriously peeps. Obviously not everything on the list will be valid for your personal situation. The list does however stimulate the thought process. Do I need this item. If yes then keep it. If not then dispose of it in the most appropriate way. Many of these posts cry out that they could never get rid of the staple remover or craft items (examples of course) but that leaves many, many other items on the list that may be worthwhile letting go.
I put my key rings on a carabiner. When I go out, I hook it onto my purse. Very rarely lose my keys, now.
I have a long colourful ribbon attached to my keys so they are easily visible and the ribbon can dangle out my pocket or bag.
Mike Morgantini says
“One or two pairs of scissors”? The most common thing my kids say is “Where are the scissors?” So I bought about 8 pairs once, and they were still syaing it, so I bought another 7 or 8 pairs. They still say it, but usually they find a pair by the time they’re done asking the question. Never anything good on TV so they’re always making stuff outta paper and cardboard.
Staple remover – unless you can make a very compelling argument to keep yours. My argument is that if it’s the old fashioned kind, it’s great for untying knotted shoelaces. So I keep mine.
RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE… very little needs to be “thrown away” why fill up the landfill? Use your local Freecycle or Buy Nothing FB site (and if you don’t have one, start one) to “gift” what you no longer need. Let’s keep “stuff” from being imported, manufactured and then disposed of, just filling our planet and depleting our resources. That said (off my soap box) great article!
I second the motion for joining your local “Buy Nothing” group!! http://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/. I joined my local group just a few days ago and I must say it’s the most amazing thing ever! It is so much easier to let things go when you know they are going to someone who really needs them.
Our family did this last year and cleared out so many items that we were keeping around for no reason. Can’t wait to get started again this year. Thank you for this post ~ I see items on your list that weren’t on the list last year. 😉
Ha, art teachers will take some of these things to use in their classrooms. Dry cleaning hangers, magazines, buttons, ribbons, string, containers without covers…etc. I use all these things with my students.
Please do NOT forget your local community theatres. They need ALL of what is on this list. Shows are written with an era in mind. If we cannot accurately reproduce that time period we look like idiots. Folks are throwing out good stuff from the 80s and 90s not realizing it’s very hard for us to find.
I purposely collect mini bottles from hotel stays (as long as I’m not flying or else they’d add unnecessary weight I may have to pay for) so I can donate them to a Midnight Run. Also, shelters don’t necessarily want threadbare towels. I am so pleased that my local weekly farmer’s market now features a ‘vendor’ who collects items of fabric to clean, bleach and shred to make fiber fill.
Karen Bertodatto says
I have a few to add. I’m downsizing and these are some I’ve done that weren’t on the list.
201. Old medical supplies ( the 20 various sizes of ace bandages, air casts, slings, crutches, etc from old sporting injuries)
202. Old sports equipment you no longer play – bowling ball, cross country skis, deflated basketballs, ice skates, etc.
203. Paintings and wall hangings you no longer want to display
204. Recycle the extra plastic grocery bags (leave at an aldi’s where you need your own bags)
205. Recycle the store bags like Victoria Secret, etc.
206. Crayons and color pencils unless you have kids, are a teacher or still use them. If you do, limit to 1 package of each.
207. Brad holders – does anyone even use these anymore?
208. Home vhs movies – convert to digital before they are lost to deterioration
209. Kitchen stuff you don’t use regularly – wok, casadilla maker, waffle iron, George Forman grill, juicer, etc.
210. Artificial plants and flowers – get real!
211. Old tooth brushes. Keep a couple for cleaning, ditch the rest.
212. Lingerie you wouldn’t be caught dead in today or just cant fit into.
213. Shipping peanuts.
214. Bean bag chairs
215. Extra painting supplies – how many roller handles can you use at once?
Rule of thumb for linens…. 3 pairs neded… one on; one off; and one on the way to the laundry. Takes care of emergencies.
Remember your local schools when you are purging. Teachers may be able to use a good many of the things listed above (magazines, highlighters, sticky notes, pens and pencils, old crafting supplies, etc.).
I use old Christmas cards I received as gift tags. I cut off the fronts, sometimes as they are, sometimes in a shape such as an oval then just write “To: _____ From: _____” and tape then on the gift. You can also cut out a pretty message inside to use for a smaller tag.
A fun way to repurpose the fronts of old Christmas cards: I cut pieces of poster board the size of placemats. They I had my grandkids collage and glue the cards all over the poster boards. Then you can either have them laminated or cover with plastic wrap so they have their own holiday placemats they created.
This is such a great list! I’m actively collecting t-shirts and turning them into T-shirt yarn to crochet a rug but otherwise, I’ll be dealing with heaps of these. Choosing a reasonable amount to tackle each week makes it so much more doable, thank you ?
Sue Reading says
Thanks for this great list! I’m happy to say I’ve been — slowly — getting rid of many of the types of items you mention. Still find a need for a staple remover sometimes because the pharmacists staple prescription info to the recyclable paper bag, and I like to take staples out of anything that goes into recycling. Here’s a way to get around that feeling of loss when you’re getting rid of old baby clothes or anything you’re attached to but need to get rid of: Take a photo and archive it on your computer or whatever digital storage you have. Works for me.
Great place to keep things like this list, articles or recipes is to copy into Evernote. It’s cloud based so you can retrieve from your computer or app on your phone (any Internet access really). You can set up folders and do quick searches to find what you want. That’s exactly what I’ll be doing with this list!
Also, consider using Evernote to save things like old greeting cards, ticket stubs, children’s drawings, etc. You can scan, or take a photo of anything you are saving for sentimental reasons, and file them in Evernote. It is the perfect place to keep all of your memories so you can eliminate clutter, and still look at them whenever you want. And it is free!
