Church Organization: 101 Things to Throw Away {Free Printable}

Church organization and cleaning is a must! To keep God’s house clean and ready for the worship of the Lord and the use of the building there should be a routine process of going through the church and cleaning the building by throwing things away and reorganizing from time to time. The church  gets cluttered from use and since it is a place that is normally used a few times a week the cleaning gets focused on the normal vacuuming, dusting, and other clean-up. Closets, classrooms, and storage areas can get a build up of old and excessive items before you know it.

You can read the first post in this series: Church Organization – Cleaning Up God’s House.

This list weaves its way through the church kitchen, storage rooms, church office, nursery and Sunday School classes, and even the shed you may have outside. Many church ladies gave their input on what type of items needed to be thrown out – so enjoy!

101 Things to Throw Away

Kitchen Items

  • Extraneous lids without bowls or cups
  • Donated items that your church kitchen does not use
  • Leftover bowls, pans, etc. after you have tried to find the owner
  • Excessive plastic grocery sacks and paper bags
  • Migratory coffee mugs
  • Forgotten water bottles
  • Any type of broken, melted, or rusty kitchenware (cookie sheets, utensils, etc.)
  • Dated utensils and appliances -Adios yellow straining spoons!
  • Expired food or drinks (look in all the cupboards, pantry, and refrigerator)
  • Food and/or drinks that have not been used in a year (if not expired) – goodbye stale croutons, flavorless spices, and old tea bags!
  • Taco Bell sauce packets – They’re everywhere!!
  • Towels or pot holders that look like rags
  • Pots and Pans that have extremely scratched Teflon, warped bottoms, etc.
  • Worn out scrubbers and sponges
  • Dish soap or cleaners that have not been used in the last six months
  • Cutting boards that are excessively cut up or have signs of mold (black or dark green marks in the cracks of the boards whether plastic or wooden)
  • Unused dishes, cups, utensils, serving trays, etc. – Donate!
  • Dull knives
  • Extra coffee pots
  • Worn out dirty high chairs

Church Office

  • Wrinkled paper
  • Old phone books, catalogs, calendars, and directories
  • Broken and unused computers and keyboards
  • Outdated computer software and their user manuals
  • Past themed pens, pencils, and other office supplies
  • Records 8 years old or older
  • Nonworking and/or unused telephones
  • Copier waste cartridges
  • Expired or old order forms not being used for records
  • Missionary prayer cards with old or outdated photographs and/or information
  • Files of church resources that are no longer of use to you or your ministry
  • Old cards, letters, and other memorabilia with no significant worth or meaning
  • Any photographs that do not capture church history well. Keep good quality photos of significant events and of people
  • Antiquated filing cabinets
  • Ministry books no longer being used to help ministry workers in your church

Church Nursery & Sunday School Classrooms

  • Broken toys – in nursery and children’s ministries
  • Ripped or ruined books – in nursery and children’s classrooms
  • Stained blankets – nursery
  • Expired snacks – nursery & classrooms
  • Any type of item that would pose a safety hazard to infants – look around the nursery and church at floor level
  • Sunday School Curriculum worksheets with only one or two copies left
  • VHS or DVDs that are no longer being used for ministry
  • Abandoned artwork or other projects

Craft Supplies & Storage Closets

  • Broken crayons or colored pencils, dried out markers
  • Pencils with bad erasers
  • Dried pens, chewed on pens, pens without lids, pens, pens, pens
  • Dried glue bottles or glue sticks
  • Unused or unusable craft miscellaneous – paint, stickers, glitter, foam, etc.
  • Games with broken parts or missing pieces
  • Gross candy, hard candy, open candy
  • Don’t forget hardened bus gum!
  • Bulletin board leftovers from months or years’ past
  • Posters or illustrated songs needing to be retired
  • Party decorations – the broken, bent, and out-of-date stuff
  • Puppets who have seen better days
  • Decorations from past themed days, VBS’, and seasons that will not be used again within the next 18 months.

Other Stored Items

  • Chairs missing parts or pieces – don’t forget the metal chairs that are so scratched up or bent nobody wants to sit in them
  • Broken and/or outdated church auditorium or foyer decorations
  • Outdated floral decor or greener (no more ‘90’s floral decor please)
  • Tracts from the ‘80’s, ‘90’s, and ‘00’s that realistically will never be used again
  • Sermon tapes (It’s time to transfer to digital!)
  • Dried up paint cans and neglected paint brushes
  • Church project leftovers – piles of stuff nobody has cleaned up or knows what to do with (even outside!)
  • Unsafe or broken sports equipment
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Extraneous storage bins and organizing containers
  • Wooden baskets
  • Donated clothes and other items that cannot and will not be used
  • Damaged or unused lawn equipment
  • Dead vacuum cleaners
  • Church camp leftovers – the sleeping bags, pillows, clothes, etc.
  • Expired medicines and/or consumed products in First-Aid kits
  • Any church vehicles sitting outside – the dinosaur church bus all grown over with weeds and/or the ’90’s church van hiding at the back of your property

