Why You Need to Trash These 30 Items From Your Home ASAP
If it doesn't bring you joy, it's time to go.
Whether you're willing to admit it or not, chances are high that the clutter in your home stresses you out. In fact, in a 2017 HuffPost survey, 47 percent of respondents noted that worrying their home wasn't clean or organized enough was one of their most common stress triggers. Thankfully, though, if you're craving peace of mind, there's a simple solution: throwing things away! And if you're not sure what to toss, start with this comprehensive, expert-backed list of items to throw out.
Does your coffee table really benefit from that two-year-old stack of Good Housekeeping magazines? Hardly. On the contrary, keeping these dusty periodicals around could be getting in the way of your happiness—and by tossing them out, you might just find that both your table and your mind become instantly decluttered.
Clothes That Don't Fit
As a rule of thumb, you should only be keeping clothes that make you feel fantastic, says Jennifer Snyder, a professional organizer and owner of Neat as a Pin Organizing and Cleaning. "The clothes hanging in our closets that don't fit make us feel bad," Snyder explains. "Only allow clothes in your closet that make you feel like a million bucks—even if it is only a couple of pieces."
Towels, Blankets, and Linens That Have Seen Better Days
"You deserve to have and use nice things," says Snyder. "They don't have to be expensive, but nice. Having a fluffy towel when you get out of the shower is a small luxury that can change your entire day."
Throwing out old towels even gives you the option of buying a new matching set—and who doesn't love some good décor synergy?
Trinkets From High School
While it's understandable (and perfectly acceptable) that you want to hold on to old yearbooks and photographs, all the other things from your teenage years—like mix tapes and class notes—likely hold only a minor place in your heart and yet a major place in your storage space. So toss 'em.
"For most of us, who we were in high school has absolutely no bearing on who we are today. There is no reason to hang on to that homecoming mum or prom dress, and old homework assignments should especially go," says Snyder. "Embrace who you are today!"
Old toiletries (like makeup, toothbrushes, and soap) serve no purpose on your bathroom counter or under your sink, so, do yourself—and your space—a favor and throw them out. Besides, expired makeup and other products can actually harm your skin, so there's no good reason to keep them around.
To rein in that overcrowded medicine cabinet, get rid of old pills and medication that you no longer need, says Kelly Agrey, an interior designer and owner of subscription interior design service Habitation Box. Just make sure to dispose of these medications properly, as potent prescriptions left in the garbage can end up in the wrong hands.
Old Cards and Invitations With No Sentimental Value
Unless it's a wedding invitation, a card from a late loved one, or something else sentimental, it's time to toss those old invites and cards into the recycling bin. "You have the memory and thought of the card, so why keep more stuff?" Agrey argues.
But if you truly can't let them go, consider consolidating all of your old cards and invitations into one simple scrapbook that can be easily stowed away. Cute and crafty!
Love Letters From Past Romantic Partners
Especially if you're living in a space with a current significant other, keeping around old love letters and gifts from previous partners can give the impression that you're holding on to those relics for a reason. Disposing of those items—and the emotions they're attached to—can rejuvenate both you and your space.
"While some items may still bring back good memories, more often than not, keepsakes from relationships that did not work will not bring good energy to your home," says Marty Basher, a home improvement, renovation, and organization expert from Modular Closets. If you can't come to terms with a total purge, though, know that the Museum of Broken Relationships can hold on to your letters and mementos. All you have to do is take pictures of the personal artifacts and send them to the museum, where they'll display them on their website.
The reason why it's therapeutic to write things down is because the process removes bad thoughts from your brain and puts them instead on a tactile piece of paper. Looking back at any old journal entries isn't going to serve much of a purpose besides reigniting old emotions, so it's time to get rid of those notebooks (and feelings) for good.
Outdated Electronics and Accessories
Throwing away—or better yet, recycling—ancient electronics that just sit around collecting dust can bring you peace of mind (and make room for brand new ones!).
"If you've been in the tech scene for enough years, you've probably got a few items lying around that could stand to be tossed or donated," says Basher. "You're not going to need five old iPhones—trust me. Donate old phones and iPads, toss charging cables that no longer work, [and] keep only items you truly use."
Old Receipts and Unneeded Documents
According to the Federal Trade Commission, you can safely shred credit card bills, utility bills, and sales receipts (unless related to warranties, taxes, and insurance) immediately. And after one year, you can finally let go of bank statements, pay stubs, and medical bills.
"Paper is the bane of most people's existence," says Basher. "It's time to get it under control … Have a sensible chat with yourself and toss everything you can. If you feel you may need it later on, scan it, or take a photo of it with your phone."
Clothes and Shoes That Are Stained Or Torn
If you've tried and failed countless times to get those stains out of your clothes, then there's no point in keeping them around any longer. "You will never wear them, so why keep them?" asks Agrey. Unless an item truly brings you joy (and you will wear it despite its flaws), you should throw out any article of clothing that's ripped or stained beyond repair.
Solo Socks, Gloves, and Earrings
For some reason, humans are programmed to never give up hope when it comes to finding a missing sock, glove, or earring—so much so, in fact, that many people will keep their non-missing solos around for much longer than necessary. However, Agrey says that "it's pointless to keep items that you won't use. Pairs are best." If you haven't seen that missing ped in a while, chances are that it's never coming back—so do yourself a favor and toss that single sock for good.
