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50 (Big and Little) Things It's Finally Time to Get Rid of

Fall cleaning is the new spring cleaning.
IMAGE GETTY/ MARK WEISS/ BILL DIODATO
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Because life is too short to spend it rifling through five shades of nail polish just to get to the makeup you actually wear.

OLD CONDIMENT PACKETS


Your favorite takeout place gives you enough packets for four people when you're ordering for two, but you really don't want the unfortunate surprise of opening up a drawer and finding one has sprung a leak.

Upgrade your cookouts this summer with these homemade condiments »

KNIVES THAT NO LONGER CUT


Especially steak knives that were cheap to begin with and can't easily be sharpened. They're actually more harmful and dangerous than your sharpest knife. However, you could still donate it — old knives could be helpful for crafting and other purposes. Just wrap the blade with cardboard beforehand (and label it!) for safety.

These are the 9 kitchen knives you need in your life »

EXCESS HAIR TIES


Your hair deserves something better than something that's been on your floor for who knows how long.

11 fanciful ways to organize hair accessories »

YOUR KID'S BABY STUFF


We'll acknowledge that it's seriously sad to get rid of those old onesies. But if the clothes are in good condition, they can help a family in need.

If the clothing is too damaged for donating, try one of these DIYs »

OLD REFERENCE BOOKS


Outdated information won't expand your horizons, so unless you use these for historical reference for some reason, pass them on. Though many thrift stores say no to outdated reference books, you might find that some community groups can use them for crafting and collages.

Refresh your book shelf with the books every woman should read »

FORMER BEST-SELLING PAPERBACKS


Pass on your former favorite beach reads to friends by holding a book swap. Or, find a Little Free Library — these are mini-bookshelves that pop up anywhere filled with free books to take. (P.S.: Your actual library doesn't need these.)

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Improve your mood with 35 books that'll make you happier »

OLD MEDICATION


We tend to hold onto these for fear of making a mistake throwing out old pills, rather than a temptation to hold onto these for future maladies. For peace of mind, follow the FDA's advice by first checking to see if your old medication is on the list of those that should be flushed. If not, they recommend tossing medications by mixing it into old kitty litter (really), and blacking out any info on your prescription bottles.

Find more ways to clear space in your medicine cabinet »

OLD SPICES


Because at some point, it's no longer cinnamon — it's flavorless dust.

Find out when to get rid of other pantry basics »

CRAFT SUPPLIES FROM YOUR "HOBBY FLINGS"


You heard that knitting can be great for de-stressing, so you threw yourself into … buying supplies for knitting. Either knit, or don't. If you're leaning toward not, donate these excess supplies to a local senior center.

You don't need special supplies for these 37 trash-to-treasure DIYs »

OLD SHEETS


They've been washed so many times they're practically translucent. Like old towels, many animal shelters need these for keeping pups and kitties warm.

These are the 6 mistakes you're making when washing sheets »

CDS


There are arguments to be made for hanging onto these, but anything that you don't love can go straight to a thrift store. Anything you do love? Take a day to upload it to your computer.

7 ideas for upcycling old tech »

PLASTIC GROCERY BAGS


You know not to throw them out, so you hold onto them in an ever-increasing mass. Round 'em up, then take them to a place that'll recycle them for you.

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Know the 5 biggest mistakes when you recycle »

PROMOTIONAL T-SHIRTS


You probably won't wear that random t-shirt you got free with a charity donation, so either donate it or DIY with it.

Know the 8 cool things to make with a t-shirt »

CANVAS AND REUSABLE TOTES


If you frequent eco-friendly marketplaces yet always manage to forget a tote, you've likely developed quite a collection. But these aren't eco-friendly if you're not using them more than once. Donate the excess to a charity, or give them to friends the next time you head to a flea market.

Here's how to clean a reusable bag »

OLD TOWELS


You could cut them up and use for rags, or you could donate them to animal shelters, who always are in need of these for bedding.

