50 Household Items You Should Get Rid of on Buy Nothing Day
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to start getting rid of clutter or other household items you really no longer need, use Buy Nothing Day for that purpose. Buy Nothing Day as the same day as Black Friday and encourages consumers not to consume. It’s meant as a day of protest against consumerism and started back in 1992 in Canada. Buy Nothing Day activities include credit card cut ups, free street parties, a zombie walk where people around malls with blank stares and Whirl-mart where people steer shopping carts around shopping centers without buying anything. So avoid the vicious throngs lining up for doorbuster savings by staying home, unloading your unnecessary household goods and buy nothing.
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What to Hold on to
You've kept certain items around the house as a reminder of an experience but you don't need to have the object to trigger a memory. Your mind still holds onto the trip or special day you had that led you to keep a souvenir. Take a look in kitchen cabinets and make a note of how many plates and glasses you keep. Chances are you don't need them all.
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Get Rid of Books
What is this obsession people have with books? What do you need it for after you've read it? Unless you want to keep a book for sentimental reasons or like to re-read one, moving a bunch of books is a pain. They're heavy and cumbersome. Eliminate some of them by selling them at a Half Price Books or online. But if you've got enough books you can't give up, check out some ideas on how to build a bookcase.
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How to Downsize: Digitize Whatever You Can
Photos are keepsakes but unless you're regularly thumbing through books of them, there's not much reason to keep a physical copy of them. Save yourself some additional moving items by digitizing those photos. Do the same with any movies or CDs you've got sitting around collecting dust. For any remaining CDs or DVDs, make a wall cabinet to save on space and put those old CD bins to use as a twine dispenser.
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The Bra Recyclers have started a recycling campaign where bras can be sent in for reuse. Bras must be wearable and washed prior to being sent. The Bar Recyclers donate surplus bras to nonprofits who need them. Bras that aren't useable get sent to businesses that can repurpose them, like one that sells the wire. Other businesses can recycle the fabric for carpets or textiles. Bet you didn't know these 14 other items can be recycled as well.
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Nylons need to be cleaned before getting recycled because it melts at a lower temperature. That lower temperature means bacteria can survive. Timbuk2 will send you a coupon if you choose to recycle your bag from them. Just send your bag to them and once they get a pallet full of bags, they send them to TerraCycle for recycling. Bureo takes old nylon fishing nets and makes them into skateboards and sunglasses. Use those nylons to clean around the house.
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Crayons and Colored Pencils
Broken crayons can be recycled or turned into DIY picture frames for your favorite teacher. Don't keep a broken crayon or colored pencil around—it's broken. Learn how to take school-based items and make them into gifts.
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Hangers seem to just spontaneously spawn in the closet. Don't let them choke out your closet. Find a place to store extra hangers.
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You can sharpen old knives or get rid of them at a donation center. But don't keep multiple sets around the house. One good cutting knife should be enough. Learn how to sharpen knives at home.
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Just get rid of that chipped plate that makes you cringe every time you use it without realizing that you grabbed that dish. It's just a pain to eat off of and you've got plenty of other plates to choose from. But some people keep them around. You won't believe why Danes keep broken dishes. Figure out how to organize a kitchen shelf.
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Pantry Items and Spices
Pay attention to those best by dates on some of those pantry items. You might reach for some bay leaves one day and there might not be any aroma left with them. See how to organize a pantry so everything is clearly visible.
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Little Fido is spoiled rotten with toys and treats but don't let it get out of hand. Don't let him keep an old toy because you think it's his favorite. He'll likely find a new favorite given the opportunity. Check out other tips for dealing with pets.
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Working out a gym might be a better fit for you than sitting on that exercise bike at home, so trade in that bike. There are plenty of other people thinking some exercise equipment is the perfect addition to jumpstart an effort to get in shape. Find out how to downsize so you can make the most of the space in your house.
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Those furniture rehab projects have sat dormant for a long time now. Are you really going to get started on them or is it becoming a pipedream? With some hints, you can repair that furniture.
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Plastic Storage Containers that no Longer have Lids that Fit
That container used to heat spaghetti has heated one too many noodles and the lid doesn't fit anymore or even worse, you've lost it. Sure a little plastic wrap would make it so you could store food but you've likely got other containers you've been using. But if you like think you can repurpose those things, you'll like creative storage options. You'll never guess why you should keep an empty egg carton in the bathroom.
