7 Things to Toss or Donate Before the Holidays

published Nov 8, 2021
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Credit: Minette Hand

While people often wait for the “fresh start” itch to kick in after New Year’s Day, decluttering before the holidays is a wiser move. If you’re expecting an influx of items into the home, it makes sense to tackle the “out with the old” part first. This makes room for newly gifted items and helps ensure that your home and storage spaces won’t become overly cramped. 

Clearing out things that are no longer needed in the kitchen will have your cooking hub at its best — just in time for all of the holiday entertaining you’re gearing up to do. Plus, clearing out items that are languishing unused in your house and passing them along allows you to spread holiday cheer as you’re getting your house in order.

Here are seven kitchen items that you can toss or donate before the holidays arrive.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

1. Expired spices

Expired spices won’t make you sick, but they won’t give your food as much flavor as fresh ones. Consider tossing spices that are beyond their prime and refilling your collection with fresh, potent nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, bay leaves, and the rest of the holiday stars. 

2. Excess cleaning supplies

Oh, that graveyard of cleaning items otherwise known as the under-sink cabinet. You know the one. Pull everything out and get rid of the cleaning supplies you don’t use or don’t want to use. We’re talking rags, spent sponges, spray bottles that don’t work, duplicate tools, etc. Check the expiration dates on your cleaning solutions, too. If need to get rid of anything, check the label to see how to do it properly and safely!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

3. Canned food

If you have packaged pantry items that you don’t think you’ll eat, consider donating them to local food banks. Remember to only donate items that haven’t expired. Shelf-stable protein is especially needed, so think about offering canned chili, canned chicken, soups, and tuna from your pantry for food donation. 

4. Dry goods

Foods such as nuts, noodles, rice, and dry beans are also great for donating to food banks. Again, donate anything you don’t see yourself using immediately. Local charities will thank you for the items, and you’ll be rewarded with a pantry that can breathe! 

Credit: Cara Dolan/Stocksy

5. Pet food

Those cans of cat food your picky feline turns her nose up at? The dry dog food your pup hates? There’s no reason to hang on to them. Contact your local animal shelter and see what the donation policies are. It would be very, um, pawsome of you to help animals in need.

6. Duplicate cooking tools

Thinning out your kitchen tools makes cooking so much more enjoyable because you’ll be able to find what you need with ease. Keep your “best, favorite, necessary” items, but give away any duplicates that are taking up space. 

7. Unused cookbooks

Do you have cookbooks that never see the light of day? Send them on with hopes of a more useful life by donating them to a library or Goodwill. 

Which kitchen items are you tossing or donating before the holidays? Share your stories in the comments below.