Declutter Your Home: What to Do with the Stuff You’re Decluttering

Declutter Your Home - what to do with the stuff you're decluttering

Often when you’re decluttering your home, you spend a lot of time and energy thinking about what to keep and what to get rid of. But don’t always think about what you’re going to do with the stuff you’re getting rid of until you’re faced with a big pile of stuff you’re decluttering, and no idea what to do with it!

In fact, dealing with the stuff you’re decluttering can be one of the biggest roadblocks to achieving your decluttering goals. If you don’t have a plan for what you’ll do with the stuff you’re getting rid of, it can easily overwhelm you. And un-do your decluttering progress!

Declutter Your Home - what to do with the stuff you're decluttering
Photo by Janayara Machado on Unsplash

Not knowing what to do with the stuff you’re decluttering can un-do all of your hard work!

You just spent a lot of time and energy deciding what to get rid of. But your house still looks and feels cluttered because the clutter hasn’t actually left your house. Simply because you don’t know what to do with all the stuff you want to get rid of!

Not only that but if you don’t get the stuff you’re decluttering out of your house in a timely manner, there’s a good chance you or someone else in your family will start second-guessing your decluttering decisions.

Either “what if” and “just in case” thoughts creep in and talk you into keeping things. Or simply seeing something about to go – even though you haven’t used or needed it and were ready to let it go – will make you start questioning if you should get rid of it.

If the stuff you’re decluttering sits there too long, there’s a good chance it will slowly get spread back out over your house, undoing all of the hard work you put into decluttering in the first place!

Remember, you’re not done decluttering until the stuff you’re getting rid of is actually out of your house!

Have a plan

The best way to avoid this happening is by having a plan in place for what you’ll do with the stuff you’re getting rid of as soon as you start decluttering. Don’t wait until you have piles of stuff to get rid of to figure out what you’re going to do with it all.

It will make dealing with the stuff you’re decluttering a lot quicker and easier when you already know exactly what you want to do with it.

4 options to deal with the stuff you’re decluttering

There are 4 options for getting rid of the stuff you’re decluttering:

  1. Donate
  2. Give to friends/family
  3. Sell
  4. Trash/recycle

In today’s post, I’m going to go through each of these options to help you figure out when to use each of them. And sharing some examples of where you can donate and sell items to help make the process easier.

1. Donate the stuff you’re decluttering

My personal favourite option for dealing with stuff I’m decluttering is donating it.

I find donating unused, unneeded and unloved items makes it quick and easy to get rid of them. And I like knowing that the things our family no longer uses or needs will be able to find their way to someone who will use and appreciate them.

There are many different options for places to donate items still in usable condition. It’s helpful to find a couple of causes or organizations you feel good about supporting, and taking your donations there.

Think about what types of items you will be getting rid of (i.e. clothes, books, household items, toys, etc.) and find 2 – 3 options in your area where you can take the majority of the stuff you’re decluttering.

A little research goes a long way

Do a little research ahead of time to know which organizations will be a good fit for you.

For example, look into what kinds of items they accept. Some organizations have more strict guidelines about what they will accept as donations. It would be frustrating to load up all your donations, only to realize the organization won’t accept them!

Beyond that make sure the organization you plan to take the stuff you’re decluttering to is convenient for you in terms of location and hours of operation. This helps make the process of dropping off donations easier and less frustrating.

Schedule donation drop-offs

It’s also helpful to plan a schedule for donation drop-offs in advance. This helps you stay on top of dropping donations off so you don’t feel overwhelmed with piles and piles of stuff to be donated.

Some places will even pick up donations if you call and make arrangements ahead of time.

Decide what will work best for you, based on your schedule, preferences, decluttering pace, etc. Then plan and schedule your donation drop-offs accordingly. It could be weekly, monthly, or whatever works for you.

Have a “holding zone” for the stuff you’re decluttering

As you’re decluttering, it’s a good idea to set up a decluttering holding zone somewhere in your house. Any time you declutter, simply add what you’re getting rid of to your holding zone. Then, following your donation drop-off schedule, drop the donations off.

