If you want to live a cleaner, healthier life, then get rid of some old stuff to make room for new. Here are 15 things to throw away to live a better life.
Not sure where to start? Toss things that annoy you every time you see them, like socks that have lost their match, or your overflowing kitchen junk drawer. No matter what you decide to throw out (or donate), your goal is to whittle the physical objects down to only items that help you feel energized and accomplish your goals.
2. Frayed toothbrush
If you’re brushing in the morning and the evening like you’re supposed to, then your toothbrush bristles are probably becoming frayed and worn faster than you realize.
3. Worn-out running shoes
When shoes wear down, they lose their cushioning and are less capable of absorbing the impact of your foot landing with each step, so more force is transmitted to muscles, bones, and tendons, putting you at risk for injuries. If you’re not a runner, replace them about every six months, or as soon as you notice that the tread is looking worn out.
4. Old plastic containers
Go through your collection of food-storage containers and toss anything made of clear, rigid plastic, and stamped with a 7 or “pc” (stands for polycarbonate). These are the types of containers that may contain BPA. While manufacturers have take BPA out of many of the newer polycarbonate containers, old ones still probably have it.
5. Air fresheners
Though some companies have recently announced they’re phasing out phthalates, which are used to help fragrance linger longer, many air fresheners (solids, sprays, and plug-ins) still contain this type of chemical, which in large doses may have harmful effects on reproduction or development.
6. Antibacterial soap
Antibacterial soap is no more effective at killing bacteria than the regular stuff—and they may not be safe, according to a 2014 FDA report. Triclosan, the active ingredient in antibacterial cleansers, has been shown to alter hormone regulation in animals, and there’s also concern that the chemical may contribute to antibiotic resistance.
7. Clothes you never wear
Take a peek in your closet. How many items have you not worn within the last year? Many people who’ve lost weight keep the bigger sizes around in case they regain it, while others hold onto the size 2 jeans they wore in high school, thinking maybe if they diet they’ll fit again. In either case, seeing these items every day can bring on anxiety. That’s not how anyone wants to feel when getting ready.
8. Plastic cutting boards
Slicing and dicing on plastic cutting boards scores the surface (those lines you begin seeing after the first few times you use one). Once bacteria get into these tiny grooves and begin to grow, they can be very difficult to get rid of. Switch to wooden cutting boards because wood contains resins that are naturally antimicrobial.
9. Your chair
The American Medical Association recommends switching to a standing desk for work as an excellent way to combat the health issues associated with too much sitting.
10. Your kitchen sponge
Studies show the kitchen sponge is the germiest thing in the average American household. When you use a sponge to clean meat juices, which can contain harmful microbes like salmonella, and it stays moist at room temperature, they grow quickly and studies show even the dishwasher doesn’t kill them. Use a washcloth to clean dishes instead, grabbing a clean one every few days, and throwing the dirty ones in with your laundry.
11. Stretched-out bras
When’s the last time you went bra shopping? The elastic in bras can get stretched out over time (the washing machine speeds up this process) which means less support for your girls.
12. Musty, clogged air filters
One in five Americans suffer from allergies or asthma, which can be exacerbated by dust, mold, and bacteria in the air so a good filter system goes a long way. Just don’t forget to replace the filter every so often or you could actually be growing mold and bacteria, and blowing contaminants back into your air.
13. Old lip gloss
Anything that’s used around your mouth collects a lot of bacteria quickly, and the longer the bacteria sits in a moist tube, the more it grows. This increases your chance of infection if it gets into a cut or crack on the delicate skin of your lips.
14. Stale spices
Spices that have been hanging out in your cabinets for years probably won’t make you sick—but they won’t add any flavor to your food, which is key when you’re trying to cook healthy meals that don’t go overboard on fat or calories.
15. Leftovers lingering in the fridge
When it comes to highly perishable food that contains animal ingredients, the rule of thumb is to eat, toss, or freeze after three days.