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83 Items to Toss Today!

This post was updated on 3/27/2024

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Do you have piles of stuff hidden in corners of your house?

Is your kitchen table a catch-all? Are your counters clear? Is your office a nightmare? Is your closet full of clothes you don’t wear?

If so, you can start the decluttering process by tossing these 83 things away today!

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When I say toss I don’t necessarily mean to the landfill. There are some items that can be donated, given away, or recycled. I have listed items by category, which is similar to the Kon Mari method. An asterisk (*) indicates it can be recycled, purple indicates it should be shredded then recycled (shredded paper may or may not be accepted by your recycler), and orange is for donate. If an item is torn, stained, or broken do not donate to a thrift store. A thrift store cannot typically sell broken or torn items.

  • Old magazines* 
    • I had 10+ year old copies of “O Magazine,” “Domino,” “Real Simple,” and the like.
    • Amazingly there were some articles that were still just as wonderful as when I first read them. I decided to keep some of the articles and put them in a 3-ring binder. After removing the articles I liked I recycled all of the magazines. I considered scanning the articles, but part of the pleasure of magazines is physically looking through them.
  • Receipts*
    • This could be considered a money-saving tip, but one method to keep track of your receipts is to join a receipt reward program, like Receipt Hog or Receipt Pal. Download one of the apps (or both) on your phone and start taking pics of your receipts.
  • Old coupons*
  • Old bills*
    • My rule of thumb is to keep one paper copy of all of your bills (mortgage, credit card statements, utility bills) in one file folder. After I have a copy of the bill (along with the account numbers and customer service numbers) I recycle any additional bills that come in. The vast majority of my bills are paid online so I don’t typically receive bills in the mail anymore.
    • I do not prescribe to this method for medical bills. I keep medical bills for the last few years in large accordion folders labeled by year. I try to shred a folder when we start a new year. I keep medical bills for tax purposes and also for billing purposes. Sometimes hospitals and doctor offices make billing mistakes.

RELATED POST: STOP JUNK MAIL TODAY.

  • Pay stubs*
  • Junk mail*
  • Address labels
    • Most of us don’t send enough mail to keep address labels. Try to use them up during the holidays or toss. If needed purchase an address embosser for the holiday season. No ink, no stickers, no waste.
  • Old school papers*
    • I scanned and emailed all of my old school papers, then I recycled it. If I ever have the desire to see it I can pull it up in my email. So far I have not had that desire. I found my old school work in a box in the attic. Clearly I will likely never have the desire, but just in case I do it’s there.
  • Taxes over 7 years old*
  • Old warranty manuals*
    • If you no longer have the product then recycle the manual. You may want to recycle the manual even if you still have the product. Most manuals are online now.
  • Old address books*
    • Hopefully all of your addresses and phone numbers are on your phone. Depending on what type of address book you have, you should be able to recycle most of it. It’s leather-bound you would have to disassemble to recycle the paper.
  • Wrapping paper scraps*
  • Take out menus* – Most take out menus are online.
  • Phone books*
    • Admittedly I keep at least 1 phone book for emergency purposes. I live in a hurricane-prone area. Cell towers, electricity, and phone lines have been known to go down. Keep no more than 1 phone book (yellow pages only).
  • Business cards* – Take a photo or add the contact to your phone.

I recycle most paper with my municipality, however, use a paper shredder for private documents. Make sure all staples and tape are removed before you shred paper (if you plan to compost it). I use this shredded paper in my compost bin. If you don’t compost and want to protect your private information you can use an ink roller.

  • Metal hangers* – Scrap metal recycling.
  • Plastic hangers – Donate to a thrift store. They will likely take them.
  • Old, torn, stained clothing
  • Broken costume jewelry
  • Cracked belts
  • Lone socks
  • Orphan earring
  • Bridesmaid dresses
    • It is highly unlikely that you will ever wear a bridesmaid dress again. There may be exceptions.
  • Prom dress – Let’s be honest you will never ever wear this again.
  • Old gym bags
    • There is a wonderful organization called “Trash Bags to Duffel Bags.” It’s for foster care children who are in need of duffel bags. Consider donating a gym bag you don’t use to them.
  • Shoes that hurt or don’t fit
  • Old coats you don’t use

RELATED POST: HOW TO RECYCLE YOUR CLOTHING.