Check with food banks before tossing “expired or outdated” food items from the pantry. Many will accept them as technically there are no regulations regarding how long foodstuffs should remain in the pantry. The dates are generally dates the manufacturer sets to sell by/rotate stock. The food may have lost some of its freshness but should still be good provided tha packaging is not damaged. Baby formula and baby food are the only exceptions as I recall.
I began to teach elementary art this year. Amazing how many of the items I asked people to save for me are on this list! We used up most of the stuff I got and I will be making a new list soon. Maybe before you throw it away you should offer on Facebook, Craigslist, local school or churches!
Love this article….good Stuff
About other “stuff”…my new apparel or accessories rule is 1 in 2 Out of the same category….prevents future clutter.
Agreed with the sheets. My grandma always said-one set for the closet,one for the bed,and one for the wash..
And why throw out gift bags when you’re just going to reuse them? Better than buying new ones..
We have a “give away” closet where outgrown clothing and unused toys go. Purple Heart picks up quarterly in our neighborhood, so we do a sweep when they are coming, and donate everything that has accumulated.
Susan Rosko says
There are several items on the list I still use regularly–hole punches, tape measures (multiple), scissors (enough to be convenient and preschool fiscars–the best! And sorry, when I cook, I use all of my measuring cups–different types for different things AND whisks of various sizes. I guess I’m showing my age!
I’ve been taking photos or scanning sentimental items like concert stubs or greeting cards for an online scrapbook. This way I don’t need to keep the physical items but can still browse through them occasionally. Saves a bunch of space.
I loved reading this article and ALL the comments. My OCD wouldn’t let me stop before I finished…afraid I would miss something:-) Like others, I felt like you had gone through my house! I would love to see someone make a master list of the suggestions. In the past our newspaper has published a full page of all the various non profit organizations and what they can use but I didn’t see it this holiday season. I saw some of those suggestions in these comments. Does anyone have a suggestion for old VHS , 8 Track or cassette tapes…some with movies etc recorded from TV etc but many just junk on them.
Katy Hansen says
There are both local and offshore resources to get old media onto CDs or DVDs, just Google “transfer VHS (or whatever the media is) to CD” or “scan photos to CD”. Local (stateside) will be more expensive than sending to a company that uses offshore resources – maybe just decide how important it is to you. If there’s just junk on them — I’ll put a box with a date on it in the closet – and make a note on my calendar for 1 or 2 years forward, and if I’ve not thought of it since then, I’ll just trash/recycle without reopening.
walgreens will change your VHS ti CDs or DVDs
That is good to know
I didn’t read all the comments to see if this was mentioned but you can use a staple remover to open those nasty metal rings when you add a key or fob to your key ring. Also if you shred papers you’re suppose to remove the staple first. That is just one I’d keep and why. ?
De-clutter the list length:
1. duplicate items
2. expired/unused items
I have gotten rid of most of the things on the list except for too many rags. I volunteer at our church resale shop so do not feel guilty getting rid of useful items and clothing but alas, I find too many treasures there that I “just must have” so must find more things to donate. That is true recycling.
I too was surprised to find that my kids didn’t care much about the art they’d made- for them it truly is more about the process than the product. And there are only one or two projects from school that hang around, but they make a lot of stuff at home, and the best of it, I frame, and they see it on the walls, and they get that what they do (if it is GOOD) has value and sticks around. The other stuff I take pictures of and some of it shows up in books that I make (Blurb) alongside pictures of them doing all the stuff that makes them them.
lissa crane says
This is an awesome list! I book marked it and will definitely use it in the New Year!
Ok, so I’m all for getting rid of things, but can I be honest on one point? If you have extra pens, pencils, dry erase boards, markers, folders, notebooks or basically any office or school supplies can you find a teacher and ask him/her if they want them? Or drop off at a local school? The reality is teachers spend hundreds of dollars on these things for their clAssrooms each year and very little bit helps! I had a sub bring in a cup full of pencils she was going to get rid of to give to me last year. You bet she’s the first one I call when I’m scheduling appointments, because I know she cares!
Oh my! I agree with a lot of this but send your bubble wrap, misc ribbon string, old jewelry, Christmas cards, bobby pins, calendars, magazines craft supplies, CDs, buttons, scrap paper, picture frames, games and scissors over here! I repurpose all of this stuff in my jewelry and crafts! I can always use more scissors, I have 3 pairs in my craft room, 3 in my kitchen, one in my office & one in the basement! Bubble wrap is so expensive so I reuse it for shipping my jewelry!
I always immediately recycle boxes that new purchases or gifts come in. Who has the space to store empty boxes? But that bit me, big time, a couple of years ago. When my new Kindle died after only 3 months of use, Amazon refused to take it back because I no longer had the box it came in.
Our municipality has twice yearly Riff-Raff days, which are free to all the residents. Anything classified as hazardous will not be accepted (but the local transfer station will take most for free); anything that is recyclable is pulled from the trash pile; tires are accepted; metal is recycled by the municipality to help pay for the next Riff-Raff day.
The PROBLEM is getting the people in my house to give the items up in the first place!
Karen Clark says
Please take shampoo out of items you suggest donating in number 62 (“shampoo you used once but don’t like”)- I work at a shelter and we cannot accept shampoo or other personal care products that have been opened. Would you want to use shampoo a stranger had already used?
