65 Things you can throw away right now

used batteries
This article covers:

Sometimes junk hides in plain sight. I’m just as guilty of collecting it as anyone else. So I’ve compiled this list of 65 things you can throw away right now. Before I begin this mammoth list I have a confession to make. Strictly speaking, these aren’t all things you can throw away. The good news is that you might be able to make money selling some of them. Because I work at Vintage Cash Cow some of my selling suggestions are going to be totally biased (in the interests of making you money) but some of my other ideas will surprise you…

The buttons in plastic baggies that come with clothes

I don’t know about you, but I have an entire stack of these. Some of them are for clothes I don’t even own anymore! If you are a crafter, add them to your craft box, but only if you’re going to use them. Otherwise, throw them away.


I threw away a whole stack of these when I cleared out my paperwork. Unless you keep every letter organized and tucked away in its original envelope, there’s no need to keep them. No adding them to that ‘scrap paper’ pile that never gets used either. Recycle them if you can, or just throw them away.

Expired condiments

We’ve all been there. Who knew Salt goes off? Condiments like salt, vinegar, tomato sauce and brown sauce all hang around for a while and are pretty cheap to replace. Other culprits include condiments for roast dinners like mint, cranberry and horseradish sauce. Don’t forget the little sauces you bring home from restaurants or the ones you keep from takeaways! 

Dead batteries

Many a junk drawer has dead batteries lurking inside. They really won’t be useful again one day - they’re done. A lot of supermarkets have battery recycling banks, see if you can find yours. If you’re the technical sort (and only if you promise this won’t end up on a pile of unfinished projects) check out this post on how to make a hand warmer from a dead battery. 

Wires and cables you don’t recognise and haven’t used for years

Or duplicate cables. Yep, we’ve all got them. If you haven’t used it for a year and you don’t know what it’s for, you probably don’t need it. Hence, If you find you have loads of duplicate cables, try selling some of them in classified ads or on eBay.

Broken watches

Unless you have sound plans to fix a broken watch, get rid of it. You’ve probably already got a replacement. Usually, you’d struggle to sell broken watches, but with Vintage Cash Cow it’s easy. Sign up for free to get started.

Dried-up nail polish

It’s not worth it. Take it from a nail art geek - nothing good comes of using clumpy or dried-up nail polish. The expensive thinners on the market don’t work well. Adding nail varnish remover to thin it out stops it from adhering to your nail properly. With thousands of colours available online there’s no need to put up with dry or clumpy nail polish.

Throw away Hasty purchases

Black Friday claims its victims every year. I still have a spray mop sitting in my kitchen that I haven’t figured out how to use! If you aren’t using it, will never use it and wish you hadn’t bought it, sell it, donate it or throw it away.

Nails and screws from flat-pack furniture

Most flat-packed furniture comes with all the screws you need and more. If you aren’t the DIY sort, why keep the spares? But If you’re a DIYer consider collecting all your spares in an organised toolbox.

Non-stretchy hair bobbles

Hair ties, hair elastics. Whatever you want to call them. If they aren’t stretchy enough to use in your hair, they aren’t worth keeping. Throw them away and next time you buy bobbles, consider getting silicone ones. They look like elastic bands but they don’t snag. They retain their stretching a lot longer than traditional fabric-covered elastic.

Takeaway menus 

You don’t need any, they are all available online… throw away your old menus, then check out the online options for a whole bunch of local takeaway choices.

Old toys

My grandma moved to an assisted living bungalow three years ago. We all got together to help her pack. She had boxes and boxes of old toys. Some from the ’70s and ’80s. She wanted to keep them because they reminded her of us grandchildren. We went through them all together and just kept a few of the more sentimental toys and teddies, the rest were sold or donated. If you’ve got old vintage toys, sell them to Vintage Cash Cow for a fast, free and easy way to free up some space. With more modern toys, if they’re in good condition, look up a local toy library that you could donate them to. They’ll be making less fortunate children very happy. 

Cards that have no sentimental value

Last time I moved house I had a huge box full of old greetings cards. I always felt like it was rude to throw away Christmas and Birthday cards, but I wasn’t looking at any of them, they were all just being stored in a box. After I moved I went through them all and just kept the ones that were special to me. Now I look at them far more often :)

Emery boards

Back to nails, my favourite. If you use cheap disposable emery boards, there’s no need to keep your dead files. I promise they are of no use to you. when, like me, you file your nails a lot, consider investing in a metal or glass file. They last a lot longer and you don’t end up turning your bedside drawer into an emery board graveyard. Here's looking at me, kid.

Gifts you don’t like

We all get them. I get given a lot of bubble bath gift sets, having sensitive skin means I can’t use a lot of them. I re-purpose them as secret Santa gifts, and raffle prizes and donate some of them to the local homeless shelter. These options work for just about any unwanted gift you may have received. Of course, you could always sell them too.

