21 Things You Really Need To Throw Away

Confession: I’m a recovering hoarder. When I was a kid, I had what my mother called ‘The Avalanche’. An enormous four-door cupboard that was full of crap. Clothes I never wore, old school books, toys, craft supplies and all manner of garbage I’d collected from the street like bottle caps and random playing cards.

things you need to throw away

For some reason, a deep-seated craving for order came over me in my later teen years and I’ve been a champion of minimalism ever since. This means that people often ask me to help them pack when they move house. This is a good choice because I’m excellent at organising other people’s lives. It’s also a bad choice because I’m really strict and I won’t let them take dumb shit to their new house. I thought I’d compile these items into a list of things you really need to throw away, just in case you need a little bit of direction in this area. If you have any of these items in your house, it’s time to throw them away.

1. Irredeemable crusty plastic containers
2. Fondue sets
3. Board games with bits missing
4. University assignments you can’t remember writing
5. Broken furniture
6. Novelty sunglasses that were worn for 20 seconds on New Years Eve in 2000
7. More than one cocktail shaker
8. The empty box from a laptop you haven’t owned in 10 years
9. Invitations to parties that are over
10. Hundreds of stained mugs that no one ever uses because they’re gross
11. CDs and DVDs that haven’t been touched in a decade
12. Rollerblades
13. VCRs
14. Boxes of taped-off-the-radio cassette tapes
15. Single socks
16. Unnecessary multiples of anything
17. Expensive high heels that are 100% unwearable
18. Unused exercise equipment
19. Hardcopies of bills that have been paid online
20. Very expensive, very un-used and very expired beauty products
21. A life-sized cardboard cut out of Brad Pitt’s brother

One of the biggest struggles most people face with clutter is the fear of throwing away something they might need and wasting money. Here are 2 things to consider.

1. The money is already wasted. Unless it’s an antique, holding on to an item you never use does not increase its value.
2. If you haven’t used it in more than a year, you probably won’t.

I give you permission to throw all that crap away.


What area of your house needs a declutter? And what’s one thing you’re too scared to get rid of?

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  1. Nicole (@dorkabrain) 5 years ago

    If any of your readers are ever planning on getting a spouse visa for another country, I suggest they hold on to those invites (as well as a bunch of other ridiculous things that somehow prove you’re in a real marriage).
    As someone who comes from multi-generational hoarding habits that I have broken through moving across the world multiple times and realising that “things” are pointless and heavy, I agree with everything else 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Oh that’s true! Geotagged photos are often proof enough these days though. Yay instagram!

  2. amandasettle 5 years ago

    I decided when we moved here it would be great to have a craft room… In reality I just have a pretty junk room! But how on earth do I part with all that stuff?!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I keep thinking I’d like a craft room but it would just be filled with junk. I like having enough yarn for the crochet projects I’m working on, then once I’ve used that, I move on.

  3. Tamara 5 years ago

    Guilty of the expensive and ridicules high heels that I never wear. ?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I recently got rid of most of mine. It was hard, but super freeing!

  4. Christine 5 years ago

    I’m with you Carly, I love to throw away all the crap. Problem – husband likes to keep all the crap. We have issues! X

  5. Lisa 5 years ago

    Throw out ALL the things!!

  6. Nooo I can’t part with VCRs, I have so many of them with great memories. But yes you’re right it’s the sensible thing to do.

    • Michaela 2 years ago

      I still use mine! Some of my favorite films are on VHS and I can’t seem to find them anywhere on DVD without paying a fortune. And then the quality is usually sub-par too.

  7. This weekend has been locked in to throw out all the things! As a Virgo, this pleases me greatly.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I’ve personally perused your house. You are TOTALLY fine. It’s like a minimalist dream in there. Smags approved.

  8. Vehs 5 years ago

    Have you read about the KonMari method? I just finished the book last night and will get my husband to listen to the audio book

    • missalisamel 5 years ago

      That is the book that changed my life. Seriously. I know you want to roll your eyes when you are asked to hold each item, and ask does it bring me joy?.. BUT DO IT.. lol.