Janitor’s Closet

  • Empty cleaning bottles
  • Cleaners not used in over a year
  • Dirty rags
  • Scrubbers that are frayed around the edges and/or dirty
  • Ruined paper towels or toilet paper
  • Nasty or broken buckets
  • Mops should be replaced once a year if possible
  • Toilet brushes that need replacing
  • Crusty toilet plungers
  • Brooms with straws falling out, splintering handles, or worn out bristles
  • Broken light bulbs
  • Frayed extension cords
  • Stray screws, nuts, bolts, and tools
  • Trashy trash cans

Church Foyer and Welcome Area

  • All those miscellaneous items abandoned in the Lost and Found
  • The stack of Bibles no one claims – it’s okay to donate them, really, it is…
  • Clean up the same type of items found in the “office” section of the list

Music and Sound Equipment

  • Copies of sheet music – most sheet music is under a copyright and should not be reproduced without permission. Churches can get into trouble for copyright infringement for having copied sheet music
  • The bookshelf of unfamiliar music (sheet music, old choir books, etc.) no one knows or will ever want to learn to sing again
  • CD’s of church music
  • Unused hymnals
  • Sound equipment beyond repair or unusable in your current situation
  • Spare cords and wires (double check with the pastor, sound man, and handyman first!)
  • Defective projectors – both types, overhead projectors and video projectors
  • Old Batteries
  • Keyboards and/or old pianos


  • Worn out baptistery items: towels, baptistery robes
  • Those items you’re thinking about that did not make it on this list in your church that just need to go… go ahead, throw them away!


Click below for the free printable list:

101 Things to Throw Away at Church

Please remember that these resources are available for free for personal or church use only. All rights are reserved.


Church Organization: Cleaning Up God’s House

We often do Spring cleaning and reorganization in our homes throughout the year, let’s not forget about taking time to organize your church. Churches get cluttered with stuff too and there just comes a point when things need to be thrown away!

Every item as you decide to organize your church does not really need to be put into the dumpster, some items may need to be donated and given a new home. You decide, but as you decide remember that as you are organizing and cleaning that you are helping God’s house be its best. Your goal is to make space for the most important items that are used regularly.

Cleaning Up God's House

Who Can Help with Church Organization?

Clean-up the church as a group. Instead of tackling a huge task alone, have a church work day and let others help you! Church work days can be a bonding and fellowship time while making the house of God look its best all as a church family.

Utilize talents and skills others have. Many people, especially ladies and teenage girls, in the church have a gift for cleaning and organizing. Encourage them to get on board with the job and let them have the freedom to clean to their heart’s content. One memorable Saturday afternoon a Sunday School teacher invited me to help her clean up a very cluttered classroom for the toddler class and we went through all the toy bins, cabinets, and craft supplies and ended up ridding the classroom from several bags of trash and donation items. The result of our efforts made for a bright and ready classroom for Sunday morning.

If the organization has been delegated to you or you see the need and want to do it yourself then the key word is ask! I imagine a gung-ho church or staff member taking on organizing and throwing things away right and left without first asking permission and causing a heap of trouble. Communicate before you get to work because there may be a reason why they’re keeping some of those things you might view as “junk”. Use your discernment, if you have any doubt about an item(s) then just ask if it is something you should keep or get rid of. Pastors, church secretaries, and Sunday School teachers do not like their stuff disappearing on them.

What Do We Do with All This Stuff?

Throw Away Throw away the trash! Do not give away unwanted items that will only consume someone else’s time of sorting through things and make them throw it away for you. That is how donated items arrived at your church! Pay the cash if you must to take a trip to the dump or have the garbage company come for an extra pick-up from your dumpster. Think of it as an investment in godliness because we know that cleanliness is next to godliness, right? Oh wait, that’s not in the Bible but it is worth doing for the sake of having a clean church.

Give Away If an item is reusable then give it away! Church planters are usually in need of good quality items that could be used for their church work so if you have useful items not being used that could help someone, think of giving as an option. They usually need items like keyboards, Sunday School material, chairs, the extra communion set  you may have, clean toys for their nursery or toddler classes. Missionaries might also be another group of people who would benefit from church goodies that need a new home.

Non-profit organizations who would benefit from good quality items like canned goods, clothes, appliances, electronics, etc. Many companies now will even come pick them up for you if you schedule a pick-up.

Repurpose Being a good steward means not wasting God’s resources. If there are craft supplies in a shed or storage closet that can be used for a specific class or even a specific event in your church then get them ready to use without spending more money. Even the old decorations that you may have from a special occasion at the church might be able to be used by another church, other ministry wives may really enjoy switching decor for events so they can save money too. Be realistic about your repurposing items, if they are not something that will be used within the next six months to a year then it might be better to go ahead and pass them on.

Whatever you do, get rid of all the stuff you bagged up – FAST! You do not want all the junk to go back into the church or even your storage. Be diligent to conquer your church organization by following through and removing the items promptly. Make your calls to get items picked up and/or used as soon as possible.

If you have more questions about organization and cleaning you can find many resources across the web that will be applicable to similar areas and situations.

The next Church Organization post will contain a list of 101 Things to Throw Away at Church with a free printable so it can be printed out and used while you’re cleaning.