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Start Here, 15 Common Things Professional Organizers Always Toss

Want to get organized and don’t know where to start. Professional organizers have a knack for spotting the clutter you didn’t even know existed. 

They’ve got a blacklist of items they toss without a second thought, and chances are, you’re hanging onto some of these things. Here’s a list of 15 items these professionals throw away, donate, or sell without hesitation.

1. Broken, Outdated, Unused Electronics

Woman hands put old laptop and keyboard in box with old used computers and gadget devices for recycling. Planned obsolescence, e-waste, donation, electronic waste for reuse, refurbish, recycle concept.
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Professional organizers don’t mess around with broken or outdated electronics. They know these items are just taking up space and collecting dust. 

First, they gather all the gadgets that are no longer functional or useful. Then, they either recycle them responsibly or donate those that still have some life left. 

Clearing out this electronic clutter frees up space and reduces stress.

2. Expired Food Items

Bad Open Milk Food Bottle In Domestic Kitchen.
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov and Shutterstock

Expired food items? They’re out of here. 

Organizers dive into pantries and fridges, ruthlessly checking expiration dates. Old cans of soup, ancient spices, and mystery leftovers get the boot. 

Not only does this make room for fresh, usable food, but it also prevents those gross, unexpected surprises down the line.

3. Clothes That Haven’t Been Worn in Over a Year

Young woman folding her clothes and packing them in a box.
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If it hasn’t seen the light of day in over a year, it’s time to say goodbye. 

Organizers pull out all the clothes that haven’t been worn in the last 12 months. They donate gently used items and toss anything that’s seen better days. 

This purge not only declutters the closet but also makes it easier to find and enjoy the clothes you actually wear.

4. Excess Plastic Bags and Containers

Shop carrier bags.
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Professional organizers can’t stand the clutter of excess plastic bags and containers. They know you don’t need a mountain of these taking up space in your kitchen. 

They sort through the stash, keeping only a few reusable ones and recycling the rest. This clears up valuable storage space and makes your kitchen more efficient.

5. Duplicate and Unused Kitchen Gadgets and Utensils

Different household appliances on table in kitchen
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Who needs three potato peelers? Or the banana slicer? I mean, let’s be real, couldn’t you just use a knife? 

Professional organizers quickly spot duplicate and unnecessary kitchen gadgets and utensils. They gather up all the extras and decide which ones to keep and which ones to donate or sell. 

By eliminating duplicates, professional organizers streamline your kitchen. This makes it easier to find and use the tools you actually need.

6. Outdated Paperwork and Receipts

Solomons, Maryland, USA May 1, 2024 A pile of messy mail and paper on a restaurant table.
Image Credit: Alexanderstock23 and Shutterstock

Old paperwork and receipts have no place in a well-organized home. Do you even know what paperwork you have?

Organizers dive into those overstuffed file cabinets and drawers and pull out anything that’s no longer needed. They shred sensitive documents and recycle the rest. 

Organizing paperwork and receipts also reduces clutter and makes it easier to locate important documents when you need them.

7. Unused or Expired Beauty Products

Make-up table, decorative cosmetics for professional and home makeup. Close-up view of brushes, eyeshadow palates in white sunny salon. Beauty Artists hands choosing color of base. Copy space.
Image Credit: Nina Lishchuk and Shutterstock

Professional organizers have no patience for expired beauty products cluttering up your bathroom. They check the dates on everything from lotions to lipsticks. 

Anything past its prime or never used gets tossed. This creates much needed bathroom space and ensures you’re only using products that are safe and effective.

8. Mismatched Socks and Worn-Out Shoes

old shoes
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Professional organizers don’t waste time with mismatched socks and worn-out shoes. They know these items just take up space and never get used. 

They gather all the lonely socks and beat-up footwear. Then, they toss anything that’s beyond saving and donate the rest. It’s that easy for them.

9. Unread or Never-Opened Books

Stack of books on floating wooden bookshelf. Education and knowledge concept. Pile of books to read. House interior decoration.
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Books that have never been read or opened are prime targets for a decluttering session. Organizers love to scan the shelves for those untouched so-called masterpieces. 

They box up the neglected books and donate them to libraries or charities. This frees up space and gives the books a chance to be appreciated by someone else.

10. Toys and Games That Are No Longer Played With

Simple easy storage baskets for living and bedroom toy clean up in a small living space.
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Toys and games collecting dust are quickly dealt with by professional organizers. They know these items can pile up and create unnecessary clutter. 

They sort through the collection, keeping only the favorites and donating the rest. This simple organizing hack makes the play area more manageable and makes sure that only the cherished toys remain.

11. Random Cords and Chargers With No Matching Devices

High Angle View Of Cable Management Box With Cables On Hardwood Floor.
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov and Shutterstock

Professional organizers can’t stand the sight of random cords and chargers with no matching devices. They know these tangled messes just take up space and create confusion. 

They quickly gather all the orphaned cords and cables. If the corresponding device is nowhere to be found, they toss or recycle the lot. 

The benefit is organized drawers and bins so that you can actually find the cords and chargers you need.

12. Outgrown or Unused Sporting Equipment

Helmet, ski mask, ski hanged on customized wooden wall mount at warehouse for seasonal storage at ski resort. Extreme winter sport equipment handling at home.
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Professional organizers have no patience for outgrown or unused sporting equipment. They know these items just take up space and rarely see any action. 

Professional organizers will gather and sort through old gear, from baseball gloves to soccer balls. Anything still in good condition gets donated, while the rest is tossed. 

13. Souvenir Knick-Knacks and Trinkets

London, England. May 10, 2021. Souvenirs of London hanging at the gift store. London is the most populous city in the UK with 13 million people.
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Those souvenir knick-knacks and trinkets you picked up on vacation? Professional organizers see them as prime clutter suspects.

They know these items often hold sentimental value but rarely serve a practical purpose. However, they’ll help you sort through your collection, keeping only a few meaningful pieces and letting go of the rest.

14. Unused Home Decor Collecting Dust

Elephant Statues and Figurines Decor, Lucky Feng Shui Green Elephant Statue Sculpture Wealth Figurine Gift, Resin Crafts Home Desktop Decoration Housewarming Gifts, the galaxy store Handmade Elephant
Image Credit: Nadeem Nk and Shutterstock

Unused home decor items collecting dust are a major target for professional organizers. They know these pieces were bought with good intentions but often end up forgotten.

They’ll pull out all the decor you’re not using and help you decide what to keep, donate, or sell. This not only clears surfaces and storage areas but also refreshes your living space with only the items you truly love.

15. Old Magazines and Newspapers

Cologne, NRW, Germany- March 21, 2021: various of fashion magazines on the table.
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Professional organizers see old magazines and newspapers as clutter goldmines. They know these stacks of paper are often kept with the best intentions but rarely revisited.

They’ll gather up all the outdated reading material and recycle it. This simple act frees up space and instantly makes your home feel more organized and less chaotic.

Theresa Bedford is a nationally syndicated writer. Her work has been seen on the Associated Press Wire, Blox Digital, and MSN. She writes about productivity, money, and simple living to help people focus on what really matters in life.