      Best book ever if you want to change how much you own and your relationship with it.

  9. Sarah 5 years ago

    I read ‘fondue set’ and immediately screamed “nooooooo!!!” in my head. Then stopped and thought about the fact that I’ve used it maybe once in about 10 years… Well played Smags. Well played.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      People are so weird about their fondue sets. People buy them, use them once and then keep them forever and ever. It’s really weird. 🙂

  10. missalisamel 5 years ago

    I am a recovering almost hoarder.
    I am getting better and better every day at being critical about what I keep.

    This year I got rid of over 30 banana boxes of stuff (sold or donated), I hate to think how much rubbish I threw out of recycled.

    I just listed a pile of stuff on trademe today. And have three supermarket bags of stuff to donate this afternoon.

    Every single time I tidy up a room I find something else to be rid of.
    I LOVE IT..
    My home stays tidy with ease.
    I can find things I want when I want them.
    I know what I have, therefore I know what I need. Which stops me buying multiples of things.
    By leading a better example I show my children that we don’t have to be the ultimate consumer.

    We also don’t get junk mail.
    We don’t have a tv in our living room our family space is for music, books, games and being together.
    My children all have a tv in their rooms but they are only hooked up to a video game and netflix.
    So very few ads are convincing them they need things. (I do keep an eye on their screen time, but provided they contribute around the house, do their school work, read and get exercise I am OK with screen time).
    I refuse to buy any magazine that includes paparazzi pics and overly photoshopped versions of beauty (so once again less “you need” and ‘you will be happy if you have/look like this” are being pushed into our brains)

    I could go on….
    But by removing those messages from companies that want me to buy their stuff.
    My children and I want less. I don’t feel like I am missing out.

    Plus… like I said. My house is sooo much tidier.

    PS Sorry went on a bit of a tangent there.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I’ve got so much stuff I need to list on gumtree. Must get around to doing that – such a waste of space!

  11. Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid 5 years ago

    Thanks for the permission. I totally needed that. I’m going to declutter like a boss!

  12. Trish MLDB 5 years ago

    Im thinking about it , more and I will make a better effort.

  13. Kathleen 5 years ago

    I am the biggest thrower-outerer you’ll ever meet. Unfortunately my husband comes from a long line of hoarders and it’s sometimes hard to get him to let things go. My mother in law once filled her car with items from our throw out pile!
    I just have a tip for people with clothes: go through your wardrobe and turn every hanger so the hook is facing towards you instead of away. As you wear the item you put the hanger back the normal way. After a year, any clothes that are on hangers that are still facing the wrong way get thrown out.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I totally think if you don’t wear something for more than a year you have to throw it away!

  14. Sonya 5 years ago

    I think that throwing out all that unwanted stuff would be good feng shui!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      Oh definitely! I love clean and clear spaces.

  15. NancyD 5 years ago

    I am so guilty of the torturous shoes, and frankly anything from The Past. I have just moved house and brought with me boxes of school/university coursework I never look at. WTF?! This stuff is occupying valuable real estate. Somehow I can’t throw away what was (once) a big part of my life, or at least my time. Carly I need to borrow you in London for a brutal pep talk! The reason I first found smaggle online was when I searched Google for culling help and found your fab blog “how to throw stuff away like a goddam grown-up” 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I’m very good at that! You can keep anything that has sentimental value but assignments? Ditch that stuff!

  16. Sheree 5 years ago

    So timely we are moving house & with 3 young children! I need you here to help me cull! I’m getting better or I’m trying, damn the fondue set needs to go & the VCR & the one sock oh & I donated one pair of heels to a friend & I have multiple bags of clothes to go but still so much to do…..

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I should start charging for my services. I’d make a fortune!

  17. Tamsin Howse 5 years ago

    This is a great idea. I really badly need to throw things out!!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 years ago

      I’m pretty good with throwing things away and even I need to have an extra cull soon!

  18. menot2014 5 years ago

    Very useful, I have a list of stuff that must go.

  19. Lilian Tahmasian 5 years ago

    Ahh loved this!! I’m the biggest hoarder..this may be what I needed! x


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