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13 Items in Your Kitchen You Need to Throw Out Already

Even if you think you're organized, you might be guilty of keeping these kitchen items around. Here's what to throw out ASAP!

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waste recycling, reuse, garbage disposal, environment and ecology concept - close up of rubbish bag with trash or garbage at homeSyda Productions/Shutterstock

Shopping bags

Sometimes you forget your reusable shopping bags and end up with a few plastic and paper bags you ultimately stuff in drawers, under the sink, and alongside the trash bin to use for a rainy day. But the amount you use likely never catches up with the amount you bring home. Clear up some space in your kitchen by recycling them, or check with shelters and food pantries to see if they can be of use. Here’s how to de-clutter those countertops for good.

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Old and used natural wooden cooking board with cutsPavelPrichystal/Shutterstock

Scratched-up cutting board

Much like other kitchen appliances, your cutting board has a shelf life. All that chopping up of veggies and fruits has likely made your cutting board full of cracks, which means bacteria has found a home in all those deep grooves.

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Meal prep in containers in the refrigerator ready to be frozen for later use.Ahanov Michael/Shutterstock

Freezer burnt food

Just because frozen food can last a long time doesn’t mean it can last forever! And while the freezer can keep your Crockpot soup around for a rainy day, if your items look like they got stuck in a snowstorm, you can bet they’re not going to taste nearly as good as they should, so chuck ’em. Speaking of, here are foods you should never freeze.

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Chinese Take-out Menu and sauce packetsLiz Van Steenburgh/Shutterstock

Takeout menus

Though your takeout bag comes with a menu or two, the reality is, you end up stuffing all that wasted paper in a drawer. Then before you know it, menu after menu, it’s hard for you to close your kitchen drawer. Toss those suckers in the recycling bin and stick to looking up menus online.

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condiments of mustard, mayonnaise, ketchup and hot sauce on a hot dog cartGriboriy/Shutterstock

Expired or separated condiments

You may be quick to throw out moldy strawberries in the fridge, but what about the condiments taking up space on the side shelves? It’s easy to forget about things that come in a jar, have a longer shelf life, you don’t use often, and are stacked in a space you don’t pay much attention to in the fridge. Spring clean your biggest kitchen staple by ensuring you check that bottle of sauce’s “best used by” date, and seeing if the ingredients have begun to separate or smell funny.

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Inside of a scratched dirty kitchen pot.Brooke Becker/Shutterstock

Scratched nonstick pans

The point of nonstick pans is to keep those scrambled eggs and pan-seared chicken from crusting to the pan, leaving you with a lot of cleanup. But if the pan has scratches, it’s no longer nonstick and therefore not doing its job! And besides, these are the only kind of cookware you should use.

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Spices in the KitchenZandria Mazzaferro/Shutterstock

Old spices

If you’ve had your spices hanging around for a year, it’s time to swap them out for new ones. Spices lose their potency and flavor over time, so you don’t need to feel guilty about giving up a half-full jar, because it’s not good anyway. Find out how to clean your kitchen in under five minutes—no joke!

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Spraying bottles in a row, brush and cleaning rugLiga Cerina/Shutterstock

Unused cleaners

Household cleaners have a shelf life, and if you’re not using them regularly, you’re certainly wasting your money on them. Pinpoint the cleaners you know you need around, and make sure they’re still good. Lysol disinfectant has a shelf life of about two years, multi-surface cleaners about two years, dishwashing soap between 12 to 18 months, and metal polish up to two years. Do you know what the filthiest thing in your entire house is?

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Plastic White Forks and Clear Spoons in Decorative Serving Tray Holders, Exterior, Afternoon Sunlight, Medium Shot, High Angle, Serving Items in Background in Soft Focus.ArtistryInLight/Shutterstock

Plastic cutlery

All those nights of takeout come with plastic cutlery for your convenience. Whether they give you more than you need or you instantly opt for the real deal silverware, you might save the plastic kind for a rainy day. But you’ve likely procured quite the stack in your drawer, and if you’re not going through them, why keep them around? If your cutlery is disposable, toss in the recycling bin. Better yet, the next time your Oder in, tell the restaurant to hold the plastic forks and knives.

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Blue plastic boxes of various sizes sold in cookware stores. Plastic can be used to store different types of food as well. Suitable for women who love to organize the kitchen.Bangkoker/Shutterstock

Old plastic storage containers

One of the most frustrating sources of clutter in the kitchen is certainly food storage containers. Where’s the matching lid? Why can’t you keep the cabinet with all the plastic containers organized , no matter how hard you try? Why do they always fall out all over the floor when you’re short on time? There are two big reasons you should throw out older plastic containers. The first is surely because they create such a cluttered disaster, and the other is the dangers of old plastic. Because some plastic food storage containers use polycarbonate, which can leach hormone-disrupting chemicals, like Bisphenol A into food items after repeated use, it’s truly best to swap to glass or silicone!

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A crack on a plateH.Yahya/Shutterstock

Chipped plates, bowls, mugs

Just because your plates can still hold food doesn’t mean they’re healthy for your home. If your plates, bowls, mugs, etc. have chips in them, not only can they cut you, they can harbor bacteria as well as increase your exposure to lead.

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Mysteries of the Stationery Drawer RevealedPixsooz/Shutterstock

The junk drawer

It goes without saying that a junk drawer goes from being a place for miscellaneous items, to an overflowing space that has more non-essential items in it than ones you actually want to get easy access to. Go through your junk drawer quarterly, making sure anything that’s in there is something you truly need, including these pain cures that might be hiding in there. The rest you can toss, like extra rubber bands, plastic bags, chopsticks, business cards, and more.

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Ceramic bowls and mugs on kitchen shelfshipfactory/Shutterstock

Extra cups and mugs

It’s so nice having well-organized cabinets with your cups and mugs lined up just right, but how often does that last? When you have too much, it’s impossible to keep things straight. And besides, how much coffee can your family drink in one day? Read on for the kitchen gadgets that are a complete waste of money.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine, and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty, and scientific news. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected], and check out her website: