65 Things to Throw Out on Old Stuff Day
There are plenty of items you've planned to get rid of over the winter months. Use Old Stuff Day as an excuse to try out these decluttering hacks.
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Out with the old
Observed annually on March 2, National Old Stuff Day is the excuse you’ve been waiting for to do a top to bottom spring cleaning. A perfect place to start is with this list of 65 outdated, unused things you likely have lying around your house. Check closets, shelves, and drawers for clutter—if it is aged and broken, it’s time to trash it or recycle it. But, if it is still useful, consider repurposing it or passing it on to someone who could put it to good use.
Has your bed pillow lost its ability to bounce back when folded in half? If so, it’s probably time for a new pillow. You use it every night and you depend on the support, which may be lacking in an older pillow. It’s time to let non-supportive pillows go and use one that cradles your head and neck. Here’s how to wash your pillows the right way.
Discard old frames, the ones with broken or foggy glass and the ones that are missing a piece like an easel on the back. Donate the ones you don’t use, don’t care for, or are simply tired of having to dust all the time. You can donate almost anything via Give Back Box; they’ll even send you a prepaid mailing box for free. Did you know the one trick for perfect picture hanging involves a fork?
Gift wrap supplies
Sort through your gift-wrapping supplies to weed out the wrinkled rolls and torn tissue paper. Toss tangled ribbon that has come off the spool and discard crushed bows. Save a variety of gift bags in various sizes but be sure to recycle the ones that are worn out.
Suitcases so old they are coming apart at the seams are an obvious toss, so too is luggage with a broken zipper or missing wheels. If you have unused pieces in good condition, consider donating them to a child in the foster care system or check to see if a guidance counselor at your local school has a student in mind. Your suitcase is a much more dignified way for them to travel between homes with their belongings. If you’re in the market for a new suitcase, check out the 7 signs of a well-made piece of luggage.
Purge that stack of old junk mail that’s been sitting on the side table for weeks. If it’s been there long enough to collect dust, it’s time to recycle or shred it. Going forward, here’s how to make your mailbox a junk-free zone.
Reusable shopping bags
No sense keeping old and worn out bags. Toss the ones with handles that are tearing or any that are grimy or gross that can’t be tossed in the washing machine. Keep the sturdy ones, but please stop putting reusable bags on the kitchen counter.
You buy them, you get free ones with company logos on them, and you’ve received others as gifts. These travel mugs multiply, seemingly overnight. Toss old ones, ones without lids, ones that have gunky gaskets, and any you just don’t like. Pare down to only the travel mugs you use on a regular basis. Find out just how gross it is to never wash your coffee mug.
Here’s a shortlist of the old cleaning supplies you should toss: the mostly empty bottles of cleaning solution, any with broken sprays, cleaners that don’t work as advertised, worn out brushes, cracked buckets, brooms that make a bigger mess by shredding bristles, and any toxic cleaning products.
If it isn’t solving your storage issue, then it is just adding to the clutter. We’re looking at you, catch-all basket that’s so old the woven part is coming undone, discard cracked plastic bins and rusty, metal file holders. Check out these organizing ideas you need to know.
Old family movies
We would never suggest you toss these, but if you’re still holding on to any old family movies that are on film or VHS tapes, now is the time to convert them into a digitized version via a service like Legacy Box. Not only will you save space it’s a better way to preserve those priceless family memories for generations to come. Find out more tips for preserving those old photos.
Go through your jewelry box and let go of the pieces you no longer wear. Did you know many consignment shops will buy your unused costume jewelry on the spot? Or consider selling the pieces on Etsy where crafters buy them for art projects. Another option is to offer your castoffs to the costume department of the local community theater. Once you’ve pared down to the items you plan on keeping, you’ll want to know these 18 clever ways to organize your jewelry.
If your bathmat has a peeling rubber backing or is losing threads, invest in a new, safer one. Then donate it to an animal shelter, many of which are always grateful for used towels and sheets, as well. These are 10 more things you should get rid of in your bathroom right now.
The tailor can match whatever button or color thread you may need to repair a garment. You can feel confident dumping that container of extra buttons and threads that came with clothes, especially if they’re a decade or older. Donate the old buttons to the art teacher at your local elementary school where they’ll be put to good use.
What to hold on to
You’ve kept certain items around the house as a reminder of an experience, but you don’t need to have the object to trigger a memory. Your mind still holds onto the trip or special day you had that led you to keep a souvenir. Take a look in kitchen cabinets and make a note of how many plates and glasses you keep. Chances are you don’t need them all.
Get rid of books
What is this obsession people have with books? What do you need it for after you’ve read it? Unless you want to keep a book for sentimental reasons or like to re-read one, moving a bunch of books is a pain. They’re heavy and cumbersome. Eliminate some of them by selling them at a Half Price Books or online. If you want to keep some books make sure you are storing them correctly.
Digitize whatever you can
Photos are keepsakes but unless you’re regularly thumbing through books of them, there’s not much reason to keep a physical copy of them. Save yourself some additional moving items by digitizing those photos. Do the same with any movies or CDs you’ve got sitting around collecting dust. For any remaining CDs or DVDs, make a wall cabinet to save on space and put those old CD bins to use as a twine dispenser.
