Save time and money with these eco-friendly tips to de-cluttering your closets, dresser and desk drawers, countertops and bins, for what you can toss guilt-free, what has the potential for re-use, and what should be donated to charities.
Spring Cleaning: What to Toss
Scrunchies that have lost their scrunch.
Bras and leggings that have lost their stretch.
Disposable cameras. After all, disposable is their first name.
Cans of paint that are more than a year old and have likely dried out. Ditto the brushes you used the last time you used the paint.
Chargers you cannot identify for electronics you no longer own.
Dried out Sharpies, ballpoint pens, highlighters and nail polish.
That pile of newspapers or magazines you’ve been saving to read but are unlikely to get to.
- eco-tip: Clip the articles you’ve been saving to read and put them in a folder for your next long airplane or train trip.
Spring Cleaning: What to Re-Purpose
Orphan gloves and mittens, espcially soft fleecy ones, make great applicators for shoe polish or furniture polish.
Orphan socks make great dustcloths. Slip them over your dusting arm and you won’t need to buy new rubber gloves to protect your hands.
Toothbrushes are ideal applicators to polish silver jewelry. I use them also to get into the nooks and crannies of Grandma’s cut crystal knicknacks.
Orphan dangling earrings that can be worn as pendants.
Picture frames with broken easels can be hung on the wall. Or, buy a stand-alone easel at a housewares store, and “frame” it on a tabletop or bookshelf.
Free gifts from cosmetic purchases are the perfect size for travel, including as TSA-approved carry-on. Refill them from the large sizes you normally purchase and you’ll avoid spending the money for new travel-size toiletries.
Playing cards from incomplete decks make great, colorful coasters and bookmarks.
Wire hangers. Return them to the dry cleaner to be used again.
Prescription eyeglasses that are no longer your prescription, and frames that are no longer fashionable, can be donated to saving-sight.org. Many chapters of lionsclubs.org collect eyeglasses, to be donated to the needy around the world.
Bridesmaids dresses and prom dresses. Donate them to operationprom.org for those who cannot afford to buy new ones.
Orphan shoes. Donate them to amputee-coalition.org
Musical instruments. Whatever nobody plays anymore can be donated to Mr. Holland’s Opus to be given to students in low-income schools for music class.
Anything you have not worn in more than two years. If it’s in good condition, bring it to your nearest Salvation Army, Goodwill or other thrift shop.
The App: Shpock (Android and iOS), serves essentially as a mobile classifieds section. It could help you find a new home for that robot floor cleaner you bought impulsively over the holidays, or received as a gift, and have used once, or even never.
This spring cleaning article was posted originally in 2016 and updated and posted annually in spring.