Toxic Items: How Do You Get Rid of Them?

Picture this: you’re going through the back of your closet, when suddenly you come upon a t-shirt that evokes a horrible 5th grade field-trip memory.

Or perhaps, a rejection letter from one of your dream colleges. It may even be a pair of sweatpants that remind you of your terrible high school ex-boyfriend.

Regardless of the specific scenario, I know many people, including myself, who have found themselves in this position before. Often, it’s easy to feel compelled to hold on to items, even those that bring on painful emotions.

While it can often be hard to part with such items, here are some ways you can get rid of them without having to throw them away.

1. Donate them.

Donating items is a great way to get them off of your hands while knowing that they will be appreciated by someone else.

Not only will you no longer have to see the physical item, but you can be at peace knowing that its meaning will become entirely different to another individual. I know that many people may find this thought to be rather comforting.

With that said, it’s true that the donation process can be daunting. There are many places you can choose to donate to including national locations and there are most likely smaller niche stores in your area.

It may be beneficial to do research online about all of the options accessible to you, as some places may be more equipped to sell or use your specific products. Additionally, some donation locations may also have causes that feel more personal to you.

2. Re-sell them online.

If you’re looking to pick up some money for your old items, consider selling them online. There are numerous platforms to sell used items, including Etsy, Depop, Poshmark, and eBay. I have personally sold and bought clothing on Poshmark before, and I have found it to be both simple and effective.

Not only will you be getting rid of unwanted items, but you will also be able to earn some money in the process. For some, this might prove to be the best method, because it can feel both emotionally rewarding and financially satisfying.

3. Repurpose the item.

Remember the fifth-grade t-shirt I mentioned? Well, it could make an amazing post-shower hair towel! And the rejection letter? Create some colorful paper-mâché art! Plus, the aforementioned sweatpants could certainly be redesigned using craft-store fabric paints.

Regardless of what you’re looking to repurpose, I promise you will find a bevy of DIYs on the Internet that is related to that product. Not only will you be preserving the item, but you will be repurposing it in a way that serves you in the present. For many, I feel that this method could prove to be both cathartic and sustainable.


No matter which route you choose to take, any of these options can be more environmentally and economically friendly than throwing your unwanted items away. While tossing them is always an option, I hope that these suggestions can help you to explore good alternatives.


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