Things in Your Home You Need to Get Rid of

Updated: Apr. 12, 2024

Stop saying someday and make today the day to get rid of these items.

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VHS taps and DVDs
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VHS Tapes

Hanging on to those old VHS tapes isn’t doing anything for you besides giving dust another place to reside. With so many streaming options online, there’s little reason to hang on to old VHS tapes.

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Worn Out Bed Pillows

No pillow lasts forever. This means the pillow that’s followed you since college is definitely shot. The National Sleep Foundation says pillows should be replaced every one to two years! So throw out that nasty thing you call a pillow and invest in a well-respected brand, choosing a shape that will provide you a restful night’s sleep.

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Copious Shot Glasses

One is a reminder of your spring break in Cancun, the other was a gift from your fraternity. We get it! You may be sentimental, but how many do you need stacked up in your cabinets, taking up space and truly never being used? It’s time to part with the majority and keep just a few of your all-time faves. If you have a man cave, maybe keep the shot glasses there!

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dirty paint rags


It’s a good idea to keep a few rags around for cleaning, oil changes and other messy moments. But if you have piles of used rags, especially those with oily substances on them, get rid of them safely, asap.

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Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock

Expired Sunscreen

Sunscreen remains effective for about three years, so check the expiration date and toss any bottles or tubes that are past their prime.

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cardboard boxes
Simon Bratt/Shutterstock

Cardboard Boxes

It’s handy to keep a few cardboard boxes around for temporary storage and packaging gifts, but if you have a towering stack of boxes, spring is the time to break them down and recycle them. Don’t be tempted to just move them to the garage or basement because rodents and bugs may use them as homes.

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plastic knives forks spoons
Kent Sievers/Shutterstock

Kitchen Items

What’s the point of keeping around plastic silverware at home? How will your guests feel when you hand them the plastic silverware? Do yourself a favor and get rid of that plastic silverware, along with those tiny condiment packets. That relish is about to hit puberty in your fridge.

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toilet paper roll small cord storage
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Old Cords

You’ve got the power cord for the original Nintendo still but the rest of it has disappeared. Get rid of the cord and any other homeless cords you’ve got laying around. And for those ones that you still need, try organizing them with toilet paper rolls.

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Hang it Up storage desk

Office Supplies

If you’re swimming in staplers or can’t find your way through the maze of paper clips, highlighters and sticky notes, get rid of it. Don’t make your home office unbearable as well.

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shoe organizer shoe bench
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Old Shoes

You found the perfect shoes for that outfit a long time ago and you don’t even wear that outfit anymore, so why not lose the shoes? Or you’ve replaced your lawn mowing shoes three times but still have the previous two pair sitting around. Ditch those shoes, you might even be able to recycle them.

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dfh25_shutterstock_637816444 gps phone tracker

Old Cellphones

According the Environmental Protection Agency, back in 2007 only 10 percent of cellphones got recycled. Drop boxes have sprouted up across the country but you can still contact the cellphone company to send an old phone back. Or you can donate it to one of several charities that have set up recycling programs.

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concrete basement office modern laptop computer speakers

Old Computers

Before getting rid of an old computer, make sure all your personal information has been deleted to prevent identity theft. If you have a laptop check out what kind of battery it has so you can find out what to do with it. Some laptop batteries have special requirements for recycling.

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Jamie Grill inspect clothing folding clothes cardboard box give away

Old Clothes

It’s pretty easy to get rid of old clothes, you just have to bring yourself to admit you’re probably not going to wear that campaign T-shirt from the 1980s again. You can donate them to a local charity or find a donation bin like Disabled American Veterans place near grocery stores.

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green indoor plant black glasses stack of books decorating

Old Glasses

Your prescription changes over time so keeping those old glasses around isn’t helping anybody. The frames might be nice but you don’t really need more than two pairs of glasses. You can donate old glasses to the Lions Club, which has set up Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers.

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diy cotton dryer sheets
Tyler Boyes/shutterstock

Old Towels or Bedding

Having a few old towels around is helpful for cleaning but they can build up in a hurry if you’re not careful. Go ahead and get rid of them after they’ve outlived their usefulness.

