What should you do after decluttering? The answer seems simple enough: get rid of stuff, right?! But how can you actually do that without getting sucked into a vortex of guilt over all the trash you are tossing?
Whoa there – stash away that trash bag, turbo.
As it turns out, there are plenty of choices beyond simply scraping your stuff.
Here are 50+ mindful tips and ideas on how to let go of your clutter without guilt.
This list is continually being updated, so if you know any options that you don’t see on the list you can leave a comment below to have your tip added!
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Why is it so hard to get rid of stuff, anyway?
Why is it so hard to declutter and actually get rid of your stuff?
As humans, we seem to instinctively hold onto things and make excuses for why we need to keep that thing, so it’s natural that decluttering can bring up all sorts of negative emotions.
There’s fear that you might miss something after it’s gone, an understandable sadness in letting go of family heirlooms or gifts, and the financial guilt of feeling like you are “wasting money”.
In truth, there is no “right” way to declutter, no “one-size-fits-all” solution to make decluttering easier across the board.
But there are plenty of things you can do to turn those negative emotions into positive ones in the way you get rid of your stuff.
Whether you are a fan of the KonMari method, love some good old-fashioned Swedish death cleaning, or maybe just got inspired to declutter after seeing one too many episodes of Hoarders, the fact is decluttering has many benefits.
What should you get rid of when decluttering?
Marie Kondo would say to get rid of anything that doesn’t spark joy.
Joshua Becker would say get rid of anything that doesn’t add value to your life.
Again, there’s no right or wrong answer to this common decluttering question.
One person might only need to keep one plate, one spoon, one fork, and one cup and another might need 20 plates and utensil sets to feed their large family!
The important thing is to be realistic about what you need in your life and your home so that you can declutter without regret!
What to do with things you don’t want
Before you start decluttering you can come prepared with boxes and bins labeled according to how you want to get rid of clutter.
That way, you know exactly where everything is going and you don’t end up with a huge mess that you have to sort again after you’ve finished decluttering!
As for your post-declutter options, here is a handy guide on how to choose sustainable ways to get rid of stuff beyond simply donating it.
Most people don’t realize that only a small fraction of the clutter that they donate ends up for sale and more and more are just going to landfills.
If you have the time, the energy, and the opportunity there are so many viable ways to get rid of stuff so that it doesn’t end up as pure waste.
Here is a little infographic to help you visualize your options.
I call it “The Goodbye-archy of Clutter” and it was inspired by this Instagram post, which was in turn inspired by Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Start at the top and move downwards, seeing where each clutter item you want to let go of fits!
If you want to know more about this decluttering hierarchy, go and watch this YouTube video below that will walk you through in more detail.
How to get rid of stuff fast
Here is a collection of the most popular ways to get rid of clutter.
These include charities and donation centers, ways to sell clutter at home or online, and ideas on how to recycle clutter.
Remember, trash is the very last option!
20 ways to sell your clutter
Reselling is a great way to get rid of your stuff!
It’s a win-win situation; you get a little bit of money back and the buyer gets exactly what they want (usually at a sweet discount off the brand-new price!)
Here are 20 ways to sell your clutter.
- Facebook Marketplace
- Decluttr (app or online)
- Amazon (more info about the Amazon seller program here)
- Yard sale
- Garage sale
- Half Price Book stores
40 Ways to donate your clutter
Donating can be a great option for items that cannot be sold or if you feel you don’t have the time to spend selling.
You can feel good that you are helping reduce waste as well as providing much-needed resources to people who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them.
Here are 40 places to donate or give away your clutter fast and even more ideas sorted by specific clutter categories!
Donate or give away
- The Salvation Army
- American Red Cross
- Dress for Success
- Planet Aid
- Free the Girls
- Buy Nothing groups on Facebook
- Habitat for Humanity
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore
Donations for women
- Medela (breast pump donation)
- Breast Pump Donation (collects donated breast pumps for women in need in developing nations)
- Local domestic shelters for women
- Amazon Give Back Box
- Local libraries
- Local daycares
- Local hospitals
- Local retirement communities
- The Salvation Army
- Vietnam Veterans of America
- Habitat for Humanity ReStores
Car seat donation
Each car seat should have an “expiration date” printed somewhere on its body. Make sure your car seat is within its usefulness timeframe before trying to get rid of it.
