Various household items such as pillows and quilts standing in the white cupboard.
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25 Things to Toss From Your Closet Right Now

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Gathering items to be donated to charity.  Items are placed on a futon that will also be donated.
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Say Bye-Bye

Hey, you’re not alone … our closets are also stuffed with things we never wear, fit or use anymore. We have all changed over the course of the pandemic, and for many of us, personal style and the whole concept of wants vs. needs were reconsidered, from our wardrobes to what fills our home surroundings. Maybe it’s finally time to lessen the proverbial load with a good closet clear out. Read on for a survey of just some things that you may be surprised you really can live without.


Related: Spring Cleaning Tips From People Who Clean and Organize for a Living


Volunteer women holding donation box with warm woolen wintery clothes, hats, socks, gloves...
triocean/istockphoto

Unused Winter Clothing

This time of year, as we say goodbye to winter, take an honest look at your stash of gloves, hats, scarves and coats. As organization expert Michelle Hansen of Practical Perfection notes, “It’s especially easy to let your coat closet overfill with winter clothing, especially if you have kids. So make sure to get rid of mismatched gloves, coats that don’t fit, and other winter gear that simply just doesn’t get used anymore.”      


Related: 17 Places to Donate Clothes and Clutter for Money

Dry Mud Running Sneakers Pile of Workout Clothes
Willowpix/istockphoto

Old Workout Clothes

If you’re committed to getting in shape this spring, consider refreshing your workout wardrobe. Carolinne Wittlin of Tidy Haus, a home-organizing service based in Los Angeles, recommends pulling out all of your gym clothes for an honest appraisal. “Set aside items that no longer fit or have been used to the point where the item is no longer holding its shape.” 

 

Related: Overpriced Workout Gear: 16 Items That Are a Waste of Money


Recycled Heap Of Ragged Old Blue Jeans
Willowpix/istockphoto

Jeans

Jeans are a very personal item of clothing, notes Wittlin, with many people having far too many pairs (including ones that no longer quite fit). “We have found people tend to wear their favorite pair over and over again. And there are legitimate reasons for that.” From the wash to the length to the style, each has its own niche — but be realistic about what you really wear. Donate, Wittlin adds, what no longer fits into your lifestyle, “and let someone else wear them.”

 

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Worn out old shoes with holes in the toes
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bright shiny cocktail dresses on a hanger in the dressing room. outfits for the New Year's party. trendy dresses with sequins from the new Christmas collection
Iryna Sukhenko/istockphoto

Special-Occasion Outfits

Sure, that little black dress is a keeper, as is a gent’s well-cut tuxedo, but some highly specific special-occasion wear needs to be vetted. Will you truly ever wear a bridesmaid’s dress or a New Year’s Eve gown for a Gatsby-themed party again? Be ruthless — and savor the extra space.     

 

Related: 80 Things You Don't Need to Buy


Making virtual meetings work with modern tech
Charday Penn/istockphoto

Outdated Work Clothes

All jokes aside about working in pajamas during the pandemic, the workplace and its dress codes have been greatly impacted by the past few years. What filled your closet in 2019 — countless business suits or wrap dresses with coordinated jewelry — may not be appropriate and/or expected in 2022. Be realistic about what you now wear to work, whether it’s from home or back in the office.      

 

Related: Pajamas, Sweats, and Leisure Wear Perfect for Working at Home

Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo by Farizabasov (CC BY-SA)

Rarely Used Designer Gear

If you bought a designer bag years ago but rarely use it for fear of it getting scratched up or invested in a stunning pair of boots that you rarely wear, it may be time to share the wealth. Give them to a friend or family member or perhaps even hit the consignment shop for a bit of return on that pricey purchase.      

 

Related: 12 Places to Sell Clothes for Quick Cash


Woman Cleaning Stained Shirt in Bathroom Sink
CasarsaGuru/istockphoto

Stained or Torn … Anything

Let’s face it: People often judge by appearance. You do not want to be the person who wears shirts with stains or clothes with tears that have yet to be sewn. Take pride in your appearance.


Tie Dyed Shirts for Sale at Music Festival
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Souvenir Clothing

Sure, we all have a favorite T-shirt or sweatshirt from a great beach getaway or trip to a new and exciting city. But sometimes, we get caught up in the moment, going overboard on “themed” clothing. You may delight in wearing a palm-tree-covered sundress while walking along the resort town’s shores, but it never quite fit into your rotation once home again. Save the memories; toss the impractical hats, clunky necklaces, mesh tops and more.      

Bikini
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Pile of dirty things, dirty laundry, t-shirt, socks, pants, underpants on floor in bathroom
AlxeyPnferov/istockphoto

Ratty Underwear

So it’s comfortable … and comforting … and not many people will see it? Again, this comes down to personal pride. What you wear closest to your skin should matter — and think of it as a treat for yourself (and your partner).    

 


Woman hand holding donation box with clothes, toys and books
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Old Kids Clothing

Yes, we know, your son never looked cuter than in that baseball-themed onesie. No matter he’s now in high school, right? We’ll allow such a sentimental approach for a few key pieces of childhood favorites — but you can’t keep everything. Consider how a struggling young family might be able to benefit from the gently worn kids’ clothes you can donate to a local cause.   

 

Related: 11 Tips From Marie Kondo for Getting Kids Organized


retro winter holidays
sanddebeautheil/istockphoto

Unused Exercise Equipment

Is that a ThighMaster in the back of your closet? You see it, right next to the ski boots from that 1990s trip to the mountain, the last time you hit the slopes. Unused exercise equipment is clutter, and it can even be clutter imbued with guilt. You had good intentions of skipping rope every day but fizzled after a few times? Donate what someone else can (safely) use and toss the rest.    