We make lasagna gardens with plain cardboard boxes without colored ink. It is a very easy way to start a garden without tilling or double digging. You can use plain cardboard boxes to start a hugelkutur bed, which also makes use of the extra sticks and leaves in your yard. Look up hugelkultur and lasagna gardening, then put your extra boxes on Craigslist or Freecycle and be sure to let people know about these fuel and energy saving gardening methods.
Some of these things shouldn’t be thrown out. They should be donated! Preschools sometimes like leftover paper and craft supplies. Our Humane Socirty likes old towels, etc. good ideas though
Laura E. says
I think despite some criticisms of specific items, the list helps us all to think about what each of us really needs in our lives, our houses. For the sewing crowd, they have and need to keep several pairs of scissors. For the crafters, recyclables need to be kept around to help with projects. The list helps us think about who we are and what is important to each of us. And more importantly, what isn’t important to us. For example, I’m into making crafts for and with my kids out if recyclables. You see a plastic container, I see a barbie pool. You see a cardboard box, I see a play castle. But I also have three kids and a small house and I’m a neat freak. Clutter makes my brain melt. So I keep the recyclables, but purge my stash constantly. And I think harder these days, based on my past crafting what would make a really good castle and what I need to recycle right away ?
I have so many duplicate Xmas, school etc photos of the kids I find hard to throw out. Even though everyone has a copy and its the left overs I feel uneasy throwing them away ,?
It scares me how much this list applies to me. Going to get my cleaning on!!!
I needed this wake up after taking some time off of decluttering. Having the last of your parents pass makes you feel like you need to keep all of their clutter for memories, then it just becomes overwhelming with kids and things stacking up… time to declutter again and not feel bad letting some of it go.
As a mom, I think there is never enough paper, pens, highlighters, combination locks (if you have the combo, they last for a long time), USB drives(I mean, C’mon! kids go to school and always need them) batteries, book marks, sticky notes, extra shoe laces, playing cards, puzzles, games. Alot of things get used again and again over time. Here are some things I thought were COMPLETELY ridiculous that were on that list: chip clips/twisty ties (can be reused for bags of rice or pasta) , scissors, staple remover (that’s what they’re made for!) plastic hangers rock!(they beat wire hangers forever) (store hangers can be left at the store where you purchase the item), I could never throw out or donate my kid’s artwork (totally disrespectful)(that’s their imagination on paper), and Christmas and birthday cards from relatives in the trash (totally disrespectful). Even if you don’t have flowers, watering cans can be used for rinsing heavy and bulky dishware and other times that need to be cleaned that don’t fit into a sink. They can even be used to rinse the car when the kids are helping. Any unused or extra items can be used for when a previous items is no longer usable, such as batteries, pillows, USB drives.
What a shallow, wasteful, horrible list. If you must get rid of things that are perfectly good — books, toys, video games — then sell them, give them to friends, or donate them. If you throw away things that may have use to another person, then you are nothing more than a selfish, short-sighted, wasteful excuse for a human being. Think about what your great-grandchildren might want to remember you by. Just don’t be the type of pathetic loser who treats everything as disposable.
I hate to see you say point blankly get rid of most of this stuff. I would like to see more suggestions of how these things can be shared–used greetings cards can be donated to Saint Jude’s Children’s Ranch, inner city schools can use the pens and pencils, homeless shelters hand out those mini size shampoos and soaps. There are many ways to donate things that are of no use to you any more, but many things others can use. Try freecycle. I got rid of a bunch of magazines that way and many other things over the years. It’s good to start the year with less but even better if you find good homes for things too.
I have been known to re-gift nice things that I don’t use.
I have recently moved house and downsized after 24 years, now the kids are all gone …. to independence, not death!
I have done most of the above clearance suggestions but I really struggled with getting rid of the children’s Art works and creations. however I was given advice by a friend which works a treat …… PHOTOGRAPH it …. so I have done and plan to do a scrapbook saying who made it and when …… at present this could live on a spare zip drive or your computer , ready for that project without taking up any space at all.
Where is the best place to donate old cell phones and accessories? Isn’t there a place to donate them for our soldiers???
Hmm, that’s a good question. I haven’t researched it recently so I’m not sure. I know Best Buy will take them but other than that I don’t know. Maybe someone else will be able to answer you better!
Cheryl Williams says
Your list makes me think that you must live in the city. I live in a rural area with no cell service. I do not own a cell phone. So yes I still use my travel alarm clock and calculator. Actually I use my travel alarm every night as a back up to the radio alarm for when we have a power outage. This happens regularly, so I will not be getting rid of my matches or candles either! As a school teacher I agree with all the previous comments about schools needing office, art, and crafting supplies. Please don’t throw out…. donate!
jan perry says
Is there a chance that besides adding your ideas to pinterest that you would also have a print button on your posts? I would find that very helpful 🙂
I hope you don’t mind me sharing on Facebook.com/CouponSavingAndMore
Removing clutter and getting organized is on so many minds these days. Makes life easier to reduce!
When decluttering your children’s things, do NOT do it for/to them. Aside from the trauma of it, kids also need to learn early on how to live more simply and to pare down when things start to get out of control. This is a valuable life lesson for them (if you teach it *and* model it for them) plus it will help you maintain your sanity instead of constantly falling behind in “your” work and blaming them for it.
2many cats says
After working at a school (IT mostly) for 13 years, PLEASE think twice before donating electronics. Most CAN’T be made to work and ends up being stored or paid to be gotten rid of! Books and magazines, SAME!
# 109 Caribiners, don’t pitch them….I have one on my purse strap…great way to ever lose your keys in the bottom of your purse.
I just learned that many libraries will take books when you’re done with them.
joan lowder says
Oh my what a list and all the comments. Often its overwhelming as to where to start. If you are a crafts person it’s hard as many crafts overlap. I can’t bare to th issue and buy later.
