We are a week in on the Thirty Days of Gratitude, Tidying Up Edition, and I’ve got a pile of stuff that I’ve decided I can purge from our home. The pile consists of games, clothes, home decor stuff, books, and housewares. Now that I’ve got this pile, what do I do with it? Where should I take it? I answer this for the Friday Five: five ways to get rid of unwanted clutter.
(1) Have a yard sale.
If you have a lot of stuff to get rid of, host a garage sale or yard sale at your house! Hosting a garage sale is a lot of work, so I would only do this if (a) you have a lot of stuff you want to get rid of; and (b) you have some larger items to sell that will make the time and effort spent preparing for and hosting the sale worth it.
For some great tips on hosting a successful yard sale, see this post from Country Living.
(2) Sell stuff online.
You can sell the stuff on Craig’s List or eBay, or on yard sale pages on Facebook. I’ve had great success selling unwanted stuff on Facebook yard sale pages – see this post for my tips.
If you are selling on one of these sites, be careful. Check the location if you are delivering the item and make sure it’s in a well-traveled area. If someone is coming to your home to pick up the item, make sure you are comfortable with that, for example by having someone else home with you or having the pick-up during daylight hours.
(3) Donate It.
Donating unwanted items is a win- win: you win because you get rid of unwanted stuff; the place receiving the donation wins because it can re-sell or repurpose what you’re donating.
Goodwill and similar thrift stores will take donations of clothes, household goods, and furniture. Shelters would appreciate donations of clothing, household goods, diapers and baby goods, and more. You can donate canned goods and non-perishable food that are still within their expiration periods to food pantries and drives and soup kitchens.
Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore takes donations of building supplies, furniture, and home goods.
To find a ReStore in your area, click HERE.
(4) Recycle It.
If what you want to get rid of isn’t in good shape, try to recycle it.
Check your local recycling rules and nearby recycling centers. Certainly paper (whether whole or shredded) and cardboard can be recycled and is accepted by local recycling programs and at recycling centers (such as at libraries and fire stations). You would be amazed at how much plastic can be recycled.
We are lucky that, for our county recycling, they accept any plastic with numbers 1-7 in the recycling triangle. That would include most kids’ cups and other plastic cups, reusable plastic containers (that are broken or missing lids), plastic hangers, etc. Even if your local recycling program doesn’t accept the plastic, check with grocery stores (Publix and Whole Foods here both recycle many kinds of plastic, including styrofoam egg cartons and plastic grocery bags), libraries, nearby schools and universities, and separate city or county facilities where you can take your recycling.
In Atlanta, we are lucky to have CHaRM: livethrive Atlanta. CHaRM stands for “The Center for Hard to Recycle Materials.” CHaRM accepts paint, electronics, styrofoam, and more for recycling. Check their website for all of the things they accept – there’s a long list!
Did you know that you can recycle your kids’ spent magic markers, too? Crayola has a program called ColorCycle and they will take back your dried-up markers (they don’t even have to be Crayola markers!) for recycling. Click HERE for details.
To find recycling in your area, you can download an app that will tell you which facilities accept which materials. Try iRecycle (from Earth911) or 1800recycling.com.
(5) Toss It.
If all else fails, toss it.
I actually had someone come to the house this week to haul away some larger junk that either was damaged or was left in our home by the previous owner (for example, rolled-up old carpet in the basement). It wasn’t expensive and I’m thrilled all that stuff is gone!
Whew! That was a long post with a lot of information! Please let me know if you have any questions!