20 Things to Throw Away in 20 Minutes

Leave a Comment - 74


Sue Snijders

Subject: Living with boxes

Recently moved from 4 bedroom house with basement into 2 bedroom apt. in retirement home. Had walls of framed photos and art in house. How can I keep these now? Also have "ancient" family photos and written works of family history. Plus art and sewing supplies and holiday decor. I've already given away or sold a huge amount of belongings. HELP!

George Parker

Subject: Tips I disagree with

I disagree with these tips for the reason stated:

Orphan socks - Another Tip: Guys can avoid mismatched socks by sticking to 2 or 3 consistent colors like white athletic socks, black dress socks, and maybe some dark blue socks. No matter how many socks you lose or wear out, every sock in your drawer will always have several matching socks. this also eliminates the need to sort your socks after washing them.

Mismatched mugs - Matching mugs are boring. Mismatched mugs quickly tell you who the mug belongs to so you won't drink someone else's beverage. They may also remind the owner of a happy memory/trip associated with that mug.

Promotional plastic cups and related freebies - Same reasons as for mismatched mugs, plus they can be used as disposable cups for parties instead of buying throw-away cups. Also good for use as a "bathtub" cup for scooping up water and pouring it over your kid or dog while giving them a bath.

Completed coloring books. - True enough, but children are emotional and possessive about their stuff, so disposing of anything a child considers theirs should be done with their knowledge and preferably with their permission. If you need to, you can suggest packing it away for a while, and ask a few months later if they still want to keep it.


Subject: Wire hangers

Good suggestions, but I take wire hangers to the cleaners for recycling.

Tia Giirard

Subject: Wire hangers

Rather than throwing away wire hangers, return them to the dry cleaners. Most of them will gladly take them.

D P Mack

Subject: Recycling Plastic Bags

We end up with a lot of plastic supermarket bags. I stuff them into empty tissue boxes. I keep a box on hand when we need bags. When I fill up another box, I toss it into the bag with food that we donate to our church's food pantry each week. They appreciate the bags and they are used by people who come in to select food for their families.


Subject: Plastic Dry Cleaner Bags

We use plastic dry cleaner bags to help prevent wrinkles when packing woven shirts, slacks and dressy clothing in luggage. There are sevesral ways to use the bags when packing. We lay each clothing on a flat surface and place a dry cleaner bag on top, then fold the item around the bag. And we also make sure a bag surface is between each item. Years ago, we were told that wrapping tissue was good for "wrinkle free" packing, but we find that the plastic bags work much better and are easier to re-pack in luggage to reuse later.


Subject: throw it out?

All these suggestions made me think....maybe I will grit my teeth and finally throw out the What Is It Box although it does make for some interesting conversations.


Subject: layer of dust

I had to giggle at getting rid of anything with a layer of dust. I HATE to clean and my house often has a layer of dust on furniture. I get around to dusting once every 6 weeks or so. As much as I hate to dust/clean, I also hate clutter so my house, although dusty, isn't filled with clutter.


Subject: plastic bags

My Dutch niece and friend were on a trip around the world. She is a knitter. We were one of their "stops". She had a way of cutting plastic bags into strips and knitting them into sturdy purses, bags and other items.
It kept her busy on trains and made cool gifts, and useful items. I suppose crochet would work too. ( There was a specific way to cut the bags which I do not remember into long strips.)


Subject: plastic bags

the trick to crochet/knit plastic bags. I stack (with wrinkles smoothed out) on top of each other. I cut them in about 1 1/2 inch strips with my trusty blade cutter and ruler on cutting mat. I usually stack around 10 bags You will have waste in the handles and the bottom seal in the bag.
You will then have a loop that you use to connect them all together in a continuous strip (roll it up), that you can make many things. Friends in Arizona crochet mats for homeless people. beach bag , book bags, purses, tote bags, on and on


Subject: kitchen sponges

I wash and rinse kitchen sponges and then sterilize them in the microwave
for a couple of minutes on high. Time depends on how many done at a
time. An added bonus is that when sponges are done, the steam has
loosened the soil from the inside of the microwave so it's easy to wipe it
Sponges last a lot longer when kept clean.

Jim Collum

Subject: microwaving sponges

It has been proven that doing this actually causes massive multiplication of germs on the sponge. Do not microwave sponges!


Subject: puzzle pieces

Along with using the mismatched puzzle pieces for gift tags, they can also work for Garage sale price tags! simply punch a hole and add thin string or ribbon and attach to sale item/product.


Subject: Half used candles... Throw them away?

You'll be wishing you hadn't when the next power cut happens! Maybe if people are so anti "half used candles" in their kitchen drawer, that they should look at recycling them by melting them all down and making one new big candle with all those half candles!


Subject: Are you Amish?

