Hoarding is something that almost everyone is guilty of in some way. It can be hard to get rid of things you don’t need — you don’t want to feel like you’re throwing away money, and you don’t want to be wasteful. Plus, sometimes you look at something you’re holding onto for seemingly no reason and think, “I’ll use this one day, I can’t just get rid of it.” The fact of the matter is that if you’ve had it for a long time and haven’t touched it once, you probably never will. There are some things we just need to throw away in order to live a more organized and clutter-free life, and this is especially true when it comes to things in the kitchen. There are some kitchen items we’re all hoarding that need to be thrown out immediately.
Luckily, it’s the perfect time of year to do that. Spring cleaning is all about getting rid of things that we no longer need to make room for new things — or just to make room in general.
You already know the obvious things you need to part with in your kitchen: expired food, milk that smells a bit off, dishes that are cracked. But there lots of other little things that we don’t realize have an expiration date as well.
Here are a few kitchen items you need to throw away this spring.
You’ll feel so much better when you get rid of these items, and your kitchen will look amazing.
1Warped plastic containers
Everyone who has a kitchen has that one space that is full of plastic containers. Yes, they’re super helpful for leftovers, but honestly: do you use every single one of them? Probably not.
Go through the pile and get rid of any containers that are warped and won’t close correctly — if they’re broken, they’re more likely to result in spills or leaks, and they’re honestly not that helpful. You should also throw away any containers that don’t have matching lids. You won’t just happen to find them one day, trust me!
Many people don’t realize that spices can expire. For years, I thought they lasted forever! But they do expire, and you should get rid of your old ones.
Expired spices probably won’t make you sick (unless they’re SUPER old), but they won’t taste as great and won’t give as much flavor to your dish — which is the whole reason you’re using them.
Many don’t have dates on the bottles, though, so look at them and smell them to get an idea of how old they are. Old herbs will be washed out and yellowish, while new ones will be brighter. The smell will give them away, too, as newer herbs and spices will smell more fresh and pungent.
We are all guilty of having and using rusty pans, assuming it’s no big deal, and that the rust just makes them look bad. It’s time to get rid of them. Rust isn’t good for you, and cooking food in a rusty pan really isn’t the best idea. This is one of those times you splurge on new pans.
4Old coffee beans
Many people assume coffee beans last forever, because it just seems like they would. As it turns out, they don’t. Coffee beans typically last about six months, and then they need to be tossed — they just won’t taste as great. Your beans may have a strong smell and might make really weak coffee. Check the expiration dates, and get rid of any old bags.
5Expired canned food
Canned food is another item many people think can last forever, and again, that’s not true. Most canned foods are only good for one to two years, especially if you live in a humid climate. According to the USDA, high-acid foods, like tomatoes or tomato sauce, can cause cans to corrode, and that’s definitely not good for your health. Check the expiration dates. You should also get rid of any cans that are very dented or leaking.
There’s a common misconception that frozen food can last a very, very long time, and that’s not always the case. If your frozen foods are covered in icy frostbite, that’s probably because they’re super old and they need to be tossed.
Foodsafety.gov recommends getting rid of anything that’s been in the freezer for more than a year, although cooked meat and poultry will only last six months, frozen raw ground meat lasts four months, and leftover soups and stews last three months.
7Chipped or cracked glasses
We all have at least one chipped or cracked glass or mug in our cabinets. I have a ton of mugs, and haven’t been able to get rid of a favorite, even though it has a chip on the side. As much as you might not want to, though, you should throw these away.
A chip in a glass or mug can easily lead to an injury. Even scarier? If it’s old and was made with lead paint, it could seep into whatever you’re drinking. Yikes!
8Blackened wooden spoons
Do you really need to hold onto that black wooden spoon you still have? No, you don’t. Who knows, that blackened stuff could be mold and not just a result of being scorched on the stove. Don’t chance it! Wooden spoons are inexpensive and can easily be replaced.
9A scratched up cutting board
If you use a wood cutting board, chances are good that it’s all scratched up — and if that’s the case, it’s time to throw it away. Marianne H. Gravely, a senior technical information specialist at the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA, told Health, “It doesn’t matter if it’s wooden or plastic, if there are a lot of cracks in it, it’s time to throw it out.”
Bacteria can grow in those little scratches and cuts, and it’s really hard to clean them out. You definitely don’t want that on your food!
10Scratched nonstick pans
Gravely also told Health that once a nonstick pan has a deep scratch, it’s no longer considered nonstick. So if you have a nonstick pan with lots of scratches, it’s time to get rid of it. Oh, and Teflon-coated pans can apparently trigger flu-like symptoms when they’re heated too high. Looks like you may have some shopping to do!
11Open containers of broth
If you assume broth, whether it’s vegetable or chicken, can last a long time, you would be wrong. The expiration date is tricky, because it could be a date that’s a year away. But once you open that broth and then put it back in your fridge, it will likely go bad after a week. So go through your fridge, and throw away any open containers of broth you have.
Condiments go bad too! A lot of them have a long shelf life, but if you notice that they’re separating, it’s probably time to toss them. It’s not worth the risk.
You should, hopefully, already know that sponges don’t last very long. They are a breeding ground for all sorts of icky bacteria and they are just… really disgusting, to be honest. You should be keeping a sponge for a week, maybe two, before replacing it — and throw it away if it starts to smell or look weird.
14Old dish towels
Dish towels don’t last forever. They collect food and germs, and if left damp quite often can be another breeding ground for bacteria. If your dish towels are looking awful or giving off a funny smell, even after washing them, get rid of ’em and buy some new ones.
If you are someone who stocks up on plastic bags for almost no reason, you probably have some random drawer or space filled with them. Do you need them? No? Then get rid of them!