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9 Summer Items You Need to Throw Out Right Now

How many tiny, paper drink umbrellas do you need disintegrating in the way back of your kitchen drawer? Professional organizer, Jamie Novak identifies the summer-themed clutter taking up physical and mental space in your life.

Summer-Items-You-Need-to-Throw-Out-Right-NowArina P Habich/shutterstock

Summer serving ware and kitchen cooking gadgets

Summer brings out the maker in all of us: Think margarita maker, ice cream maker, snow cone maker, Popsicle maker, iced tea/coffee maker, s’more maker, and so many more makers. All these makers take up valuable kitchen space. And are you really making any of it? If you buy your ice cream instead of making it, then why keep an ice cream maker in a dust covered box?

If the makers still work, consider sharing them with someone who might get more use out of it than you have. Other seasonal kitchen tosses include the big plastic salad bowl that has a crack down the side, the plastic platter that melted when it was placed too close to the hot grill, and the broken butterfly serving tongs that were more fashion than function. Don’t overlook the drink dispenser that leaks everywhere or where the dispenser is so gunked up it is impossible to sanitize properly. Finally, don’t risk a foodborne illness by continuing to use the meat thermometer that doesn’t give an accurate reading. Just toss it! Here’s how to donate just about anything.

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Summer sandals, shoes, and flip flops

Time to do some serious summer shoe purging. First on the list, the super cute flip-flops with a broken toe peg. Look to let go of other summer shoes that are no longer in good repair: the cork-heeled wedges that warped when they got wet, the strappy sandals that are missing a strap, and your favorite pair of slides that are so well-worn there is barely a sole left to walk on. Invest in some hanging shoe bags for the shoes that are left over. For the summer items you do keep, use these 26 secrets personal organizers won’t tell you for free.

Summer-Items-You-Need-to-Throw-Out-Right-NowAfrica Studio/shutterstock

Summer makeup and fun nail polish

Maybe hopping on the fluorescent toe polish trend wasn’t for you, and now you are left with a bottle of lime green polish in your bathroom. And how about that bottle of perfume that promised you’d smell like the beach and instead left you smelling like tanning lotion?

Check out your medicine cabinet and makeup bag. Ditch the bronzer that left your face streaked and the self-tanner that turned your skin orange. Ditto the summer foundation that left you shinier than a new car. Soothing after-sun sprays and Afterbite numbing creams also expire, so check the bottles for dates.

Hair accessories, like a seashell barrette with two missing sea shells, can also become clutter when you don’t wear them. That’s why they’re also one of the 30 things you need to throw out before the fall.

Summer-Items-You-Need-to-Throw-Out-Right-NowKelsey Olson/shutterstock

Pool and beach towels

If you can’t close your linen closet it might be time to rethink the number of outdoor towels you own. Throughout the season there is a good chance you bought new ones—again. Start at the bottom of the stack of towels and look for ones that are not in the best condition—with bleach stains, frayed edges, or washed out colors. Remember, even well-used towels can be donated to a local pet shelter where they can be put to good use lining metal cages. Once summer is almost over, feel free to load your cart with these 10 things that go on sale in August.

Summer-Items-You-Need-to-Throw-Out-Right-NowHarry Wedzinga/shutterstock

Beach bags and sunglasses

Not all beach bags are keepers. Toss the ones that have broken straps and the ones that you can’t get clean, no matter how hard you try. And the ones with torn linings where small items are always disappearing.

Sure, sunglasses seem small, but they can become clutter too. Toss any that are beyond repair—if they’re missing a lens or a leg and can’t be fixed, or even if they sort of squeeze your head or leave indents on your nose.

Summer-Items-You-Need-to-Throw-Out-Right-NowLukas Gojda/shutterstock

Bathing suits and cover-ups

Bathing suits don’t last forever. Maybe you’ve outgrown it, it’s stopped looking quite as fabulous, or it’s uncomfortable to wear. Suits that have faded beyond wear-ability or have lost their elasticity should also be tossed. Same goes for if it’s sagging or riding up. Before you finish bagging up the bathing suits, don’t forget to look at the cover-ups and sarongs. There’s a good chance you’ll find some of those that need to go as well, ideally because you’ve worn them into the ground. Check out these 10 organizing hacks pros use in their own homes to keep them tidy all year round.

Summer-Items-You-Need-to-Throw-Out-Right-NowOlesya Kuprina/shutterstock

Outdoor toys and games

The beach ball and other pool toys that won’t inflate fully are on top of the list of things to toss. So is the cracked beach sand castle mold. And no one needs a sand shovel without a handle. Purge all those toys that are cracked and broken.

The blow-up ball pit that was fun two summers ago and now most of the plastic balls are missing, you know what you need to do. The torn badminton net and one sad shuttlecock stuffed in the corner of the garage are no longer useful to you.

Summer-Items-You-Need-to-Throw-Out-Right-NowStockforlife/shutterstock

Outdoor furniture and grilling gadgets

If your patio umbrella flipped inside out in a strong wind and now has broken spokes; it might be time to toss it out. The same goes for any furniture that hasn’t weathered well over the years. Some pieces may now be broken beyond repair and even downright dangerous.

Consider tossing flimsy folding chairs with rusted rivets, fabric cushions and pillows that have mildewed, or become musty, or moldy and won’t come clean. Don’t overlook gross furniture covers that are too dirty or torn to cover anything properly.

That crumbling Styrofoam cooler isn’t going to keep anything cold either; it must go. Any cooler that no longer keeps food and beverage at a safe temperature is useless. By the way, do you really need all those grilling gadgets and gunky cleaning tools? The broken grill brush is a hazard and should be tossed. So is that melted baster brush, so let that go. This is how often you should be cleaning everything in your home.

Summer-Items-You-Need-to-Throw-Out-Right-NowBeeRu/shutterstock

Vacation souvenirs and summer décor

From the front door wreath decorated with miniature flip-flops, most of which have fallen off by now, to the quickly crumbling compressed real sand castle figure, there are some souvenirs that need to say bye-bye.

Those vacation magnets that are so heavy that they keep falling off the front of your refrigerator only to get stuck underneath can go. Other random mementos you picked up on trips like an empty wine bottle from a vineyard tour can be recycled. Collections of sea glass seashells and beach rocks—the fun is finding it, not keeping it only to have to store and clean it.

Broken solar pathway lights, solar strings of café lights for the deck that no longer light up, and itty-bitty fairy lights that stopped working need to go. If they are broken, if the battery won’t hold a charge, if the ground stakes have gone missing or the weather-proof cap is lost then you should toss them. No matter what time of year it is, these are the 30 things you need to throw out ASAP.

Jamie Novak
Jamie Novak is a globally recognized professional organizer who regularly contributes to RD.com. She has more than 20 years of experience covering the home-organizing industry. Novak wrote Keep This Toss That: the practical guide to tidying up, a top selling book for Reader's Digest. She’s been seen on HGTV, QVC, and national morning talk shows. Her work has appeared in magazines from Better Homes and Gardens to Real Simple. Connect with Novak at JamieNovak.com, @JamieNovak, or using the hashtag #KeepThisTossThat