Homeowners face a constant battle: No matter how much you purge, more and more stuff keeps creeping in. While you might think your closets or attic are the biggest clutter pits, there’s another, highly underrated area where crap collects, and it’s the place where space is often most at a premium: your kitchen.
Just look around and you’ll see what we mean: Overstuffed cabinets with cans of tuna from that Costco visit in 1992, gorgeous granite counters covered by useless appliances like a banana hammock … the grievances go on and on. Make a fresh start for the new year and start tossing it all out! To get you started, here are 10 things you are likely to have lurking in your drawers and pantries that you’ll never miss once they’re gone. Trust us on this.
Mugs, mugs, and more mugs
You know there are only a few mugs from which you really care to drink your coffee, yet your cupboards are probably filled with randoms desperately fighting for shelf space. Souvenirs from trips, gifts from well-meaning (but uninspired) friends and family, and even the ones made by hand by your own precious children (aww—take a picture!). If you love it, keep it, but if not, toss it now. Unless you host a coffee klatch, you’re just wasting prime cabinet real estate.
Restaurant napkins, plasticware, and condiments
It seemed like such a good idea at the time: nabbing all those plastic packets filled with ketchup, mayo, plasticware, chopsticks, and anything else you might need for an on-the-go meal. You know what? It wasn’t. You won’t remember you have them when your real ketchup bottle runs out; you’ll forget to pack them for your trip to the beach; you’ll be disgusted when they turn up, covered with grime and dust, after being overlooked for years. Face it, you’re never going to use them. Toss them and vow that next time (and forever more) you’ll take only what you’ll actually use for one meal.
No, they won’t make you sick, as spoiled milk or meat can, but ground spices will lose their flavor after time—and why keep around a bunch of bottles of gritty blandness? While most spices don’t have expiration dates, experts at Epicurious suggest this taste test: Put a little of each spice in your mouth. If you don’t taste much after 30 seconds or so, throw it out.
Storage containers without lids
If there’s no lid, there’s no purpose. Line up your myriad containers and toss those whose lid has probably been swallowed by the same mysterious force that has all your missing socks. For those that do have a match, Pinterest is filled with thousands of ways to organize lids and containers.
No, we’re not suggesting you cook more at home (baby steps!), but wake up: This is 2017, you just don’t need paper menus anymore. For one thing, you probably always order the same thing, but more importantly, they’re all online. Time to sign up for seamless or grubhub if you haven’t already.
Useless kitchen gadgets
If you have a banana slicer, butter cutter, or other novelty kitchen gadgets you once thought were cool but haven’t used in years, there’s really no question you should get rid of them.
In fact, even seemingly useful tools should go in the Goodwill bin if you don’t actually use them (hello, apple corer). A quick look in my kitchen gadget drawer shows everything from a strawberry huller to no fewer than 10 whisks and at least three Pampered Chef items whose purpose I can’t even divine, not to mention the mini loaf pan I must have purchased when I imagined making mini loaves of bread for … whom?
The fact is, you can cook ‘most anything with with a couple of basics. Anyone need a whisk?
Plastic souvenir cups
These ugly things are what you want to remember from your travels? Really?
Notice a theme with all this plastic everywhere? And nothing is worse than saving every plastic grocery bag to line your tiny trash can. Seriously, you’ve got so many, you’ll never go through them all. Plus, many grocery stores now charge you to use their plastic bags, so shopping with reusable bags will actually save you money.
Quick, what’s the germiest object in your house? While the toilet seems like a safe guess, the answer is actually pretty unassuming in appearance: your kitchen sponge. Yep, the same one you use to wash the dishes from which you eat. Food residue and a warm, moist environment make them a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Ewww. Dishcloths you can throw in the wash each evening are a much better choice.
While the refrigerator is pretty easy to tackle (just check the expiration dates and toss what’s seen its day), the freezer can be a big, frigid box of unknowns. Did you toss that leftover lasagna in there last month, or was it last year? Of course, the smart thing to do is to label foods when you put them in the freezer, but because you probably don’t, you may want to be safe and toss anything about which memory is a little foggy. This list of guidelines for how long foods can be frozen is helpful if you know when they went in.
This article was originally published at Realtor.com.