Household Items You Didn’t Realize Need To Be Tossed

Over the years, homes can become filled with items that no longer serve any purpose. Piles of papers, unworn clothes, and tasteless spices are harmless, but a waste of space. Conversely, aged pillows, old air filters, and tattered towels can compromise the overall hygiene of your home. From appliance manuals to expired medicine, you may be surprised how many household items are waiting to be thrown out. Read on for a list of things it may be time to toss.

Old Papers Need To Get Shredded

Photofusion/John Birdsall/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photofusion/John Birdsall/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

From old receipts to childhood birthday cards, papers can pile up over the years. Before you know it, there’s a stack of papers pouring out of every cabinet, closet, and drawer in the office.

Be sure to carve out some time every so often to go through old documents and shred ones that are no longer necessary. For sentimental items, consider cutting out any handwritten messages and condensing them in a scrapbook or a collage.

Expired Medicine Is Easy To Forget About

Philippe Clement/Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Philippe Clement/Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

We all have that shelf in the house that’s riddled with leftover flu and allergy medicine that got crammed into the back corner and forgotten about. By the time you needed it again, you forgot you even had it an bought an entirely new box.

By now, you might have several medications that are either in a deteriorating package or are unidentifiable, separated from its original box. Before you go offering someone a Tylenol from 1989, go through your medication and toss the questionable ones out!

Old Spices Lose Their Taste

LouAnn Clark/Pixabay
LouAnn Clark/Pixabay

Spices can get a little pricey, so you want to hold on to them as long as possible. For those of us who don’t cook often, we may have a few spices we rely on every day, and several others in the back that we never touch.

For those ones in the back, you may want to give them a whiff. Generally speaking, spices don’t become dangerous to consume. However, they do lose their taste, at which point they serve no other purpose than taking up space in the cabinet.

Unworn Clothing Can Be Donated

items-to-get-rid-of-creative
Giulia Raniolo/Pinterest
Giulia Raniolo/Pinterest

As your fashion evolves, you may find yourself holding on to items that you haven’t worn in half a decade. When going through your closet, it can be easy to think you’ll wear something, only to go another year without touching it.

As a rule of thumb, try to get rid of any clothes you haven’t worn in six months. This way, you can’t use the excuse that it just isn’t warm or cold enough yet. Donate gently used articles of clothing and toss the rest.

Your Air Filters Need To Be Changed Every Few Months

Word of Advice TV/YouTube
Word of Advice TV/YouTube

Nowadays, many of us benefit from the glorious central heating and cooling systems that revolutionized homes in the 1970s. However, you may be blissfully unaware that your HVAC’s air filter is dirtier than the dumpsters outside.

The filter only costs about $20 and should be replaced every 1 to 3 months! For those of you who are just now hearing of this, you’re probably years overdo. For those who don’t have central air conditioning, you still need to replace your air purifier/HEPA filter every year.

Recycle Old Technology

Lisa Ducret/picture alliance via Getty Images
Lisa Ducret/picture alliance via Getty Images

With new technological devices coming out faster than ever, you may be wondering what to do with your old cell phones, laptops, monitors, and more. If your junk drawer is full of floppy disks and MP3 players, it’s time to recycle some old devices.

From a ball of old earphones that you’ll never untangle to dinosaur computers, you’ll be surprised all the items an e-waste recycling program will accept. A simple Google search will bring up locations near you.

Appliance Manuals Aren’t Needed

Raudies/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Raudies/ullstein bild via Getty Images

Remember the good-old-days of having to watch a DVD– or worse, read!– in order to understand how a device worked? Even after going through the manual, you’d hold on to it just in case that feared day came that you didn’t know how to do something.

These days, there are tons of tutorials to show you how to do just about anything online. Worst comes to worst, it doesn’t take much to look up an appliance company and get their technical support hotline.

Takeout Menus Are Pointless

Benjamin C. Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images
Benjamin C. Tankersley/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

While takeout menus served a purpose once upon a time, these days they are perhaps the most pointless item in your home. Whether you grabbed one from a restaurant on your way out or received one in the mail, we promise you’ll have nothing to lose throwing it out.

Just about every restaurant has a website these days, and if it doesn’t, you may want to second-guess going there. Websites are complete with everything from the location and phone number to the menu items.

Pillows Don’t Last More Than A Few Years

Engin Akyurt/Pixabay
Engin Akyurt/Pixabay

It’s no surprise that pillows collect oil and sweat. So, why is it that many of us had no idea that you can throw an entire pillow in the washing machine? While many are machine-safe, some do need to be hand-washed.

Either way, pillows should be cleaned every six months, at least. Even those who take the utmost care of their high-quality pillows will need to replace them after a few years since they lose their support over time.

You Need A New Toothbrush Every Few Months

GettyImages-1179672043
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images
Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

Some of us can’t even remember the last time we bought a new toothbrush. Yet, dentists generally recommend getting a new one every three to four months! That’s because the bristles can lose their effectiveness over time and begin to harbor bacteria.