Mama likes to toss. Ask me how many juicers she had. She bought many duplicates because she had tossed years earlier.
I will keep this list to nudge me and when I can take time to read all. Plus I’ve always heard…. the day will come and you’ll be ready to let go. Age 68, 2016 I think this might be my year.
Pinky Oliver says
a lot of things you listed I do save I live in the country and don’t drive, so some of the things I am glad I have kept! I’m old school, not part of the “throw away” mentality
Be careful about throwing out tax returns. You need to reconcile them with your Social Security records before you let them go. The IRS doesn’t keep them, so if there’s an issue when you file for SS, there’s nothing you can go.
there are tons of things on this list that I do not agree with. There are lots of ways to reuse and upcycle items as well. I for one, use my staple puller. Saves my fingernails. I have several pairs of scissors and use a calculator. My kids have their own version of certain things that i use. Tape measures are a definite in my house. The idea is to eliminate excess and focus on what you really need. Left over paper party cups and plates, I use when the kids have pizza! I hand out party favors at Halloween or Xmas goodie bags. With one in college, I need old technology sometimes and multiples of other current types-cords/chargers/etc.
Pat Glasscock says
Thank you for taking the time and energy to create this list and share it with us. It will be a great guide for inspiration. I am turning 62 and know it is time to downsize. I have been to estate sales and I am amazed at how much stuff people can accumulate but I am guilty of keeping too much myself. It is a new year and I am gonna do it!!
Jody Johnson says
Some of the things on your “throwout” list leads me to believe you don’t cook much, which I find hard to believe. I don’t mean warm things up, I mean large meals! I have a large family and many times I use several measuring cups, sets of measuring spoons, and YES, TWO whisks during one food prep. Maybe because my children are older and I cook gourmet-style meals? I agree with a lot of the things on your list, but two or three of some things are not only acceptable, but needed!
I agree with you, Jody. For example, I have 4 pairs of scissors just in kitchen alone (they serve different purposes — some open packages, some are for cutting food) and have that many because that’s how many I use. A better rule of thumb would be to keep only as many of an item as you actually use and no more. The goal is to get rid of what you don’t use… not to make your life more difficult by making due with less than you need.
I have no disagreement with you! Keep only what you use. Of course, that will look different for everyone.
Thank you for your list. It was inspiration today, made me think of areas that I don’t normally declutter. Is it possible to have a PDF of your list so we can check them off?
I try to recycle/reuse as much as possible. Don’t know if this has been mentioned, but plastic dry cleaner bags can be recycled with other plastic bags, and many dry cleaners will take the hangers back. Less stuff in landfills!!! Also, be careful tossing VHS tapes; the tape itself can be toxic; still trying to find an eco-friendly way to dispose of them. Try selling them at a used-book store.
Evernote those old business cards!!!
Cameron Burns says
The writer needs an editor, both for style and logic.
“Multiple pair of scissors”? Pairs?
“Sticker’s from a precious yard sale”? Sticker’s possessive? “A previous yard sale”?
And the punctuation is having a field day with the writer’s lack of understanding of punctuation.
Think about getting a better outlook. It could use more help that the writing skills that you so unkindly pointed out.
If you read the whole article, you’ll find that this list INCLUDES donating, selling, recycling, AND throwing away. I’m pretty sure no one wants dried up nail polish… ;).
Before using such ugly words, read the introduction!
I think you are the only one who read the full post. Thank you! 🙂
Brenda Watts says
If you are ever concerned with getting rid of something that holds a memory for you ( in a book I have read) it says to take a picture of it! This way you can de clutter and still have that memory you cherish!
Selina Drake says
I do this with my kids art projects. ( I keep and display my favorites) but otherwise photograph and add them to the photo album. Overtime you can see how they have mastered new skills.
Debbie B says
This is great, I usually do a yearly purge through our home. Whatever is not used within a year is gone (seasonal decorations tend to be excused). I love the list very good place to start for those who never know where to get going on their clean up.
Judy K says
Wire hangers can be brought back to a dry cleaners — they’re happy to accept them.
Check if your farmers’ markets have textile recycle days. Or your town, electronics recycling.
Check out freecycle.org. It’s a national group with very large local subgroup of people who don’t want good stuff to end up in a landfill. You post what you have to give away, and then choose who gets it from the responses. For anything that is sentimental, you get to meet the person when they come to pick it up. Yup, pick it up! That includes large items you’d have to pay extra to have towed away. Safer than craigslist — more of an online community.
Old VCR tapes of anything classic can be donated to nursing homes. They usually still have VCRs.
Any art supplies can be donated to adult daycare/senior centers as well as schools.
Small bottles of toiletries, socks, winter hats, gloves, scarves and decent clean old sweaters can be put together in “Blessing bags” to give to any homeless persons you may come across.
Old rinsed pill bottles can be bundled and periodically sent to “The Malawi Project, Inc., 3314 Van Tassel Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46240” to be sent to Malawi where patients may have to walk miles from the dispensary/hospital with prescription pills wrapped in a piece of paper.
You can start a lending library bookshelf at work, or at a laundromat or in your building if you live in an apartment.
Our local women’s and men’s shelters REALLY appreciate the hotel sized hygiene products. They said that size is perfect for transient guests especially.
And resist the urge to buy organisers. Aren’t they just more stuff?
It’s like people paying a monthly charge for storage lockers!
You are so right about this Judith! I have so many plastic containers with lids that I probably don’t have enough junk to fill them up.