Unless you are amish or live in a little house on the prairie, you can toss the candles! There is such thing as a flashlight to use during power outages...and they give more light and don't burn down the house!

Kimberly Edge

Subject: Half used candles

You can also make fire starters with them, dryer lint, and egg cartons. You need to melt the candles and the dryer lint together, put clumps of it into the individual egg carton cups. Then, when you are ready to use just tear off, and use one or two at a time to start your fire.


Subject: Recyclers

Rinse old tampons and sit in sun to re-use. I'm sure the applicators could be put to use, as well. That is, if you really care about Mother Earth as much as you say. Same with gently used toilet paper. Sit in sun. The natural germ killer.


Subject: You are awesome.

Thank you for some sanity on this. I feel like half the people posting here would actually try this....


Subject: Recyclers

This cannot be for real. Do NOT do this if you value your health.

Ana Banny

Subject: Recyclers

This most be a joke, I would rather use the old fashion towel rag than to re-use a tampon


Subject: I believe this was said

I believe this was said sarcastically, pointing out the fact that we don't need to re-use or re-purpose every single little thing. Sure, spare as much as possible from our landfills, but there are some things that really can just be thrown out.


Subject: Recyclers

That is the most disgusting suggestion I've ever heard. Please don't do that. I love our Earth but your tampons and toilet paper are hardly the cause of global warming and overfilled landfills. Treat your body right and use SANITARY goods. Rinsing/reusing tampons and toilet paper is like breeding bacteria and putting it back in your vagina. There are plenty of other things to recycle or repurpose that have a greater impact on our Earth.


Subject: This is so gross!!!!!! Really

This is so gross!!!!!! Really?????? Do you not have insects and predators where you live? So glad you are not my neighbor!!!!!!

Lisa Ramseyer

Subject: Organization & repurposing


Repurposing is one thing and re-organizing is another! We can all agree that it is nice to have clean, well-organized homes. The author is merely making suggestions. Read Real Simple's newsletter on New Uses For Old Things-(For example using old CD Cases as coasters, or possibly some of those free promotional address labels you get in the mail as book labels-I.e. Mark your books so if you loan it out it has your name in it.)

This individual wants you to get extra "stuff" out of your house, not throw it in a landfill. Find an appropriate way to dispose of it. Make sock puppets and give them away. Donate it and take a tax deduction while you still can. Believe me, hiring a professional organizer can be a true God send-even if you can only do a few hours with one! They will be the best hours and best investment you ever made!!!!


Subject: Decluttering

I have a decluttering service and although these ideas for repurposing items are wonderful, people fill their homes, garages and expensive
storage units with boxes & bins of mismatched, broken, incomplete, otherwise damaged items with the intention of repurposing for crafts, gifts, decor etc. Decades go by and living spaces are filled with these items--frequently long enough for serious mold to develop. In my opinion, a clutter free home should be a greater value. If you know you have been saving these possessions for more than few months, donate, gift, sell or trash them. Only treasures belong in our homes. We need room to breathe, meditate, and live in the moment without being insulated by our past. Namaste.

Joanne Parks

Subject: Repurpose

I own a childcare center. I LOVE the Idea about how to repurpose the tops from markers. I am going to make sure the teachers get this article so that they can repurpose those items in their classrooms.
I have been wondering how to repurpose puzzle pieces, now I know.

Beverly Rodriguez

Subject: New Use for Used Dish Sponges

I've discovered by accident a new use for my about-to-throw-away dish sponges. Pet hair is a great nuisance and we end up buying countless items to help get rid of pet hair that will 'comb' it away. Well a used, DRIED sponge will do the same thing. I've been using them to comb my cats' blankets, pet beds before I toss them into the wash. Works just as well as those products. Remember the dish sponge is dirty so sanitize it (even between uses for doing the dishes) with 1 part chlorine bleach and water. Let it soak for 10 to 30 seconds in mixture then let dry. I use the long, narrow part of sponge.

Nick sileno

Subject: Wire hangers

Wire hangers can be useful to repair or tie down items. They can also be used to unclog a toilet. Plastic ones are useless when old and broken. Wire is still wire. Just saying....I think u can even hang a bird feeder on one. Squirrels may not b able to climb down. Not sure on this but u can hang a bird feeder on fishing cord to prevent squirrels from steeling your bird food. So far I have been successful on this for past month.

Cardinal Nine

Subject: Preventing squirrels from stealing from bird feeders

I poked a hole in an aluminum pie plate & attached it above a bird feeder with a knot above & below it. Since I could see it from the big, comfy chair in my bedroom, I know that no squirrel was ever successful in getting past this barrier. Cheap, easy & effective (and so satisfying watching those little varmints trying to get past it).

sharon Hout

Subject: recycle plastic bags, And out dated meds are returned to pharm

Many grocery stores recycle plastic bags. Or take them to a food pantry they will reuse them. Pharmacy meds are NOT to be flushed down the toilet. Police station in Whitehall, Ohio has a bin for turning in out dated meds. Also the pharmacies have a turn in day for outdated meds.