VHS TAPES


Don't fall for that eBay urban legend that certain tapes command a ton of money. Though many thrift stores will refuse these donations, VHS tapes can often be recycled with e-waste.

CLEAR FLORIST VASES


These freebies pile up underneath sinks across the country, taking up real estate that's needed for cleaning supplies.

Find out the meaning behind your favorite flowers »

EXTRA BUTTONS FROM CARDIGANS/JACKETS/PANTS


With the way clothes are made these days, by the time you need to replace the button on your cardigan, it'll be worn out. Collect these into one container with other buttons, then give to a kid for crafting (buttons are like jewels to kids for some reason), or donate to your favorite sewing friend. Better yet, try one of these new ways to use buttons around the house.

ANY PLASTIC CONTAINER WITHOUT A LID


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Where do they go? Maybe one day Neil deGrasse Tyson can teach us about the black hole these manage to find. Until then, recycle any without a partner.

9 tips to keep your future containers in better shape »

FANCY MOISTURIZERS FROM FOREVER AGO


This is a special shout-out for those types who invest in skincare, then become too afraid to use it up too quickly, then just flat-out don't use it. It's safe to assume these little jars are now filled with bacteria.

OLD MAKEUP


Again, you might hang onto that ancient mascara because it was expensive, but using old eye makeup can lead to a nasty infection. That's why experts recommend tossing it after three months.

WIRE HANGERS


We keep a few on hand since they're handy for random household use, but they do stretch out clothes. And yes, you can recycle them!

PLASTIC HANGERS


They're better than wire, sure, but can also stretch out clothing. Donate these as you switch to velvet hangers for slippery items and inexpensive wood hangers for jackets and other hangables.

Get inspired by 10 extremely-organized closets »

YOUR LOOFAH


Apparently, these are only supposed to have a lifespan of only 3 weeks before they actually get you dirtier than cleaner.

DEAD BATTERIES


It's such a tease when you need new batteries for the remote, and none from the junk drawer actually work.

Learn how to properly dispose of every type of battery »

DAMAGED DISHES


A chip may not seem like a problem, but over time, water can soak into the plate with every wash, leading to nasty bacteria growth. Even if you take a casual attitude towards bacteria threats, the moisture can create bigger cracks if the plate or bowl is microwaved. Since you can't donate these pieces for safety reasons, try one of these creative upcycling ideas.

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FORGOTTEN CONDIMENTS IN YOUR FRIDGE


Are you hosting a hot dog eating contest? If not, there's no great reason to have 10 different bottles of mustard. It's likely that the bottles are all kind of dried out anyway.

28 ways to use things you were going to get rid of (even ketchup bottles »

COSTUME JEWELRY YOU CAN'T STAND


We're not talking about the valuable gems and jewelry made from precious metals, but the cheaper pieces that are usually made of plastic. Maybe it was a gift. Maybe it was a bargain too good to pass up. Whatever it is, it gave you a weird rash or just never looked quite right went on. You guessed it: Off to the donation pile it goes.

These are the 10 mistakes jewelers wish you'd stop making with your jewelry »

PILES OF GREETING CARDS


This one is an emotional minefield, but you'll feel better once it's done. Give yourself to keep a few cards (especially if from a now-departed loved one) that are especially meaningful, but recycle the rest. Or, use them as the basis for a craft.

UNIDENTIFIABLE LEFTOVERS


If you can't identify that foil packet or filled freezer bag with a glance, toss it.

Learn the space-saving hacks for even the tiniest fridge »

OLD NAIL POLISH


One of each color will suffice. You'll never, ever use all of it, and you could never tell the difference between "ballet pink" and "whisper pink" anyway.

Get rid of the multiples, then treat yourself to one of the best new colors for spring »

PILES OF OFFICE SUPPLIES


Even if you work from home, you'll never go through 20 Post-it note pads. Donate them, especially to a non-profit or charitable organization. Still have a ton left? Here's how to use office supplies to help organize your home.

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CLOTHES THAT DON'T FIT


Follow this rule of thumb: If it's more than two sizes in any direction, chances are it'll be out of style by the time it fits. Don't let college-era clothes take up precious closet space (or brain space).

