What To Do With the Things You Want to Get Rid Of
Now that we are past the height of summer, I think it’s safe to assume (or maybe hope) that you have already finished your spring cleaning. If you read my last two posts about clearing out your closet and cleaning up your workspace, those probably gave you motivation for a good start. So if you have taken the time to sort through your clutter, clean out your pantry, or purge the clothes that you are no longer wearing, you probably have several items that you are ready to get rid of. Once you have made the decision to get rid of something, unfortunately the process doesn’t stop there. Then you have to decide what to do with the items that you no longer want. Follow the guide below to know what goes where. If you haven’t done your cleaning projects yet, then this can be your guide to help you sort as you go! After you feel the accomplishment of tackling an organizing project, don’t let the burden of figuring out what to do with the stuff you no longer want weigh you down.
Whether you are dealing with a single box or bag of items that you no longer need, or an entire garage full of things that need to find a new home, taking the time to get things into the right places is really worth it. It is less wasteful than dumping items in the trash, and it can greatly benefit the person on the receiving end. Once you have the items that you know you no longer want, take the time to sort them into piles, boxes, or bags, and then get them where they need to go, outside of your home that is!
Items that should be tossed are things that really no longer serve a purpose, whether they are in your hands or in someone else’s. For example, these should be thrown away or recycled:
- Stained/smelly clothing
- Expired food
- Worn out shoes
- Half-full notebooks (recycle the paper)
- Half-finished craft projects
- Items damaged beyond repair
Donating items that you no longer need is a great way for those things to be useful to someone else, particularly if you donate them to a good organization. An added benefit to donating is that you may be able to get a tax deduction for the value of the items. Ask for a tax receipt at the donation site. Here are some great places to take items to donate:
Like-new or gently used clothing can be hard to just toss in a donation bin, especially if it was recently purchased or expensive. Consigning is a great way to get a little bit of that money back, and it also supports local businesses. There are consignment stores for clothing of course but also for furniture, decorative items and even sporting goods. Some of my places in the Denver area are:
If you take items to a consignment store, they typically take 50% of the amount that your item is sold for. If you take the time to sell online, you can make significantly more by cutting out the middleman. However, that amount of time may or may not be worth it to you. I usually only sell online when I have really expensive items that I am looking to get a high return on (I sell those on eBay), or items that I need someone to come pick up because they are large (I sell those on Craigslist). Otherwise, I’d rather consign or donate and be done with it. If you want to sell online, here are some places:
- eBay – great for specialized items like collectibles, designers clothes, etc.
- Craigslist – great for anything, but especially big items you want someone local to come pick up instead of you having to ship it like furniture
- Tradesy – download the app, snap some pictures, and get selling
- The Real Real – designer consignment online
- Cash In My Bag – designer consignment online
Pass On to a Friend
You’ve heard the saying, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? If you have a friend or family member who would put an item to use that you no longer need, pass it on! If it is something they will really enjoy, it can mean a lot to them to have something that was yours. Don’t pass on your clutter to someone else though, only things you think would add to their life.
The Lifecycle of Things
When you are shopping and about to purchase a new item, whether it be a shirt, book, soap dispenser, or anything else, think about what you would need to do to get rid of it if you no longer wanted it. Thinking about the entire lifecycle of an item can make that purchase feel a little bit weightier. Culling your consumption can help you not have to deal with getting rid of so many things down the road. Things come and go from our lives no matter what though, and taking the time to dispose of them properly when they no longer serve you, serves the environment and serves others.