Thank you, Ashley, for taking the time to write this and get everyone thinking! As with anything, we take/use what speaks to us…nothing is in stone, or a “rule”!
I’m surprised at all the nasty little comments here! I stopped reading them after awhile.
I take my old towels and cut them down to be wash cloths and then overlock the edges. A perfect way to recycle your towels into another use.
Claire Middleton says
Ooh, #31 isn’t carved in stone, is it? 🙂 If something in your pantry has recently expired, open it, look at it and smell it first. It’s probably still just fine to eat. As for the freezer, it depends on how long ago an item expired. Again, use your senses as it may be just fine. (I’m all about decluttering but I hate to waste food, especially with the high price of groceries these days!)
Great list! I’ve had a bit of difficulty getting rid of things in the past – mainly because I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d ever use it again. I had already begun the purging journey and had come to a mental roadblock … about 2-3 small piles of stuff awaiting a final destination. Found this article (shared by a friend), and can now say those piles are gone!
Now … what’s hiding under my bed? ?
Merri Jo Ounan says
Go to freecycle.com and look for local group near you. Post things to give away (as opposed to throwing away). You’d be surprised what people will take and re-use
Dawn Bulchandani says
Three cheers for living more freely and purposefully in 2016! So much of the beauty of living with less is in the power to invest one’s life and time in more important things, people, activities, and callings!
And if you want a great way to jumpstart your new year even more, check out this planner I just got!
Happy Newest Year, everyone!
I take my magazines to work when I am done with them and put them in the breakroom. My coworkers really appreciate them.
Carol Lewis says
Ashley, I want to thank you for all your hard work with this list! I hope that the folks that read this realize that this list is just to get them to thinking about the things that they personally can part with. It is not a mandate that they must get rid of these things! Every person is different so not everything will apply to them! I am amazed as I read your complete article as well as every post . You did a GREAT job! My husband and I both hold onto things with a purpose and actually re-use many of the things we have but there is still room for improvement. I really thank you for your suggestions to get us thinking and moving in the right direction!
I just received this list from another site but at a 116 item level, you must have either added your own ideas or combined another list. My first reaction to lists such as this probably isn’t what the average younger person (in their 20s and 30s) may be. I know one thing about clothes, I went through a health crisis in my late 30s. Because of these health problems I was placed on steroids about 18 months. I went from wearing a size 6 or 8 to wearing 14 and then 16s. At the worst of it all I felt fat, ugly, despondent, depressed and felt SURE I would never get into the clothes I LOVED ever again. I listened to all the clap trap that people were always spouting about if you don’t wear something in a year you should toss it. Since I was keeping two wardrobes I decided in a fit of self pity one day to send to Goodwill or similar place TONS of my clothes in the smaller sizes. Its been 20 years now and I STILL kick myself ALL THE TIME for that. I bought (and still do) VERY good quality clothes, the basics and in styles that are timeless. At the time I DRESSED for work, suits, heels, the whole works. I bought beautiful lined suits, black A-line skirts, classic blouses, BEAUTIFUL timeless dresses, etc. To this day I STILL grieve for the most BEAUTIFUL light pink (almost a baby pink) lined linen suit I bought for Easter one year and then wore it for other things. I looked for a replacement for that suit once I was back in my old sizes for YEARS. In fact, I STILL look for one. I even shopped on Ebay thinking maybe MY suit is out there somewhere. I’ve never found mine or one even close to it. I could spend all days talking about the clothes I still miss to this day. I will NEVER replace them and I hate to say it but clothes today are pure garbage compared to what they were in the 80s and 90s. The quality at the upscale stores today are about what you used to find at KMart years ago. Last summer I tried shopping for some Liz Claiborne things at Pennys (which a person should only EVER use for drapes, curtains, sheets, etc.) and I was sick at how awful the quality was in the clothes. I will NEVER forgive Liz Claiborne for making that change. Their stuff is AWFUL now. Clothing quality has hit ROCK BOTTOM in this country. (most of it doesn’t even make good scrub rags) That’s my advice on that. If you have items you LOVE, you absolutely positively LOVE and even if you can’t fit in them right now, do NOT get rid of them, you will hate yourself if you get back into that size. Next, I look at your list and I see why the vast majority of the American people are broke. First, FAR too much money is wasted on buying TONS of stuff at Walmart and other places basically supporting the Chinese economy, not the American worker. Sadly many Americans want lots and lots of the same thing instead of one or two GOOD quality ones that will last for years. This list is a true example of how we’ve become a “throw away society”. When is the last time you had your favorite pair of shoes repaired instead of tossing them? I do, I have my things repaired if I can. I LOVE my things, I have to REALLY like something to buy it so why would I want to toss it the minute something is wrong? Next, perhaps since my GREAT-GRANDPARENTS (both born before 1900) were my babysitters every day they taught me you don’t toss every little thing. They survived through the depression and both World Wars. They taught me to take care of my possessions, not to waste them. There are NUMEROUS items I see on your list that I think, why would you toss that. For example, WHY would you throw out a staple remover? As a former secretary during my college years and someone in an office now I’ve done my fair share of picking staples out of papers, usually cutting my fingers on it. What happens when you need some of these things, you’ll be out there buying them all over again. You have a small child, there are TONS of items in this list I see as craft projects. Those old shoeboxes make WONDERFUL dioramas. Those shaped cake pans – ARE YOU NUTS! Do you know discontinued Wilton shaped cake pans are selling for as much as $70 on Ebay? There are some I have been trying to track down for years. I do cake decorating. I’ve told my family