12 Things That Become Immediately Useless When You Retire

Say goodbye to these once-valuable possessions.

Older couple at a yard sale
Updated June 6, 2024
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Retirement is a great time to sort through items and declutter your space. Getting rid of things you don't have room for if you downsize or things you just don't need anymore can be therapeutic.

But knowing where to start can be a challenge. Following are a few items you might consider tossing — or perhaps selling so you can earn some extra cash.

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Work clothes and shoes

Seventyfour/Adobe woman standing with senior lady at store trying shirts to purchase

If you worked in a buttoned-up office for years or even decades, you likely won't need all those suits and skirts anymore.

Sort through your closet for things that you want to save, such as a nice suit or two for formal engagements like weddings or parties. Then, create a donation pile for any work items that you don't need anymore.

Doing so will free up space in your closet and give you a decluttered sense of accomplishment.

Employment paperwork

Krakenimages.com/Adobe man pointing at paper bin in hand

You likely have work papers that have piled up over the years that you can toss now that you have retired.

Just be careful. You may not want to get rid of important papers related to taxes, life insurance, or health care coverage.

Make three piles for papers you need, papers you want, and papers destined for the trash. This will help you organize the process.

Transportation passes

Olga/Adobe businessman at office throwing garbage

Go through all those extra public transportation passes you collected and toss out expired ones.

If you still have current monthly passes, use them up by enjoying all the places you never got to visit while you were working.

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Your second car

JackF/Adobe senior couple selling car holding keys

Now that you're retired, you no longer need a car to commute to and from work. If you are a two-car household, consider getting rid of one car.

Doing so can save you money on car payments, insurance, and monthly gas costs. It will likely be even easier to ditch your second vehicle if you and your spouse are retired.

Business travel items

New Africa/Adobe woman keeping laptop in case

Are you tired of getting on a plane every week to travel for work? The good news is that you don't have to do that anymore.

Think about ditching your work suitcase that you've shoved into too many overhead compartments.

Household items

Studio Romantic/Adobe woman taking picture of lounge on tablet

Retirement might also mean it’s time to move or downsize. If so, eliminate things you won't have room for in your next home.

Consider holding a garage sale to sell these items. Or, find places where you can donate your old furniture. You can also post these items online and offer to give them away for free.

Items in a storage unit

Viacheslav Yakobchuk/Adobe man in storage unit holding box

If you have items in a storage unit, now is the time to sort through them or figure out what you want to toss. By doing so, you might eliminate that extra cost of storage you have been taking on.


Syda Productions/Adobe woman donating books in brown box

If you have books related to work — such as books about marketing, mechanics, or leadership — they will probably just collect dust on your shelves now that you are retired.

Consider donating them to a local library. You can pass on some of the things you've learned over your career to someone else.

Old electronics

Yekatseryna/Adobe man throwing phone in recycle container

Retirement is the time to get rid of work-related electronics, from cell phones to computers and chargers.

Collect all of your old electronics and do a little research on how to dispose of them properly. Remember that things like batteries or certain types of old technology may require special disposal.

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Kitchen gadgets

Mediteraneo/Adobe smiling senior couple recycling trash

You now have the time to use your kitchen to make lunch and eat dinner at home. As you do so, you might notice that some kitchen gadgets rarely get used.

Sell things like the blender you never use, and toss or donate your mismatched silverware.

Sports equipment

sodawhiskey/Adobe senior woman on treadmill at home

Is there a treadmill in your basement and bedroom that's going unused and taking up space? Get rid of it.

To stay active, join a gym or a neighborhood club for walkers, bikers, or runners. Ditch the stuff cluttering up your home space that isn't getting used.

Outdated media

Philipimage/Adobe female technician reviewing cassettes

Perhaps you have VHS movies or CDs that are collecting dust. If so, toss that outdated media, or find places to donate it, such as your local library.

Bottom line

Wayhome Studio/Adobe senior woman writing on book

Whether you decide to retire early or start your golden years a bit later, now is the time to take advantage of your freedom and spend some time decluttering.

Create a list now of charities you can donate to or join local free groups where you can give away items. You have freed your mind from work responsibilities, and now is the time to rid your home of clutter, too.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.