Annual Home Cleaning 101: Which Items Should You Keep And Throw Away?

Trash for recycle and reduce ecology environment

Your home is your personal space where you can relax and recuperate from stress, so regular cleaning is necessary. Not only does it make your home free from dust and dirt, but it also allows you to free up some space by removing items you no longer need.

Getting rid of clutter has many benefits for you and your home. This article discusses which items should not occupy any space in your home anymore.

Items To Keep

Decluttering can help you identify the items you want to keep and organize. Before calling for junk removal Camarillo services, take some time to sort through various items in your home.

When cleaning out your space, get a container for things you want to keep, so they’ll be safe. It will help you prevent throwing out the essential items, and you can organize them later.

1. Important Documents

United States Social Security cards with birth certificate background. Concept for life, retirement or death or Government documents and identification.

It’s essential to have a place for necessary paperwork that you might need throughout your lifetime and those that are difficult to replace. These include birth certificates, school records such as your diploma, social security, insurance policy, and others. You should be able to gather them in one place for easy access.

2. Family Photos

While they’re not functional items, family photos partially hold your family’s history and can give you fond memories. Keeping family photos that you love should be displayed in your home; you don’t have to get rid of anything you hold dear.

You can clean the walls and surfaces while you temporarily place the photos in a box for safekeeping. Dust them and wipe them with a damp microfiber cloth if the frames and glass show dust and stains.

Apart from serving as memorabilia, you can use photos as décor as well by looking into crafting ideas.

3. Pillows

Launder pillows gently. You don’t need to keep replacing them even if they have stains. You can wash foam pillows in mild liquid detergent and read instructions to find out if you can dry pillows in a machine.

The climate also plays a part in when it’s best to wash your pillows. When the weather is hot, you’ll sweat on your pillow more which will need more washing. Only replace pillows if they don’t bounce back when folded in half.

4. Old Clothes Or Fabric

It might be tempting to give or discard old clothes away if you find tears or holes in them, but you might want to keep some around to serve as rags for cleaning. You can reuse them repeatedly instead of using paper towels, which is more wasteful.

You can cut old cotton t-shirts into squares that you can use to clean the kitchen, living room, bathroom, and more. If you’re into repurposing, you can use old fabrics for DIY projects, such as creating a doormat from fabric scraps.

5. Glass Jars

Old mayonnaise and pickle jars are typically made of glass. They’re also recyclable, as you can still use them in countless ways. The labels are easily removable with abrasive material, and you can use bleach to clean the glass jar.

Glass jars are great for canning preserved food, keeping nuts, screws, and bolts, and even as a pen and pencil holder. You can even decorate them for personalization. They’re better serving a second life in your home than ending up in a landfill.

Various items in your home can serve a second life, but you also need to determine how long you want to keep them or if they can serve you in the long term.

Items You Should Throw Away Now

It’s best to properly sort out the clutter in your home and decide which items should end up in the dumpster and which can be recycled or given away. Set aside some time to do it when you can dedicate most of the day, especially if you have a lot of stuff to go through. Here are lists of items you should keep and throw away.

1. Old DVDs And CDs

For some time, you could show off a collection of DVDs and CDs to your house guests when they visit. But when you’ve seen a film, listened to the same songs, and played the same video games once too many times, you know they have to go, especially when they’ve been stuck on your shelf for quite some time.

Sort through them and separate the ones you don’t want to keep anymore. You can throw away the damaged ones or donate some to charity if they’re still in good condition.

2. Rusty Tools

If you or a family member constantly uses tools, they’ll wear out faster. In the case of metal tools such as wrenches, pliers, and anything else consisting of metal, remember that steel, iron, aluminum, or copper will rust or corrode.

If your tools are rusting, you can try various effective ways to remove the rust. But if you have old and broken tools, there’s no point in keeping them around.

3. Expired Herbs, Condiments, And Sauces

Head to the kitchen and go through your cabinets or racks. Look into each jar or bottle of spices, herbs, sauces, and condiments that have an expiration date. Throw away those that have been long expired.

You can keep the ones that are almost nearing the expiry date. You can even encourage yourself to use them often by looking for recipes that require them as ingredients.

4. Old Newspapers, Magazines, Directories, And Cookbooks

Some households may harbor old reading materials for research and clippings, but now is the time to take them out for garbage disposal if you’re done with them.

It might be difficult for some to let go of their old habits of collecting reading materials, but you can still source information from the internet at the local library if you don’t have a subscription at home. You can ask for help to print out copies of anything you like, and you can organize them. It’s better than keeping them at home collecting dust.

5. Expired Medicines And Cosmetics

It’s common to stock up on over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, antihistamine, and decongestants. There’s a risk, however, for bacterial growth in expired medicines. Prescription medications such as antibiotics won’t be able to treat infections if they’re past their expiration dates as well.

Expired cosmetics will have faded color, dry out, and change in consistency. Old makeup can also cause skin redness or irritation.


Cleaning involves sorting items you want to keep and throw away in your home. Items to keep are essential documents, photos, pillows, glass jars, and old clothing. You can eliminate old CDs, rusty tools, expired condiments, medicines and cosmetics, and old newspapers and magazines. It’ll give you an opportunity to organize and free up some space in your home.

Daniel Clark
Daniel Clark is a renowned journalist with a BA in English Literature from Boston University. With over 12 years of experience, he has enhanced his skills in various fields of writing, including lifestyle and home improvement topics. His ability to simplify complex topics and connect with readers has made him a valuable asset. Apart from work, he loves volunteering at local literacy programs, showcasing his commitment to community engagement. He also enjoys woodworking and exploring historical architecture.

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