18 Household Items You Should Toss Out Immediately

Written By Jill Taylor

Our homes can quickly become cluttered and messy when we don’t throw out our old, broken, or unused items. To keep your house tidier and safer, you should try to stay on top of organizing your things. Here are 18 common items in your house that you should clear out.

Expired Medications

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The FDA states, “once the expiration date has passed there is no guarantee that the medicine will be safe and effective” and “failing to safely dispose of old medications … leads to dangerous drugs ending up in the wrong hands.” Keep yourself and your family safe by disposing of any old medications safely.

Old Makeup and Skincare

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Your face is a delicate part of your body, so you need to be careful when applying any chemicals to it. Makeup and skincare products that are past their prime (and expiration dates) could irritate your skin and even cause infections. While containers can be recycled, old products should be thrown out.

Worn-Out Shoes

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We all have that one pair of shoes we just can’t let go of, but old shoes are not good for supporting your feet. They can be uncomfortable and even lead to health issues. There are many fun ways to upcycle shoes, like turning them into plant pots or even cleaning rags!

Broken Electronics

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A broken TV or desktop PC can be annoying to move out of the house. But these bulky items take up a lot of space and aren’t useful or decorative at all. When recycling them, make sure you properly wipe all of your personal data from them to keep your information safe.

Old Spices

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Not to be confused with the popular male personal hygiene brand, old cooking spices can lose their flavor and strength over time. If your spice rack is looking a little dated, consider refreshing it with some new additions. You could add some exciting, experimental flavors to your favorite recipes.

Plastic Containers with BPA

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Some plastic containers contain BPA, which can contaminate your food and put your health at risk. Mayo Clinic suggests that BPA can cause “possible health effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children.” Replace your old plastic containers with BPA-free alternatives to keep your family safe.

Opened Paint Cans

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Although leftover paint can be perfect for small creative projects and touching up your walls, it can also be a hazard. Opened paint cans are a spill risk when they’re not closed or sealed properly, but luckily, they’re often accepted by disposal programs. This can change between areas, so check your closest one.


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There are much more eco-friendly pest control methods than pesticides. The alternatives are usually safer, too, as pesticides can become more toxic over time and are dangerous to your local environment if poured down the drain. It’s always best to try and avoid these chemicals.

Expired Pet Food

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Feeding your dog or cat food that has gone past its expiry date can lead to diarrhea and vomiting. To keep your furry friends safe, make sure you store your pet food correctly to make it last longer, and when it’s spoiled, throw it out.

Old Bedding And Pillows

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If you’ve been using the same bedding for months or even years, it could become worn out. This can affect how well you sleep, which could have a knock-on effect on your health. You can easily upcycle fabrics in sewing projects or make some unique clothes and accessories.

Magazines and Newspapers

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Having a few magazines on your coffee table is perfectly fine, but when the old editions of newspapers start stacking up in your garage, it might be time for a clean-out. Having lots of paper stored in your house can be a fire hazard, but luckily, it’s easy to recycle.

Unused Exercise Equipment

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Along with gym memberships, unused treadmills and dumbbells are a big annoyance in many American homes. Even as early as 2009, The New York Times suggested that “nearly 40 percent of people surveyed said they used their home exercise machines far less than they had planned.” You can free up space by selling them.

Outdated Financial Documents

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You might not realize it, but your old financial documents are actually a huge security risk for your home. Shredding old documents can protect you from identity theft, and scanning and digitally storing your records can save space as well as keep you safe.

Worn Towels and Linens

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Towels and linens don’t really improve with age – they end up feeling rough, collecting holes, and generally not being fit for purpose. You can turn them into cleaning rags or pet bedding or even donate them to your local animal shelter.

Broken Kitchenware

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Everyone has a few cracked plates or chipped mugs hanging around their kitchen. However, broken kitchenware isn’t nice to use or look at, so you should really consider updating your collection. Try choosing durable and appealing replacements so that your crockery lasts longer.

Expired Sunscreen

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Although sunscreen doesn’t expire easily, it can last for around three years after being opened, it does eventually stop working. According to the BBC, “old or expired” sunscreen is “not effective” and can “put children at risk.” Try to use in-date sunscreen whenever you can to keep your family sunburn-free.

Broken Pet Toys

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Sometimes, our pets can get emotionally attached to their favorite toys, but when they break, it’s time to throw them out. Broken toys can be choking hazards for your four-legged companions or cause other injuries. Avoid the risk and the expensive vet visit by buying safe, durable toys.

Crumpled Gift Wrap

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Finally, it’s time to think about the holiday season. We all seem to end up with odds and ends when it comes to gift wrap, promising ourselves that we’ll use torn and crumpled gift wrap next year and then never use it! You can easily declutter your home by getting rid of your old gift wrap.

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