What to throw out around the house

One of the reasons clutter accumulates is our unwillingness to throw things away — or difficulty identifying what should stay and what should go. To get you started, here’s a quick list that you can use in almost any room of the house or even at work.

First, find things that no longer work. This would likely include pens, batteries, remote controls, paperclips that are bent out of shape, or that items that have been in the “someday repair” pile for weeks or months. Gather them up and toss/recycle as necessary.

You can also dispose of anything that has expired. In the kitchen you might find expired condiments, cereal, crackers, etc. Check out StillTasty.com to learn more about how long food items last. Plastic storage containers with no lids (I promise, you’ll never find the lids) should get recycled as well. Plastic cutlery can go too unless you eat on the go regularly.

There are plenty of toss-able items in the closet, too. Mismatched socks are prime examples. You might find the missing mates, so put a small container in the closet and use it to collect the stray socks. If their partners don’t show up within a month, say goodbye to those orphaned socks.

The accessories you never wear can be donated. Shoes that no longer fit can be donated here.

Elsewhere around the house, you can safely get rid of:

  1. Takeout menus if you have not ordered from that restaurant within the past month.
  2. Old prescriptions and medications. See our post on how to dispose of these items here.
  3. Old cosmetics including sunblock as its effectiveness decreases over time.
  4. Old magazines and newspapers. See our tips on how to effectively do that here.

Have fun getting rid of this unnecessary clutter.

6 Comments for “What to throw out around the house”

  1. posted by leslie on

    just a note on the unmatched socks. Start a bag and fill it with any fabric (socks, old towels, ) item and find a local place that will accept rags – that they can sell – we have a local homeless shelter that not only accepts used clothing but anything clean (but still stained) goes into a rag bin which they sell and use the $ for programs. socks do not belong in a land fill!

  2. posted by Audrey Johnson on

    My old useless clothing that is not good enough to donate goes out to the garage to become rags that can be used once and thrown away or burned in our fire pit. There are times I don’t want to waste a good rag for something that might then make it not usable. Thanks for sharing these.

  3. posted by Lyn Rogers on

    Old unmatched socks are great for dusting, especially blinds!

  4. posted by Julie Bestry on

    I have two thoughts about takeout/delivery menus. First, I’m not sure one month is an adequate timeline — I only order delivery a few times a year and don’t get takeout all that often. When I do feel the craving (or when my clients want to figure out how to deal with these, I keep a folder with menus from restaurants I’d like to try and old stand-bys with specific, previously-ordered faves marked) handy, but tucked neatly away. Second, for clients trying to avoid the potential build-up altogether, I encourage them to bookmark a restaurant’s menu page in their browser or keep a “menu” Evernote notebook of clipped menus-as-notes.

    I definitely agree about getting rid of tangible versions of menus if you’re not likely to use them, but I suspect an arbitrary amount of time, like a month, only works for frequent taker-outers. 😉

  5. posted by kathny on

    We have a “sock cemetery” container in a closet for unmatched socks. Once a month I take them out and see if there are any matches, the rest go into a bag. The next month I check again, if there are still no matches, they go into the rag pile. I bring plastic utensils to work. One of my office mates used to bring them until she retired and after that we noticed there were never enough for birthdays, etc, so now a few of us bring our unused/unwanted plastic utensils and keep them in a box in one of the cabinets.

  6. posted by Teq on

    call your local animal shelter to see if they accept old socks. Ours puts rice in the socks to help keep new born animals warm.

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