Bubble wrap

Unless you post a lot of things or you’re planning to move in the next year, don’t keep bubble wrap. Do you know how much space that stuff takes up? I do, the answer is a lot! If you’d rather not throw it in the bin, see if your local charity shop would like it, they may occasionally have to wrap fragile things. Or, sign up to freecycle and give it away for free, anyone moving house in your local area will be really glad of it.

Magazines and newspapers you’ve already read

I guarantee most of these will never be valuable. If you look at newspapers and magazines that are valuable today it’s because they cover specific events in history. If you have an original newspaper that records the Titanic, the outbreak of war, the Hindenburg, the assassination of JFK, etc. You should definitely try to sell it if you aren’t holding onto it for sentimental reasons. Unless you’re willing to keep your newspapers and magazines in good condition for upwards of 50 years, and they contain stories that are of seminal importance to the history of humanity, there’s really no point. You can recycle these, or donate them to your local doctor's surgery where people are always glad to have something to read while they wait.

Single earrings, earring backs and broken chains

I know they don’t take up much space, but if they’re made of gold or silver you can sell them. Win-win, a tidier jewellery box and a bit of extra spending money. Not sure where you can sell them? Try Vintage Cash Cow for a fast, free and easy way to make money from the odds and ends in your jewellery box. 

Plastic coat hangers

Often when you buy clothes, the shop will ask you if you want the coat hanger. If you know you have enough already, say no. Also, If your wardrobe is groaning under the weight of your spare hangers, get rid of them… or buy more clothes.

Craft supplies for projects you never started

And will probably never finish. I know that seems harsh, but I’ve done it myself! Let go of the projects you’ll never finish and make room for ones that you will. You will feel so much better about it.

Boxes from electronics

Unless you’re moving house very soon or plan to return your electronics there’s really no need to keep the box. Boxes take up a lot of space in a house. If you have a lot of large boxes consider giving them away on freecycle. If you don’t want to wait to get rid of them, you can recycle cardboard in most recycling centres.

Hats, gloves and scarves

I don’t know why, but I feel the need to pick up a new set every winter. Not only that but I’ll often get given them as gifts too. During the winter you only need one or two pairs of gloves and one or two hats or scarves. 

Shampoo bottles from hotels

We all take them, usually for no other reason than we can, oh and they remind us of our holiday. That’s all well and good, but if you aren’t going to use them, there’s no point in keeping them. If you have hotel bottles and shower caps you haven’t used, get rid of them. Why not donate them to your local homeless shelter? They’re always happy to get donations of any kind.

Games with missing pieces

Jigsaw puzzles, counter games and card games can often be ruined if a few pieces are lost. They also take up quite a bit of space in your home. Get rid of games with missing bits and games you don’t play anymore. If you have any board games that are more than 20 years old, you can sell them to Vintage Cash Cow for free and get an instant cash payment the day they arrive.

Old towels

As towels get older they become less absorbent and tend to look quite tatty. These days they’re quite cheap to replace too. Turn your old towels into rags or get rid of them if you don’t use rags.

Anything that’s empty or nearly empty

I found 4 shower gel bottles in my bathroom that had a tiny dribble left in the bottom. For months now I’ve been telling myself that the next time I shower I’ll use the last bit - I never do. Throwing them away was not only liberating, but it made my bathroom look a lot tidier too! No matter what it is, if you aren’t going to use it, throw it away. Other popular culprits include washing up liquid, conditioner, shampoo and nail polish. 

Clothes you’ve never worn

That dress looked so cute when it was 50% off, it looks less cute stuffed in the back of your wardrobe. If you’ve bought clothes you haven’t worn and don’t plan to wear, try selling them. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you might make more than you paid. eBay is a great place to sell clothes. 

Worn out shoes

I know, I know, they’re comfy! But if they aren’t in good condition, they won’t be doing your feet any good. If gardening is your thing, make your worn-out shoes your gardening shoes. Otherwise, just take the plunge and get rid of them.

Odd socks

If you’ve been holding on to an odd sock for more than 2 weeks, chances are you’ll never find its partner. The lost sock phenomenon is very real, even scientists have come up with a theory for calculating the likelihood of lost socksIf it's been a few weeks, get rid of those socks, head over to Pinterest to find some more inventive uses for them, or donate them to a house elf in need ;)

Jewellery you don’t wear

Fashions in jewellery change frequently, which means some pieces just languish in the bottom of your jewellery box. If you aren’t wearing them and don’t think you’ll wear them again, sell them to Vintage Cash Cow! 