Old Cooking Utensils You Already Have Newer Versions Of
If you have several sets of the same kitchen tools, then it's probably time to pare down. "Get serious about what you use and what you never touch," says Basher. "Holding on to stuff that you may use later is holding you back from a life free from clutter. Have you used the item in the past one to three years? Do you have duplicates of the item (mixing bowls, measuring cups, etc.)? Are you really going to use the recipes in that cookbook you've had for the last 10 years or can you find the recipe online? Do you really use more than a couple of coffee mugs? Imagine your happiness walking into a kitchen free from clutter. It'll feel exhilarating."
Expired or Unwanted Food
While you're in the kitchen getting rid of duplicate utensils and appliances, make sure to spend a few minutes cleaning out your refrigerator as well. "[Look] for expired foods and spices, foods you bought but aren't going to use, and empty or nearly empty bottles of oils, dressings, condiments, and the like," says Basher. "Think how much 'stuff' you can get rid of when you start looking at expiration dates and actual usage."
Broken, Chipped, or Stained Dishes, Mugs, Pots, and Pans
Keeping chipped dishes and mugs around only negatively impacts the feng shui of your space. "Items just taking up space 'waiting' to be fixed are not going to bring you joy—and if fixing them isn't in their near future (or they have been on the 'to be fixed' plan for months), it may be time to replace [them]," says Basher. Plus, a sharp edge or hazardous pan handle could cause serious damage, so tossing those damaged goods could be saving you a trip to the ER as well.
Old Books That You've Read or Will Never Read
Keeping around copies of those books that you tried but failed to finish only chips away at your self-worth. Plus, Agrey notes that "we all have access to the public library and internet now." Ideally, she says that you should "only keep [the books] you love" and donate the rest.
Your Children's Old and Unused Things
Even though your children have progressed past the stage of baby clothes, there seems to be a part of you that can't get rid of those mementos. However, as Basher points out, the only purpose that these old and unused things serve is to collect dust in your home.
"Kids' stuff has a way of collecting dust bunnies," he says. "Time to pare down the stuffed animals, clean off the bookshelf, donate or sell the too-small clothes, file the saved artwork, and toss the broken toys."
Though the clutter that exists in your garage is typically out of sight and out of mind, that overflowing toolbox could subconsciously be stressing you out. So, rather than keeping old tools around and waiting for the day that you might need them, Agrey suggests donating them and finding other less expensive ways to fulfill your random tool needs. "You can always ask a neighbor or friend if you need to borrow a tool," she says. "And you can also rent tools from hardware stores." Genius!
Gifts That You Don't Like
If a gift itself doesn't bring you joy, there is no reason to keep it. "Don't keep gifts out of guilt," decluttering expert Marie Kondo wrote in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. "After the joy of the gift-giving moment is through, you can donate the gift without guilt. It has served its purpose."
Inherited Items That You Dislike
Even though you might feel an obligation to keep that incredibly ugly armoire that you inherited from your great grandmother, Debi Goldben, a life coach certified in design psychology, says that tossing unwanted inherited items from your home is a perfectly reasonable practice.
"Look at what [you] have and only keep things [you] love or feel good about. This means that the 'thing' you inherited from your favorite aunt that you always thought was ugly gets donated somewhere," she says. "Otherwise, you sense 'ugly' every time you look at it or think about it. Who wants to think 'ugly' all day?" (She has a point!)
Old Art Supplies
You can't just keep art supplies around because you might use them one day. As artist Emily Keating Snyder explained in her guide to a more minimalist studio, you should only hold on to supplies that you know you'll need; otherwise, you'll be constantly focusing on the art projects that you said you'd do and never found the time for—and that mindset will cause anxiety and dread on top of the clutter in your house.
Rusty or Broken Jewelry
"Why keep things with no value?" Agrey argues, referring to rusty or broken bracelets and necklaces. Besides, you'll feel much happier after making more room for new pieces that you can actually fasten and wear every day.
No matter how minimalist your interior design style may be, it's still likely that you've held on to a few knickknacks and trinkets that ultimately mean nothing to you. "You should only own items that spark joy, not items that bring you down," Agrey says. So, if you find that there are tchotchkes around your house that mean nothing to you on a personal level, it's time to let them go.
Unused Containers and Jars
Question: What exactly do you plan on doing with those old mason jars? That's what we thought. Just keep a couple and recycle the rest!
Old Shopping Bags
You do not need more than a few of these in your home at a time. It's time to let them go!
Frequent Shopper Cards You Never Use
Yes, it's better to keep seldom-used loyalty cards stowed away in a drawer rather than stuffed in your wallet. But if you haven't used them in a while—say, in a year or more—then storing them anywhere is simply a waste of space.
Not only do mismatched rugs add an unwanted level of chaos to your home's decorating scheme, but they can also contribute to an ever-growing pile of clutter, says Keri Feeney of Alicia Weaver Design, a design firm based in South Florida. "Remove rugs that are not in line with your style vision, or if you have multiple rugs in one room that do not coordinate," she advises. "A clean, plain floor will feel more styled than rugs that are eyesores."
Items That Make You Feel Guilty
If an object only brings up bad memories for you, it's time to toss it, says Chrissy Halton, a former interior designer and creator of the home organizer site, Organise My House. "If you're keeping [items] through guilt, then they are subconsciously making you feel that way every time you walk past them," she says. "These feelings can add up over time, and who wants to feel guilty in their own home?"
It's time to toss those wire hangers that you've been hoarding from the dry cleaner. According to Feeney, these hangers are as ugly as they are messy—and holding on to them is simply a waste of precious space.
"These culprits are not just an eyesore; they can also lead to a cluttered, messy closet," Feeney says. "Instead, invest in slimline hangers that will smooth out your closet organization and are frustration-free." And while you're tossing those hangers, check out these 20 Easy Tips for Keeping Your Closet Organized.
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