11 Things to Throw Out (And how to dispose of them)

We all know how easy it is to build up clutter when you’re not looking (Or even when you are).  As a minimalist and someone who stresses out when she is surrounded by clutter, there are things that can be disposed of without much trouble.  Others are a bit more tricky.

1. Old Bills & Tax Returns:

Most of all because now most of these things are in digital copies.  Tax returns should be kept for 7 years.  Monthly bills can be disposed of unless you are planning on writing them off on your taxes.  Big ticket items should be stapled to the warranty card and placed in your files.

How to dispose: A confetti Shredder and then they can go into the trash.

2. Single Earrings:

We are always thinking that we are going to find the lost one but let’s be real, you’re not going to.

How to Dispose of: Some people take the backs off and turn them into little magnets with a hot glue gun.  But again, be honest with yourself.  Are you really going to do that?

3. Scratched CD’s and DVDs:

In a few years these probably are going to way of the floppy drive.  There are some products that you can get to repair and clean them so that hopefully they are useable.  But if not its time to let go.

How to Dispose of: Consider donating them if you can or selling them. If they are completely unusable, find an e-recycling facility.

4. Old Crayons: 

As a little girl, my mom would get cookie cutters and we would put all our crayons in them after taking the wrappers off, put them in the oven, and melt them into one giant super crayon.

How to Dispose of: If you have no need for a Super Crayon (though I dont see why you wouldn’t!) you can always ship them off to Crazy crayons who recycles Crayons made in the USA.

5. Old Cell Phones, Cords, Cell Phone Accessories:

Have you ever heard of a rat king?  I want to say google it but it’s disgusting.  Well, this is what happens with old cords.  You’d be shocked at how many you have laying around that don’t fit.  My parents are the kind that never throws anything out but man the amount of cords in this house drives me bonkers.

How to Dispose of:  Most carriers will offer you some sort of store credit when you trade a phone in.  If not there are kiosks in most stores.  You can donate them as well at places like Best Buy.

6. Greeting Cards:

If they are over a month old then you probably aren’t keeping them.  If they have some sort of sentimental Value, put them in a scrapbook or photo album.  But if they are laying in a drawer you probably forgot about them so they probably don’t mean that much to you.

How to Dispose of:  Seems like it should be easy but it’s really not.  Cards can only be recycled if they are only paper.  Any glitter, plastic or ribbons and they need to be tossed in the normal trash.

7. Spices: 

Just because they are dry doesn’t mean that they last forever.  Go by the date on the bottle but the rule generally is that most spices only last for 12 months.  The more finely ground, the faster they go bad.

How to Dispose of: Dump spices in the trash but you can recycle the washed out bottles or use them as travel size containers.

8. Expired Beauty Products:

Even products with all that yucky stuff I talked about in my skincare post does badly.  Makeup like lipstick should be tossed out once a year.  Eye makeup like mascara and eyeshadow should be tossed out every six.

How to Dispose of: Slightly expired unopened makeup can be donated to places like women’s shelters.  But once you’ve opened it, toss it.  Some Companies like MAC have makeup recycling programs.

9. Old Knives:

With some good knives and proper maintenance, knives can last forever.  But if the handle breaks or you let them get too far along, letting them go is the safest thing you can do.  A dull knife is actually the most dangerous thing you can have in the kitchen.

How to dispose of:  Tossing them sounds dangerous too right?  It can be.  Tape some cardboard around them and put them in a sealed container before recycling.

10. Old Batteries: 

We always talk about chemicals.  Well, that is nothing on the corrosive, toxic chemicals in batteries.

How to dispose of: Call2Recycle has over 30,000 locations. State governments normally have drop-offs for them as well.

11. Expired Meds and Vitamins: 

You can’t take them but with the opioid problems in the world right now tossing them in the trash hardly seems like a good idea either.  God forbid someone overdose with something with your name on it, kids get a hold of them, or their toxins leak into the soil at the dump.

How to Dispose of: The EPA recommends dissolving these in warm water and then draining it into coffee grounds or kitty litter.

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