Things to Throw Away, Donate or Recycle Right Away

It happens every January…the holiday decorations come down and the itch to get organized begins.  It really is the perfect time to tackle those closets and drawers,  to purge and unclutter all the corners of your home.  I actually love this process–I think it’s so cathartic, and there’s nothing better than getting rid of all the unnecessary and broken items taking up space. When your space is organized and decluttered, it brings peace and clarity, and I know that for me, I just function so much better when my home is in order. To help the process a little, I’ve made a list of things to throw away, donate, or recycle, based on each room in your home!


Things to Throw Away, Donate or Recycle

Here are more details on how to either dispose of, recycle, or donate your items..


Many of these things can and should be thrown away, but others can be donated or given repurpose. Anything broken or in disrepair can be disposed of or recycled properly, but there are plenty of things worth donating. Books, DVD’s, outgrown bikes, unused holiday items and decor that are in good shape are all things that can be taken to your local thrift store, shelter house, or Habitat Re-store.

When disposing of medicine, make sure to follow the FDA’s guidelines. Paint is another item that needs to be carefully disposed of.  Consider donating leftover paint to nonprofit organizations or charities–give them a call to see if it’s something they can use. If not, the paint will need to be evaporated and solidified before collection by your local waste management authority. Call 1-800-CLEANUP for more information. Any document that contains any personal information (like all of your receipts) should be shredded, not thrown away.

Make organization a doable project–you don’t have to do it all in one day! Make a goal and start small–maybe a drawer or two a day, a closet, or a room–depending on how much you need to do and what fits into your schedule  But the key is to make it a consistent effort–do something every day, and you will see real progress! You might also be interested in how I clean my home, and other organizing ideas!

*Originally posted January 7, 2017. Updated 2020.

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  1. Thanks Kierste!
    I should be able to do this, my kids are grown and out of the house!
    You are an inspiration for sure!

  2. So I just organized my closet a few days ago. Threw away almost half of its contents. lol

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        1. Great question! Elementary schools, preschools, hospitals, doctor’s offices, women’s shelters, are all great ideas for book donations!!

  4. Great list but simply throwing a lot of this away is harmful to the environment (medication, plastic ware, cleaning products, paint, electronics) and there are appropriate ways to recycle a lot of that. I’d also encourage donation of gently used unwanted products as opposed to simply tossing them. With so many in need in our communities one persons unloved stuffies is another persons treasure.

    1. I totally agree, which is why I talk about all of those things in my post. :) How to appropriately discard medicine, how to donate books and other items that are in good repair, etc.

    2. Did you even read the article? She discusses all of these concerns and more in detail.

      Great information. We are going to be moving soon and this will help with getting organized. We’ve lived here 23 years, and thankfully I do keep up with the cabinets and drawers.

  5. A good list for a good spring clearance! I really neede to throw some stuff out, and to clear space for some of my new projects. Youir list gave me some more good ideas. Thank you for sharing!

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  7. Thanks for sharing your list! What are some of your favorite places to donate/bring in for resale?

    1. The Habitat Restore, Goodwill, Salvation Army, local thrift shops, consignment stores, and charities are a few of my go-to places!

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