if something ever happens to me, do NOT send these to the Goodwill (which is where I find ones all the time), to resell them or give to another decorator. Or….start a cake pan exchange club because I’m sure there are TONS of mothers out there that buy the pan, use it once and that’s it. There are tons of things I see in your list that could go to your local elementary school or your church Sunday School or an area preschool. I discontinued my home office about a year ago. I have a HUGE box of notebooks, many new, never used to give teachers I know. School teachers, especially elementary ones spend vast amounts of money out of their own pocket every year. All free things are usually greatly welcomed. How about the local Girl’s Club? Bottom line is – you and everyone else NEED to think about how the things you feel you can’t use can be utilized elsewhere. There are also items that SHOULD go to a needed place. Do not toss those old towels or pillows in the landfill. Animal shelters and humane societies are begging for these items. The same goes for old dog toys. I have several white kitchen trash bags of toys my golden retriever Lucy never touches anymore. (except when she goes into the garage with me and finds those bags, then she’ll take one back out – just like a kid when trying to get rid of the stuff they never touch anymore). Dogs! You HAVE to love them!!! Return those metal hangers to your dry cleaners, they recycle them. In our area we have a church that helps people get re-started after a tragedy. Give your unwanted household items to a place like this. Do you have “dress clothes” (suitable for an office) to toss? Give them to an organization that helps women move from welfare to office employment. There are organizations just for this. Many really poor women don’t have something suitable to wear to an interview let alone for the job everyday. I could go on and on about alternative places to send lots of things to ideas of what to do with them but I know I’ve rattled on long enough for this posting. I just want to remind people, just don’t start tossing tons of stuff in the trash, why keep building those trash mountain landfills? Don’t get me wrong folks, organizing and weeding out is GOOD. I’ve been in a MASSIVE project to re-organize my entire house for two years now. I have pretty bad fibromyalgia for a good 20 years now and it takes me 10 times longer to do things but I’ve been doing them, slowly and with help. However, when I weed out I find a new home if I can for the things, I don’t send to the landfill and I do a LOT of recycling. Since my small town began recycling several years ago, I put out for the actual garbage 1/10 of what I used to. I only wish the country had begun the push for recycling 50 years ago. Good luck everyone with your projects, I know first hand how much work it is. Just think twice before tossing things into any type of trash, check online for ideas of where it SHOULD go……
I just looked up the article you mentioned and it was written last month. Mine was published last April. I don’t think they copied me either though. People are just fed up with too much “stuff” and are encouraging others to let go and donate/recycle/trash the excess too. I don’t think the internet is too cluttered, there’s room enough for all decluttering articles. That’s just my two cents though. 🙂 Thank you for your comment!
I agree, BasketPam. Some of this sounds wasteful and symptomatic of a materialistic, throw-away society. Just because you have two of something, you throw one away? Things wear out (especially today’s the poor-quality products), then you wish you had a back up. You may be able to afford that kind of extravagance now, but none of us know what tomorrow will bring. I grew up on a farm, and useful things were not thrown away, but put aside for future use. Broken items were fixed, disposable things were commonly “up-cycled,” and things weren’t replaced just because they were no longer in style. I realize most of us don’t have that degree of storage space, but it’s always wise to look ahead to future needs. I also agree about the superior quality of vintage clothing (and everything else.) My mother never threw anything away that was of good quality and still useful. What a treasure those things are today: beautiful, quality, vintage clothing; kitchen ware; Grandma’s genuine bone or shell buttons; memorabilia, etc., etc.
Rose McDonald says
basketpam; I don’t think Liz Claiborne really cares whether you forgive her or not; she’s been dead since 2007.
I don’t much care for the hypercritical scolding tone of your rant either. Maybe the thing you most need to get rid of is your lousy attitude.
Quite agree with the suggestions. I do keep a few of the dry cleaner wire hangers for when I travel. I use them as hangers as some hotels do not have enough and if you share the room with a few women, well… Also, I use them to hang my laundry in the hotel bathroom; will always fit on the shower rod. By the end of the trip I leave them behind so another traveller may benefit.
I also try to practise recycling by not buying new clothes, just from the thrift store. Am lucky I have a well stocked thrift store in my city. Speaking of clothes, if on a long trip, I’d bring older T shirts or ripped undies(c’mon, we all have some!), and after using, leave them behind. That way, more room in the suitcase at the end of the trip.
Barbara Pruitt says
When I turned 75 I decided to “clean house” so that my sweet husband would not have to go through and get rid of whatever he and my daughters did not want.
I will never forget how difficult it was to dispose of my mothers things 30 years ago and did not want to put my family through that horrible experience.
It is nearly 5 years now and I have gotten rid of 115 on this list.
I am so proud my myself!!!
thank you for posting this list because without it I would not realize what I have accomplished.
Another thing that I did was make a will and power of attorney and gave copies to my doctor and the local hospital.
One of the REALLY IMPORTANT THINGS WAS TO MAKE THE DECISION TO BE CREMATED–BOUGHT MY URN AND PLANNED MY FUNERAL. i KNOW THAT ALL OF THIS WILL MAKE MY PASSING EASIER FOR MY LOVED ONES.
Thank you again,
Ashley, you rock. This list rocks. Thank you! Just want to add some people can be so weird and ugly ALL BECAUSE THEY DIDN’T READ THE WHOLE POST. I wish I had the time to reply to every single person who was critical WHEN IT WAS CLEAR THEY DIDN’T READ THE WHOLE POST. I know I’m like commenter #500 but I certainly hope you know this list has made a huge impact for so many people. Me included. Many heartfelt thanks!
Important to mention NOT to throw out old medication and vitamins. Pharmacies will take them back and re-cycle safely.