And do not throw meds in the trash. They end up in the soil and causes harm.

Carol Halberstadt

Subject: Reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle

Thanks to everyone for all their good ideas! One additional bit--I keep a collection of reusable bags in my car for toting anything around, including grocery shopping. The plastic bags that still accumulate somehow from some other places are 100% recyclable in the supermarkets. I put them all inside one of the biggest bags and take them to one the local supermarket that recycles plastic bags.
Thank you too for that post on helium bags--they are awful--I have no idea why they've made such a comeback.
Finally, if your city or town doesn't yet have it--urge them to have single stream recycling, whereby glass, plastic (everything but bags), paper of all kinds, go into one recycle bin. In my town the trash is incinerated, so whatever can't be recycled doesn't end up in a landfill at least, and the toxic fumes emitted in the burning are captured and filtered out.
In most of Northern California--San Francisco and the East Bay both--have composting bins as well as recycling and trash bins. Very little thus ends up in the trash--because the compost bins take ALL food waste, dirty paper, paper napkins, etc., and turn it into rich earth that they use in public parks and give out for free to the public once a year to gardeners.
And the key to it all is, I think, don't buy what you don't need! Donate what is usable and good to people who need it (Second Step, battered women's shelters, animal rescue shelters. etc,) With all of the above, and all the suggestions of everyone above, there will be little trash going into landfills, and our Earth may breathe a bit more easily...


Subject: There is yet hope for our world!

I read the article for the first time today and was appalled by the wastefulness advocated by the author. Then, I read members' comments and it revived my belief that there are mostly good people in this world who are interested in saving our planet. Thank you all for expressing your thoughts and I got some new pointers about recycling.

Jo Chupal

Subject: De-Cluttering

There are so many great ideas here. I love that it takes the emotion out of cleaning out and repurposing. I also love that so many things can be donated - which I try to do as often as possible. Why not let someone else who really could use these items have them and enjoy them as we have. What better feeling is there when we make donations?! Thanks for the great ideas!

Linda Thomas

Subject: response to comment

I struggle with discarding items that others can use and would be happy to have. What one person throws away may be gold to another! Donating high quality and decent items that can be used by someone else is my perference. I get so concerned about our consumer driven society. Some can buy things and simply throw them away. Others are hard pressed to buy anything. Donate things that are decent.


Subject: Wasteful Ideas

What's wrong with mismatched mugs? That's all I have and I like them! The trend that you should get rid of useful items is not sound for the environment. The author sounds like a picky housekeeper who doesn't care about waste.

Another example: Why throw out wire hangers? They are fine for light-weight shirts. And if you have too many, see if the dry cleaner will take them back. Many do, and it gets down on the amount of material that winds up in the landfill.

Glenda Dugan

Subject: Mismatched Mugs

I hosted 3 to 4 tables of bridge for many years. I deliberately made sure my mugs were mismatched. Can you imagine 12 to 16 people keeping track of their coffee mugs for three hours as they move from table to table if the mugs are all the same?


Subject: Hangers

I always put my excess wire hangers in the dry cleaning bag for the next pickup - they are actually happy to have them returned...


Subject: Re-purposing

Cardboard trays from sodas or water bottles make great food trays when eating in the car. Once dirty throw away. Deli food containers can be re-use as pet feeds as well as left overs. Dry food bags re-used to disposing of cat litter. Old grass cuttings, leaves and vegies/fruits go into the compost heap that doubles as the litter box for out-side cats. I'm don't care to shop much so try to reuse as much as possible before buying new.

Sue Long

Subject: No More Helium Balloons!

Years ago everyone was made aware of what damage releasing helium balloons into the air does to birds and other creatures when they eat them! They get stuck in their throats and the birds starve to death and die! The entire world seems to have forgotten about that as it seems like everytime I turn on the TV, some huge group is releasing humongous amounts of helium filled balloons in memory of so and so and it makes me want to cry! Part of the problem is that we have new generations that seem oblivious to the problem! It is up to the folks that remember what terrible damage we do to our avian friends with all of these deflated balloons which inevitably fall to earth and to our ocean creatures as well! If everyone who reads this will spread the word to please find some other environmentally friendly way to honor and remember their loved ones instead of helium balloons we can educate a whole new generation and remind others about the damage these balloons do to our fellow beings on earth!

Lisa Rainsong

Subject: No more helium balooons!

I, too, agree wholeheartedly about no more helium balloons! It's airborne litter and it's very hazardous to wildlife. Litter is not an appropriate way to commemorate anyone or anything. We can do better than that.

