9 Things You Didn’t Realize You Should Throw Away Right Now

Ad failed to load

Battling a barrage of clutter can be a real struggle. For some people, it's just keeping up with it all that's the difficult part, while for others, there's a deeper sentimentality or other issues at play. And though it's not always easy to throw (or give) things away, it's often necessary. There might even be some things you didn't realize you should throw away right now that can help you get started on your larger organization project.

In some cases, old or expired products should be thrown away because they're no longer effective or even could make you sick or spread germs, in other cases, it might just be time to face facts and recognize that these items are simply cluttering up your living space, that you don't need them anymore, and that it's time to get rid of them.

You probably don't need to be told that rotting food, actual trash, and the like are some of the things that you might want to throw away as soon as you can, but there are some other, perhaps less obvious, items that you should also clear out on a regular basis — and the date by which you should throw them out might be sooner than you think.

Ad failed to load

1Old Makeup


Though some people don't realize it, your makeup, nail polish, and other cosmetics aren't good forever. Good Housekeeping reported that U.S. regulations don't require expiration dates on all cosmetics, which means you might not know when you need to pitch products. Mascara should be tossed after about three months, liquid foundation and concealers after six months, and most powders, pencils, and lipsticks should go after about two years at the latest. If it's been longer than that, there could be bacteria growing in the product or it could simply start to degrade.

2Expired Medications


Depending on what the medication is, keeping medications around the house long after they've expired could really affect your health. You can't simply throw them all away, however. Consumer Reports reported that there are a few ways to safely dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired medications. You can take unused medications to a pharmacy or hospital to turn them in, mail them to facilities that will safely dispose of them, drop them off at certain police stations during the Drug Enforcement Agency's National Prescription Take-Back Day, throw certain medications in your trash if you mix them with other materials (like coffee grounds), or even flush them. Do more research to find out the most appropriate and safest way to dispose of the specific medications you have at home.

3Old Or Expired Spices & Seasonings


The potency of spices starts to diminish after a period of time — they're not good indefinitely. The Kitchn reported that spice company McCormick recommended that whole spices are OK for four years, dried herbs are good for one to three years, and ground spices are good for three to four years. That being said, it can't hurt to do an inventory every so often, giving spices and herbs a sniff or a taste to determine whether or not they're still imparting the right flavor. Sometimes, lightly toasting the spices in a dry pan can help bring out the flavor, but otherwise (or if you don't want to bother), it's best to throw them out and start over.

Ad failed to load

4The Dish Sponge You've Been Using For Months


Kitchen sponges can harbor germs so they need to be cleaned regularly and occasionally thrown out to make sure that you're not accidentally making yourself sick or ineffectively cleaning your dishes and kitchen. Self reported that if your kitchen sponge smells, you need to sanitize it before using it again. Dr. Philip Tierno Jr, Ph.D., a professor of microbiology and pathology at NYU School of Medicine, told Self in the aforementioned article that if you sanitize it after each use, a sponge can typically last for 30 to 45 days. If it gets worn out or if you're not sanitizing it regularly, you might need to toss it.

5Scratched Nonstick Pots & Pans


If you have scratched nonstick cookware in your cabinets, it's time to toss it out. The Kitchn reported that scratched nonstick pans can increase your exposure to the chemicals present in the nonstick surface. They could potentially cause health issues if overheated or damaged, as Dr. Robert L. Wolke, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and the author of What Einstein Told His Cook: Kitchen Science Explained, told Good Housekeeping. If you don't want to toss all of your nonstick pans, it's still probably best to replace any scratched pans with new ones.

6Outdated Electronics


Anything that's outdated and you're not able or willing to use anymore might as well be tossed. There's simply no reason to let outdated electronics (and their chargers and cords) clutter up your drawers. The Today Show website noted that a tangle of cords and outdated electronics can also be confusing because you're unsure which cords and chargers go with which electronics. Give them away to someone who might be able to get some use out of them.

Ad failed to load

7Used Air Filters


Air filters need to be changed regularly, so if you aren't changing yours, you might want to toss the filter that's been in use since you moved in. Consumer Reports noted that you can easily change furnace filters in three steps. Then, once you change it, you either need to dispose of the old one or clean it thoroughly, in the case of a washable filter. Just make sure changing out the filter isn't a one-time thing.

8Your Toothbrush


If you go to the dentist twice a year and only change your toothbrush after an appointment, you're probably not actually changing it often enough. The HGTV website reported that the American Dental Association advises that you throw out your toothbrush every three months.

9Anything Broken Or Damaged That You Haven't Fixed


If you have odds and ends items lying around the house that are damaged or broken, it might be time to get rid of them. Organization expert Peter Walsh told the Oprah website that if you haven't fixed something within a year, it's time to toss it out. If you haven't fixed it by then, you're probably never going to get around to doing so.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

I’m Registered At Babies “R” Us, & I'm Freaking The Hell Out

Hi. My name is Abi, and I’m registered at Babies “R” Us — and I’m freaking out. This may sound silly, but after being a die-hard Toys “R” Us kid, I was so excited to register at their baby store once my husband and I finally got our big fat positive …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

Women Who Miscarry Early Deserve To Grieve — Here's How Hospitals Should Be Helping

When I lost my baby back in 2013, it was because of a very early miscarriage. Because of the little amount of time I spent being pregnant, it was though my child had never really existed, which made the next few years hard — I felt like they had been…
By Risa Kerslake

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Reasons Why March Babies Are Total Badasses

From the moment you become pregnant, you begin to wonder what your little one will be like. Will they look like you, your partner, or your Great Aunt Edna? Will they be the quiet, thoughtful type or arrive on this planet raring to go? It's fun to ima…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

9 Easy Kid Foods To Turn Green, Just In Time For St. Patrick's Day

The best part about having kids is that you get your own personal crew to celebrate the holidays with, in all your color coordinating and matching glory. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you are obviously working on turning everyth…
By Mishal Ali Zafar

Here Are Some Conditions That Might Require You To Be On Bed Rest During Pregnancy

When I worked in an office, I worked with quite a few pregnant ladies all at the same time. Something must have been in the water, because while I was there for three years, two of my coworkers got pregnant twice, and another girl was pregnant with h…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

I Didn't Follow The Pregnancy Diet Rules & My Daughter Turned Out Just Fine

My diet is an ever-changing and wholly personal thing, which is precisely why I refused to follow any pregnancy diet rules when I was expecting my daughter. For years, I've essentially practiced intuitive eating, in that I listen to my body and eat w…
By Marie Southard Ospina

5 Foods You & Your Partner Should Eat If You're Trying To Get Pregnant

When you're trying to conceive (TTC) and it's just not happening, it's easy to feel like you're doing something wrong. It can be soul-crushing to keep seeing negatives when all you really want to do is wave a positive pregnancy test in the air. So wh…
By Kate Miller