Your holding zone should be somewhere convenient, making it easy to add to. But not in a high traffic, or highly visible place. You don’t want you or family members to have too many opportunities to see and second guess items you’re getting rid of!

Where to donate the stuff you’re decluttering

The options available to donate the stuff you’re decluttering will vary based on your location. But here are a few examples of good options for your donations:

Thrift or second-hand stores

There are larger chain options such as Goodwill, The Salvation Army, Value Village, Habit for Humanity Restores, etc. As well as local or independent options such as those run by local homeless or women’s shelters, churches, local organizations, charities, etc.

Other organizations that may accept donations

Beyond thrift and second-hand stores, other organizations may accept donations. Your local library may accept used books. Churches or daycare centers may accept used toy donations. Even animal shelters may accept donations of used towels, bedding, etc.

Donating clothes you’re decluttering

There are a wide variety of options for clothes you no longer wear and are getting rid of.

Many communities have collection bins run by charities where you can simply drop off clothes you’re donating. You can also donate clothes to local thrift stores, shelters, etc.

Another great option is donating clothes to organizations that collect gently used clothing for a specific purpose. For example, Dress for Success provides clothes to disadvantaged women to give them access to business attire for job interviews and entering the workforce.

For more options of organizations that collect gently used clothing, check out this post.

Other options for donating stuff you’re decluttering

The Give Back Box program is another easy way to donate stuff you’re decluttering. Simply refill any cardboard box with your gently used clothing and household items, print a free shipping label and ship!

Another option is listing the stuff you’re decluttering for free on online sites such as Freecycle, Facebook Marketplace, etc. Or, depending on your neighbourhood, you may even have luck putting items by the curb with a sign saying “free”.

And don’t forget about local food banks if you’re decluttering your pantry and have unexpired, unopened food products!

Often, with a little thought and creativity, you can find plenty of local options to donate the stuff you’re decluttering. Look into the local options available to you, choose 2 or 3 you feel good about supporting and are convenient for you and get decluttering!

Declutter Your Home - what to do with the stuff you're decluttering
Photo by Luca Laurence on Unsplash

2. Give the stuff you’re decluttering to friends or family

Similar to donating the stuff you’re decluttering; another good option is offering items to friends or family who may be able to use them.

Of course, you don’t want to burden your friends or family by adding your clutter to their homes. But if you have items you’re getting rid of that friends or family may want or need, it never hurts to ask!

Make sure the offer comes with no obligation or pressure to take anything they don’t want or need, but simply extend the offer to take what they would like.

It can be helpful to give friends or family a deadline to take anything they’d like before you donate it. This helps keep the stuff you’re decluttering from sitting around too long continuing to add clutter to your home.

Remember, the goal is to get the clutter out of your house, so don’t hold onto things longer than necessary!

3. Sell the stuff you’re decluttering

Selling the stuff you’re decluttering can be a great option. Not only do you clear the clutter, but you can also make a little money in the process too!

There are endless options of places to sell the stuff you’re decluttering. For example, you can list items online on places like Facebook Marketplace or local buy and sell groups. You can use Craigslist, Kijiji, eBay, or other services in your area.

Consignment shops, either in person or online are great options for selling items, especially designer or brand name clothing. Check out Poshmark, Mercari, Thred Up, just to name a few.

You can even host a garage sale to sell the stuff you’re decluttering.

The key is finding one or two good options that work for your location and preferences.

A word of caution about selling the stuff you’re decluttering

However, I do want to offer a word of caution when selling the stuff you’re decluttering.

Selling takes a lot of time and effort

First of all, selling items takes a lot of time and effort. Listing items online requires you to take pictures, write and post the listing, correspond with protentional buyers, arrange times/places to meet buyers, account for no-shows, etc. Even garage sales take a lot of time and effort to set up and run.

