I have a theory that most of us would be more than willing to let go of the stuff that’s cluttering our homes if we knew these things would serve a worthwhile cause or help someone else—the good things, kitchen things, the highly useful possessions that we just don’t use. Check out these worthwhile solutions for most households’ seven biggest clutter problems.
1. Vases, baskets, containers
And anything else that held flowers and gifts you have received. If they’re cracked or broken, no one wants them. Toss them.
For the rest, take those which are in “like-new” condition to the closest flower shop to be recycled. You’ll be gratefully received.
Keep this in mind: As you have possession of these things, they may appear to be more valuable and desirable than they really are. Once out of sight, they will become quickly out of mind. Within hours you’ll completely forget what it was you thew out.
2. Excess dishes and bakeware
No matter how pretty or potentially useful, if you do not use those items at least once each year, sell them to an antique dealer. Or give them to a local thrift shop or the church’s annual rummage sale.
If you’re fairly certain your items are generally desirable by your neighbors and local community, offer them on your community’s Freecycle.org site.
Knowing someone else will love and use these things should ease the pain of separation.
3. Pots and pans
Offer them to family members, take them to the thrift shop, or see if your church kitchen or camp could use some decent cookware. Just don’t feel offended if others don’t find your pots as useful and or desirable as you believe they should be.
Can’t bring yourself to dump your good clothes into a collection bin? Find an organization with specific needs.
Check out crisis pregnancy homes, battered women’s shelters, and drug rehab centers.
They will be so grateful to get gently used clothing that their clients can wear to job interviews.
Beyond gently worn? Look for recycle options where items like these made of natural fibers (cotton, linen) are turned into industrial rags.
If none of these options apply to your situation? Don’t hesitate. Toss them. Now.
Go to Decluttr, input the ISBN number of that book or scan it using the Decluttr smartphone app. For those books Decluttr will buy, print out the prepaid mailing label, and get those books into the mail. Decluttr will send you a check. I’ve done it, and been surprised by how quickly I got paid.
Got textbooks? BookScouter.com specializes in buying and selling textbooks. Same routine: Input the ISBN number at its website. Book Scouter helps you sell textbooks and used books for the most money by comparing offers from over 39 book buyback vendors with a single search.
Can’t sell them? Donate books to your local library. Those the library cannot put on the shelves will help raise funds at the next library book sale.
6. Bibles, religious books, literature
Make a list of what you have including titles, authors, ISBN, condition, and so forth and applicable.
Call a local church or two and ask if they want them. If not, contact a local nursing home or assisted living community. Or take them to the thrift shop.
These are the best ways to get these items into the hands of those who can use and will appreciate them.
Post your items on CraigsList.org or Facebook Marketplace, to sell items you don’t need and are just taking up space. If you want to give the stuff away, post on FreeCycle.org if your community has a local chapter.
Another option is to join NextDoor.com to connect with neighbors in your local community. Another idea is to call up the next fundraiser auction (rummage sale) that comes along and ask if they will pick up your items.
If your furniture is generally desirable, it’ll be gone before you know it.
General organization tips
Because clutter and organization is a huge problem for many of us, here are my tried-and-true tips to help with the mess:
Everything in its place
Assign a “home” for everything you own, then put things away when you are finished using them. If something doesn’t have a home, perhaps it’s time to rethink that item.
Save it with a photo
If you are having trouble parting with something and you want to save the memory of the item, consider taking a photo of it for future reference. Wait. Don’t dismiss this idea so quickly! This may sound silly at first, but it will fulfill your desire to continue to enjoy it and declutter your life, too.
Organize your kitchen pantry
Group like items together so you’ll know what you have and what needs to go. Discover what’s lurking on your shelves and in your cupboards. If you do not use it regularly, either get rid of it or start using it.
Go through your medicine cabinets twice a year (January and June are a good schedule) and dispose of all expired over-the-counter medications.
For expired prescription drugs, take them to a local pharmacy that accepts them (many do and they may also accept your expired over-the-counter items as well), then make a list of items you need to replace.
Make sure you guard your ID with a permanent marker or this handy blackout roller stamp.
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