12 Things You Should Throw Out

We tend to get attached to our household items and delay parting with our favorite ones, even if they are “lovingly” worn. As a result, most of us hold on to things much longer than we should.

12 Things You Should Throw Out Right Now

We’re usually all about upcycling and repurposing, but sometimes there are things you absolutely have to throw out. Not everything has a long shelf life, and not everything can be turned into an adorable upcycled DIY craft. It’s sad, I know.

Here are 12 things you should throw out right now:

1. Expired makeup

Make up

Make up

Makeup and skincare products past their use-by date can harbor bacteria that put your health and beauty at risk. Sad, but true… Makeup doesn’t last forever, which is such a let-down, considering how much it costs. While there is no definition of how long a product remains usable, here is a guide to recommended shelf life: Lipstick only lasts two years, while blush lasts for 18 months, eyeshadow and nail polish last 12 months, and mascara and eyeliner only last for three months.

2. Dish sponge

Dirty Dish Sponge

Dirty Dish Sponge

When was the last time you replaced your dish sponge? You should be replacing them every month, plus regularly sanitizing them in the microwave or dishwasher.

3. Your Teflon pan

Scratched Teflon

Your Scratched Teflon

If your teflon pan is scratched, you should immediately stop cooking with it. Those little flakes will get into your food and who knows what it can do. When TeflonĀ® pans become sufficiently heated, the nonstick coating begins to decompose, releasing one or more of 15 different toxins. Replace your teflon with a similar pan, or better yet, cast iron.

4. Old spices

Old outdated spices

Old Spices

Most great chefs will do whatever they can to buy only the freshest spices and use them very quickly, or buy them in a state that can be ground or grated (like black peppercorns or nutmeg). If you have a big collection of spices, check the expiration dates. If you can’t remember the last time you bought new spices, you should probably toss them. Spices don’t spoil, but they certainly do lose their strength. It’s recommended you throw out your ground spices after two years, and four years for whole spices.

5. Your pillows

Bed Pillows

Your Bed Pillows

You’ve probably had your favorite pillow for years, but did you know that after a few years, a third of your pillow’s weight will be made up of bugs, dead skin, and dust mite feces. That’s not pleasant. To be safe, you should purchase a new pillow every two to three years. After this length of time, the weight of you sleeping on them can make them flat, bumpy and uncomfortable. If you’re not sure your pillow needs replacing, here is the ultimate test: fold it in half. If it says folded, it’s time for a new one.

6. Your contact lenses

Contct Lenses

Contact Lenses

When did you last swap your contact lenses? Studies show that 40% of people wear contacts past the recommended time. Gross. If you don’t swap your contacts regularly, you could be risking severe infection.

Your contact lens case

Contacts Case

Contacts Case

While you’re at it, toss your contact lens case. Approximately 80% of contact lenses are contaminated with bacteria, including fecal matter. Unless you have an awesome sanitizer, replace out your contact lens case every three months.

7. Old batteries

Old Batteries

Old Batteries

You probably have a few old batteries in your junk drawer, but you really can’t (and shouldn’t) craft with them. Don’t toss them out though, bring them to a local recycling center. Big box tech stores often have battery disposals too.

8. Old paint

Old Paint

Old Paint

We all have those cans of paint in the garage or basement. They’re great for touching up walls when they get chipped or scratched up. But when you repaint a wall and no longer need the color beneath it, or you haven’t painted in several years, you should consider responsibly ridding yourself of the old paint. If you’ve had your can of paint open for a few years, there’s a chance it won’t even be the same color anymore. Do not throw out your old paint, though. You can dispose of your paint at your local fire station or local recycling center.

9. Your toothbrush

Old Toothbrush


When did you last replace your toothbrush? Can’t remember? How quickly your toothbrush wears out depends partly on your brushing style, but once the bristles become frayed and worn, they don’t clean your teeth as well. The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush if it’s worn, and at least every three to four months. That may seem pretty frequent, but just remember that it’s sharing a room with a toilet.

10. Your loofah

Loofah Sponge

Loofah Sponge

You use your loofah to stay clean, but you probably haven’t thought much about replacing it. Doesn’t the soap clean it? Nope. Their nooks and crannies make them the perfect spot for bacteria to breed, so it’s best to replace them every three weeks.

11. Expired canned food

Canned Food

Canned Food

This is debatable with a lot of people. I guess it could depend on the type food. All of us tend to stock way too much in our cabinets and it generally just sits there. There’s absolutely no reason to hang on to expired food, so throw them away.</p>

12. Expired Medicines and Vitamins

Expired Drugs

Expired Meds

Not only is this a space-saver, it could also be a life-saver. When drugs go past their expiration dates, they become less potent. So if you’re taking them for a certain illness, you may not be getting the correct dosage. Some people double up on the dosage to make up for that, which is dangerous. Drugs can also change in their chemical compositions over time, which means they could become dangerous and have serious side effects. Be safe. Throw them out.

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