The Bra Recyclers have started a recycling campaign where bras can be sent in for reuse. Bras must be wearable and washed prior to being sent. The Bar Recyclers donate surplus bras to nonprofits who need them. Bras that aren’t useable get sent to businesses that can repurpose them, like one that sells the wire. Other businesses can recycle the fabric for carpets or textiles.
Crayons and colored pencils
Broken crayons can be recycled or turned into DIY picture frames for your favorite teacher. Don’t keep a broken crayon or colored pencil around—it’s broken.
Just get rid of that chipped plate that makes you cringe every time you use it without realizing that you grabbed that dish. It’s just a pain to eat off of and you’ve got plenty of other plates to choose from.
You can sharpen old knives or get rid of them at a donation center. But don’t keep multiple sets around the house. One good cutting knife should be enough.
Pantry items and spices
Pay attention to those best by dates on some of those pantry items. You might reach for some bay leaves one day and there might not be any aroma left with them. Learn these pantry organization ideas before you get started.
Little Fido is spoiled rotten with toys and treats but don’t let it get out of hand. Don’t let him keep an old toy because you think it’s his favorite. He’ll likely find a new favorite given the opportunity. Here are 26 secrets personal organizers won’t tell you for free.
Working out a gym might be a better fit for you than sitting on that exercise bike at home, so trade in that bike. There are plenty of other people thinking some exercise equipment is the perfect addition to jumpstart an effort to get in shape.
Nylons need to be cleaned before getting recycled because it melts at a lower temperature. That lower temperature means bacteria can survive. Timbuk2 will send you a coupon if you choose to recycle your bag from them. Just send your bag to them and once they get a pallet full of bags, they send them to TerraCycle for recycling. Bureo takes old nylon fishing nets and makes them into skateboards and sunglasses.
Those furniture rehab projects have sat dormant for a long time now. Are you really going to get started on them or is it becoming a pipedream?
Plastic storage containers that no longer have lids that fit
That container used to heat spaghetti has heated one too many noodles and the lid doesn’t fit anymore or even worse, you’ve lost it. Sure a little plastic wrap would make it so you could store food but you’ve likely got other containers you’ve been using. Find out what happens to all the plastic you are recycling.
You were determined to learn how to play piano once—for about a month. Now that keyboard has sat in the corner of the basement for years and you can barely find middle C. Donate that piece of musical equipment to someone who will learn to use it. Learn these storage hacks to banish clutter if you really have to keep them around.
Potpourri is great for clearing out some smells but it’s not as great when it becomes part of your décor. If that potpourri isn’t smelling as sweet as it once did, chuck it. Get something new in there.
Games with missing pieces
Part of the fun with some board games is if you lost a game piece you made your own. But after a while, as more and more pieces disappear it’s best to cut your losses. Monopoly is no fun without the car, dog, top hat, and the cannon gone. No one wants to be the thimble. No one.
Appliances you don’t use
Some thoughtful in-law gave you the latest technological advance in drink mixology a couple of years ago. They live three states away and have never stepped foot in your place. You can get rid of that appliance that seems so handy yet has no place in your life.
Unless you feel crafty or your garage walls are looking pretty bare, there’s no sense in keeping a set of old license plates around. Sure, you’re a bit nostalgic but take a picture of your plates if you want to remember them.
You may have to keep some receipts for tax purposes but you don’t necessarily need to keep a paper copy. Try making pdfs of receipts or take a picture of them that you can easily print if needed. On the flip side, here are the financial documents you should never throw away.
Those bridesmaids dresses have to go after the wedding. You don’t need a 27 Dresses thing going on in your closet. Check out consignment shops to recoup some cash or get a tax write-off by donating it. Either way, don’t waste closet space on things you’ve worn once. Learn what happens to your clothes when you donate them.
If you’ve got a key that you don’t remember what it goes to, then that’s probably a sign to get rid of it. Try recycling that key instead of throwing it in the trash.
Old freezer items
There’s likely a bag of frozen vegetables buried somewhere in your freezer and has been for a long time. Go through and check to see what you want to keep. Or come up with a clever device to make things more visible in your freezer. Here’s how to clean your kitchen in 5 minutes.
Some people save calendars to transfer dates and then forget to throw the old one out. If you use a calendar to keep track of things you did during the past year, try saving it in a different format and let time fly by throwing the old calendar in the trash.
Old puzzle books
Word searches and crossword puzzles are fun but they’re not items you frame and throw on a wall. If you’ve got a half-completed book from a vacation, you’re going to forget you still have it by the time you take your next one. Try recycling those books and discover once and for all. Here are 14 more spring cleaning secrets from professional organizers.
Lost socks or use them to clean
It’d be nice to know one day where all those socks go that mysteriously disappear. When you’re left with one sock, put it to use for dusting or better yet, protect your safety glasses in the shop with one. Here are 88 other brilliant uses for old socks.
