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Decluttering: Now What Do You Do With All That Stuff?

12/06/21 | Dana LaRieal Morales

Now that you've started all of this decluttering and organizing, I hope that you've identified "tons" of stuff that you don't need...well, if you're anything like me, you don't want to just throw away non-trash items, because I'm always thinking about paying it forward (who could use this stuff). Well, I have a couple of ideas for you to consider: 

Identify Similar-Sized Friends (clothing)

Identify a couple of friends who are similar in size as you (both larger and smaller). These individuals can benefit from any clothes you have that are too large or too small. It helps keep them from having to go and purchase stuff, especially if they are on a journey just like you. Now, this can be a delicate situation for some in that they don't want to offend. Just offer from your heart and your true friends won't mind you offering. Just don't have any expectations of them taking it. Remember you don't want anyone to take something they don't need. 

Adopt a few Non-Profit Organizations

 Adopt a couple of non-profit organizations and obtain their wish list. Most have them posted online or you can call and obtain the information and instructions for drop off. 

Locate your Local Recycle Center

 Most residential areas now have these and they have specific rules over what they will and won't take.  Familiarize yourself with their rules and schedules.  I would start there and as you get your process down, your list will get more and more defined. Remember you're working in zones so you'll have stuff that should leave your space at various stages of the game. My suggestion is not to wait until all areas are decluttered to remove unnecessary items from your space but to do it one zone at a time. This keeps you from getting the urge to sneak it back in. 

My Personal Donation List

  • Friends are big benefactors of stuff I really treasure and for which I want to find a good home.
  • Co-workers are a great resource. We have what is known as classified ads, so if there is something strange (sewing filler) that I think someone may want I post it. We can give away or sell items. It's like a little online yard sale. Many times they can direct me to a group who could use the item(s) too.
  • Nashville Rescue Mission: I spend a lot of my time volunteering here so I have a special connection and know the things they need. They also have a wishlist posted on their website that keeps me in tune with items they need. I give them clothing items mostly.
  • Goodwill: I drop off a lot of items there because they are everywhere and have made it extremely convenient to drop off items with their drive-through centers. I usually give them household items.
  • McKays Book Store: this is a used bookstore that takes videos, books, games, CDs and DVDs. They review them and offer you a price for the items. You can decide to get either cash or store credit...or you can just take your stuff. Sometimes your items aren't worth anything, but they have a free bin available too. Just don't take it back home!  You could also consider your local library.
  • Grocery Stores: many recycle plastic bags you obtain from stores. I had an overabundance at one time and took them, but most of the time if I have any I use them as trash can liners. Also, many stores give you a discount for doing so.
  • Overseas Bases: groups take expired coupons because soldiers can use them for up to 6 mths after the expiration date. I just started this and I'm still hunting for a group from Ft. Campbell to connect with overseas.
  • Old cell phones/chargers etc: domestic violence shelters. Or the little plastic bags provided many times with your new purchase.  Many electronic stores have drop-off containers too.
  • Old computers: technical schools or recycle days offered by various agencies during the summer and spring (make sure to remove your hard drive and properly destroy it to protect your information).
  • Local recycling centers: many cities now have recycled centers that you can go to and take care of everything at once. Goodwill/salvation army, trash, metal, plastic, cans, etc.
You can see a full list of suggestions for decluttering, organizing and business needs by visiting our resource library.