25 Things to Throw Out Today

by Justin Weinger on August 23, 2011

Editor’s Note: Throw out doesn’t necessarily mean put in the trash. Recycle, donate, sell or put in the garbage is what I mean.  Putting that in the title makes it a little long…

A little over a week ago, my wife and I did a deep clean of our house, and it was, in a word, awesome.

Even though we had only been in our house a little over eight months, we were able to get rid of enough stuff to donate seven boxes of clothes, linens, and electronics; recycle two bags of papers; and throw out three bags of stuff that should’ve been gone years ago.

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Throw it out!

On top of that, our home now bigger and far more open, we can actually use the office, and, in general, we just feel a lot better because we’re not being suffocated by junk!

Obviously, I’m happy with what my wife and I did and I think we made some real progress.  That being said, I just found an article on Wise Bread that really, really wish we would have had prior to our deep clean.

In the article, “25 Things to Throw Out Today,” author Paul Michael not only lists the 25 things you need to throw out, but he also references my favorite quote from the movie Fight Club:

There’s a great quote from Fight Club, one of my favorite movies. It comes from Tyler Durden, Brad Pitt’s character, and it’s prophetic — “The things you own end up owning you.” After watching several seasons of Hoarders, that’s got to be one of the most truthful statements ever to come out of a movie.

Now, we all have a little hoarder inside each of us. We see some things that we just can’t bear to get rid of, probably because there’s an emotional attachment to them. Sometimes things are valuable, and we keep them for that reason. On rare occasions, we don’t even know why we’re hanging onto something, but we are.

Well, there’s a great feeling of liberation that can come from shedding these items. If you’d like to feel it yourself, here’s a list of 25 things that you should throw out today. And by that, I mean donate, dump, trash, incinerate, whatever you like… just remove them from your life.

You should certainly take the time to read the entire article, but for brevity’s sake, here’s the entire list of the 25 things you should throw out today:

  1. Clothing and shoes you haven’t worn in the last 18 months
  2. Old paint
  3. Contents of the junk drawer
  4. Dated receipts, paychecks, and bills
  5. Unread books
  6. Expired medicines and vitamins
  7. Cups and mugs
  8. Plastic containers
  9. Linens
  10. Power cords
  11. Magazines
  12. Spices
  13. Old greeting cards
  14. DVDs, VHS and audio tapes, CDs and video games
  15. Makeup
  16. Old underwear, socks, and bras
  17. Dated technology, including old cell phones
  18. Coat hangers
  19. Toys
  20. Those “fix it up” projects
  21. Cribs, car seats, and other baby/toddler products
  22. Perfumes and colognes
  23. Jewelry
  24. Rugs
  25. Food
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Check out "The Joys of Less" for more motivation on decluttering your home and life!

This, obviously, is a very inclusive list and highlights a lot of items we hold on to for nonsensical, and even reasonable reasons.

For me, getting rid of things like power cords, plastic containers, coat hangers, etc. is difficult because it’s easy for me to see a scenario where I could use the items in the future.  The problem is, those scenarios hardly ever come to fruition, so all I’m left with is something I don’t really need taking up space in my house.

Long story short, print out this list and over the next weekend or two, deep clean your house.  Sure, it’ll be painful while you’re in the middle of cleaning, but once you’re done you’re going to have gotten a rid of a lot of stuff and you’re going to feel great for it!

What do you think of this post?  Leave a comment below and, as always, please share this post by using the social bookmarking buttons below and at the top of the page – especially Facebook and Twitter!

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{ 11 comments }

JJ August 23, 2011 at 9:54 am

I wouldn’t toss anything that can be sold out. We just have a bin that we toss the “sellable” things in. I amazon them first, then craigslist, then another bin for “couldn’t sell, move to yardsale” type stuff.

DO NOT SELL MEDICATION.

Brian Carr August 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Thanks for the comment, JJ. I absolutely agree, if you can sell it you definitely should. I also agree that selling medication would be a bad idea.

Kate December 28, 2011 at 10:59 pm

” I also agree that selling medication would be a bad idea.”

This made me laugh so hard.

Benjamin August 23, 2011 at 8:03 pm

“Unread books”

What’s the point of owning a bunch books you’ve already read? If you get rid of them now you’ll just have to buy, borrow, or steal them in the future. Not really much of a reader are ya Mr. Carr?

Brian Carr August 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Not really following your argument.

Benjamin August 25, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Your list says to get rid of “unread books”. If you bought a book so you can read it and you haven’t yet what sense does it make to toss it? You should get rid of books you don’t intend to read not books you haven’t read.

Brian Carr August 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Gotcha. If you read the linked article to Wise Bread they reference books you’ve had for a while that are either unread or you know you’ll never read again.

JJ August 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I’ve been guilty in the past of buying books and never reading them, so I can see the “unread books” idea. I still go with sell them all!

Brian Carr August 24, 2011 at 6:06 am

Yep, I’m definitely in that same boat, both in the sense that I have books I haven’t read, and that you should try selling or donating them before throwing them out.

Bruce from Debt Help and Beyond August 24, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Some great ideas here Brian. With two boys aged 5 and 11, #19 (Toys) on your list really hits home.

This past summer my wife (along with the help of the boys) cleared out a lot of the toys that had accumulated over the years that were no longer (or ever!) played with. And, our boys learned some valuable lessons along the way.

Once they decided which toys they wanted to get rid of, my wife discussed a selling price with them, and then posted the items on Craigslist. When people came by to see the toys, the boys were front and center when it came to showing their toys and negotiating the prices.

The whole process has paid off in three ways…
1. We cleared up some space in their room.
2. The boys learned some valuable lessons about money.
3. The boys actually earned some money.

Cheers

Bruce

Brian Carr August 25, 2011 at 5:33 am

Thanks for the comment, Bruce. Glad to hear the de-cluttering process worked out for you and your family and that your boys learned a good lesson!

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