If your toothbrush looks like something you’d use to scrub the grime off of pots and pans, it’s well past the time to get a new one. For automated toothbrushes, just be sure to replace the head every few months.

Expired Condiments Can Make A Sticky Mess

MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images
MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images

Condiments are sneaky because they often last for years, making it easy to forget about them. Just think of that bottle of soy sauce that’s been in your fridge door for the past three years.

From A1 to hot sauce, there are plenty of condiments that last long but are used rarely. These lightly-used sauces somehow find a way to leak out of the bottle and become a sticky mess, so be sure to check their dates and toss them when necessary.

Planners And Calendars Aren’t Necessary

Maddi Bazzocco/Unsplash
Maddi Bazzocco/Unsplash

Some of us are still holding on to the days before smartphones held all of our important information. From contact books to calendars and planners, these clutter-makers are a waste of space and paper.

If you must have things handwritten, at least be sure to get rid of the calendars and planners from yesteryear. We love cute kitten calendars as much as the next animal-lover, but they don’t count as sentimental photos worth holding on to.

Unmatched Tupperware Creates A Mess

tupperware
@WireFM/Twitter
@WireFM/Twitter

If the Tupperware cabinet is the bane of your existence, it’s probably time to go through it and try to find matches. Like the spare socks in your drawer, Tupperware that’s missing its lid/ bowl only serves to drive you insane.

Once all of the containers have been matched up, get rid of the leftovers or repurpose them. There’s little you can do with spare lids, but the bottoms can be used as mixing bowls or covered with aluminum foil.

Wire Hangers Don’t Support Clothes Well

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Wire hangers have lost popularity in recent years, if for no other reason than the epic scene in Mommy Dearest. In all seriousness, they are flimsy when it comes to heavy garments like coats.

Conversely, when it comes to lighter articles of clothing like t-shirts, wire hangers leave lines in the clothes that can linger throughout the day. For this reason, many turn to wooden or plastic hangers as a more practical and sturdier alternative.

Old Costumes Don’t Come In Handy

halloween-costume
JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images
JHU Sheridan Libraries/Gado/Getty Images

Halloween can be a blast, but it does require you to purchase or make a costume you’ll probably never wear again. After all, your costume loses its impressiveness the minute someone recognizes it as the same thing you wore last year.

Then there are the costumes you wore at a theme party or in your high school play. These outfits are often cheaply made with the full knowledge that they will likely be worn once. Donate them.

If You Don’t Enjoy Cooking, Nix The Cookbooks

Alfred Kenneally/Unsplash
Alfred Kenneally/Unsplash

Whether it caught your eye at a bookstore or was a White Elephant gift, many of us have ended up with a cookbook we’ve hardly opened. By the time they make it to your kitchen, their only purpose is to remind you of the recipes you’ll probably never cook.

If your cookbooks have collected dust over the years because you don’t actually like cooking, it may be time to get honest about who you are. There’s no shame in donating or re-gifting something you have no real desire to use.

Old Towels Can Harbor Bacteria

towels
Steve Buissinne/Pixabay
Steve Buissinne/Pixabay

Towels can appear to be in decent shape, but their smell can give them away. Over time, their fibers can start to harbor bacteria that not even the washing machine will remove. If your towel has a musty smell after just one use, it may be time to replace it.

To be sure, try washing the towel once with vinegar and again with detergent. If you still can’t get more than a singlr use or two out of it, it’s time for some new towels.

Old Sponges Don’t Clean Items

Stefan Klein/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Stefan Klein/ullstein bild via Getty Images

It seems counterintuitive that a soapy sponge could be adding bacteria to an item, but that’s precisely what happens when you don’t replace them. After a couple of weeks, sponges become full of bacteria.

As you wash the counter or dishes, the sponge releases this bacteria. While antibacterial soap can combat the dirty sponge to some extent, it becomes counterproductive. For a more sanitary clean, use bleach to sanitize your sponges and replace them every couple of weeks.

Let Someone Else Read The Books You Won’t Reread

Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images for YOU Magazine
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images for YOU Magazine

Some of us are quite nostalgic about books, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if most of the books on your shelves are those you know you won’t reread, it may be time to donate them.

With all the time and effort that goes into making books, they deserve to be read. Keep the books you refer back to often or think you’d enjoy rereading. As for all the rest, give them away to a library or someone who may enjoy them.

Lingering Keys Probably Don’t Unlock Anything

keys
Steve Buissinne/Pixabay
Steve Buissinne/Pixabay

If you’ve ever found a key lying around in a drawer somewhere, you may have had that feeling deep down that you better hang on to it just in case. But what exactly is the “case” you’re waiting for?

By the time you’ve forgotten what the key was for, odds are you’ve already gotten rid of the lock. Maybe it was an old mailbox or a spare key to a former home. Regardless, you’re better off recycling it than holding on to a pointless piece of metal.