Don’t Be a Packrat: Things to Throw Away Today

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If you’re a packrat but don’t want to be, trust us when we tell you that there’s still hope. The fact is, the minimalist lifestyle is gaining momentum, in part because more and more people are trying to lead a more sustainable life.

If your home is feeling crowded or you simply don’t want to keep so much stuff around, there are things that you can do to make your home feel a lot more spacious, and below are a handful of them.

11 Things to Throw Away Today

1.  Newspapers

As a general rule, you should recycle any newspaper that’s more than a few days old. If there’s an article or picture in it that you’d like to keep, cut it out and scan it or keep it in a scrapbook, but get rid of the newspapers themselves by bringing them to a recycling center. The same goes with old magazines.

2.  Old Eyeglasses

The good thing about eyeglasses is that they can be donated to an optometrist’s office and given to people who need them but can’t afford them. There are also a few non-profit organizations that accept old eyeglasses regardless of the prescription, and the recipient will always be grateful for them.

3.  Old Linens, Towels, Bedding, Etc.

Old linens take up a lot of room in your hall closet, but you can remove them and donate them to your local animal shelter. Most animal shelters need these items and will put them to good use. Many women’s shelters will do the same and it’ll leave your closet with a lot more space.

4.  Old Shoes

While it’s tempting to keep shoes as long as they still fit and look good, getting rid of any shoes that you haven’t worn in the past five years is a great way to make more space in your bedroom closet.

If it’s been more than five years since you’ve worn the shoes, you really don’t need them anyway. Try to donate them or even put them on consignment — whatever you feel most comfortable doing.

5.  Any Duplicates You Might Have

There aren’t too many things that you need two or more of, so if you have duplicates of any item in your home, you should seriously consider throwing it out or donating it.

Take this approach with items such as sunglasses, handbags, pens, and any type of kitchen supplies, including wire whisks, coffee cups, and spoons, among others.

6.  Any Item That Has Expired

Whether it’s food items in your pantry, prescription or over-the-counter medications in the bathroom, or even old makeup, throw out anything that has an expiration date that has come and gone.

You may be able to donate some of these things, and doing so can improve both your peace of mind and your health.

7.  Cassettes and VHS Tapes

If you look in your attic or guest bedroom closet, you may find items such as old VHS tapes or cassettes, and it’s time to get rid of those things!

Not only do they tend to take up lots of room, but you very likely don’t have a way to play them anymore. Go ahead and record the contents digitally and then throw those things away!

8.  Product or Instruction Manuals

These manuals take up a lot of room in your home, so recycling them is an excellent idea and will give you tons of extra space.

Besides, most of these publications can now be found on the companies’ websites, so you can always go there if you need the information.

9.  Anything That’s Damaged or Broken

If you look around your house, you’ll likely find tons of items that are broken or no longer working properly, so you should either throw them out, donate them, or recycle them.

These can include broken jewelry (which can be sold to a pawn shop or gold store), mugs, and anything that has missing parts or is no longer a complete set. Even food containers without lids should be placed in recycling.

10.  Items That You Never Actually Use

Things such as containers, frames, any type of knick-knack or gift, books you’ve already read and don’t plan to read again, clothes that don’t fit, or even items found in your junk drawer can be either recycled or donated.

If you haven’t used it in a year or more, you can feel safe about getting rid of it and chances are very good that you’ll never miss it after it’s gone.

11.  Mismatched Socks

It is very common for socks to lose their mates, so when you’re removing clothes out of the dryer and there’s only one sock in a pair, place the sock on top of your dryer and wait one month.

If you’re doing laundry regularly and you can’t find the other mate after 30 days, go ahead and reuse them as something else — dusting rags and dishrags are a great example.


Regardless of why you’re trying to clear your home of stuff you no longer use, you’ll feel so much better when the task is done.

Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to throw these items in the trash can; you can recycle them instead whenever possible.

Your main goal should be to remove them from your home so your home can feel less cluttered and you can feel less stress. Take a look at some of the things that you can get rid of instead of keeping them around.


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