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Bathroom products soap

Old Makeup

Makeup will dry up if it goes unused and when it does, make sure to toss it. If you keep it around to keep track of what it is, write it down somewhere. Purging your bathroom drawers will open things up for your home. Items such as shampoo and conditioner caps, hair gel tubes, hair spray triggers, lip balm tubes, soap dispensers, mascara tubes, powder cases and eyeliner pencils can be recycled.

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Pills trash

Old Prescriptions

Those old prescription bottles can pile up if you forget to throw them out after you are done with them. Additionally, keeping old pills around can be a safety issue if you have young children. Fortunately there are takeback programs like Take it to the Box where expired medications can be dropped off in a box at a local law enforcement center.

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dfh8_shutterstock_87066848 tv remotes
lorenzo gambaro/Shutterstock

Remote Controls

Chuck out clunky old remotes when you get new electronics for the home. Sometimes those devices will get lost in the shuffle.

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Takeout Menus

Everything is on the internet today, even the menu for your favorite takeout place, so put all those old menus in the recycle bin. Besides you always get the same thing from that place anyway.

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Phone Books

A phone book is sort of turning into a historical artifact these days. They’re pretty handy when you have a wobbly table but when you can look up a number on the web from your phone and dial in one touch, it’s hard to justify having a phone book around.

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Crafting Supplies

The scraps from your craft project five years ago aren’t coming back like a fashion cycle so don’t hang on to them. Use what you can but don’t get set on keeping a bunch of supplies around.

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Grandma always gets the best birthday cards for you but you’re not obligated to hang on to it for eternity. Establish a rule, George Costanza said the rule is a minimum of two days.

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Unless you’re waiting for a call to be on Extreme Couponing get rid of all those inserts that come in the paper you don’t need. The grocery store keeps books of coupons by the front door. The nice thing is those coupons have expiration dates so pick a day each month to clean out your coupon folder.

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FH06DJA_474_10_013_r3 magazine storage bins
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Periodicals but not Family Handyman

If you subscribe to magazines make sure you clear them out after you’re done with them. Don’t hang on to an entire magazine for one story, clip it out and put it somewhere you know to look for it. Except keep every issue of The Family Handyman around. In fact you might want to keep two copies in case one gets spilled on.

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Kids closet clothes

Kids Clothes

Kids grow and those clothes you hoped would make for hand-me-downs don’t fit baby brother or baby sister. Don’t forget to get rid of them if that’s the case. Donate them to a local Salvation Army or donation center.

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Old Halloween Costumes

That Care Bear costume you rocked 10 years ago looked a lot better then and probably fit better, too. As much as you love dressing up for Halloween, what are the chances you want to be the same thing again? That’s the fun of Halloween, you get to dress up as something new every year.

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Old Puzzle Books

Word searches and crossword puzzles are fun but they’re not items you frame and throw on a wall. If you’ve got a half-completed book from a vacation, you’re going to forget you still have it by the time you take your next one.

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Sock safety glass protector
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Lost Socks or Use Them to Clean

It’d be nice to know one day where all those socks go that mysteriously disappear.

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Some people save calendars to transfer dates and then forget to throw the old one out. If you use a calendar to keep track of things you did during the past year, try saving it in a different format and let time fly by throwing the old calendar in the trash.

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Old Freezer Items

There’s likely a bag of frozen vegetables buried somewhere in your freezer and has been for a long time. Go through and check to see what you want to keep. Or come up with a clever device to make things more visible in your freezer.

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change locks key unlocking exterior door lock


If you’ve got a key that you don’t remember what it goes to, then that’s probably a sign to get rid of it. Try recycling that key instead of throwing it in the trash.

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Formal Wear

Those bridesmaids dresses have to go after the wedding. You don’t need a 27 Dresses thing going on in your closet. Check out consignment shops to recoup some cash or get a tax write-off by donating it. Either way don’t waste closet space on things you’ve worn once.

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Business Cards

Discarding business cards ought to be part of a digitizing process. Maybe the first time you get a business card is cool but keeping a box of them around isn’t something to brag about.

