50 Things to Throw Away Right Now

A row of VHS tapes.

If you’re overwhelmed, don’t avoid the clutter. Instead, begin the process with these items that you can toss today without regret.

1. CDs, Cassette Tapes, 8-Tracks, DVDs, VHS Tapes

Everything can be streamed now. Plus, that 1983 movie gem may no longer hold the same appeal.

2. Phonebooks

You look up numbers on your phone or computer, so recycle the heavy paperweight.

3. Broken Things You Intended to Fix

After five years of intending to fix that broken picture frame, it might be time to admit it’s not going to happen.

4. Old Documents

Dispose of receipts for items past the warranty date and for whatever you no longer own. Also dispose of tax records from more than seven years ago and utility bills—those records are online.

5. Outdated Décor Items

Don’t hang on to the toothbrush holder and shower curtain you replaced after updating the bathroom décor last year.

6. Mismatched Candles and Holders

Got tapers, but only votive holders? Ditch the mismatched items.

7. Plastic Potting Containers

Stacks of plastic gardening pots.

These are great for getting your new plant home, but after that they are of little use if you re-pot the plants. Send that stack of plastic potting containers straight to the recycling bin.

8. Cookbooks

If it’s the only recipe you use in the book, take a picture or print it out. Then, examine the rest of your cookbooks. The BBQ Bible may not fit into your current vegetarian lifestyle.

9. Textbooks

Your education is an important part of your past, and that’s where it stays. Sell or recycle old textbooks.

10. Old, Broken, or Unused Holiday Decorations

Keep the ones with special memories and those that make you smile. (Or try upcycling some!)

11. Marketing Materials

It’s great to receive freebies, but if you’re not using that inflatable beach ball, donate it!

12. Extra Blankets

Donate to the nearest homeless shelter. They probably need them more than you.

13. Unpaired Socks

Holes? Stretched out? Missing a mate? Let them go.

14. Magazines

Stacks of magazines.

If the sight of that unread mag causes guilt, ditch the print and the guilt at the same time. Rip out special articles and file them in an easy-to-find location.

15. Old Suitcases and Duffle Bags

If it has a broken zipper, a tear, or is a gym bag from your Richard Simmons days, it’s time to trash it.

16. Computer Disks

Floppy and hard disks are long gone and they’re not coming back.

17. Activity and Coloring Books

Your kids are teens now. Let them go.

18. Items That Cause Feelings of Sadness or Regret

This one can hurt and may include a loved one’s clothing items or memorabilia. Photograph the item or find a picture of the person wearing the clothing and then let the article go.

19. Extra Water Bottles

Save a few favorites and let the rest go, especially those low-quality plastic versions.

20. Extra Kitchen Utensils

How many ladles does one kitchen need?

21. Miscellaneous Cords Cables

A tangled mess of cords and cables.

Part with anything that belongs to a device you no longer own or that is part of old technology. If you can't figure out what it goes to, toss it!

22. Old Cell Phones

Recycle, please!

23. Take Out Menus

If the restaurant is no longer in business or you don’t order from there, recycle the menus. Nearly all menus can also be found online.

24. Expired Coupons

No explanation needed.

25. Business Cards

Save the number into your phone or scan or photograph them if you must.

26. Extra Grocery Bags

Think about how many you actually use and get rid of the rest (paper, plastic, and reusable).

27. Expired Food

If it’s close to expiration or is something you aren’t likely to eat, donate it to the local food bank or toss it.

28. Wire Clothes Hangers

A row of white wire clothes hangers.

Return them to the dry cleaner or put them in the recycling. Replace with plastic or wood as the thin wire can stretch out clothing.

29. Old Phone Accessories

If the phone is long gone, it’s unlikely the cases or cables will ever be of use again.

30. Neglected Games and Puzzles

Missing pieces? Haven’t played the game in the past two years? Let it go.

31. Dried out Pens and Markers

Test the markers and highlighters. Throw out everything that doesn't work anymore.

32. Dried out Glue

Glues dry out—quickly. Check them and toss as necessary.

33. Hotel Samples

Admit it—you’re never going to reach for them. Donate.

34. Manuals

These are all available online now, so whittle down the paperwork mound and grow the recycling pile.

35. Fancy Serving Dishes and China

A collection of green vintage dishware.

When was the last time you used them? How likely is it that you will use them again?

36. Half-Used Prescription Medications

Properly dispose by doing a web search for drop locations, such as fire and police stations.

37. Old Gardening Seed Packets

If they're older than one year, replace them.

38. Maps

We now have computers and phones.

39. Old Cameras

Still have a 35mm rattling around? How about a disposable water camera? You won’t miss them.

40. Sippy Cups and Toddler Dinnerware

Your children have grown out of them. Give them up.

41. Emails

Delete all unnecessary emails and consider canceling the junk mail account.

42. Old Paint and Wood Stain

Donate to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Stacks of old paint.

43. Extra Lumber

You may intend to build something with it, but be realistic, especially when it comes to your storage space. If you ever happen to get rid of some lumber you later decide you need, you can always buy it new.

44. Old Texts, Photos, and Voicemails

Free up the memory on your phone.

45. Tupperware Lids and Cheap Containers

This includes everything from yogurt tubs to baby food jars. If you run out of containers, it probably means it’s time to clean out the fridge.

46. Extra Office Supplies

How many staplers, hole punches, and tape dispensers do you truly need?

47. Unfinished Craft Projects

Save three projects to focus on and part with the rest.

48. Old Keys

One of the many mysteries of the world that you will just have to leave unanswered.

49. Gift Cards

Use them! Make a date with yourself or someone else. Shop, eat, and see that movie.

50. Expired Cosmetics

It’s not 1990 anymore. Let the look go.