A cup of coffee on a table, with Bakery and Ceramic

7 Common Clutter Problems and How to Solve Them

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.


A cup of coffee on a table, with Kitchen and Bakery

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Vases, baskets, containers

And anything else that held flowers you have received. If they’re cracked or broken, no one wants 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.

Excess dishes and glassware

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.

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.


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? 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, 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.

Bibles and church literature

Call a local church or two and ask if they want them. If not, take them to the thrift shop.


Post your items on CraigsList.org to sell items you don’t need and are just taking up space. If you want to give the stuff away, post on the website FreeCycle.org. Another idea is to call up the next fundraiser auction that comes along and ask if they will pick up your items.

Another option is to join NextDoor.com to connect with neighbors in your local community. Post your items For Sale or for Free Pickup. 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 on the grocery list. Find out 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.

Clear out meds

Go through your medicine cabinets twice a year (January and June are a good schedule) and dispose of all expired over-the-counter medications.

medicine in a bottle

For expired prescription drugs, take them to a local pharmacy that accepts them (most 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.

First published: 10–18-20; Updated 6-9-20


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  1. Bon says:

    I’d like to caution using Decluttr. I have used them 2 Times. The first time, I got an email saying 2 of the DVDs I sent were not in the package and one collectors set of Citizen Kane did not have a bar code, so they would not pay for those items. The DVDs were no big deal because they were only going to give me approximately 0.25 each, but the Citizen Kane was listed as $6. I wrote to tell them the bar code was inside the DVD box, but they had already thrown it away. (?). The second time I sent them my old but nearly prefect Galaxy S5. They emailed me and said they weren’t taking that model, but the would recycle it. Then why accept it when I entered it online? I lost $30 on that one.

  2. Doug says:

    When you decide to declutter, get a friend to help you that has no connections to your stuff. It’s easier for them to toss things since they don’t have the emotional ties to anything like you do.

  3. Wendy Hardaway says:

    Poshmark is great as well – I have sold many items on there – everything from clothes, shoes and housewares.

  4. Deann says:

    I had lots of stuff that was my mother and dad’s. I could not keep it all, so at Christmas I gave each child, daughter-in-law and grandchild something. I tried to personalize as much as possible. Now they each have something to remember Grandma and Grandpa, and I got 20 items out of my house. I told each one the story of their item. One grandson wears his bow tie whenever he dresses up—even prom!!

  5. Teresa says:

    I took pictures of my young daughter’s art through the years. She proudly held them up, knowing that this would be a permanent record. She and I were then a little easier in “removing them” from the collection. ☺️

  6. Birgit says:

    Our church has a “furniture garage” where they store furniture for folks in need. Checking with your local churches to see if they have a similar furniture mission is another possibility for furniture you no longer need.

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