24 Things You Can Donate or Throw Away Before Moving Out

Cut down on the expense and physical effort of taking unnecessary items with this comprehensive list of things you can donate or throw away before you move.
24 Things You Can Donate or Throw Away Before Moving Out

Last update: 30 May, 2023

How can you make moving easier and lighter? By knowing what to take and what not to take, you can alleviate the physical burden, the expense, and the stress generated by a move. In this process, which for many people is tedious, you should separate what you really want in your new home from those things you can donate or give away.

With this strategy, you will reduce the hassle, better take advantage of the spaces in your new home, prioritize your more valued belongings, and help those who need some of the objects you have left over.

Although you can’t expect to become a version of the expert Marie Kondo, starting with a deep cleaning you will have a chance to pack what is useful and throw away what does not work anymore.

Things you can donate

Before giving away your things, first evaluate whether you will need them.

Consider the climate in your new area, if you have a garden, if there’s a pool, etc. Also, keep in mind that it’s better to throw away damaged objects: if they are no longer useful, it is in bad taste to give them away. We’ll tell you a list of some of the common objects that it’s usually safe to donate:

1. Clothes and shoes still in good condition

Donate any accessories you no longer use. Take advantage of this change to rummage through your entire closet to decide what no longer fits you.

This includes clothes that don’t fit your current size, shoes you gave up more than a year ago, jewelry, and belts that don’t fit your style. We’re sure someone will appreciate them. Take the opportunity to hand over some leftover hangers to reduce the volume of the move.

2. Books and magazines

Las cosas que puedes donar en un mudanza son los libros
As long as they’re in good condition, it’s a good idea to donate books so that someone else can use them. If not, recycle that paper.

Other things you can donate are books you’ve already read and magazines. A library, school, or community center will appreciate them.

If you wish, keep your favorites or search the Internet for their electronic version to reduce the number of boxes and the price charged by the moving company.

The same goes for magazines. Maybe you saved them for a specific topic, but over time, they have become paper junk. Donate them or recycle them! If you have several subscriptions, see if you can convert them to digital versions.

We think you may be interested in reading this, too: Five Ideas to Decorate Your Living Room with Recycled Materials

2. Disused utensils

Don’t wait until it’s time to pack. Well in advance, prepare an inventory of the kitchen in which you need the crockery, pans, cutlery, and essential utensils.

Check what is functional or has sentimental value. The rest (such as glasses or pieces that do not correspond to the set) give to those who need them. Think that while a bowl is gathering dust in your house, someone else may need it.

4. Furniture that doesn’t go with the décor of the new house

Depending on the space of the house or apartment, certain pieces of furniture probably won’t fit. If they’re well preserved or have almost imperceptible damage, donate them to an institution. Just be honest and explain if they need any repairs.

Whenever possible, replace your old furniture with one that matches the décor of your new home.

5. Old toys

Among the things you can donate before moving, toys stand out, especially if your children have grown up and do not have fun with them. In another family with children, a kindergarten or a nursery will give them a better use. This suggestion includes old game consoles or multimedia players, along with their components and cables.

6. Musical instruments

It’s obvious that if you play them you will want to keep them; otherwise, it’s best to let them be enjoyed by those who will. Sometimes musical instruments are bought in the hope of learning to master them, but it doesn’t always happen, either because of lack of interest, lack of time, or because the purchase was simply an impulse buy. Allow them to go to a better home where they’ll be used.

7. Sports equipment

In this case, it’s the same as with musical instruments: if there’s no plan to resume playing, then don’t include sports equipment in the move. Camps, local teams, or a family member or friend will appreciate them. Plus, you’ll save the expense of buying new ones.

8. Bedding

Maybe you no longer want old sheets because they are faded or worn. Animal shelters are always in need of this type of donation. But if their condition isn’t fit even for them, maybe they’ll come in handy as rags to clean or cover up furniture while you paint.

9. Movies on CD and VHS tapes

Unless you like collecting antiques, a move is the perfect excuse to get rid of movies and concerts recorded on obsolete media that you collected over the years and now have on digital platforms.

Donate this material to a thrift store.

10. Pet toys

If you have a lot of pet toys, it might be a good idea to give some to other animals on the block or at a shelter. It’s probably time to make way for new ones. However, make sure you don’t take away your dog’s or cat’s favorites!

Juguete de mascota y niño para donar en la mudanza
Sometimes, children and pets share toys. You can take the opportunity to take a look at both of them and make sure that you’re getting rid of things they no longer play with.

