Things You're Holding Onto

Never Use

That You'll Probably

Sort through this ephemera and resolve to keep just a few precious items that hold special significance, such as rare baseball cards or wedding invitations, and then recycle or discard the rest.

Old Cookbooks

With your scanned recipes and the thousands available online within a few clicks, you may never need to crack open a cookbook again.

Curb clutter and modernize your space by recycling those dusty periodicals or donating them to local medical offices or other small businesses with magazine-filled lobbies.

rom EcoATM to Best Buy, there are plenty of places to recycle old phones when you upgrade to faster, more feature-rich models.

Incomplete Board Games

You might even consider passing the game along to friends who are missing parts of their own sets.

Unused Perfume

If you'd like to keep the bottles, transfer the liquid into throwaway containers for disposal and then wash and dry the bottles before you put them to new uses.

Go through your medicine cabinet periodically to remove expired pills and tablets, then follow the safe disposal instructions on the labels.

Product Boxes

If you’re concerned about throwing away vital accessories or instruction manuals, retrieve them immediately after you unpack the product and stash them in a safe place.

Outmoded Fashions

If you haven’t worn something in the last year but it’s still in good condition, wash it and resell or donate it.

Local electronics recycling programs generally accept cords and cables in addition to the devices they power.


Either throw it out or wash it and donate it to a local animal shelter. (Most secondhand stores won't accept used pillows.)

Out-of-Date Sunscreen

If there’s no expiration date, make some educated guesses: Sunscreens are generally good for three years from their manufacture date.

Take holiday trimmings that are in good shape to Goodwill or another resale store. For broken string lights, check with your local recycling program, or look into a mail-in recycling service, such as as HolidayLEDs.

Extended Warranties

Sellers of many big-ticket items, from cars to appliances, encourage you to purchase extended warranties that kick in when the standard warranty expires.

You may have to pay a cancellation fee, but you will probably save a bundle by stopping payments now instead of continuing to pay for a membership you have no plans to use.