Do you have older items in your home that have lost their effectiveness, or worse, are safety hazards? Or maybe your home is cluttered with belongings you no longer need. If so, use this list to find the household products in your home that would best be replaced with new ones.
Can’t remember when you purchased your pillow? You probably could use a new one. Over time, a pillow’s feathers or fibers can break down, making it flat and uncomfortable. A flat pillow might not fully support your neck and cause poor sleep, headaches, and back pain. Your pillow could also harbor dust mites and other allergens. You can sanitize your pillow in your washing machine, but it should still be replaced every one to two years. Try getting an adjustable pillow, which lets you remove or add stuffing so your pillow can be as soft or as firm as you’d like.
Experts suggest replacing your mattress every six to eight years, since it can get lumpy, sag, and provide less support as it ages. Like your pillow, an older mattress could contain dust mites and other allergens. Look for a new mattress that is best suited for you. Side sleepers sometimes prefer a soft mattress, stomach sleepers might want a firmer one, and back sleepers might do best with a mattress that’s somewhere in between. How a mattress feels can vary from person to person and can be affected by your size and any health issues, so keep those factors in mind when you shop.
Kitchen sponges can hold bacteria that can make you sick. You can sanitize your kitchen sponges by tossing them in your dishwasher or by microwaving wet sponges for two minutes daily. Still, kitchen sponges should be thrown away after about two weeks since some bacteria can remain in a sponge even after it’s sanitized in a microwave or dishwasher.
Old technology equipment
If you’ve upgraded to a new phone, computer or flatscreen TV, it might be time to donate or discard your old one. You could give it to the Salvation Army, but check with your local center first to see what they accept. Many Best Buy stores will recycle your old electronics for you for free; check their list of acceptable items and contact your local store for confirmation before dropping anything off.
CDs and DVDs
If you stream your movies and music and no longer own a CD or DVD player, you can recycle, donate, or sell your old media. Use the Earth911 Recycling Locator for locations where you can recycle them. You may be able to sell them online through Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or eBay; some items with nostalgic value might be collector items. Some thrift stores and charities might accept them too.
You should get rid of that box of extension cords sitting in your garage or basement. Older extension cords might not have modern safety features, such as polarized blades, and a cord’s wiring and exterior protective coating could deteriorate over time. If you have chargers you no longer use, throw those out too. See if there’s an e-waste facility in your area that can dispose of your old electrical cords for you, since electronic waste can contain dangerous chemicals, such as lead and mercury. Many Best Buy stores also accept extension cords and chargers, or use the Earth911 locator to find a recycling center near you.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are only expected to last five to ten years, depending on the product, so you should look to replace them before the end of this period. (Check online to see when the manufacturer of your product suggests replacing it.) Aging monitors may not work properly and might fail to alert you when dangerous smoke or carbon monoxide is in your home. Some monitors are equipped with an end-of-life signal that will alert you when it needs to be replaced.
Unused exercise equipment
If you have an old treadmill or exercise bike that you no longer use, you could give it away through a local Buy Nothing Project, donate it to a local community group, list it for sale on Craigslist or in a Facebook Buy and Sell group, or hire a junk hauler like 1-800-Got-Junk to take it away.
Furnace air filter
The air filter in your furnace can remove pollen and other allergens from the air in your home, but it won’t work properly if it gets clogged. A dirty filter can block airflow and limit the efficiency of your HVAC system too. If you have a disposable air filter in your furnace, replace it if it’s visually dirty or once every few months. How often a filter should be replaced depends on the type and thickness of the filter, so follow the guidelines provided by your filter’s manufacturer for the best results.
Latex paint can have a shelf life of about ten years if stored properly; oil paint can last for up to fifteen years. Paint that smells rancid, is lumpy or separated, or doesn’t blend back together properly when stirred, should be discarded. Check your local municipality for regulations regarding paint disposal, as you might not be allowed to throw it in the trash. You can also use the PaintCare Drop-Off Site Locator to find retailers and household-waste facilities that accept leftover paint.