A frequent by-product of the organizing process is usually a bunch of stuff you’ve decided you no longer want, love, or use. Getting rid of all this stuff can sometimes be a challenge – but don’t let that stymie your progress! Here are three ideas of what to do with your castoffs:
Sell them. If your belongings still have financial value – for instance, electronics in good condition, designer clothes, or antiques – you might be able to recoup some of their cost by selling them. While having a garage sale might seem like the easiest way to sell your stuff, I generally don’t recommend it. Garage sales take a lot of prep work and planning, not to mention the time you have to spend staffing the sale. Unless you live in a densely populated area and expect most of the stuff you’re putting out will sell, skip the garage sale. Instead, try posting your most valuable items on eBay or Craigslist. You can do some research online to see how much you can expect your goods to sell for – helping you decide whether it’s worth your time to sell them or not.
Give them away. For stuff that isn’t saleable but is still in perfectly good condition – clothes that no longer fit, the extra microwave that’s been sitting in the garage, etc. – it’s best to donate them so someone else can use them. Your local Salvation Army or Goodwill are great places to start, as they generally accept a variety of items – call them before driving over to see what they’re currently accepting. For things they won’t accept, get creative – other places may still value your stuff. For instance, if you’re getting rid of stacks of magazines, why not drop a few off at the gym or at a hospital waiting room? Have extra TVs or VCRs? See if a local shelter could use them. Many things that you think aren’t valuable may in fact be desired by someone else – try posting on Craigslist in the “free” section or on Freecycle – the results may surprise you! With clients, I’ve found that when we match their donations to places which will actually use them, they feel much better about letting those things go.
Recycle them. Some of your stuff may not have any more useful life left and should be discarded in an environmentally-friendly manner. In many communities, recycling options abound for items like paper, plastic and aluminum, but what can you do with the rest of the stuff you want to recycle? This is where you have to get creative and do a little legwork. For electronics, some Goodwill locations and places like GreenCitizen will recycle your goods (sometimes for a small fee). See if old clothes can be used as art scraps at a local sewing center or school. Try calling your garbage company and see if they offer any resources or referrals for recycling beyond what they regularly pickup. Your local NAPO-affiliated Professional Organizer can also be a great resource for recycling and reuse ideas.