6 things you can throw out (or donate) right now

6 things you can throw out (or donate) right now

It’s time for spring cleaning!

When Pat and I moved from a one-bedroom apartment in Charlotte to a two-bedroom apartment in Durham, I was adamant that less stuff needed to leave Charlotte than what came in. Both of us are terrible about hoarding things – for me, it’s clothes, books and office supplies, and for Patrick, it’s t-shirts and papers.

If you are in the mood for spring cleaning, I hope this list of things you can go ahead and toss will help you!

Note: I donate whenever possible and try to NEVER throw something away that could be given a new life. I sell clothes on Poshmark and at Plato’s Closet, and I donate items to responsible organizations in my area. Do your research!

Clothes and accessories that are damaged.

If you’ve been hanging onto a shirt with a ripped seam or a pair of pants with a broken zipper and you haven’t repaired anything yet, toss them. This also applies to socks with holes. You don’t know how to darn a sock, I’m guessing, so toss them.

P.S. You will probably never use those extra buttons, either.

Kitchen tools you’ve never used.

Consider each and every appliance and tool and gadget and Tupperware container you have in your cabinets. How can you minimize?

If you haven’t cooked with an item more than once in a year, I think that’s a good barometer for sending it on its way to a new, loving home.

Clothes you haven’t worn in more than four seasons.

If you can’t remember the last time you wore something, and it isn’t very nostalgic to you, it probably can serve to go.

My rule of thumb is six months, since most of my clothes aren’t seasonal, but if you rotate clothes in and out for warm and cold weather, look at the length of the season – if you have a few sweaters you didn’t reach for at all last year from October to March, what makes you think you’ll want those sweaters this year?


I’m looking at you, Patrick. This includes but is not limited to:

1) Magazines that you don’t plan to frame or read again. If you need or want to keep an article from a magazine, rip it out or find it online. (Why do we forget the internet exists when it comes to hoarding paper?)

2) Brochures, playbills and other items that you are keeping in a box. I know you want to keep your playbill from every Broadway show and your ticket stub from every concert you’ve ever seen and I am here for it. Frame them or put them in a scrapbook.

3) Manuals. If you need to figure out what is wrong with your microwave, you will Google it. I guarantee you that you will never read the instructions for putting together your IKEA bookshelf again.

4) Other papers, handouts, etc. from work, doctor’s offices, puppy training (looking at myself, here) that you don’t need for your records. And if you do need them for your records, scan them or put them in a file folder. Stop piling them up.

Books you hated and won’t read again.

I love books and think full shelves are the best kind of shelves.

However, if you read a book and did not enjoy it, and if looking at it will only bring you grief or make you annoyed, donate it!

Only keep books that you loved. I’m about to purge my shelves and donate anything I didn’t rate higher than three stars. It’s time!

Want to get a head start?

If you’re ready to start spring cleaning, grab three things: A trash bag, a box or bag for things that are misplaced or cluttering up a surface, and a box or bag for donations. Walk around your house in three passes.

  1. On the first pass, toss everything that’s trash. That’s easy! Papers, actual trash, random things I meant to throw away but left on a dresser or nightstand. All of it goes.
  2. On the second pass, put everything that can’t be quickly and easily put away and stored into your clutter container. You can go throw and find those items homes in a little bit.
  3. And on the third pass, go ahead and prepare a donation container for anything you see readily available that has served its purpose in your home.

Boom! That’s my quick three-pass strategy for instantly feeling better about the state of my home.

Spring Cleaning

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