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You were determined to learn how to play piano once—for about a month. Now that keyboard has sat in the corner of the basement for years and you can barely find middle C. Donate that piece of musical equipment to someone who will learn to use it. Learn how to store difficult items if you really have to keep them around.
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Potpourri is great for clearing out some smells but it's not as great when it comes part of your décor. If that potpourri isn't smelling as sweet as it once did, chuck it. Get something new in there. If you've got some odors you need to get rid of, learn how to eliminate odor.
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Games with Missing Pieces
Part of the fun with some board games is if you lost a game piece you made your own but after a while, as more and more pieces disappear it's best to cut your losses. Monopoly is no fun without the car, dog, top hat and the cannon gone. No one wants to be the thimble. No one. Learn how to build your own board games and other game room ideas.
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Appliances You Don't Use
Some thoughtful in-law gave you the latest technological advance in drink mixology a couple of years ago. They live three states away and have never stepped foot in your place. You can get rid of that appliance that seems so handy yet has no place in your life. Or if you like that stuff, find some ideas with smart appliances on the market now.
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Unless you feel crafty or your garage walls are looking pretty bare, there's no sense in keeping a set of old license plates around. Sure, you're a bit nostalgic but take a picture of your plates if you want to remember them. Prevent theft of your license plates with security screws.
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You may have to keep some receipts for tax purposes but you don't necessarily need to keep a paper copy. Try making pdfs of receipts or take a picture of them that you can easily print if needed. Make sure to destroy personal documents after you no longer need them.
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Discarding business cards ought to be part of a digitizing process. Maybe the first time you get a business card is cool but keeping a box of them around isn't something to brag about. Get that home office organized with some DIY tips.
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Those bridesmaids dresses have to go after the wedding. You don't need a 27 Dresses thing going on in your closet. Check out consignment shops to recoup some cash or get a tax write-off by donating it. Either way don't waste closet space on things you've worn once. Find easy ways to grow your closet space.
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If you've got a key that you don't remember what it goes to, then that's probably a sign to get rid of it. Try recycling that key instead of throwing it in the trash. Got a twisted key, learn how to fix a bent key.
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Old Freezer Items
There's likely a bag of frozen vegetables buried somewhere in your freezer and has been for a long time. Go through and check to see what you want to keep. Or come up with a clever device to make things more visible in your freezer. Check out other cleaning ideas you should check on every once in a while.
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Some people save calendars to transfer dates and then forget to throw the old one out. If you use a calendar to keep track of things you did during the past year, try saving it in a different format and let time fly by throwing the old calendar in the trash. Find other tips for organizing a home office.
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Lost Socks or Use Them to Clean
It'd be nice to know one day where all those socks go that mysteriously disappear. When you're left with one sock, put it to use for dusting or better yet, protect your safety glasses in the shop with one.
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Old Puzzle Books
Word searches and crossword puzzles are fun but they're not items you frame and throw on a wall. If you've got a half-completed book from a vacation, you're going to forget you still have it by the time you take your next one. Try recycling those books and discover once and for all what's really recyclable and what's not.
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Old Halloween Costumes
That Care Bear costume you rocked 10 years ago looked a lot better then and probably fit better, too. As much as you love dressing up for Halloween, what are the chances you want to be the same thing again? That's the fun of Halloween, you get to dress up as something new every year. Get some ideas for your next costume with these duct tape creations. Photo: Courtesy of Destination Imagination
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Kids grow and those clothes you hoped would make for hand-me-downs don't fit baby brother or baby sister. Don't forget to get rid of them if that's the case. Donate them to a local Salvation Army or donation center. Keep your kids' closets neat so you know what they've got for clothing.
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Late fall is probably a good time to check your furnace filter. It's best to keep the filter clean during the winter in order to keep your furnace running efficiently. A dirty filter can make the furnace work harder to heat a home. Find which furnace filters are the best before you buy.
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Periodicals but not The Family Handyman
If you subscribe to magazines make sure you clear them out after you're done with them. Don't hang on to an entire magazine for one story, clip it out and put it somewhere you know to look for it. Except keep every issue of The Family Handyman around. In fact you might want to keep two copies in case one gets spilled on. Find a place for those magazines with a storage container.
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Unless you're waiting for a call to be on Extreme Couponing get rid of all those inserts that come in the paper you don't need. The grocery store keeps books of coupons by the front door. The nice thing is those coupons have expiration dates so pick a day each month to clean out your coupon folder. Ditch those coupons and find the 15 things you should buy at Costco.
