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10 Things You Need to Get Rid of Before Summer

Before you get into the swing of summer, with all of the outdoor parties, camping and gardening activities, take an inventory and get rid of things that shouldn't hang around your home, garage and yard all summer. Get started with these 10 things and you'll likely find more stuff you can discard or donate. Doesn't that feel good?

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cardboard boxesSimon Bratt/Shutterstock

Cardboard Boxes

It’s handy to keep a few cardboard boxes around for temporary storage and packaging gifts, but if you have a towering stack of boxes, spring is the time to break them down and recycle them. Don’t be tempted to just move them to the garage or basement because rodents and bugs may use them as homes.

Are annoying bugs and outdoor critters giving you problems? You can control most common pests on your own, without spending money on an exterminator.

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sunscreenMila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock

Expired Sunscreen

Sunscreen remains effective for about three years, so check the expiration date and toss any bottles or tubes that are past their prime.

Protection from UV rays isn’t the only safety precaution you need to take this summer. Check out these 10 summer safety tips.

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Family Handyman

Winter Clothes and Blankets

If you find outerwear and heavy blankets that you never wore or needed last winter, consider donating them. If you didn’t need them this year it’s unlikely you’ll need, or remember, them next year. If the clothing or blankets are made of wool or contain fur, silk, feathers or leather, you also take the risk of a clothing moth infestation if you keep them stored over the summer.

Check out our 15 tips for storing seasonal clothing.

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dirty paint rags


It’s a good idea to keep a few rags around for cleaning, oil changes and other messy moments. But if you have piles of used rags, especially those with oily substances on them, get rid of them safely, asap. Here’s what can happen if those oily rags aren’t disposed of properly!

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soil in bagphotosthai/Shutterstock

Opened Bags or Boxes of Soil, Mulch or Fertilizer

If you had leftover potting soil, mulch and other gardening products at the end of the last growing season, you may have thought you’d use them in the spring. The problem is, the contents usually get either dried out or wet and both of these problems can be ruinous. Unless the packaging is unopened and dry, it’s usually best to toss these leftovers and start fresh.

If you want to grow something new this year, check out these 15 breathtaking fairy gardens.

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shutterstock_718630489 pile of logs and firewoodPeter Titmuss/Shutterstock

Indoor Firewood

While storing firewood indoors may be handy in winter, you need to get rid of it as quickly as possible once you’re done using the fireplace or woodstove for the season. If the wood is left indoors, it becomes a breeding ground for bugs, spiders and rodents. Store it safely away from your house in the spring.

Check out our tips for buying firewood.

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plastic toysshoot4pleasure/Shutterstock

Plastic Toys

If you have children, take an inventory of their outdoor toys before they start playing with them again. Get rid of toys that are cracked or have missing parts that leave sharp edges exposed. If you have a plastic sandbox, check it for cracks and remove debris from the sand. For a wooden sandbox, check for rough, splintered wood that could cause an injury.

These DIY toy storage bins keep your garage neat and tidy.

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food containersADESTUDIO/Shutterstock

Cracked or Warped Food Containers

Take a look at your food storage container collection and discard any warped or cracked pieces. It’s especially important in the summer to store foods like crackers, cereal and pasta in storage container so that they don’t get stale from the humidity and to keep out bugs. Also, intact food storage containers are essential for summertime picnics.

Is your kitchen too small for a pantry? Here are 11 excellent no-pantry solutions for storing food.

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old automotive liquids

Unused Batteries and Fuels

Storing automotive batteries, fuels and oils in your garage when temps are high can affect the chemicals in batteries and the composition of fuels. This spring, properly dispose of leftovers and don’t keep more than you need on hand.

Learn all about car battery care with this guide.

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trash cansPeter Gudella/Shutterstock

Trash Cans

Trash cans take a beating in the winter. Check to make sure you still have the lids and that they close tightly to keep out critters. Replace cans that are badly damaged or missing their lid.

Tired of plastic trash bags slipping down into the can? Check out this clever tip for keeping them in place.

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