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18 things you should immediately throw out or give away

18 things you should immediately throw out or give away
  • Whether you have old clothes lurking in the back of your closet or a drawer of phone chargers you just don't use anymore, getting rid of unnecessary things will give you peace of mind.
  • If something is still in good shape, you can research a local consignment store, donation collector, or charity that might make use of it.
  • Other items just need to be recycled so you can free up space.

There are few experiences more satisfying than throwing away junk you don't need. A clean home is a peaceful home.

No, that shiny Apple box will never be useful, and it's better off recycled than sitting in the back of your closet. And no, you're never going to peruse those old issues of Cosmo. Just let them go.

Pare your life down to the essentials. Here are 18 things you just don't need in your home anymore.

If you haven't worn the clothes in the back of your closet for over a year, donate them to someone who can put them to better use.

If you haven't worn the clothes in the back of your closet for over a year, donate them to someone who can put them to better use.
Someone else could use the clothes. Shutterstock

Someone less fortunate than you could be wearing them. Same goes for children's clothing and Halloween costumes that can't be used as hand-me-downs.

You can find a local donation bin at Planet Aid.

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Whether you haven't worn them forever or the sole is falling off, free up closet space by tossing your old shoes.

Whether you haven't worn them forever or the sole is falling off, free up closet space by tossing your old shoes.
Old sneakers. Getty Images

Still good but you haven't worn them in forever? Donate.

Donate old shoes at a local charity or an international one like Soles4Souls.

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Get rid of those empty alcohol bottles "decorating" your home.

Get rid of those empty alcohol bottles "decorating" your home.
After you finish drinking, recycle the bottle. VICUSCHKA/Getty Images

You're not in college anymore, and those bottles of fancy bourbon are not a trophy collection, unless you live in a frat house.

You can find a nearby recycling center at Recycle Finder.

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Old toys can be hard to part with, but if you're not using them, it's best to donate them.

Old toys can be hard to part with, but if you're not using them, it's best to donate them.
You can still feel nostalgic without having large boxes full of toys sitting around. Shutterstock

Toys can be expensive. If they're not broken but no one in your family will use them, donate them — whether it's to charity or relatives with young children.

If you're not sure where to donate them, look into DonationTown, a charity that accepts used toys.

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Old phone chargers take up way too much space and are hardly touched, so dispose of them and organize the equipment you do use.

Old phone chargers take up way too much space and are hardly touched, so dispose of them and organize the equipment you do use.
Excess cords end up sitting in tangled piles. Darren Weaver/Business Insider

You'll never need to charge your 2004 Motorola Razr. We live in the smartphone era now.

But don't drop them in the trash: They can be recycled or donated. Here's a list of options.

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The chances of a single sock being reunited with its pair are slim, so you might as well put it towards a different use.

The chances of a single sock being reunited with its pair are slim, so you might as well put it towards a different use.
A single sock. Shutterstock

You might hope that lost sock will just turn up. It's better to just let them go. Similarly, if your socks are worn down and full of holes, there's no use wearing them.

Would you rather reuse them? Here are 61 other things you can do with mismatched socks.

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Any old condiments or food left in the back of your fridge should be composted immediately.

Any old condiments or food left in the back of your fridge should be composted immediately.
Fridge. Ariana DiValentino for Insider

You know very well what I'm talking about. You can't just leave it in there. Compost it if you can. Drop the clean jars or bottles in the recycling, or find another use for them.

Just a heads up, most expiration dates are wrong — here's how long your food will last.

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Old grocery bags tend to occupy tons of space. It's best to switch to reusable bags to save room and protect the environment.

Old grocery bags tend to occupy tons of space. It's best to switch to reusable bags to save room and protect the environment.
Plastic bags. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Some states have banned single-use plastic bags, but for people living elsewhere, it makes no sense to collect them when you could just make the switch to reusable tote bags.

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If you have old business cards from previous jobs or internships, they are irrelevant and need to be recycled.

If you have old business cards from previous jobs or internships, they are irrelevant and need to be recycled.
Business cards take up space. Jacob Shamsian/INSIDER

No one will ever need your business card for a company you worked for five years ago, or for a position you previously held at your company. Recycle them.

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If you haven't opened that stack of magazines in months, it's best to toss them or put them towards a fun art project.

If you haven't opened that stack of magazines in months, it's best to toss them or put them towards a fun art project.
Just admit that you'll never read that award-winning feature. Shutterstock

So yes, maybe Rivka Galchen's profile of theoretical physicist David Deutsch has lasting literary value, but it's not the kind of value that accrues by sitting on your coffee table for three years.

Recycle them. Old magazines can also be used for DIY projects.

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While CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes are nostalgic, they take up plenty of space. Sort through and try to save your favorites, then give away the rest.

While CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes are nostalgic, they take up plenty of space. Sort through and try to save your favorites, then give away the rest.
It's time to give away your old movies. Epics/Getty Images

It's 2020. Rip them to a hard drive and save some space on your shelves.

You can also turn them into art!

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Expired makeup is bad for your skin, so make sure to refresh your collection every once in a while.

Expired makeup is bad for your skin, so make sure to refresh your collection every once in a while.
Expired makeup is no good for you. Astrid Stawiarz / Getty

It will mess up your face. Toss 'em out. Clean out the containers to be recycled, if possible, or reused. Same goes for unused makeup samples.

Here are 11 things you're probably doing wrong with your makeup.

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The same goes for expired medication. It's best to keep your medicine cabinet up to date, as well as understand how to recycle old medication safely.

The same goes for expired medication. It's best to keep your medicine cabinet up to date, as well as understand how to recycle old medication safely.
Don't take expired medication. Getty Images/Mario Tama

No, you don't need those Motrin capsules "just in case." They expired in 2015.

And no, you probably shouldn't just toss them into the trash. Here's how to make sure you recycle medications safely.

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Your toothbrush collects germs over time and should be swapped out every few months.

Your toothbrush collects germs over time and should be swapped out every few months.
Toothbrushes should be routinely replaced. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

You should be replacing your toothbrush every few months, once the bristles are frayed.

Or try a smart toothbrush.

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Dish cleaning sponges shouldn't have a lifetime of more than a couple of weeks.

Dish cleaning sponges shouldn't have a lifetime of more than a couple of weeks.
Wash them regularly. A3pfamily/Shutterstock

Your dish sponges are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Wash them often, and replace them every couple of weeks.

Confused about how to wash a sponge? The only way to clean it is to use bleach.

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Water filters also need to be swapped out every few months, or else they lose their initial purpose.

Water filters also need to be swapped out every few months, or else they lose their initial purpose.
Replace the filter. Dave Smith/Tech Insider

Water filter cartridges should be replaced every few months, depending on the model, or when you notice your water tastes funny.

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Once you burn through a candle completely, either reuse the jar or recycle it.

Once you burn through a candle completely, either reuse the jar or recycle it.
There's no point in having burned-out candles sitting around. 279photo Studio/Shutterstock

Candles can be expensive, making them harder to part ways with once they've burned out. However, you can clean out the remaining wax and upcycle the jar or recycle it to free up space in your home.

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Old bills and receipts are unnecessary. Just take a photo and then get rid of it. Even better, opt out of paper billing completely.

Old bills and receipts are unnecessary. Just take a photo and then get rid of it. Even better, opt out of paper billing completely.
Receipts should be thrown away. Lindsay DeMunno/INSIDER
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