We all know that clutter is the enemy, but it’s hard to let go of our stuff, especially when we’re so used to, well, using it.
We all make the mistake of holding on to things around our home that we don’t use at all. But as soon as we empty out a closet, or clear up cluttered spaces, we feel a sense of accomplishment and relief. It’s worth it to spend a little time each week going through shelves, closets, and really any space in your home to declutter and reorganize. And why wait for spring? Colder months are the perfect time to donate to a local shelter or consignment shop.
I’m not going to go all Marie Kondo on you, but some of your things have to go. Discard, recycle, upcycle—whatever you need to do—but purge these things right now. And, once you dispose of these things, we’ve recommended products that are worth your money to replace them with.
So go ahead, use this list of things you need to replace in your home as your new to-do list. You can thank us later.
1. Your wire hangers that ruin your clothes
You get wire hangers for free with your dry cleaning, but they’re actually not good for your wardrobe at all! They leave bumps in the shoulders of your clothes, and they can rust and create stains on your fine duds. If you decide to give them a toss, turn to your local cleaners—they might take them back to recycle them. If that doesn’t work, try bringing them to a consignment shop (just promise not to throw them out!) Once you ditch those old hangers, opt for huggable hangers instead, your clothes will thank you.
2. Your old pairs of stretched out underwear
Everyone has a pair of underwear that they can’t seem to get rid of. Even if nobody else sees them, you know you have them on. Here’s a tip—throw them away! If the elastic band is worn out, then so too has their welcome.
One of our staff writers swears by Me Undies, and recommended their boxer briefs in a holiday gift guide for men. He explains that the Los Angeles-based underwear company sells high-quality, stylish underwear—for a pretty hefty price—and that the underwear are the best he’s ever used.
If you subscribe to their underwear membership, you can have a fresh pair of undies delivered every month right to your door, which sounds odd but is actually very useful, so you know when to throw your older pairs out. Your underwear drawer will look amazing, and so will you.
3. Your yoga mat, because it’s a breeding ground for bacteria
Your yoga mat, which makes direct contact with your skin, is harboring loads of bacteria and fungi, and cleaning it with soap and water will only spread them around. So, recycle your yoga mat, and if you’re still practicing, we recommend that you get yourself a new, environmentally friendly one.
4. Your worn out running shoes that hurt your feet
When they’re no longer winning the race—or just too smelly—you should get rid of your running shoes. According to Livestrong.com a person who runs up to 4 times a week should replace their shoes every 6 months, so to avoid injury.
You can recycle your old sneakers through Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program, and get yourself a new pair, like these mesh ones that will allow your feet to breathe.
5. Your toothbrush, for obvious reasons
To keep your mouth as clean as possible, you should replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. To cut down on waste, consider buying toothbrushes made from recycled plastic, or check out our picks for the best electric toothbrushes of 2018. With an electric toothbrush, you can replace the heads every 3 months.
6. Any makeup that you use near your eyes
Powder blush and shadow can last for years, but definitely toss your mascara every three months. Bacteria on your eyelashes get pumped into the tube whenever you use it. Luckily, there are good, inexpensive mascaras on the market to replace the one you throw away. And if you are a fan of luxury brand mascaras, we suggest buying the travel sized options available at any major makeup retailer—they’re cheaper, and you’ll use them up quicker!
7. Practically everything you are sleeping on
The thought of pounds of dead skin cells, dust mites, and dust mite waste collecting in my pillows keeps me up at night. It is seriously time to retire your old pillows—plus, you probably need better support for your neck and back anyway. We tested several popular pillows on the market to find out which ones are the best, and worth your money. You should replace your pillow every year and your mattress after 7 years.
8. Your ugly threadbare towels that could go to an animal shelter
If you wouldn’t be proud to offer them to guests, you shouldn’t have to use them yourself. Animal shelters often need towels to clean up and care for animals. Call and see if you can donate your old ones. Then, treat yourself to a new set of towels. Some white, fluffy ones would be nice.
9. The old magazines collecting under your bed and on your coffee table
Recycle that big pile of back issues of InStyle and House Beautiful, or pass on educational or news magazines to a teacher who can use them for his or her class. From now on, get digital versions of your favorite magazines.
10. That old piece of furniture you keep telling yourself you’ll refinish
Yes, I’m talking about that great piece you found at a yard sale. Either give it away today, or get to work on it! For a fast transformation, grab a paintbrush and slap on a coat of chalk paint. Using this is a one step process, so you don’t have to sand first. But you can wax it at the end if you want to.
Also, any piece of furniture with drawers can be instantly updated with stylish knob replacements. I bought my refurbished dresser solely because of the decorative knobs…and it was a great decision.