 

Related: This Cheap Workout Gear Can Help You Stay in Shape at Home

Cleaning equipment on the step of a static caravan
Stephen Barnes/istockphoto

Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning products often count on us believing they will make things easier. But, organization expert Hansen says, “The truth is that many (or dare I say, most!) cleaners don’t clean as well as they claim they will.” All those products that failed to meet expectations often end up on a shelf rather than thrown away.   


Related: 20 Cleaning Products That Are a Complete Waste of Money


Various household items such as pillows and quilts standing in the white cupboard.
mgstudyo/istockphoto

Bed Sheets

No one wants to be unprepared when faced with an unexpected guest, but too many people have grossly overstuffed linen closets. As organization expert Hansen notes, “While it’s good to feel prepared, most people have a linen closet chucked full of sheets, towels, and blankets that they NEVER USE. While it’s definitely necessary to have a few extra items on hand, having too many takes up way too much space.” She suggests a limit of two sets of bed sheets per bed.


Top view of colored towels stored and organized in a wooden clothes guard drawer.
GideoniJunior/istockphoto

Towels

Sure, towels can be expensive, but there has to be a time to get rid of what’s past its prime. As Wittlin suggests, “Go through all of your towels, and see which ones no longer look fresh. Maybe you no longer have a complete set for your bathroom, and your towels look like a mix of beach towels and faded towels with long loops hanging all over the place.” You can cut up old ones for rags, or if not too far gone, donate them. “Getting a new matching set of towels in a beautiful color can really upgrade your bathroom,” she adds. 

 

Related: 25 Products to Upgrade Your Bathroom for Cheap


Plastics drawer in the kitchen
DLMcK/istockphoto

Kitchen Lids

Hands up if you have a toppling stack of lids without the matching containers — or vice versa. As Wittlin notes, “Every kitchen has a cabinet that gets leftover items stuffed into it. If you find you have lids that don’t have a container match, it's time to let them go. Space is most valuable.”   

 


Messy Bathroom Counter
Figure8Photos/istockphoto

Unused Appliances

From a second toaster to a curling iron that’s not been fired up in ages, rarely used appliances can really clutter up a kitchen cabinet or bathroom closet. Don’t keep thinking you’ll need it “one day.” Be firm — and move it along.


small cleaning bottles in hotel bathroom
necati bahadir bermek/istockphoto

Excess Toiletries

You grabbed four mini bottles of shampoo on your last hotel visit. You bought a dozen bars of soap because they were so cheap. Now, they all sit in the bathroom closet taking up space. If you’re not going to use them soon, move them along. And don’t toss unopened items, as many shelters and nonprofits accept personal hygiene items for their clients.

 


Book shelves with empty parts
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Underappreciated Books

Book lovers may balk at this suggestion, but it’s really smart to keep your home library under control. “While it’s perfectly fine to keep books that you love, I’d be willing to bet that there are many books that you didn’t like or even books that you know you’ll never read again,” says Hansen. She suggests keeping books in a designated area, and when that starts to overflow, go through them again. 

A HiFi tower with a collection of music on CD and DVD.
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Outdated Materials

If you’ve got a box in the closet bottom filled with 8-track tapes of classic music, movies on VHS or even a Kodak Instamatic from the 1970s, it may be time to join the digital revolution. It’s one thing to hold onto things that you can — and do — use, but if you no longer can play your “favorites” on any working machine — or find film for those outdated cameras — then it’s reasonable to let them go. Just be sure you’re not sitting on any vintage treasures.


Related: Collectibles You Probably Tossed That Are Now Worth a Fortune


Cute adorable funny baby toddler girl with toy bin on head. Kid child playing with toys at home. Home authentic lifestyle. Kid with domestic animal pet dog. Funny memorable childhood moments.
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Excessive Amounts of Toys

Most children have more toys than they need or often play with. A good sorting out, Hansen notes, frees up “valuable space” in the home, giving “a more peaceful feeling that is better for everyone in the family. Keep toys that are open-ended and allow for creativity.”    


Related: Things Around the House You Can Sell for Extra Cash


Textile waste container cloth and fabric recycling
AnSyvanych/istockphoto

Potential Gifts

If you’re the type of person who loves giving gifts, you may have a stash of generic items in your closet. They can range from candles to journals, scarves to key chains. You saw them and thought they’d make an ideal gift for … someone. And there they sit. It’s good to have something in a pinch, but having gifts with no recipients can backfire — you give someone something meaningless and/or you waste money. Again, donate the excess.

Gathering items to be donated to charity.  Items are placed on a futon that will also be donated.
LifestyleVisuals/istockphoto

Promotional Goods

Who doesn’t like a free cap, reusable bag or water bottle? Some we end up using often. Many we toss to the side, such as that bag filled with bags that never again see the light of day. They may not be fashion items, but they do serve a purpose, so either start using them or give them to someone — or some group — that will. 

Carnival Costumes
GrigoriosMoraitis/istockphoto

Costumes

Unless you’re going to themed parties week in and week out, you likely don’t need to save those “great” costumes, Halloween or otherwise, you’ve collected over the years. Isn’t part of the fun coming up with something new and topical? Same goes for dance recital outfits, the dress you wore in the community theater production or other single-use outfits. They served their purpose and no longer need to be held onto.   

 

Related: 30 Essentials You Need to Buy to Keep Your House Organized