Cleaning & Organizing
30 Things You Need to Throw Out Before the Fall
From summer stuff you never wear to after sun skincare, here’s a list of things to toss and stuff to store to organize your home and make space for next season.
Did you really need another disposable pen, or did you just grab it from the display table because it was free? Seriously, toss broken chip clips and logo-laden promo items like street fair jar openers and summer concert drink cozies. Then donate festival and arcade prizes, like that oversize teddy bear that’s about to turn into a dust collector. Find out the 14 things smart homeowners do once a month.
Keep the memory and lose the stuff: Photograph ticket stubs, postcards, cheap seashell rings, and broken braided shark tooth necklaces before tossing. Donate that souvenir given to you by a well-meaning friend that just isn’t your style (looking at you, howling coyote figurine).
Use up any left-over marshmallows and graham crackers (they’ll go stale before next summer), then make space in your kitchen by moving the s’mores maker and s’mores sticks to an out-of-season storage spot, like your basement or attic. Add a reminder in your spring calendar about its location; you don’t want to have to re-buy it when you can’t find it next year. Other little-used space-hoggers to store or donate include the ice cream machine, frozen drink maker, and Popsicle mold. See there, now you have room in your kitchen cabinets for all the pumpkin spice goodies.
Farmers market and co-op clutter
Farmer’s markets and local co-ops and CSA’s will be closing down for the season, making this the perfect time to ask yourself, “Just how many berry baskets do I need to keep?” If you have extra baskets, bushels, boxes, or empty canning jars from your recent trips it’s time to return them. Co-op organizers and farm stand owners will thank you.
Summer fun tote bag
You know that bag you toted around all summer long? The one still stuffed with summer leftovers? Donate the summer reading book club pick you never started, get rid of the melted chewing gum, and stretched out hairbands. Toss the trash, recycle the receipts, and rescue the loose change from the bottom of the bag.
No one needs to store almost empty pest control products or ones that never worked well. Your local municipal hazardous waste collection is a good way to recycle things like mosquito traps, bug lamps, bug repellent wristbands, and mostly burnt citronella candles.
Seasonal gift sets
It’s time to finally use those fun gift sets like the campfire cookie skillet. Whether a houseguest gave you those lemon sugar drink stirrers or you bought a set of BBQ spice rubs for yourself on a whim, now is the time to enjoy them. This stuff doesn’t store well and, trust us, there are many more gift sets in your future. Here are 22 more things everyone should do one more time before summer is over.
Clean out the car
Now that summer road trips are over, your car deserves a thorough detailing. Toss the trash including fast food wrappers, dig out stray French fries, and all those Goldfish crackers your kids dumped in the door console. Then make room in the trunk for all that holiday shopping by relocating summer fun items, like folding chairs and beach blankets, to out-of-season storage.
Remember that large salad bowl you borrowed from your sister-in-law and forgot to return? How about that oversize beach towel a friend left in your car after your last lake trip? Now is the time to give it all back. Return anything that you borrowed or that was accidentally left at your home over the last few months.
Between blow-up lawn dice that have sprung a leak and the broken ladder ball game, trash can pile up quickly. The warped flying discs, dripping bottles of bubbles, and tangled kites all make the outdoor “no-fun list” and need to be dumped ASAP.
Swap out summer stuff like seashell photo frames for fall themed pieces. Lose the tattered “I’d rather be at the beach” welcome doormat, the threadbare sailboat throw blanket, and torn seahorse throw pillows. The sand dollar soap dispenser, the seagull shower curtain, and the starfish flower vase can be stashed away for next year.
Stacks of paper
Purge the piles of seasonal papers like those fliers from summer concerts, the day trip brochures, amusement park maps, and random leaflets you picked up from tables at the summer street festivals. Before you recycle them, note if there are events you want to head back to next year and take a photo or add to your calendar.
Even if you are not going back-to-school, late summer is still the best time of year to survey your supply cabinet. Donate any excess supplies to a local school supply donation drive. Recycle those things that are meant to stick but no longer do like sticky notes, return address labels, and three-hole punch paper reinforcements. Find out where to donate all your old stuff.
Unless you grill year-round, it’s time to purge the pantry and freshen up the fridge. Start using up those meats you bought in bulk, all those messy marinades, rolls that go stale, and summer salad seasonings.
Random kitchen clutter
Make space by relocating that soft-side cooler and picnic basket you only use in warmer months. Finish up those packs of flip-flop and flamingo-themed paper plates and napkins, they are not worth storing for a whole year.
