If your home  is cluttered with a bunch of space-hogging stuff, deciding what to keep and what to toss can seem like a huge task.

So why not start with the items that definitely should go? Here’s a list of 50 things to throw away, donate or recycle right away:

50. Scratched Teflon Pans

besch?digte Teflonbeschichtung einer Pfanne

The coating on old nonstick pans can flake into your food. Also get rid of any pots and pans you never use, said Leslie Gail, owner of Declare Order Professional Organizing. “They’re just taking up cabinet space,” she said.

49. T-Shirt From the 5K You Ran Years Ago

If you have a lot of T-Shirts, arrange them from most to least favorite and cut your collection by at least 20 percent, said Enza Ketcham, a blogger and teacher from Kansas City, MO, who is decluttering to to put her house on the market.

48. Love Letters From Your Ex

You don’t want your husband, wife or current crush to find the steamy letters from Mr. or Ms. Wrong.

47. A Tangle of Random Cords

Purge any cords that go to old devices that are obsolete, broken, or lost.

46. Expired Food

Apocalyptic December 2012 Concept

Check your freezer for bags of shriveled peas and your pantry for stale food. Even canned food doesn’t last forever.

45. Unusable Containers

Get rid of any plastic containers missing lids. While you are at it, get rid of lids that don’t have containers.

44. Stale Spices

Herbs and spices start to lose their flavor after a year or so.

43. Your College Posters

Got your degree? It’s time to graduate to real art.

42. Books You’ve Read

Aside from classics you love, pass along or donate books you’ve finished, professional organizer Kim Oser, of Need Another You, recommends.

41. Supplies for a Defunct Hobby

Gave up a hobby years ago? Those knitting needles, jewelry making tools or scuba fins need to go.

40. Lonely (And Holey) Socks

Go through your socks and get rid the singles. If any have holes, go ahead and ditch the pair.

39. Worn Out Writing Instruments

Find and toss dried up pens and markers.

38. Paper Clutter

associated with old paper packs

Throw away old receipts, junk mail and flyers from past events. Papers strewn on flat surfaces create a feeling of anxiety, said professional organizer Sabrina Quairoli.

37. Old Makeup

“Makeup is prone to bacterial contamination, discoloration and drying out,”said Nancy Haworth, professional organizer and owner of On Task Organizing, LLC in Raleigh, NC. Here’s a guide on what to toss when.

36. Sports Trophies

Do you really need a reminder that your junior high soccer team won third place in the regional championships?

35. Your 10 Books on How to Get Organized

Believe it or not, some people have three copies of the same organizing book. “Clearly the first and second copy didn’t help,” Oser said.

34. Stuff You Planned to Re-Gift

“Certain items are a total, dead, instant giveaway that you are re-gifting,” said Tonia Tomlin, founder and president of Sorted Out. Get rid of candles, soap, weird CDs and boxed sets of bath products, she said.

33. Useless Swag

Toss those “freebies” you got at conferences, mall cosmetic counters and sporting events, Haworth said.

32. Expired Medicine

Discard expired medicine safely.

31. Fad Diet Books

If the grapefruit diet didn’t work 10 years ago, shed pounds by getting rid of the book.

30. The Rubber Band Ball from the Office Job You Hated

It was a symbol of resistance against your evil boss, but now it just brings back bad memories.

29. Plastic Produce Bags

Many people stuff these bags in a drawer out of guilt. Toss or recycle them and consider switching to reusable produce bags.

28. Cookbooks You Never Use

If you use recipe apps and websites, get rid of all but your very favorite cookbooks.

27. Dried Up Glue

Toss bottles of dried up glue and other old products.

26. Bulky Paper Clips

Unless you can find an alternative use for binder paper clips, get rid of all but a few.

25. Old Sunscreen

Man with sunburned skin

Toss sunscreen that is expired or more than three years old.

24. Outdated Prescription Glasses

If your prescription has changed, donate your old glasses.

23. Magazines from Months Ago

“Magazines are heavy, bulky and take up lots of space, said Stacy Erickson, owner of Home Key Organization in Seattle, WA. “Plus, you can find almost any article online now.”

22. Mangled Wire Hangers

Toss these and unify your closet with sturdy matching hangers.

21. That Lotion That Smells Weird

Dispose of half-full bottles of body lotion, bubble bath or face cream you’ve had for a year. “If you haven’t made it through the bottle by now, you probably won’t,” Erickson said.

20. A Flimsy Wine Corkscrew

Ditch your cheap spare wine corkscrew and any other cheap kitchen gizmos you have multiples of.

19. The Item Your Pet Destroyed

Part with the chair your cat used as a scratching post or the once pretty woven basket your dog chewed to shreds.