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Grandma always gets the best birthday cards for you but you're not obligated to hang on to it for eternity. Establish a rule, George Costanza said the rule is a minimum of two days. Try keeping a card organizer around during the holidays if you really need to display cards.
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The scraps from your craft project five years ago aren't coming back like a fashion cycle so don't hang on to them. Use what you can but don't get set on keeping a bunch of supplies around. Try organizing those craft items with a pegboard.
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A phone book is sort of turning into a historical artifact these days. They're pretty handy when you have a wobbly table but when you can look up a number on the web from your phone and dial in one touch, it's hard to justify having a phone book around. If you really do have a wobbly table or chair, found out how to fix a broken chair.
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Everything is on the internet today, even the menu for your favorite takeout place, so put all those old menus in the recycle bin. Besides you always get the same thing from that place anyway. Make sure your recycling bin stays out of the way in the garage with these great recycling bin hangers.
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Chuck out clunky old remotes when you get new electronics for the home. Sometimes those devices will get lost in the shuffle. Check out a clever way to keep your coffee table uncluttered.
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Those old prescription bottles can pile up if you forget to throw them out after you are done with them. Additionally, keeping old pills around can be a safety issue if you have young children. Fortunately there are takeback programs like Take it to the Box where expired medications can be dropped off in a box at a local law enforcement center. Old prescriptions should never get flushed down the toilet and neither should these items.
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Makeup will dry up if it goes unused and when it does, make sure to toss it. If you keep it around to keep track of what it is, write it down somewhere. Purging your bathroom drawers will open things up for your home. Items such as shampoo and conditioner caps, hair gel tubes, hair spray triggers, lip balm tubes, soap dispensers, mascara tubes, powder cases and eyeliner pencils can be recycled. Learn other ways to open up your bathroom.
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Old Towels or Bedding
Having a few old towels around is helpful for cleaning but they can build up in a hurry if you're not careful. Go ahead and get rid of them after they've outlived their usefulness. Find out how to keep your linens fresh without chemicals.
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Your prescription changes over time so keeping those old glasses around isn't helping anybody. The frames might be nice but you don't really need more than two pairs of glasses. You can donate old glasses to the Lions Club, which has set up Lions Eyeglass Recycling Centers. Take care of your eyes by preventing injuries with safety glasses.
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It's pretty easy to get rid of old clothes, you just have to bring yourself to admit you're probably not going to wear that campaign T-shirt from the 1980s again. You can donate them to a local charity or find a donation bin like Disabled American Veterans place near grocery stores. Still can't part with that tube top? Find out how to triple your closet storage.
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Before getting rid of an old computer, make sure all your personal information has been deleted to prevent identity theft. If you have a laptop check out what kind of battery it has so you can find out what to do with it. Some laptop batteries have special requirements for recycling. Find out some other interesting items you can recycle that you didn't think you could.
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According the Environmental Protection Agency, back in 2007 only 10 percent of cellphones got recycled. Drop boxes have sprouted up across the country but you can still contact the cellphone company to send an old phone back. Or you can donate it to one of several charities that have set up recycling programs. Find out how to boost your cellphone signal at home.
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You found the perfect shoes for that outfit a long time ago and you don't even wear that outfit anymore, so why not lose the shoes? Or you've replaced your lawn mowing shoes three times but still have the previous two pair sitting around. Ditch those shoes, you might even be able to recycle them. Make sure your shoes aren't stomping all over your mudroom with some shoe storage hacks.
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If you're swimming in staplers or can't find your way through the maze of paper clips, highlighters and sticky notes, get rid of it. Don't make your home office unbearable as well. Check out these home office tips to make your life easier.
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You've got the power cord for the original Nintendo still but the rest of it has disappeared. Get rid of the cord and any other homeless cords you've got laying around. And for those ones that you still need, try organizing them with toilet paper rolls.
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What’s the point of keeping around plastic silverware at home? How will your guests feel when you hand them the plastic silverware? Do yourself a favor and get rid of that plastic silverware, along with those tiny condiment packets. That relish is about to hit puberty in your fridge. Learn more about recycling and a six-pack hack worth trying.
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Dry Out Your Old Paint
If you have a bunch of almost empty cans of latex paint and don’t want to take them to the recycling center, here's a tip. Spread a sheet of plastic—painter's plastic is cheap and readily available at home centers and hardware stores—in an out-of-the way spot and dump a thin layer of paint on it to dry. When the liquid has evaporated, bundle it up and throw it in the trash. Make sure your paint lasts by doing the right preparation. See what you're forgetting to do before painting.
Originally Published: November 21, 2017