- Target – Target will occasionally hold a car seat recycling event for a limited time only where you bring in your unwanted car seat and get a 20% coupon for a new car seat or stroller.
- Some states have programs in place for recycling car seats. Here is a list of the various states and the resources that they have for recycling car seats.
- Local women’s shelters
If you are unable to find a recycling option that meets your needs, please cut the straps on your seat and place them in your garbage.
Be sure to clear all data and remove any SIM cards before donating your phone.
Places to donate phones:
- Drop off bins at a local library
- Dropoff bins at the local grocery store
- Secure the Call
- Veteran’s Advantage
- Books for America (they sell your phone and use proceeds to buy books for kids)
- Cellphones for Soldiers
Donate old beaded jewelry even if it’s broken. A wonderful organization on Facebook called Brighter Lipstick, Bigger Earrings makes new jewelry for patients receiving cancer treatment. Contact Pam for more details through her Facebook page and to read her moving story. (Brighter Lipstick, Bigger Earrings is located at 815 Shallow Brook Avenue, Winter Springs, FL 32708.)
Donate to veterans in need by contacting these sites:
- Purple Heart Donations
- Vietnam Veterans of America
- United War Veterans Council
- Disabled American Veterans Charity
- American Red Cross
Places to recycle clutter
From clothing to phones and everything in between, most items can be recycled.
Clothing and textile recycling
- H&M – You get a 15% off coupon for use at H&M for every bag you donate, regardless of the size.
- Levi’s – Take old clothing to Levi’s (yes, the jean company) and you can save 20% off a single item when you buy. Find out more here.
- Madewell – Stop by a Madewell store with your pre-loved pairs (as much as you want, any brand). They can be turned into housing insulation for in-need communities. You will also receive a $20 off coupon for your own purchase. Get more info here.
- rag & bone – If you bring in old denim you will receive 20% off your purchase that same day. More info.
- Local dropoff bins – Many local malls and shopping centers have drop-off bins that accept items. Pay attention to the rules on each bin; some are only for usable-quality clothing, others for books, still others for textile recycling.
Electronics and office supplies
- Apple – Good news for Apple fans! You can trade-in your old phone to Apple and receive an Apple gift card. If the items are too old Apple will recycle them for you. Find out more here.
- Staples – This store accepts electronics and ink cartridges for recycling; see a complete list of details at their website.
- AutoZone – Donate your old car battery to AutoZone and receive a $10 AutoZone merchandise card (we usually do this when we need a new battery and they have also helped us switch them out as well).
- Best Buy – Old electronics, tech, and ink cartridges can be recycled at Best Buy and you can receive discounts for doing so. Click here to see the complete list of accepted items and saving options they offer.
- Wands for Wildlife – This amazing program uses old mascara wands to brush fly eggs and larva from the fur of wild animals. All you have to do is clean your old mascara wands (blue Dawn dish soap works great for this) and send the wands to the address listed here. (You MUST check out the adorable pictures of them brushing possums and baby ducks!)
- Pharmacies – Check with your local Walgreens or other pharmacy and see if they have drop-boxes for expired medications.
- Some local doctor’s offices also accept donations of used/expired medications. (I know this because we had several expired epi-pens to get rid of at one point.)
There is a big push for reusable bags nowadays and many grocery stores now have a bag at the entrance to accept used plastic bags for recycling.
Oral care company Colgate has partnered with TerraCycle to create a free recycling program for oral care product packaging as well as a fundraising opportunity for participants.
They have 26,500 participating locations, and you can find more info at their website.
What about repurposing?
Maybe you don’t love an item right now, but you have some attachment to it and you don’t want to let it go.
Consider brainstorming ways to repurpose or upcycle items so that you might love them again!
Here are some amazing upcycling ideas:
- Turn old baby clothing into a quilt
- Repurpose treasured T-Shirts into scarves, pillows, or blankets,
- Turn an old crib into a desk
- Use some spray paint to breathe new life into old items
- Use empty boxes to organize your drawers
- And much, much more…
Make sure to follow me on Pinterest for more repurposing and upcycling ideas — I have dozens of boards with the most amazing crafty ideas on the internet!
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- Upcycled Galvanized Spinning Craft Caddy
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