Becky Gibson says
You can mail the front of greeting cards to St. Jude Ranch they re-use them. They won’t except Hallmark, American Greeting or Disney.
Lucille Steven says
You mean “accept”.
Some churches in my area have bins in their parking lots for old newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and any type of recyclable paper. When he contents are removed and weighed, the churches receive money from it,
As a high school teacher, I would have LOVED it if people would have brought me their extra pencils and pens! Always needed some for students who had forgotten theis!
Join your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook! Ours has been amazing and life-changing for me. I see everything from furniture to food to half-finished craft projects… pretty much anything you can imagine, posted there and excitedly claimed by a neighbor who can put it to good use. I have a really hard time throwing out anything that can be reused or repurposed, so this group has provided a community of neighbors who make it easy to pass items along. It’s so easy to give away items knowing someone else is excited to receive and use them. The purpose of the Buy Nothing movement: “Buy Nothing: Give Freely. Share creatively. Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share among neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow.”
More info: Looking for a group near you? Visit our Find A Group page for a list of all our hyper-local gift economies: http://buynothingproject.org/find-a-group/ Want to join the Buy Nothing Project network? Visit our Start A Group page to learn about how we set groups up: http://buynothingproject.org/start-a-group/
By the way just wetting fireworks does not make them safe! I have seen bottle rockets explode under water! Same with M-80’s and firecrackers. A lot of fireworks have there own oxidation material in them that allows them to go off no matter what. Ask the local fire department how to depose of these, these things are explosives handle with great care even the snake and sparklers!!
Chriss Flagg says
The Big Cat Rescue and The Wildcat Sancuary will accept old spices, calonge/perfume and ink cartridges. I save all the samples that come in the mail and magazines. They will use them for enhancements for the animals.
I am absolutely astonished by the amount of people who are amazed by the list!!!! Are you freaking kidding me! With the exeption of maybe 6 items, you people actually hang on to this stuff and don’t continuously throw most of this out as you go!!! WOW I read the entire list seems like common sense home keeping but whatever! And I read most comments….. Did I seriously read that this has impacted lives???? Lmao really if this impacts your life get it together!-from a mother of three with a full time job …. And a home not cluttered with nonsense!
#109 /carabiner – keep ’em! we use all sizes for attaching water bottles/lunch bags to backpacks. I also use the giant size one for holding my purse on the stroller. they market it as a “mommy hook” but it’s just a large carabiner.
ooops – didn’t mean to reply specifically to ur post. just a general reply.
Claire Smith says
Ashley Clint, many people who use this and other anti-clutter sites are struggling to become you. It is difficult for some people to feel they can let go of many things. Many things on this list give them the “permission” they seek to allow themselves to dispose of things they feel they might need later. Please don’t laugh AT them. They are trying to improve.
@Ashlye – I live in a very rural area, I don’t drive and on a low income, other than the obvious listed items (broken, worn out, dried up) I save many of these items and reuse them. If I lived in a city apartment with limited storage space, then yes, throw it out!
I live on 3 acres in the middle of no where….. Just sayin! Never lived in the city!
Claire Smith says
Keep a few old blankets and jackets you don’t want where you can reach them in the car when the weather turn cold, and hand them to homeless people on street corners. One person I gave a few jackets to said he and his wife had just had all their stuff stolen and were quite grateful for the jackets. Not all homeless go to shelters.
Rose McDonald says
I’m stuck at number 14, old technology. I have cords that go to something, but I have no idea what. I skipped over it unless, or until I can figure out where they belong. I think this is how clutter gets started…LOL!
BTW, Really enjoying the site
Rose McDonald says
Should be number 24.
The list looks like you went through my home….it’s good to know some others are like this.
I have a comment which I also direct at myself: This stuff got INTO our home somehow….stop buying stuff!
Michelle F says
Love this list! I used to be a big pack rat (wasn’t taught how to get rid of unnecessary stuff), so this is perfect. I got fed up with living in a cluttered home with a toddler and 3 month old. Overwhelming for me to do but the purge must be done!
Please don’t throw away the following:- Hangers from the dry cleaners – take them on holiday, there are never enough hangers and you can leave them there for the next person. Books, don’t throw away books, ever period, no never, there are loads of places where people exchange books fo r free (pubs, railway stations etc). Old technology or power cords, these can contain dangerous heavy metals and need to be disposed of carefully. Plastic cutlery, go on a picnic… It’s good for you…
Becky Gibson says
I was wondering how you can recycle tissue paper that you use for wrapping gifts?
I use nearly every listed item at least once per day, and a couple things once per week only a couple things are tossable for me on this list, and those are ones I don’t have anyway because I never bring into to the home – medicine, nail file, and travel shampoo, conditioner, and lotion is all I can think of… The rest I was reading and going “I use that daily, I DO use more than one at a time cause of the kids, I use that all the time, I could totally not do without that…”
Good list. Some quite obvious. Some not.
#19 take a picture of all your old cards. My grandparents use to send cards for everything… valentines day, st pattys day, thanksgiving…. then they died and I had a different Outlook on their amazing gift. Im taking pictures of all of them and putting them into an album for our family.
Same with the kids school or art work.
I put special card in a photo album and art work in a binder
I put special cards in a photo album
“Extra USB flash drives – How many does one family need?” … make sure you completely clear out any hard drives or flash drives before turning them over to electronics recycling – yes, it’s a real thing. I take a hammer to hard drives and will even drive a nail through them. Flash drives, clear out, use CCleaner on, and then I yank the actual USB part off.
Please consider donating things to your local High School Art or Drama classes. You’d be shocked what all we can use. Give us a call.
