The Art of Throwing Things Away


Getting rid of things in your home can be a difficult task; it seems like we can always find reasons to hold on to items that we no longer need or use.

But what happens when we just can’t bring ourselves to throw things away? We may imagine that we will need these items someday – but what would life look like without ownership of these objects?  Within all of us there is a little hoarder addiction.

Here are some things that you should seriously consider getting rid of and throwing out (and by that, I mean donate, dump, trash, incinerate, whatever it takes to get it out of your life and space):

Junk Mail and Papers – As you go through your daily mail, sort the papers and magazines as you look at them.  Set up a file or holding place for bills to paid, papers to file and any action items.  Magazines that you want to read or look at belong in the magazine rack.  Current ads belong on the kitchen table or desk when you will can refer to them.  Remember anything that you don’t use or buy – out it goes!  In with the new, out with the old.

Magazines/Books - Unless you have a large bookshelves and unlimited space for magazines, you should not hold on to them.  Magazines are usually just for use during the current month, if they are hobby or interest that you treasure then you should create a holding area for them and still consider the limit.  Much of what you read is on the internet and can be found elsewhere.   Don’t forget the library can hold most of the books for you!

Old Toys/Old Clothes – Notice the word “old” here.  Sometimes old is not good, or treasured, rather old is broken, worn out, out-dated and worthless.  The toy must be in good shape and functioning, the outfit must be clean, stain-free and in fashion, the shoes must be clean, “lightly used” and the right size.

Useless or Broken Appliances – If it’s broken, you don’t want want it in your home. If the appliance is useless to you, give it to someone who can use it.

Old Furniture/Picture Frames - This is tricky, because sometimes you hold on to furniture because you might be moving someday and you will need it for your new and larger home.  Try to find someone who could store it for you meanwhile to eliminate the clutter and space issue.  If you are saving a picture frame, take out the picture and store the frame empty in case you want to give it away quickly.  Most frames are never reused.

Old Paint and Fixtures - Most old paint is not reusable since the color changes over time.  It is better to recycle it (  If you do keep the paint, label it properly.  Unless you are handy with your household appliances, most fixtures are hard to reuse and are not worth storing.  Chances that you have the right part are rare.

Contents of the Junk Drawer - Best case scenario is to empty the contents of the drawer and sort through all the objects. Put the extra change, batteries, hair accessories, kids missing toys where they belong and get a drawer organizer/divider and sort the remaining objects in each little section of the divider.  Label the drawer and keep it updated and current.

Dishes and Kitchen Items - Sometimes we culminate too many mugs, and plastic storage containers with not lids.  How about all those broken plates and spoons that are troublesome and annoying?  Do you have any pots that are worn and scratched?  These are the items to throw out!

Dated Receipts, Paychecks, and Bills – You only have to keep receipts that are tax related for seven years.  That means that the receipt has been used for tax purposes and used for deductions.  The paychecks can be tossed after your 1099 has arrived.  Bills are only necessary if you are using them for tax deductions.

Expired Medicines and Vitamins – Notice the word expired.  It is very important to keep your medicine cabinet updated.  If it’s old, “toss” and get a replacement.

Linens – Keep your linen is good shape and clean.  Make sure you have enough for guest and replacement for your “sick days.”  Otherwise, thin it out and enjoy the good stuff.

Power Cords - Only keep cords that you are sure you have the actual appliance and electronic active.  Many people forget what each cord and wire belongs with.  Label them as you get the new gadget.

Spices - Some spices can last for a long time.  Check your inventory and keep the active ones up front and make a list of the ones you are missing.  It there are some that are seldom used, consider putting them in the freezer.

Old Greeting Cards – Create a file for “cards” and label the different categories.  You will enjoy being about the find them when you need them.

DVD, VHS and Audio Tapes -  Since many of us have Netflix or other ways to watch TV and movies, we don’t have to keep as many DVDs as we once did.  Consider getting a nice plastic container to organize them into categories and put them in a safe dry place.

Makeup - Most makeup can last a year or two.  However, it is nice to give yourself a fresh new look each year and a “spring cleaning” of the makeup drawer. 

Old Underwear, Socks and Bras – If the elastic is worn and out of shape it is a dead giveaway for the longevity of the garment.  It the sock is worn out, out if goes.  If the bra is old, out of shape or the wrong size… Well then… It won’t look good on you.  So out it goes.

Coat Hangers – It is important to have nice coat hangers in the front hall closet.  Just keep ten extra if the closet is empty, and if your coats are taking up the space then only keep around three hangers.

Old Car Seats, Cribs Baby Products - Out of use baby products belong in storage.  Cover in plastic and label for its next use.

Perfumes and Colognes – Does it still smell good?  Do you like it?  Don’t’ keep too much; you will get confused which one you really like.

Jewelry – If it is broken or brings back bad memories, get rid of it.  Try to auction, resale or donate the unwanted jewelry.

Rugs - Try to use the rugs around the house.  If they are replacement rugs, try to storage in the less obtrusive place.

Food – Check your pantry and refrigeration /freezer often.  Old food is not healthy and takes up too much space.

Remember, if you’re having trouble parting with some of your stuff, just ask yourself this question: What would be the worst thing that could happen if I didn’t own this anymore?



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