The time you spend trying to sell the stuff you’re decluttering can mean you’ll have less time to devote to decluttering. Which can slow down your decluttering progress.

Of course, there are times when selling items makes sense. For example, if you have high-value items or larger furniture in good condition, selling can be a great option.

Selling may keep clutter in your house longer

Another word of caution about selling is it often results in the stuff you’re getting rid of hanging around your house longer while you’re waiting to sell it. If you want to declutter your house quickly or want to avoid second-guessing your decluttering decisions, this could be a problem.

Items aren’t always worth as much as you hope

And one last consideration to make when trying to sell the stuff you’re decluttering is reminding yourself that you likely won’t recoup the money you spent on an item. It can be hard to see all the money you spent on stuff you’re now getting rid of. Sometimes you might feel like if you could sell the item, it’ll make letting go easier.

But more often than not, the things you’re decluttering won’t be worth a fraction of what you originally paid for them. Adjust your expectations, and selling prices, to make decluttering and selling the stuff you’re decluttering easier.

How to decide when to sell items you’re decluttering

When deciding if it’s worth trying to sell the stuff you’re decluttering, first get clear about your decluttering goals.

For example, if your goal is clearing the clutter as quickly and easily as possible, donating most items might be the best option.

But if your goal is earning some extra money by decluttering to put towards a financial goal, selling the stuff you’re decluttering might be a better option for you.

Tips for selling the stuff you’re decluttering

Set realistic prices

First, price things realistically to have more luck selling items. Do a quick search wherever you’re selling to see what similar items are priced at. Remember, you likely won’t recoup what you spent on an item. Focus on clearing the clutter instead.

Have a dollar value limit

Second, to help speed up the decluttering and selling process, consider setting a dollar value limit for items you’re trying to sell. For example, you might only try selling items worth more than a certain amount. Then donating anything worth less than your limit.

Stay flexible

Third, it’s ok to switch back and forth between selling and donating the stuff you’re decluttering.

For example, if you’re decluttering a lot of stuff quickly, trying to keep up with listing and selling items may be overwhelming. In that case, donating the stuff might work better for you to keep your progress and momentum going.

Another time you may have the time, energy and patience to try selling the stuff you’re decluttering.

It’s ok to be flexible and change your strategy whenever it works for you!

Donate unsold items

Next, decide how long you’ll wait before donating unsold items. This helps prevent the stuff you’re decluttering from sitting around too long waiting to be sold and continuing adding clutter to your home in the meantime.

Have a holding zone

And finally, it’s also a good idea to have a “holding zone” for items listed for sale to help keep the clutter contained to one area.

4. Trash/recycle the stuff you’re decluttering

The last option to deal with the stuff you’re decluttering is throwing it out or recycling it if possible. This should be the last resort, reserved only for things that are broken, damaged or truly no longer useful.

You don’t want to unnecessarily add to the landfills. But you also don’t want to donate items that are no longer useful to donation centers, wasting their time and resources. Save the trash for items that are truly no longer usable.

What to do with the stuff you’re decluttering

These are the 4 main options when deciding what to do with the stuff you’re decluttering. You can use one, all or any combination of these options as you clear the clutter from your home.

Remember to keep your decluttering goals in mind when deciding what to do with the stuff you’re decluttering. Think about if you want to declutter quickly, make some extra money, help a friend, etc. and use that to guide your decisions.

Plan ahead!

The most important thing is to have a plan for what you’ll do with the stuff you’re decluttering ahead of time. You’re not done decluttering until the stuff is out of your house!

No one wants all their hard work decluttering to be undone because you don’t know what to do with the stuff you’re getting rid of!

Spend a bit of time looking at your local options and deciding which will work best for you before you start decluttering. You’ll make it easier to get the clutter out of your house so you can enjoy the benefits of a clutter-free home faster and easier!

Declutter Your Home - 4 ways to handle the stuff you're decluttering
Photo by Paul Stollery on Unsplash

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