Obviously, you are not a crafter. Most of your suggestions I use for Steam Punk, and I make junk from junk — highly selable. I make $$. I donate at least twice a month, use two consignment shops for other selables. I have an antiques booth in a shop. I make the most out of my “junk” Yes, I use a phone book bec, I’m not geekie enough to know how to use my phone. And, no, there are no teenagers nearby to help me. I prefer the 20h century to this one, where everything was not so disposable. Frankly, I feel that are wasteful. Kids papers are precious, esp. to me, as one of my children has passed away. To Becky Gibson, I iron tissue paper, perfect. Plastic cutlery goes into the RV. So,start looking at things differently, I dare ya’!
Paper and stationery is always welcome at school. White out, glue markers I use it all. Bring a box to your local school. Not books though unless you know for a fact the teachers can use them.
Love this list – so many things I need to tackle – not sure where to start! Thanks.
I vehemently disagree with about half of what you recommend just throwing away. As many others have said, DONATE things you don’t want. Also, I absolutely hate it when I have to go buy a replacement for something that just broke or wore out…and I had extras but THREW them out cuz some blogger to me to….
Wondering how old your kids are, cuz most of what you are throwing out will be needed for any number of school projects, unless you are one of THOSE parents who go buy everything new….each time….
There is some stuff on here that I don’t have like kids stuff I don’t have a kid
OMG! You must have walked through my house and garage or at least through my mind! This is amazing!
Thanks for sharing at What’d You Do This Weekend! We all need to do some of this. My plan is 30 minutes a day. It may take me forever, but one has t start somewhere!
Wishes for tasty dishes,
I -LOVE- this list. I printed it out and posted it in a spot I can see and easily highlight what I’m done with. Having it on the wall reminds me to work on it, and highlighting (instead on crossing it out) lets me see what’s been accomplished, which inspires me to continue. I’m almost through with it and I’ve even added a few things to it (like old schoolwork from college) before printing! 🙂 Absolutely wonderful material that led me to this marvelous website!
Do NOT throw away your Apple product boxes!!! Holy heck! Those things hold their value for YEARS!!! Even a 5 year old iPad or iPhone can be sold for a significant amount, ESPECIALLY with the box that you carefully kept tucked in a corner of your attic or closet!!!!
mandy cat says
We can’t know what could be usefully donated without taking the time to do some research. My husband recently replaced his ten year old hearing aids, which were still functional but which had become useless to him. A local hospital was happy to take them. They could make a huge difference to someone.
Wow! So many comments! You obviously hit a nerve with so many people. I’ll be saving your list and linking back to you in the future since organizing is one of my favorite subject. Thanks SO much for sharing this!!!
I think you’re right!! Thank you for saving it and linking back. Let me know when you do and I’ll be sure to share your post. Organizing is one of my new favorite topics too. 🙂
Janet- great comment “stop buying stuff!!” I have really nice baskets in each major room to put items in that I don’t need or want anymore. Once a month I take the items to our women’s auxiliary thrift store. Be careful if you ask your husband to take the stuff though. Mine took the basket too!
Get rid of all those throw pillows. Only the female gender seem to like moving those all around every time you want to sit down. Sometimes I’ve seen couches and chairs COMPLETELY covered with them. Should we all sit on the floor???
Haha! My husband would completely agree with you, Dan! We have a new large sectional and we had a lengthy discussion on how many pillows were allowed. 🙂
I noticed you said to get rid of sample size products and/or those gotten from hotels. The salvation army will take these for the homeless! Great place to give those items to.
Retirement centers would love to have old puzzles/games/cards. Donate!
Expired coupons (up to 6 months) can be donated to Military overseas!
I’ve had this page open for days now! I’ve shown it to my entire family to encourage them to become more organized! Luckily I’m all organized and live a simple life. But it took me 3 years to get where I am now and I still think I can improve myself!
Some of the things on the list are great and I will be re-cycle gifting or throwing but others are like ‘are you mad?’
I agree! I have started working on the list, but I am not getting rid of my coffee mugs! Yes, I have a cabinet full, but I like to use different ones ( I even have Halloween and Christmas mugs) and many mugs hold special meanings for me.
Brandi Lucas says
For the loyalty cards there is actually an app called ‘Key Ring’ that you can store all cards and # and even take a picture of barcode. For dvds, cds, and computer or video games i buy the large CD books and toss the cases (the only ones I don’t take or are tv series)
To speak to #190 – Most banks won’t take spare change unless you have it rolled prior to coming in, and even then some still won’t take it. So check with your bank! Otherwise keep in car for tollways!
Those socks without pair or with homes on the finger side I cut the tip and sew tem together to make a stuffed animal.
Most would do a monkey I did a super cute colorful snake. She loves it, and besides the fun it peovides a bit extra cushioning agains the wall for the nights.
Shelley H says
Regarding expired coupons, send them to soldiers! They can still use them on the bases overseas.
James Klaustaggen says
I understand the need for this list, but do not like the way you presented it. Your title is “200 things to throwaway.” A lot of these things can be donated and most of them recycled. I would appreciate it if you could change the title and talk about the ways people can get rid of these items responsibly. I believe that we should not have the mindset that it is okay to throw everything away and that the items will disappear and not be our problem anymore. Although you don’t see these “200 things” anymore, they are still on this earth, causing problems for all of us (although more problems for communities of low socioeconomic status and color). Thank you.
Please reread the post and not just the title.
I’ve shown it to my entire family to encourage them to become more organized! Luckily I’m all organized and live a simple life. But it took me 3 years to get where I am now and I still think I can improve myself!