18. Jewelry You Never Wear

Get rid of jewelry that’s out of style, unflattering or doesn’t go with any of your outfits.

17. The Ratty Thrift Store Find You Never Painted

Broken old chair.

If you bought an item as a “project” you never completed, let it go.

16. Bad Photos

Still have physical photos? Get rid of old prints that are blurry, too dark, too light or where you don’t recognize the people or place.

15. Random Knick Knacks

Take organizing guru Marie Kondo’s advice and ditch stuff that doesn’t “spark joy.” If that pink flamingo brings you indescribable happiness, display it proudly.

14. Broken Laundry Baskets

If you can’t fix your broken laundry baskets, toss them.

13. Rusty Tools

Old tools on wooden background

If you don’t have the patience to restore your rusty tools, get rid of them.

12. Your Third Soup Ladle

Duplicate kitchen utensils clutter your kitchen, making it harder to cook. “Too many cooks” applies to spatulas too.

11. Old Holiday Cards

Save only the most special cards. Snap photos of others, said Offir Gutelzon, CEO of Keepy, which lets you digitally store memories.

10. Old Credit Cards

Leaving expired credit cards lying around can put you at risk for ID theft. Shred ’em.

9. Your Point-and-Shoot Camera

Get rid of any outdated electronics, especially cameras made obsolete by cell phones.

8. Incomplete Games

Teamwork concept

“Go through all the games that are missing pieces and trash them,” Ketcham said.

7. Carryout Detritus

Chances are, you have a drawer stuffed with wooden chopsticks, ketchup and soy sauce packets and flimsy plastic forks. Clear it out.

6. Furniture You’re Saving for Your Kids

It’s likely that your offspring won’t want the furniture in the future anyway, said Seana Turner, founder of The Seana Method.

5. Anything With a Broken Zipper

Unless you plan to have it repaired, a broken zipper renders any item useless.

4. Your Stash of Twist Ties

Toss old, ratty twist ties you saved from bread bags.

3. Travel Brochures

Recycle your collection of travel brochures from past vacations.

2. Old Cell Phones

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If you’ve got your previous two or three phones, donate, sell or recycle them. But delete those nude selfies first, you rascal.

1. Worn Out Sneakers

Ditch your athletic shoes after 300 to 500 miles of running or walking, or 45 to 60 hours of aerobics, basketball or tennis.

Complete this list, and then you can tackle the more difficult decisions about what to keep and what to toss.
Allie Johnson
  • http://www.TheSeanaMethod.com/ Seana Turner

    These lists are always worth a read… I love the one about the books on organizing. Owning (and even reading!) these books is inspiring, but doesn’t get you organized, similar to the pile of empty containers or articles you’ve clipped with pretty, organized images. Let it all go – that is really how to start!

    • http://www.sparefoot.com Jodi Bart Holzband

      Thanks, Seana!

  • ohsolinda

    What an inspirational list! And so timely too. Spring is the perfect time to let go of the excess. #27 and #39 are ones that really resonated with me. I can’t stand picking up a pen or glue stick to discover that they are dried out and unusable. Well worth doing some supply editing.

    • http://www.sparefoot.com Jodi Bart Holzband

      I try to throw out writing instruments as soon as they start to be frustrating to write with but glue is a really annoying one. I rarely use it so often when I need it, it’s dried out!

  • http://www.sabrinasorganizing.com/blog Sabrina Quairoli

    Awesome! I find that the wire hangers are the easiest to get rid of for me. The most difficult for me is remembering to get rid of makeup (facial care items) that I tried and didn’t care for. So, to remind me, in the spring, I go into the bathroom and go through each cabinet and weed through all the stuff and get rid of the products, I just don’t use any more. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.sparefoot.com Jodi Bart Holzband

      Absolutely. I have a drawer in the kitchen of items I “may need.” But you know what – I never need that stuff!

    • Sherry Ledet Thornburg

      Wire hangers can go to the nearest dry cleaners. They will love you for the gift.

  • Liana George

    What a great list! So many things that can easily be discarded if we just took the time to declutter! I think there may be a few on here I need to get rid of now too :)

    • http://www.sparefoot.com Jodi Bart Holzband

      Totally!

  • http://www.janetbarclay.com/ Janet Barclay

    Oh no – I have a few of these!

    • http://www.sparefoot.com Jodi Bart Holzband

      Now you have me curious as to which ones?

      • http://www.janetbarclay.com/ Janet Barclay

        11, 21, 32, 42, 44

        • http://www.sparefoot.com Jodi Bart Holzband

          The expired medicine and funky smelling lotions will be easy and fun to get rid of. I just tossed a bunch of these myself this morning!

          • http://www.janetbarclay.com/ Janet Barclay

            Well, the lotions actually smell okay, but they have been here for more than a year.