12 Things You Should Keep Forever

Image of honey jars.Keith McDuffee via Flickr

We’re always talking about trying to decrease clutter—haven’t worn that shirt in a year? Donate it. Haven’t used the coffee pot taking up space on the kitchen counter? Get rid of it. The boxes filling up the garage? Toss ‘em.

Those things are easy to tell whether you should get rid of them. But what about the stuff worth keeping around? Do such objects exist? They do! Here are 12 things you should probably never throw away:

  1. Canned jars.

    There are so many uses for jars (think mason or glass jars) that it’s almost a sin if you were to throw one away. You can store office supplies in them, hold kid’s craft supplies, or use it for your meal prep. You can also make ice cream in a mason jar, and that’s a reason all its own to never throw it away.

  2. Buttons.

    My grandma used to collect buttons—she had dozens in a little antique jewelry box on a shelf. I was always so mesmerized by all the designs, shapes, and sizes they came in. Needless to say, she was always the one people came to when they needed a spare button (and you’d be surprised at how often that happened). Besides being pretty, spare buttons are great to have around when one falls off your favorite sweater or you need a quick fix on a too-low shirt.

  3. Tools.

    If you’ve ever gotten a toolset as a gift and rolled your eyes, well, don’t. Tools are great to have around in a sticky situation—AKA when you order a new side table from IKEA and it comes in 80,000 pieces. That Philips head screwdriver will save you. Plus, isn’t it funny how you always know where your toolbox is? Think about that.

  4. First aid kit.

    While you may need to replace some gauze and band aids over the years, never throw away a first aid kit. The last thing you want to do when your kid scrapes his knee is run to a local drugstore for peroxide wipes and Band-Aids. Keep it stored in your medicine cabinet at all times—you’ll never regret having that kind of thing.

  5. Instruction manuals.

    No matter how annoying that dishwasher booklet is sitting on your bookshelf, trust us: Don’t get rid of it. You never know when an appliance or device is going to have a malfunction that you’ll need to look up in the manual. And no, Googling it doesn’t always work. We learned that the hard way. Plus, what if you need your car manual after your car breaks down where there’s no service? Store that in the glove compartment!

  6. Paint.

    If you ever have paint left over after sprucing up a wall, save the can. It might be clunky, but you’ll thank us when you want to touch up any nicks or spots that inevitably will develop over the years.

  7. Pots and pans.

    As long as they’re good quality, pots and pans should last a lifetime. You might think you’ll only use a select few, but save the others that came in that set for big family dinners. You might not use them for a few years, but you will eventually be thankful for that Le Creuset Dutch Oven.

  8. Appetizer trays.

    If you think you got one too many veggie platters from your wedding registry or you feel like you have nowhere to store those fancy cheeseboards, still keep them around. For the same reasons you want to keep the pots and pans, appetizer serving ware is one of those things you’ll likely unexpectedly need.

  9. High-quality clothing.

    There are people who buy cheap clothes that are worn once before they either fall apart or they get sick of them—and there are people who buy the quality, pricier staples that you can wear for years to come. Don’t toss those; they’ll be timeless (and may even be considered vintage) down the road.

  10. Important documents.

    While financial and tax documents should be saved, we’re more so talking about things like your birth certificate, marriage license, and social security card. You’ll always need those.

  11. Flashlights.

    In case of a power outage, always keep a flashlight around—and remember where you put it. Hint: Keep working batteries in them at all times so that in the event you need it, it actually works!

  12. Honey!

    This last one is a little random but hear us out: Not only is honey expensive, it also never expires. And that means you shouldn’t throw it out, even when you’re cleaning out your pantry and find a half-used jar from 2012. If it looks hard and crystalized, don’t worry—just melt it over the stove and it’ll be as good as new.

Do you have any of these items that made our list? What kinds of things do you always keep around?