Kids grow and those clothes you hoped would make for hand-me-downs don’t fit baby brother or baby sister. Don’t forget to get rid of them if that’s the case. Donate them to a local Salvation Army or donation center.
Late fall is probably a good time to check your furnace filter. It’s best to keep the filter clean during the winter in order to keep your furnace running efficiently. A dirty filter can make the furnace work harder to heat a home.
If you subscribe to magazines make sure you clear them out after you’re done with them. Don’t hang on to an entire magazine for one story, clip it out and put it somewhere you know to look for it. These are the 21 Container Store products professional organizers use in their homes.
Unless you’re waiting for a call to be on Extreme Couponing, get rid of all those inserts that come in the paper you don’t need. The grocery store keeps books of coupons by the front door. The nice thing is those coupons have expiration dates so pick a day each month to clean out your coupon folder.
Old Halloween costumes
That Care Bear costume you rocked ten years ago looked a lot better then and probably fit better, too. As much as you love dressing up for Halloween, what are the chances you want to be the same thing again? That’s the fun of Halloween, you get to dress up as something new every year.
Grandma always gets the best birthday cards for you but you’re not obligated to hang on to it for eternity. Establish a rule; George Costanza said the rule is a minimum of two days. Try keeping a card organizer around during the holidays if you really need to display cards.
The scraps from your craft project five years ago aren’t coming back like a fashion cycle so don’t hang on to them. Use what you can but don’t get set on keeping a bunch of supplies around.
A phone book is sort of turning into a historical artifact these days. They’re pretty handy when you have a wobbly table but when you can look up a number on the web from your phone and dial in one touch, it’s hard to justify having a phone book around.
Everything is on the Internet today, even the menu for your favorite takeout place, so put all those old menus in the recycle bin. Besides, you always get the same thing from that place anyway. Make sure your recycling bin stays out of the way in the garage. Check out this list of 43 things to get rid of in the next 43 days to banish clutter.
Chuck clunky old remotes when you get new electronics for the home. Sometimes those devices will get lost in the shuffle.
Those old prescription bottles can pile up if you forget to throw them out after you are done with them. Additionally, keeping old pills around can be a safety issue if you have young children. Fortunately, there are takeback programs like Take it to the Box where expired medications can be dropped off in a box at a local law enforcement center. Old prescriptions should never get flushed down the toilet and neither should these 12 items.
Makeup will dry up if it goes unused and when it does, make sure to toss it. If you keep it around to keep track of what it is, write it down somewhere. Purging your bathroom drawers will open things up for your home. Items such as shampoo and conditioner caps, hair gel tubes, hair spray triggers, lip balm tubes, soap dispensers, mascara tubes, powder cases, and eyeliner pencils can be recycled.
Old towels or bedding
Having a few old towels around is helpful for cleaning but they can build up in a hurry if you’re not careful. Go ahead and get rid of them after they’ve outlived their usefulness.
Your prescription changes over time so keeping those old glasses around isn’t helping anybody. The frames might be nice but you don’t really need more than two pairs of glasses. You can donate old glasses to the Lions Club, which has set up Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers.
It’s pretty easy to get rid of old clothes, you just have to bring yourself to admit you’re probably not going to wear that campaign T-shirt from the 1980s again. You can donate them to a local charity or find a donation bin like the Disabled American Veterans place near grocery stores. These are the 16 other things you should get rid of from your closet.
Before getting rid of an old computer, make sure all of your personal information has been deleted to prevent identity theft. If you have a laptop check out what kind of battery it has so you can find out what to do with it. Some laptop batteries have special requirements for recycling.
Old cell phones
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, back in 2007, only 10 percent of cell phones got recycled. Drop boxes have sprouted up across the country but you can still contact the cellphone company to send an old phone back. Or you can donate it to one of several charities that have set up recycling programs. Learn more about what you should do with old cell phones.
You found the perfect shoes for that outfit a long time ago and you don’t even wear that outfit anymore, so why not lose the shoes? Or you’ve replaced your lawn mowing shoes three times but still have the previous two pair sitting around. Ditch those shoes; you might even be able to recycle them.
If you’re swimming in staplers or can’t find your way through the maze of paper clips, highlighters, and sticky notes, get rid of it. Don’t make your home office unbearable as well.
You’ve got the power cord for the original Nintendo still but the rest of it has disappeared. Get rid of the cord and any other homeless cords you’ve got laying around. And for those ones that you still need, try organizing them with toilet paper rolls.
What’s the point of keeping around plastic silverware at home? How will your guests feel when you hand them the plastic silverware? Do yourself a favor and get rid of that plastic silverware, along with those tiny condiment packets. That relish is about to hit puberty in your fridge.
Dry out your old paint
If you have a bunch of almost empty cans of latex paint and don’t want to take them to the recycling center, here’s a tip. Spread a sheet of plastic—painter’s plastic is cheap and readily available at home centers and hardware stores—in an out-of-the-way spot and dump a thin layer of paint on it to dry. When the liquid has evaporated, bundle it up and throw it in the trash. Make sure your paint lasts by doing the right preparation.