20 Items Cluttering Your Life That You Should Throw Away Now

Everyone has some things that no longer have a place at home. If you’re worried about becoming a hoarder, or maybe it’s just time for a good deep clean, you should make sure these 20 items make the list to hit the dumpster (or proper disposal).

VHS Tapes and DVDs

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That box of your favorite movies may hold a lot of memories and probably even more dust. If you no longer have a player or have switched to digital formats, it’s time to let go of your VHS tapes and DVDs. Donate them or recycle them where possible. You’ll most likely be able to find everything you give away on the internet.

Expired Medications

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Don’t let medicine you aren’t using anymore take up space in your medicine cabinet. Expired medications can be ineffective or even harmful. Check the expiration dates on all your medications, including over-the-counter drugs, and dispose of any that are past their prime. The FDA recommends finding take-back programs, often offered by your local pharmacy, to discard expired medications safely.

Old Makeup

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Makeup has a limited shelf life, no matter how much you spend on it, and the amount is still begging to be used. Using old products can lead to skin irritation or infections. Mascara should be replaced every three months, while foundations and lipsticks can last up to a year. Regularly clean out your makeup bag to keep your skin healthy.

Worn-Out Shoes

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How many shoes you own is not a badge of honor if they can’t be worn anymore. Shoes that have lost their support can cause foot and back pain. If your shoes are worn out, it’s time to let them go. This includes those with worn soles or holes that no longer provide proper support. Keep your feet happy by updating your footwear as needed.

Plastic Containers with Missing Lids

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If you feel like you can never find the lid that goes with the container you’re using, it may be because you need to do a cleanout. Mismatched containers clutter your space and make it hard to find a matching set when you need one. Recycle any containers that are missing lids or are warped and no longer seal properly to keep your kitchen organized.

Old Magazines and Newspapers

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Sure, you plan on making that vision board or re-reading that article, but piles of old magazines and newspapers can quickly become overwhelming. Recycle anything you haven’t read in the past month. If there’s an article you love, consider scanning it or looking for it online to save space.

Unused Exercise Equipment

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Every year, you resolve to get fit and lose weight. You might go out and buy a Peloton or rowing machine that you use for maybe a month, and now it just holds unfolded laundry. If this is you and you have exercise gear you last used over six months ago, sell or donate these items to clear out your home and make room for activities you actually enjoy.

Outdated Electronics

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CNET found that a staggering 75% of adults either don’t have a plan in place for disposing of old devices or only have a vague but not definite one. Old electronics you no longer use can be traded, recycled, or donated. Many stores offer recycling programs for electronics, ensuring they are disposed of responsibly.

Old Paint

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It’s natural to want to save extra paint in case you need touch-ups or just because you don’t want to waste it. However, paint can degrade over time, making it unusable. If you have cans of old paint from previous projects, check with your local waste management facility to find out how to properly dispose of them.

Broken Jewelry

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Does your jewelry box look like a pirate’s chest of broken jewelry and solo earrings? Broken jewelry you haven’t repaired in over a year should be let go; if it is a family heirloom, consider repurposing it into something you’ll wear. You can sell valuable pieces for scrap or donate them to a craft group.

Unused Gifts

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Holding onto gifts you never use out of guilt doesn’t benefit anyone, and honestly, your friends most likely won’t notice. Regifting or donating these items so they can find a home where they’ll be appreciated helps the item go to use and clears out some space in your home.

Stretched-Out Undergarments

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Undergarments lose their shape and support over time. Toss any that are stretched out or no longer fit properly to make room in your drawers for pieces that offer the support you need. Katie Couric says, “There’s no exact science that says you have to get rid of your underwear in a certain timeframe, but most experts and underwear makers recommend disposing of them after about a year.”

Old Spices

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When was the last time you checked the expiration date on your spices? If the answer is never, you’re not alone. Be mindful that spices lose their potency after about a year. Go through your spice rack and toss any that are past their prime to ensure your cooking is always flavorful.

Single Socks

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We all have a collection of single socks whose partners have mysteriously disappeared. You can make some fun décor of socks looking for their “sole mates” in your laundry room, but if a match hasn’t turned up in a few months, it’s time to say goodbye.

Old Bed Pillows

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U.S. News says, “The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) recommends that you replace your pillow every two years or sooner.” Pillows collect dust mites and lose their support over time. Replace your bed pillows every 1–2 years for better sleep and hygiene.

Damaged Cookware

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Hopefully, you aren’t using damaged cookware, because non-stick pans with scratches or pots with damaged surfaces can be harmful to use and inefficient in cooking. Replace them to ensure safe and effective meal preparation.

Old Toothbrushes

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CNBC reports that dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every 3–4 months. Old toothbrushes can harbor bacteria and lose effectiveness. You should also replace your toothbrush after you recover from a cold or the flu, for your health and that of others in your household.

Expired Sunscreen

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That sunscreen from two pool seasons ago may no longer protect you from the sun’s damaging rays. Sunscreen loses its effectiveness after its expiration date, which can lead to sunburn and skin damage. Go through all your old beach bags, check your bottles, and toss any expired ones.

Old Towels and Linens

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When was the last time you updated your bathroom linens? Towels and linens that are frayed or have lost their absorbency should be replaced. Consider repurposing old towels as cleaning rags or donating them to animal shelters.

Excess Shopping Bags

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We joke that all adults should have a junk drawer, a bunch of cords we aren’t sure what they go to, and a bag full of bags. A stash of plastic or paper shopping bags can quickly get out of hand. Recycle what you can and keep only a few on hand for future use, then opt for reusable totes on your next shopping venture.

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