Big Spuds

Subject: Helium

The USA is subsidizing Helium which has a finite amount and comes with natural gas production from just one part of the USA. There is no way to reclaim it from the atmosphere under present technology. Once gone we are out and at the mercy of other nations with similar gas pockets. Without Helium there will be no more MRI machines in operation. Of course we don't care about future generations. Let them figure it out right ?

So I am with you, stop buying helium balloons !

C Count

Subject: recycle

Any clothes or toys we don't need, I pack up and donate to good will. church or school garage sales.

I throw away as little as I can. Of course the trick is to only buy what you NEED in the first place.

My pet peeve is every club, VBS, school class has their own tshirt. You wear it 1 maybe 2 weeks then it is in the recycle bin.


Subject: Recycle toys

When my son was little, twice a year we would go through his toys and throw away the broken ones and donate the ones he no longer used to the Children's Hospital (in our area it happened to be the Shriner's).


Subject: Reuse tee shirts

We reuse our club/girlscout/school tee shirts. We make reusable totes with them. Cut the sleeves off. Turn inside out and sew the bottom together. Turn back right side out. The shoulders become handles and ypu now have a sturdy reusable bag. Useful for library trips, farmers markets, beach, lunch, take along fun bag, anything.

Kate Lindemann

Subject: Plastic grocery bags

O.K. you forgot your reusable cloth bag and now have some plastic grocery bags. Put them back in the car as soon as you unpack. Do it right away. Leaving them on the passenger seat is just fine - you can see them and use them again, and again, and again. If you ever forget your canvas bag make the plastic do at least 5 trips.

Plastic grocery bags also make waterproof lunch bags, bags to carry snacks when hiking, waterproof bags for carrying library books in bad weather, emergency head cover or emergency shoe cover when a sudden rain catches you off guard. And keeping a few in the glove compartment is a great way to deal with the results of car sick passengers or parts unwanted sandwiches...or to hold a dripping ice cream cone.

Use then once and you really mess up the environment; use them twice, you are not quite so dangerous...use/reuse each one at least 5 or 6 times and you are on your way. (Of course, sticking some cloth bags in your car or on your bike means you do not need plastic bags at all!! )

Plastic bags can also be torn into strips for ties for your tomato plants....or any other plant that needs to be staked/tied.. Finally they make nice doggie poop bags. If you have to use a plastic bag, please reuse it at least 5 times before sending one to the landfill.


Subject: plastic bags

Love your ideas. I reuse plastic bags to cover wound/surgery sites that need to stay dry. And, of course, the invaluable use for dirty litter.

Renee' Frino

Subject: Repurpose

cards that have vellum on or gold/silver metallic cards. I reuse to make my own cards & use the gold/silver for my punches to add to the cards.
I also reuse the clear plastic circles/ovals etc from items that are small enough to put on homemade cards to make a "shaker box" on the card or a "window" or globe on the cards.

Mary Scarff

Subject: repurpose paper

used paper-that isn't important, use again for printing out your bank
statements, anything that you print that is no longer important.
Saved graphics, cards, test items that you no longer need.
You would be amazed how much paper you can save.


Subject: Repurpose

Stick your hands in those old socks and use for dusting, cleaning blinds.

Those mismatched mugs are great to pop a plastic pot with plant into, to give as gifts. Let them throw it away when plant dies........
Being a crafter, I always try to save an extra top to glue sticks, as so many times they get lost and your glue dries out.
But then crafters save stuff like that.

Katherine Milton

Subject: Uses for Large Marker Caps

As a former teacher, the caps to the thick markers were priceless. They make excellent replacement game pieces for board games, are great for building towers (especially when you're supposed to be doing something else), and since they seem to reproduce like rabbits, can be wonderful objects for counters, sorting, or color identification for little ones. The caps from large wipe-off markers and some large permanent markers with the little extension on the top are especially stable. I had many very expensive items in my classroom for lessons and for play, but the students gravitated towards the marker caps. As a bonus, if you find a marker without a cap, you just might be able to save it if you have extra caps!

Constance Kelley

Subject: Less Is More but Repurpose is Priceless

Those lost puzzle pieces in your kids room are the best tags for birthday, holiday gifts, punch a hole in the puzzle piece (fun shaped hole puncher), tie with curly ribbon, use one of those markers that is missing a cap and write To and From on the back side, free, creative tag, works well tied to luggage for identity purposes ~~all those extra kitchen utensils can easily be donated to the closest women's shelter that needs items to reboot their lives. Orphan socks filled with catnip makes the perfect cat toys, animal shelters love orphan socks for their felines. Punch a hole in the bottom of that plastic cup and it automatically holds your cake pops or anything on a stick that drips, or a piece of jewelry, etc. that you are trying to glue together and don't want to hold it until it gets tacky

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