Expired medications

Things like plasters, burn creams, insect creams, bandages, gauze, Bonjella and barrier creams all have expiry dates. They tend to be some of the more sporadically used items in our medicine cabinets. Make sure to check yours regularly and throw away anything that’s out of date.

Old makeup

I absolutely hate throwing makeup away, but it simply isn’t worth keeping if it’s really old. A few months ago I got an infection in my eyelid (blepharitis) from using eye shadow that was 7 years old. Makeup that goes on your face and around your eyes can be a breeding ground for bacteria. This Daily Mail article has more information on how long you should keep your makeup. Read it, be very afraid, and then go clear out your makeup bag. 

Shopping bags

Remember when these were free and you used to keep stacks of them? Well, they aren’t free anymore, and they’re bad for the environment. Time to recycle your old plastic bags and invest in some permanent shopping bags. Lots of supermarkets have a carrier bag recycling point. Use one of these to get environmental brownie points.

Old phone chargers

New phones come with new chargers, so don’t let your old ones gather dust in your drawers. If they’re in good condition, try selling them, if not, just get rid of them. 

Old paint

Paint that’s never been opened and that’s stored correctly can last up to ten years. If you’ve opened it and used it, it will last for two. If you’ve got paint you opened two years ago or longer and haven’t used it since, time to throw it away. Old paint might look fine, but it tends to be thicker, and more clumpy and it doesn’t last for long if you put it on your walls. Remember to dispose of paint responsibly, try your local tip/household waste recycling centre, they’ll be able to get rid of it safely for you. 

Old glasses

Usually, if you have old glasses hanging about, it’s because you bought new frames. If you have one spare pair, then all power to you, it pays to be prepared. If you have a few pairs though, it’s time to get rid. If you have fancy or designer frames that are in good condition, you’ll likely be able to sell these online. Otherwise, head to your local optician and ask them to recycle the glasses for you. If you have old vintage glasses, older than about 30 years, send them to Vintage Cash Cow for a fast way to exchange them for cash.

Any paperwork that’s over 7 years old

If that makes you nervous scan it before you throw it away, digital records take up less space than paper ones.

Books you haven’t read and won’t read. 

I get given books by a lot of people, I read them and pass them on. Especially novels. I have a network of reading friends, when one of us buys a new book it does the rounds. Whoever has it last donates it to charity. If you have a load of books you want to get rid of, you can sell them, you’ll likely make more money if you sell a few together as a bundle. Otherwise, set up a reading circle and donate as you go. If you like the idea of a reading circle but your friends aren’t into reading, join the BookCrossing project. They’re all about releasing your books into the wild and seeing where they end up. What a fun way to make some more space on your bookcase.

Old spices and herbs

Spices don’t actually go off, but they lose their potency over time. Generally, you’ll want to get rid of any spices and herbs that are more than 3 years old.

Bobby pins/hair grips

Unless you use them, in which case check out Pinterest for some inventive ways to keep them neat and tidy.

Cleaning supplies that you used once and decided you didn’t like

They are simply taking up space that you should be using for your favourite cleaning products. A local homeless shelter would welcome these as donations.

Old pocket knives or pen knives

They blunt easily, bits break off them, and there are tonnes of reasons yours might be out of commission. If you have old or unusual ones Vintage Cash Cow will be more than happy to buy them from you. If they are modern ones throw them away, recycle them or if they’re broken try selling them for spares and repairs on eBay.

Old calendars

Is there any need to keep these? If the answer is no, you know what to do… (hint: throw them away).

That free sample you picked up and never used

I’m looking at you, sample waterproof kit. Everyone loves a bargain and there’s no better bargain than ‘free’. Sometimes though, you really don’t need the sample you’ve picked up. Throw them away or give them to someone who will use them.

Miscellaneous ribbons you’ve collected from every decorated cake you had ever

Yeah, I’m guilty of this too. You’re never going to use them. 

Lip balms you no longer use

Lip balm is a very personal thing, they all have different tastes and feel differently when applied. So, it's not unusual to have one or two lip balms you aren’t using or don’t like. Don’t hold on to them, your tastes won’t suddenly change, and when unused for a while bacteria can grow on them - gross. You shouldn’t really keep lip balm for longer than 6 months to a year. Time to purge your lip balm stash.

Expired sunscreen

Do you want to burn? I didn’t think so. Your skin is delicate and needs to be protected from the sun, expired sunscreen won’t do that for you. It may look and smell fine, but the ingredients inside block harmful UV rays from the sun, as these ingredients degrade, they provide less protection.

Unloved Ornaments

Usually, we buy ornaments because we want to display them. If you’ve been given any as gifts or you’ve put some away to make space for new ones, consider letting them go. Depending on the material they’re made of and who they’re made by, they might be worth some money. Do your research before relegating them to the bin.