Spring clean without stress using our day-by-day plan »

STACKS OF MAGAZINES


We give you permission to save a couple of prime vintage copies, otherwise, recycle the entire stack. If your collection goes back to include issues from the early '00s and above, it might be worth putting issues up individually on eBay. Especially if you browse them for some hilariously outdated advice.

THAT PEN COLLECTION


Step 1: Grab the handful. Step 2: While watching TV, test each one out. If it doesn't work, it goes into the garbage.

Stray ink marks? Learn how to properly clean them from fabric »

LEFTOVER PAINT


You've dutifully kept it in your garage after painting the living room. But even if it hasn't dried out completely, it's likely to no longer match the room — wall paint can lighten or darken over time depending on the formula or environment.

Here's how to properly kid rid of it »

PAINFUL SHOES


They may be cute, but isn't life too short to spend it in uncomfortable shoes? Organize a clothes swap with friends to see if there's a Cinderella who doesn't find peep-toe platforms torturous. And no, you're not imagining things if you find many styles of flats to be just as bad.

NOVELTY APPLIANCES


Whether it was a Star Wars toaster or an ordinary waffle maker (and it's always a waffle maker), you used it once and decided it was more trouble than it's worth. Liberate it from your cabinet and make someone else's day by donating it.

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Thinking of upgrading? Check out these high-rated appliances »

OLD BRAS


Not only are most of us not washing these correctly, we're also hanging onto them for much longer than we should. Here are just some of the signs that it's time to say goodbye to a not-so-supportive bra.

SPECIALTY BAKING PANS


Sure, everyone loves that super-cute flower-shaped cake you make once a year, but the rest of the year, it just takes up space. Better to stick to the basics.

Pretty up a store-bought cake with these decorating ideas »

CANDLES YOU DON'T USE


Whether you were gifted a candle in a scent you can't stand, or are hanging on to a half-burned pillar, these are a drag to hold onto. Donate or pass it on to a friend if the scented candle it's still new, or toss it if it looks like it was found in the Haunted Mansion.

Find out the 7 expert-approved ways to make your home smell amazing »

YOUR CHANGE JAR


No, we're not saying to throw that away. Instead, cash it in!

Boost your savings with these easy tips »

EXCESS MUGS


These are always given as gifts, so it's likely that you have more than there are people in your home. Keep your favorites; donate the rest. Once you pare down, here are a few ways to keep your collection organized.

YOUR INSTA ADDICTION


It's one thing to decompress with a glance through social media, but if you find yourself scrolling and scrolling and scrolling instead of connecting with others, you could be doing more harm than good to your mental well-being — not to mention your relationships.

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YOUR EMPTY JOURNAL COLLECTION


Either take up the habit, or pass along the empty journals to someone who could get use out of them.

These health benefits might convince you to give it another try »

YOUR MATTRESS


Don't clutch your imaginary pearls just yet — this is only recommended if yours is old. How old? Experts say that a mattress should be replaced every 8 years, by which time it would have amassed 10 pounds of dead skin cells.

YOUR OLD PHONES


You've upgraded, yet the old phone has languished in the junk drawer. Are you creating a museum of outdated tech? We didn't think so.

Here's how to get rid of the old tech in your life »

"FRIENDS" THAT EXHAUST YOU


Yes, even on Facebook (block or hide their updates if unfriending will cause more trouble), "friends" that exhaust you just aren't worth the trouble.

TRAVEL TOILETRIES


There are better ways to remember a vacation than the tiny bottles of toiletries that are currently cluttering up your under-sink cabinet. If they're many, many years old, it's time to toss 'em. If they're on the newer side, either use them or donate them to a shelter.

17 new bathroom organizing tricks to try »

YOUR DVR LIST


Watching episodes pile up can be oddly stressful for something that should be a relaxing activity. Clear it out and start fresh.

Kick off your new binge watch with this hotly-anticipated Netflix series »

From: Good Housekeeping US

This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.

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