Kitchen cabinets and drawers
A quick scan of kitchen cabinets and drawers can yield easy space-making tosses: Look for summer themed placemats with the backing falling off and the ratty seasonal kitchen towels. Don’t overlook the thermal travel totes with broken zippers, the leaking ice packs, the useless thermoses without lids, and the equally useless lids without thermoses. Don’t miss 13 items you can toss from the kitchen today.
Gourmet gadgets and recipes
Cracked corn-on-the-cob holders are no longer safe. Neither are the rusty crab claw crackers. Splintered wooden skewers are certainly not something to store another season. Recycle clipped and printed recipes, after all how many recipes for potato salad do you really need? While you’re at it check out your cookbook collection—that 250-page BBQ cookbook you never even opened? Donate it for someone else to enjoy.
Specialty summer drinks and glassware
Make room today by de-cluttering your kitchen drink cabinet. First, use up things that won’t save like the margarita mix and coconut rum. Next, recycle the broken stuff, like the chipped glass drink dispenser, broken palm tree stemware, and cracked plastic coconut drink holders. Finally, recycle the refillable souvenir cups you never remember to bring back to the park anyway.
Either commit to reusing those hanging flower baskets by filling them with fall flowers or foliage or let them go. Faded flip-flop door wreaths and cracked cafe light strands are also tosses. Cheap solar lanterns that no longer light up and bent metal garden art that can’t be salvaged also has to go.
Before and after sun skincare
Bottles of sunscreen and tubes of aloe gel don’t keep indefinitely. When open for a year a longer or exposed to 75 degrees or higher the active ingredients can become less effective. Always consult the manufacturer for specific guidelines but it’s a pretty safe bet you should toss the three-year-old self-tanner. Find out 10 little ways to boost your health this fall.
Swimsuits and summer outfits
Toss anything that got ruined like cork wedges that got wet or t-shirts with set in mustard stains. Next, look for things you didn’t wear this season and super season specific shirts (we’re looking at you, firework glitter shirt.) Donate those along with the sandals that pinch your toes. Next, dig through your swimsuit drawer and toss the stretched-out ones. This flowchart will help you decide what to keep and what to donate.
Emergency storm supplies do not last forever. Replace expired rations of food and water for you and your pet. Check expiration dates on batteries, first aid supplies, and medication. These are the emergency supplies to always have in your house.
Reconsider anything summery you brought indoors that once belonged outdoors like the seashells you scavenged from the beach, the driftwood you are using as a centerpiece, and all those rocks. Return them to nature and plan to hunt for more next season. In the meantime, you’ll be making space for autumn’s acorns and pine cones and the holiday’s holly branches.
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Bye-bye broken tiki torches. Adios overflowing box of stuff to sell at the yard sale you never hosted. Farewell no-longer-inflatable pool toys, ciao camping coolers that don’t keep things cold. Let go of the bent hammock stand and weather-worn grill cover, while you’re at it.
Take a minute to reconsider holding onto that BBQ grill pizza pan if you never used it. And do we even have to discuss the bent and downright dangerous grill cleaning brush? Toss it. Don’t forget to return the empty propane tank, too.
There are three types of umbrellas to pare down: First, any rain umbrella that broke in a storm or is not in working order, second, that torn patio umbrella that you kept “just in case.” Third, the pile of paper drink umbrellas that won’t ever see the side of a glass because you forget you own them.
Chairs and cushions
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Find the flimsy folding chairs, dump the dangerous deck chairs, and be gone broken beach chairs. The tandem swinging chair, hanging on by a rusty chain, is also not something you need to keep. And let’s not even bring up the gross chair cushions that are beyond being salvaged.
Let go of broken deer fencing, the cracked lawn sprinkler, rusty stakes and tattered ties, and faded herb garden markers. Seedling starters, unused fertilizer, and leftover soil can all be given to a local co-op or go back to a nearby flower nursery. Find out the 16 things smart homeowners do once a year.
Water activity equipment
It’s time to say goodbye to the trusty beach rolling cart with a broken wheel that you always meant to repair. And that raft that you never used because it takes two hours to blow-up can find a new home with someone who owns an electric pump.
The boxes from your online orders—big and small, short and tall—get rid of them one and for all! Recycle these boxes now, or better yet fill them with donations and give them all away. You are guaranteed to get more boxes with all your fall online orders and holiday gift buying. Read on for the 50 things to do before fall.