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Accordion folder receipts
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You may have to keep some receipts for tax purposes but you don’t necessarily need to keep a paper copy. Try making pdfs of receipts or take a picture of them that you can easily print if needed.

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License plate
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License Plate

Unless you feel crafty or your garage walls are looking pretty bare, there’s no sense in keeping a set of old license plates around. Sure, you’re a bit nostalgic but take a picture of your plates if you want to remember them.

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Appliances You Don’t Use

Some thoughtful in-law gave you the latest technological advance in drink mixology a couple of years ago. They live three states away and have never stepped foot in your place. You can get rid of that appliance that seems so handy yet has no place in your life.

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board game checkers
Alexandru Nika/Shutterstock

Games with Missing Pieces

Part of the fun with some board games is if you lost a game piece you made your own but after a while, as more and more pieces disappear it’s best to cut your losses. Monopoly is no fun without the car, dog, top hat and the cannon gone. No one wants to be the thimble. No one.

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Potpourri candle
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Old Potpourri

Potpourri is great for clearing out some smells but it’s not as great when it comes part of your décor. If that potpourri isn’t smelling as sweet as it once did, chuck it. Get something new in there.

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You were determined to learn how to play piano once—for about a month. Now that keyboard has sat in the corner of the basement for years and you can barely find middle C. Donate that piece of musical equipment to someone who will learn to use it.

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Plastic Storage Containers That no Longer Have Lids That Fit

That container used to heat spaghetti has heated one too many noodles and the lid doesn’t fit anymore or even worse, you’ve lost it. Sure a little plastic wrap would make it so you could store food but you’ve likely got other containers you’ve been using.

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Broken Furniture

Those furniture rehab projects have sat dormant for a long time now. Are you really going to get started on them or is it becoming a pipedream?

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Exercise Equipment

Working out a gym might be a better fit for you than sitting on that exercise bike at home, so trade in that bike. There are plenty of other people thinking some exercise equipment is the perfect addition to jumpstart an effort to get in shape.

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kitty litter cat box litter box
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Pet Supplies

Little Fido is spoiled rotten with toys and treats but don’t let it get out of hand. Don’t let him keep an old toy because you think it’s his favorite. He’ll likely find a new favorite given the opportunity.

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spice rack drawer
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Pantry Items and Spices

Pay attention to those best by dates on some of those pantry items. You might reach for some bay leaves one day and there might not be any aroma left with them.

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Broken Dishes

Just get rid of that chipped plate that makes you cringe every time you use it without realizing that you grabbed that dish. It’s just a pain to eat off of and you’ve got plenty of other plates to choose from. But some people keep them around.

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sharpen Knives

Old Knives

You can sharpen old knives or get rid of them at a donation center. But don’t keep multiple sets around the house. One good cutting knife should be enough.

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Hangers seem to just spontaneously spawn in the closet. Don’t let them choke out your closet. Find a place to store extra hangers.

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Crayons and Colored Pencils

Broken crayons can be recycled or turned into DIY picture frames for your favorite teacher. Don’t keep a broken crayon or colored pencil around—it’s broken.

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Nylons need to be cleaned before getting recycled because it melts at a lower temperature. That lower temperature means bacteria can survive.

Timbuk2 will send you a coupon if you choose to recycle your bag from them. Just send your bag to them and once they get a pallet full of bags, they send them to TerraCycle for recycling.

Bureo takes old nylon fishing nets and makes them into skateboards and sunglasses.

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Kirsten Hinte/Shutterstock

Get Rid of Books

What is this obsession people have with books? What do you need it for after you’ve read it? Unless you want to keep a book for sentimental reasons or like to re-read one, moving a bunch of books is a pain. They’re heavy and cumbersome. Eliminate some of them by selling them at a Half Price Books or online.

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shutterstock_753724045 bowls and vases pottery
Svetlana Lukienko/Shutterstock

Vases and Flower Pots

Vases and flower pots will accumulate with each growing season. Make sure you only keep what you need, otherwise you’ll start to get buried by them. You likely don’t even need another flower pot, you probably have the answer in front of you.