Declutter into the New Year

If one of your resolutions for the New Year is to have a clutter-free space, you are not alone! Use this guide to help you figure out what to do with the things you do not need — one room at a time!


  • Toiletries (unused)

Shampoo, soap, and other personal care products that are unused can be given away or donated to a nonprofit. 

  • Toiletries (used)

Is a family member or friend able to finish the remaining amount? If not, empty contents into the trash and recycle the plastic (usually plastic #2 – HDPE, which is accepted in IWMA’s curbside recycling program). 

  • Dried up hair, skincare, or makeup products

Nail polish, makeup, gels and hairsprays can dry up and become unusable. Check to see if your products are considered household hazardous waste [link to hhw page on guide] or qualify for any recycling programs before disposing in your garbage.


  • Damaged clothing
    • Is your clothing able to be repaired? If not, clothing beyond the point of repair can be repurposed as cleaning rags. Otherwise, place in garbage. 
  • Shoes
    • Donate what is still usable and in good condition; otherwise, check out the Recycling Guide for potential recycling programs that will accept your old footwear!
  • Bedding
    • Donate bedding that is still in good condition. Otherwise, use as drop cloths for house projects or cut up to use as cleaning rags.
  • Furniture 
    • Donate your unwanted furniture that is still in good condition. Otherwise, please dispose properly at a facility near you


  • Office supplies
  • Items such as binders and notebooks may be donated to thrift stores or schools. 
  • Ink-based supplies
  • Test your ink-based supplies such as pens and whiteout and throw out what no longer works. [link to pens guide item]
  • Magazines, newspapers and mail
  • Not sure if you’ll need certain print materials again? Scan or take a picture of the item so you have a reference, then recycle it.


  • Scraped or damaged cookware and dishware 
    • Throw out what is no longer safe to use. Otherwise, donate what is still usable and in good condition.
  • Food Storage Containers
    • Before disposing of what no longer has a matching lid or bottom, see if containers can be repurposed for other uses.
  • Pantry
    • Packaged food that has not expired may be donated to a food pantry or used as inspiration for a new recipe.