Stress balls

Unless you need these to get by in work or life, there’s no point in keeping them.

Multiple bookmarks 

Do you use every last one of them? Keep the ones you like and toss the rest.


 Do you need a thousand pairs of shoe laces? Nuff said. Follow the golden rule and you won’t go far wrong - if you haven’t used it for a year throw it away.

Post-it notes you never use

 My mum is a secret post-it note hoarder. She’ll buy any weirdly shaped or pretty post-its. The thing is, she never uses them. She has a whiteboard in her kitchen where she makes notes and shopping lists etc. If, like my mum, you have an entire drawer full of post-it's it might be time to reassess your relationship with sticky notes. If you have some funky-looking post-its you could sell them in a bundle. If not, donate them to a local school, nursery or business that’d be happy to take them off your hands.

Completed colouring books, or ones that aren't used anymore

 The only colouring books I completed as a child were the ones I shared with my sister, then it was a race to the end. They take up quite a bit of space and if they aren’t being used there’s no real reason to keep them. If they have sentimental or nostalgic value, why not keep just a few pages and frame them for your walls?While we’re on the subject of colouring books...

Pens and felt tips that don’t have lids or don’t work 

Or the ones that leak all over your hands when you use them. Throw them away. Pens and felt tips are ridiculously cheap to replace, there’s no need to keep broken ones. If you have old or vintage fountain pens and propelling pencils, you could sell these to Vintage Cash Cow.

Phone books

Because, hello! The internet...

Puzzle books and completed puzzle books

If you’ve done all the puzzles why are you hanging on to them? If you’ve given up or gone off word searches, soukous and arrow words, pass them on to someone who’d have fun finishing them off. Hanging onto it because you’re really proud of that one crossword you nailed? Tear it out of the book and frame it and throw the rest away.


I am so guilty of this. I pick up catalogues for everything. I always plan to read them and yet somehow I never do. If you aren’t planning to read them or buy anything from them, throw them away. In some areas you can recycle catalogues, so see if that’s an option for an environmentally friendly approach.

Instruction manuals

When I sorted out my paperwork I found an instruction manual for a kettle I bought 6 years ago and no longer own. Throw away or recycle instructions for things you don’t have anymore. Try organising instructions for things you do own in a ring binder with poly pockets. That way it’s easier to throw away the old instructions and replace them with newer ones. If you have old lego instruction booklets you don’t need, these might be worth a bit of money. Head over to eBay or Brick Link to see if you can sell yours

Junk mail

I have a habit of just dumping this on my coffee table, it’s not good. There is absolutely no reason to keep junk mail. Recycle it or throw it away.

Old Currency

We’ve recently had a new £1 coin and new £5 & £10 notes, get your old ones to the bank or they’ll depreciate in value. Still, got some old shillings or foreign currency and notes hanging about? You can sell them to Vintage Cash Cow.

Hats and jokes and gifts from Christmas crackers

I don’t know why I keep them either. I usually end up throwing them away every year just before Christmas to make way for the new ones. Some of the crackers you get these days to have pretty good gifts in them. It’s only worth keeping them though if you’re going to use them.

Old wallets and purses

These tend to have more sentimental value. If it’s stuffed in a drawer or box somewhere though, it won’t be bringing you any joy. Time to let it go. 

Broken clocks

Some clocks are worth holding onto even if they’re broken, but only if you have a plan for them. Old carriage clocks and mantelpiece clocks tend to be the most common culprits. If your clock is old and doesn’t work on batteries, consider selling it to Vintage Cash Cow. More modern models will be difficult to sell, especially if they’re broken. Still, it’s no use to you if you’re just storing it somewhere.

Bed sheets

You really only need two sets of bed linen per bed. Get rid of any damaged, old or bobbled sheets, try turning them into rags for cleaning to get the most out of them.

Old Cameras

Loads of people use smartphones or digital cameras these days, meaning our old film cameras are just gathering dust. If any of your film cameras are over 20 years old you can sell them to Vintage Cash Cow. But If you have any old or broken digital cameras, you should be able to sell them on eBay.I hope that’s helped to free up some space in your home. Throwing away things that you don’t want is a lot easier than finally getting down to sorting out the loft or the garage! 

That concludes my list of 65 things you should throw away, sell or donate. Now you’re done reading, sign up to Vintage Cash Cow for free. Get rid of all your clutter in one go for fast and easy payment.

Want even more useful advice on decluttering? Check this out:

These 10 sites will make you want to declutter - don't hate us for #6

Share article

Ask us anything, and we'll reply as soon as possible

Our friendly online customer support team will answer your questions seven days a week.

* Asterisk means this is a required field
Get your FREE postage pack