So you’ve decided to pare down your possessions. You pull out what you no longer want, and there is a big pile of it. What now? Throwing it out seems like a waste when most of the stuff is almost unused.
I’m getting rid of a lot of stuff. It amazes me how much I have accumulated; it amazes me how much I don’t use. Yet I can’t bear to throw things out when someone else would be able to get use – and joy – out of them.
The Result of Decluttering
So far on my “tidying journey” I have gone through clothes, books, papers and electronics. I’ve also been going through other areas of my house, even though they are not yet on the list, such as the kitchen, as I do my cleaning.
So I have a big pile of stuff. And what can I do with it all?
But Where Should It Go?
The trash is the first thing that pops into mind. And I will say this: if the item is unusable, stained, torn, broken or otherwise compromised or underwear/socks, throw it out. Don’t make a charity use its precious manpower sorting through your garbage.
But there are places for usable things to go.
Battered Women’s Shelters
My charity of choice is our local battered women’s shelter. They pick up items, keep the things they can use for those women and children landing on the doorstep, and send the rest to a thrift store.
Items my local shelter takes are clothing (women’s and children’s), household items, toys and games, school supplies and outerwear.
Our local shelter sends a truck out to pick up donations regularly and will make a special trip if I call them.
Thrift Store Donations
We have a lot of thrift stores in our area, and these are a good place to take other items. They will take everything that the battered women’s shelter does, plus just about everything else, including furniture. I have to cart everything to a donation station, but this inconvenince is offset by the people who unload the car.
I have two different city libraries within 3 miles of me. My own city takes donations and sells the books on Amazon. So if the books are older or not of “general interest” they will be rejected. For that reason, I go to the next city over, where they accept all books and sell them at a jumble sale twice a year.
Both of the libraries will take empty CD cases as well, and we generally take a batch over once or twice a year.
If you want to sell something, you can always take out an ad on a service like Craigslist. Please be cautious, though: don’t meet the person at your house if at all possible, never meet a buying alone, and never, ever let the people into your house. Our local police precinct allows Craigslist transactions to happen in their parking lot.
I am a big fan of Freecycle. You can get rid of the oddest stuff on Freecycle, even broken things that people will sell for scrap or use for parts. My local Freecycle puts the burden of picking up things on the receiver, and people tell you when they will stop by to pick up. I always leave everything on the front porch, tagged with their name, so that I am not waiting for them to pick up at a certain time.
I have gotten rid of a broken Roomba (parts), a patio table whose safety glass top had shattered (scrap), a queen mattress (taken by a salior who was geo-baching), all sorts of kitchen stuff that I had upgraded or no longer used (crockpots, breadmaker, hand blender, donut machine, deep fryer, all my bar ware).
This doesn’t really count, but since I am a green gal, I have to put in a word for recycling. Know what your municipality will recycle, and before throwing something in the trash, see if you can recycle it. This keeps stuff out of the landfill and is an important part of being green.
A special word about electronics: most electronics can be recycled for the metals contained. Some stores off recycling, such as Best Buy. Sometimes municipalities will host an electronic recycling event. Please recycle electronics properly! It keeps harmful metals out of the environment and water, and means we don’t have to mine so much for new electronics.
Your stuff doesn’t have to go in the trash once you’re done with it. If it is in good shape, pass it on. You can find many ways to make your stuff available to others, like charities, libraries, ads and Freecycle.
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