Like this article? You may also like to read: Make These Beautiful Plant Pots Using Recycled Materials

11. Alcohol

Glass bottles could break and wet whatever travels with them.

If they are empty bottles, take them to a recycler.

12. Old rugs

In addition to taking up space, rugs are heavy. If the ones you have are a far cry from the ambiance you want to project in the new home, give them away. This is one of the things you can donate for others to take advantage of.

Things you can throw away or recycle

To complete a list of 24 things you can leave behind before you move, check out these 12 that are best thrown away. Some of them may surprise you:

1. Expired food

Go through and clean out your pantry, freezer, and refrigerator to get rid of what’s gone bad and start cooking what’s left. Throw away everything that has expired.

2. Expired medicines

Las cosas que puedes donar en una mudanza no incluyen medicamentos vencidos
The more time passes since the expiration date of a medicine, the less effective it will be.

For the same reason as expired food, medicines that have exceeded their expiration date should be thrown away. Taking them can put your health at risk; therefore, do not donate or move them with you.

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns that expired medical products do not have the same effectiveness due to the change in their chemical composition. It also suggests giving them to a drug take-back program, which will dispose of them.

If no such plan exists in your area, the FDA recommends mixing the drugs with substances such as kitty litter, sealing them, throwing them away, taking them to a medication deposit center, and erasing the labeling before disposing of the bottle.

3. Old mattresses and pillows

It’s said that after 10 years of use, a mattress doesn’t offer the same comfort. The right thing to do would be to update it. The same happens with pillows, whose useful life is shorter than that of mattresses.

Unlike mattresses, the maintenance of pillows is simpler, because you can wash them by removing the filling without so much complication. But if it is a model that does not allow its sporadic cleaning, also throw them away.

Maybe you have not considered it, but the poor condition of a mattress and a pillow influence the bad rest. According to the publication Sleep disorders: what are they and what are their consequences?, not sleeping well takes its toll on the physical and mental functioning of the human being.

4. Old cleaning products

Some of these substances have been stored for a long time and lose their effectiveness or are old sponges and rags. Remove them from the list of things you can donate and put them straight into the trash.

5. Damaged makeup

According to an article from the University Private Hospital of Cordoba, your skin could suffer irreversible damage if it comes into contact with expired formulas. It’s better to invest in new makeup, instead of taking a chance with the one that has gone bad and you still have, because you may like the shade.

6. Old paperwork

It’s not unreasonable to believe that everyone has at home a pile of office materials and documents that are not valid or that they will not use now or in the future. You have two alternatives: either you take them to a recycling point or you digitalize them and then get rid of them. If any of them contain confidential information, to make you feel more secure, there are paper shredding services.

7. Torn towels

There is a point where towels are not even fit for using as rags: you should throw them away. Don’t even think about keeping them to offer to visitors; no one likes to use an old, ratty towel.

8. Trinkets

This includes stuffed animals, ornaments, notebooks, posters, or things that you kept because at one time they seemed nice and relevant. Today, they may have no functionality or justified use.

9. Paint cans

How many are in your basement or garage? It’s true that they served to touch up the walls, but already incomplete, they won’t be useful in your new house, much less if the colors do not match. Besides, they’re probably expired or damaged.

Pintura abierta para botar en la mudanza
Open paint cans will not be useful in the new house. Plus, transporting them is a hassle.

10. Broken appliances

Appliances such as blenders, microwaves, coffee makers, or others that are not active, but you keep in the hope of extracting some spare parts from them, are not worth it for the new house. Take a look at all those accessories with corroded wires, bad connectors or that won’t turn on. Forget about them!

11. Worn-out tools

A screwdriver with a food tip won’t do the job right. Like this tool, there may be others in your do-it-yourself kit. Those that don’t serve their purpose have a better place in the trash.

12. Plastic containers

Plastic containers that aren’t in good condition and that you can’t replace with a warranty program go in the trash. Beforehand, check if they have the recycling symbol and contact a waste management department or your local recycler.

How can you minimize the number of things you can donate or throw away before moving?

Moving house is not an overnight decision, so you will certainly have time to organize and take into account some tips that will reduce the volume of boxes.

When you’re about to move, try not to buy much. Avoid filling cupboards, drawers, and the refrigerator with groceries or new items. Use what’s about to expire first; this includes food and personal hygiene products.

Sort your items well ahead of time so you have time to identify the things you can donate and what stays. It makes the process easier if you organize by category rather than by room; as you do so, label the boxes so you know which room each item belongs to in the new home, which items you will donate, and what you will throw away.

By following these recommendations, you’ll be sure to have a happy – and easy – move.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.