Once the decluttering process has taken place, then comes the question,
“What do I do with all these things I have decided to let go of in my life?”
“How do I get rid of clutter responsibly?”
I am the child of depression-era parents. Because of that, I learned some things that were good to learn, and some things that maybe weren’t so good. I know not all depression-era parents are like mine, but I do know that a lot are.
I have helped others to declutter and organize for well over a decade now! I have come across many people like myself.
Here are a few of the things I learned being raised by depression-era parents, and an environmentalist mom.
Lesson 1 – Everything “might have” a purpose so keep it.
My mom, more so than my dad, kept everything that she saw value in. That included a lot of stuff! My mom was actually organized with the things she kept, but she kept way too many things.
Things like bread twist ties, string from sugar, flour and dog food packages, bread bags (which were washed and reused) styrofoam packaging from meat, and egg cartons. There was more, but these were the things she still had when it was time to move her out of my childhood home.
In reality, all of these things were useful and were being kept for a purpose. However, we could have supplied the entire neighborhood with the number we had.
Lesson 2 – Hang on to anything that still “does the job”.
This lesson I find to be a good one. I have had the same Kirby vacuum cleaner for over 35 years, and, it still works great.
I will admit to purchasing a smaller, lighter vacuum just this past year, as Kirby’s are pretty heavy, and the one I own is not self-propelled.
I do seem to have a propensity towards new shiny objects, so keeping something that lasts forever and ever isn’t always easy for me. I also try and remember that most things I purchase in this day and age aren’t going to last very long.
Lesson 3 – Dispose of things in a purposeful way.
By being purposeful, I mean in a way where throwing something in the trash is the last resort.
What are the best ways to get rid of the things that we no longer need, use or love, without involving a landfill?
This is what I want to talk about today.
Let’s talk about my 4 favorite ways to eliminate clutter.
This basically means giving things away. Most people find this to be the easiest thing to do. However, when the pandemic of 2020 hit, it wasn’t so easy. People were stuck at home and found it to be the perfect time to declutter. However, the thrift stores were closed, and people were stuck with a bunch of stuff.
This is the perfect example of why we should limit the amount of stuff we own. And now is the perfect time to start.
Anyway, I digress.
Here are some places I have found to help you get rid of your cast-offs.
Local Thrift Stores
While this is in no way an exhaustive list, here are few places to look for thrift stores in your area that may be happy to take your cast-offs.
- The Thrift Shopper
- Thrift Stores
- Go to google maps, find your area, type in thrift stores. You’ll be surprised how many thrift stores show up. Give them a call to see if they are interested in your items.
Social Media / Online Sites
- The Freecycle Network
- Facebook Marketplace
- Buy Nothing Project
- Friends and Family
A note about friends and family. This is the last place I would suggest you donate your stuff. The reason being, friends and family have the hardest time telling us no. While we are well-meaning and think they could really use what we are getting rid of, that isn’t always the case. Many people have a hard time saying no and they end up with too much stuff. Then they have to find the courage and the time to get rid of your stuff they said yes to. If you do ask, please don’t exert any undue pressure on them to take the items. Let their no be no.
2. Sell Locally
In my opinion, this requires much more work than just giving something away. Before you get started down this road, it’s important to ask yourself if it’s going to be worth your time. You can certainly give it a try. If you have valuable items, consider hiring someone to sell your things for you.
We all have things that cost us a little more money and that we want to see a return on. Keep in mind, you may have paid $100.00 for an item, but it’s no longer worth that (unless it is an antique of some sort). Be realistic about what you think you will get for something.
Also, set a timeline for selling it. If it doesn’t sell in a reasonable amount of time, maybe it’s time to just give it away.
For more customized selling ideas that aren’t necessarily local, check out this article by The Penny Hoarder. If you are interested in selling clothing, give this a read “3 Reasons to Love Wardrobe Thrifting “
Often times we own things that are really out of date, electrical, broken, or we’re pretty sure no one would want. Here is where recycling and even upcycling comes in.
Electronics are a great example of something that must be recycled. Once they are broken or obsolete, we no longer use or need them. In case you didn’t know, anything with a cord or battery doesn’t belong in the trash or in curbside recycling. This sends them directly to the landfill, and once in the landfill, they can leach into and pollute our groundwater.
The good news is, when electronics are taken apart, they are almost entirely recyclable.
Check out these sites to find out the best way to deal with your recycling. You will be amazed at how many things can be recycled, and it doesn’t cost you a cent.
- Companies like Dell, Apple, and Amazon will buyback and/or recycle phones, laptops, tablets, and e-readers
- Watch for Electronic Waste Collection Events in your area
- Staples or Best Buy will take back electronics.
My 2 favorite places to go for information about where I can recycle almost any type of anything…
In case you are about as creative as I am, which isn’t creative at all, you could visit Upcycle That for inspiration. Maybe you will find a project or two that interests you. One you could do with a friend or a family member. You never know, you may find a new hobby!
If you aren’t into upcycling yourself, you could check with a local artist in the area to see if they are interested in your no longer loved, needed, or used items.
Throw it Out
In my opinion, this should be the option we use last. If you are finding your clutter consists of a bunch of actual garbage, then please, put garbage cans in the room where you found this type of clutter.
If it’s not trash, then please, please, please use one of the other options. The earth itself isn’t getting any bigger, but its population and its garbage are.
Do the earth and future generations a favor and try your very best to use any other option than the trash.
- Before you go to throw clutter away, read this blog post again.
Just Joking !!!
At least Think twice before you throw something in the garbage. Think about alternatives to the trash.
- Please let me know in the comment section below your favorite way to bypass the trash when it comes to your clutter cast-offs…