  • Appliances you don’t use
    • Sell or donate. I recently sold a waffle iron I never used. It was taking up valuable space.
  • Broken appliances
    • Give yourself a 6-month window to fix…if it’s over 6 mo then get rid of it. I have given away several broken appliances (or near broken appliances for free on Craigslist). Appliance repair people will often scoop these broken appliances up in a heartbeat.
  • Expired food
  • Old spices
    • I’m not sure when exactly spices expire, but if you have spices sitting in your pantry from 10 years ago you can let them go. Compost the spices and recycle the container if it’s recyclable.
  • Knife set
    • Do you really need a knife set? I wrote a post about giving away my knife set. I purchased one high-quality knife that fits in my utensil drawer. No more bulky knife set on my kitchen counter.
  • Old burnt cookie sheets* – If cookie sheets are metal you can recycle as scrap metal.
  • Novelty products
    • Do you need a salad spinner, an avocado slicer, a kitchen scale, or a cookie press? Unless you’re a true foodie and use these types of items regularly–let them go.
  • Excessive dishware
    • Coffee mugs, wine glasses, plates, baking pans, duplicate kitchen utensils (do you really need 2 pizza cutters?).
  • Plastic containers without matching lid*
  • Refrigerator magnets
  • DVDs*
    • Admittedly I don’t even have a DVD player anymore. I stream all my movies and shows. Donate or recycle at Best Buy.
  • CDs* – Donate or recycle at Best Buy.
  • VHS tapes
  • Books – Unless you love them donate them. If you like to read physical books go to the library.
  • Cookbooks – Go to Pinterest or AllRecipe.com.
  • Old computer software discs
    • Many computers no longer have CD drives. If you have a copy of Windows 98 in your house toss it.
  • Old power cords* – According to Best Buy’s website they still recycle power cords as well.
  • Old cell phones* – Find a recycling program on Earth 911.
  • Old product boxes (TVs or cell phones)*
    • You can take the product back to the store without the box if needed.
  • Old towels
    • Donate or use as slop towels. I keep a stash of old towels in my laundry rooms as “dog towels.” I dry my dogs off or I use these towels to clean up messes.
  • Old sheets – Donate or keep one extra sheet in the laundry room and use as an indoor tarp when you get messy.
  • Old blankets
  • Old pillowcases
  • Old pillows
  • Excessive linens
    • Do you really need more than 1 set of linens for your bed? I wash and dry my bed linens every two weeks. If the sheets wear out I will purchase more. I would much rather purchase a new set when I need it than have it take up space in my house.
  • Old curtains 
  • Fabric you will never use
    • I had grand plans for this fabric, but it never happened. I gave it away on Craigslist to someone who actually likes to sew.
  • Old hair ties that have lost their elasticity
  • Expired medications* – Toss meds in the trash (not the toilet) and recycle the bottles.
  • Old vitamins you never used* – Ditto.
  • Expired makeup
    • Makeup does expire. See Byrdie.com for expiration dates. Try some zero waste options. Going Zero Waste has some great homemade beauty ideas. Tree Hugger shares some great suggestions about companies that offer refillable makeup products.
  • Product samples 
  • Old perfume you don’t use
  • Curling irons you don’t use 
  • Old hair products* – Dump product in the trash and recycle the bottle.
  • Old lotions* – Ditto. If it’s a tube it may not be recyclable.
  • Old shower gel* – Ditto.
  • Pens that have dried up – My next pen purchase will be a reusable fountain pen.
  • Shoe boxes*
  • Key chains you don’t use* – If key chains are metal they can be recycled as scrap metal.
  • Old keys* – Scrap metal
  • Excess notepads*
    • Depending on how the notepads are bound you may need to disassemble the pad to recycle the paper. If notepad has metal binder recycle as scrap metal.
  • Expired credit cards
  • Craft supplies – If you don’t use it give it away (ribbons, scrapbook paper, stickers, buttons).
  • Broken toys
    • Most toys are made with non-recyclable plastic. When toys break I try to replace them with toys made from natural products, like wood, metal, bamboo, or cloth.
  • Toys with missing pieces
  • Toys your child has grown out of or doesn’t like

If there are some things that have no earthly purpose other than to make you happy create a “happiness box.” Purchase a pretty box from the Container Store and put your keepsakes in there. Limit yourself to 1 box.

  • Wedding favors
  • Old cards*
  • Love letters from someone who broke your heart*
  • Anything that makes you feel bad when you look at it. Don’t keep something around that hurts you or makes you depressed.
  • Old paint – Should be disposed of properly with your local landfill as household hazardous waste.
  • Old rags
  • Broken tools
  • Dried up paintbrushes
  • Old batteries*
    • Depending on your municipality batteries can be recycled with local landfills (not with your normal recycling).

So that’s my list. I’m sure there’s more we can toss, but I’m spent right now! Let me know if you have any additional items you can toss today!

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