If you’ve read my post on clearing out clutter, you already know how to actually clean it out. Then you’re left with the question of what to do with everything you’ve put into the donation box. Here are a few tips for getting rid of the clutter, rather than finding a new place to store it.
Hold a Garage Sale
If you have the time, and can hold the garage sale within the next few weeks, then you might be able to make a few bucks off your clutter. All you need are stickers, a marking pen, a box for cash, a sign, and an ad on Craigslist. Be sure to price your clutter to move, not to make the highest profit. If you saw the hoarder on Oprah, then you know she made $13,000 from selling her clutter. Most of us can’t expect to make anything close to that, but you might come away with a couple hundred.
Visit a Nursing Home
If you have books, DVDs, and other entertainment items, bring them to a nursing home. You might also be able to donate CDs, but make sure it’s classical or big band. They probably won’t be interested in your 1990s rap CDs. You can also drop off gently used clothes that are fashionable for older women and men. Finally, consider bringing vases you no longer use. They can use them when well-meaning relatives bring flowers, but forget to bring a container for them.
Visit a Homeless Shelter or Battered Women’s Shelter
They’re always in need of clothes, personal care items, and children’s toys and books. Women’s shelters and family shelters also need household goods like sheets, pots and pans, and dishes if they help families establish new homes. Your clutter is their chance to build a new life.
Visit a Food Bank
If you cleaned out your pantry, bring the non-perishables to your local food bank for distribution to needy families.
Visit the Hospital
Many hospitals are establishing “trauma closets” for patients whose clothes are destroyed in the accident or at the hospital. A trauma closet is designed to give them something other than a hospital gown to wear home. The hospital is also a good place to deliver children’s books and toys, as well as vases.
Visit an Animal Shelter or Local Veterinary Hospital
Vets, animal shelters, and animal hospitals are often need soft blankets, towels, and t-shirts to line cages and beds for injured animals. Because the items will be used as bedding, this is the place to bring your soft goods that aren’t quite good enough to donate to people. Even if it’s torn, an animal will find an old bed sheet quite comfy. You can also donate food and other pet care items if your pet has passed away.
Give Them to a Needy Friend
In my clutter post, commenter Jimmie Sue suggests giving the extra you get from buy-one-get-one-free deals to a less-fortunate friend. You can give friends food, personal care items, clothes, and even home décor items like candles. It’s always been a tradition to hand-down children’s clothing, but there’s no reason you can’t continue the tradition with other items.
Donate Them to Your Church
Churches often hold food drives, or drives to help specific families dealing with a major illness, job loss, or other personal disaster. If you’re in the process of clearing clutter, why not donate personal care items, toys, and other household goods to the drive? Several people use their CVS freebies as gifts for needy families in their church or neighborhood.
Whatever you do with your clutter, do not return it to your home. Don’t put it in the garage to deal with later. Don’t put it in storage until you can find a place for it. Make a plan to deal with it this week. Once you’ve got a plan, it’s easier to avoid re-cluttering your home.
Do you have other ideas for getting rid of clutter? Tell me in the comments.