Decluttering Done Better: How Your Unwanted Stuff Can Make Your Community and the Planet Happier

Decluttering Done Better: How Your Unwanted Stuff Can Make Your Community and the Planet Happier

Decluttering - A picture of a happy woman sitting in meditation pose under a "to keep" sign, next to a pile of clutter under a "to throw away" sign, illustration.

Decluttering is all the rage. After tidying up all the stuff you want to keep, how about everything else? What you do next can change lives and make the earth greener.

Give Vases Another Shot at Love
Do you have a cabinet full of vases thanks to all those lovesick paramours sending you flowers? Or maybe you’ve been the lucky recipient of one too many edible deliveries. Either way, if you’ve got more vessels than a glassblower and potter combined, call the florist’s in your area. Offer to drop off your stash of vases so they can be reused for future bouquets.

Provide Bedding for Four-Legged Friends
If your leopard-print sheets no longer spark joy, don’t toss them. Instead, donate them to an animal-friendly business. Kennels, rescue organizations, and veterinarians can use your sheets, as well as blankets and towels, as bedding in crates.

Do Good with Your Excess Baggage
It’s not unusual for a household to amass a serious amount of baggage. Meaning, you probably have an assortment of backpacks, duffels, suitcases, and wheeled luggage. Many organizations can use the bags that you no longer need. Foster care agencies will distribute them to children within the foster care system. Or, if you’re about to embark on a trip, you can pack athletic, medical, pet, or school supplies in a spare suitcase and drop it off to a specific nonprofit in the community you plan to visit.

Outfit a Kitchen with Your Surplus Supplies
Your extra pots, pans, and flatware can help individuals in need. Contact your local social services organization. They can arrange for your donation to be sent to a specific household, or they may recommend that your kitchen items are a better fit for a nearby senior center, soup kitchen, or veterans association.

Replenish Tool Kits
Whether you have a spare ladder or a shed full of tools, tradespeople can benefit from the equipment you no longer want. Ask about tool collection drives at hardware stores and home improvement chains. Donate your items to trade schools, or offer your tools to artisans, carpenters, landscapers, painters, and plumbers.

Responsibly Recycle Your E-Waste
The Pew Research Center reports that 92 percent of U.S. adults have a mobile phone, 73 percent have a desktop or laptop computer, and 45 percent have tablets. As Americans upgrade their devices, the result is an astounding amount of e-waste. Fortunately, manufacturers and electronics retailers provide in-store and online recycling programs. The EPA also provides a comprehensive listing of recycling resources per state. Many charities, community centers, and schools also accept electronics donations.

Donate Appliances and Building Materials to a Reuse Center
Decluttering often includes clearing your home of big-ticket items, particularly if you are renovating. These items include appliances, bathtubs, cabinetry, doors, fixtures, flooring, lighting, mantels, and windows. Rather than throw them in a dumpster, donate them to a reuse center where they can be sold to builders, decorators, and homeowners at deeply discounted prices. Many reuse centers offer a pickup service to make donating more convenient.

Decluttering is even more satisfying when you find a second home for your unwanted stuff. Give vases to florists, provide bedding to animal-friendly businesses, put your baggage in the hands of a foster child, fill a suitcase with needed supplies, outfit a kitchen for someone less fortunate than you, replenish the tool kits of tradespeople, responsibly recycle your e-waste, and donate big-ticket items to a reuse center. Your charitable efforts will promote community goodwill and a greener planet!

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By |2017-10-23T14:34:54+00:00August 17th, 2016|Organizing Tips|0 Comments

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