While I like to keep things tidy and organized around my home, I still catch myself hoarding old stuff out of nostalgia. Rather than tell you how to declutter your home and organize it (cause Marie Kondo has that topic in the bag), I’ll show what to do with your clutter and how to keep the junk from creeping back in, from going digital to selling old clothes for cash.
Remember to download the official KCL app for more helpful tips.
1. Declutter and help your community by donating to a good cause.
Is there anything you haven’t worn in over a year? Then it might be time to give it a new home. One of the easiest ways to declutter your home is to donate things to your local Goodwill. GiveBackBox gives you a free shipping label for sending them your clothes and old household items. They partner with a large number of charities, such as Second Chance Humane Society, Bridgeport Rescue Mission Shelter, and I Support the Girls.
If your kids have grown out of their clothes, you might want to consider donating to Schoola. They take gently used kids clothes (along with women’s clothes) and resell them to assist school fundraising efforts.
Also consider donating locally. Here’s a few places I found:
- Cradles to Crayons in Chicago accepts donations of children’s coats and clothing and distributes their donations to disadvantaged children in the area
- One Man’s Treasure in Dallas takes men’s clothing donations and provides them to men recently released from prison
- Bottomless Closet in New York City takes professional clothing donations for women in the area living in poverty, with 85% of their donations assisting African American and Hispanic women
2. Or declutter your home and make some cash selling your extra stuff.
On the other hand, if you’re running a little low on funds, why not declutter your home while making some cash money? Here are a few apps and sites that can help:
- Poshmark has you list your items with a picture, send them with a free shipping label once it sells, and have funds downloaded to your Poshmark account.
- Cash4Books helps you trim down your bookshelf and get rid of your dusty college textbooks. Just get a price quote on your book, ship them for free, and get paid through Paypal or a check.
- thredUP does all the hard work, as you simply need to order a Clean Out Kit, fill it with the clothes you’d like to sell, and send it back to them. They do all the photographing, listing, shipping, and paying.
- Decluttr has a focus on selling your old tech, from tablets and smartphones to CDs and DVDs. You don’t even need to wait for the items to sell, just send to their warehouse and you’ll be paid directly.
- Tradesy lets you resell your designer fashion items that don’t fit your style anymore. All you need to do is list your shoes, bag, or clothes and, once they’ve been sold, Tradesy will send over a prepaid shipping kit.
If you want to sell your extra stuff on a more local level (and don’t feel like going down the Craigslist route), Facebook Marketplace is an awesome app for finding friends or friends-of-friends nearby to aid in your decluttering. Also, Nextdoor.com lets you sell to your neighbors. Just upload a pic, name your price, and post.
RELATED: Ways to Make Cash Selling Used Items
3. Recycle your broken electronics and appliances.
Whether your dryer burns out or your aging iPhone shatters, you’ll need to get rid dead electronics cause they aren’t coming back to life. But, throwing out old devices and appliances into your regular trash is harmful to the environment. Organizations like Call2Recycle help you find a place to recycle your old batteries and electronics. When it comes to appliances, call your waste disposal company to see if they offer curbside large item or appliance pickup.
Best Buy electronics also recycles old appliances and electronics:
- Before you recycle, use their worth checker to see if you can get any money for your electronics.
- Best Buy electronics recycling lets you drop off up to three items a day
- Some of the most common household items they recycle for free are: laptops, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, camcorders, fans, and hair dryers
- If you buy a large appliance like a refrigerator, washer, or dryer from Best Buy, they’ll pick up your old unit from your home for recycling for $24.99 when they drop off the new one.
- If you don’t buy a new appliance from them, they’ll charge you $99.99 for pickup and recycling, so avoid this. Better to call your city waste disposal and pay a large-item pick-up fee ($30 in my city).
4. Declutter your garage with paint recycling.
Because wet paint is toxic, most cities make it a rule that you have to fully dry out your paint cans if you want to throw them into the trash. If you only have a little paint left at the bottom of the can, just leave it in the sun to dry out. For much larger amounts, buy a paint hardener from the hardware store, like the Homax Paint Hardener.
You can also recycle old paint at your local paint store. Paintcare.org offers a list of drop-off locations that can take anywhere from 5 to 100 gallons. You should also check your local paint store to see if they offer a recycling program. Here are a few places in Los Angeles currently accepting drop-offs:
- Ace Hardware recycles paint for a small fee through SCARCE
- Dunn-Edwards recycles up to 20 gallons of paint a day
- True Value recycles 5 gallons of paint per visit
5. Use large-item pickup for your mattress or sofa.
Getting rid of your old couch can be a huge pain, especially since not many people are in the market for used versions. You can sell them for cheap locally, though, or even list them for free. College kids are always looking for free couches to crash on. You can also list them on Facebook Marketplace. If you opt to donate, check with your local ReStore, Goodwill, or Salvation Army to see if they will pick it up for you. You can also call (800) Got-Junk, but they charge at least $100 to pick up a sofa, so this only makes sense if you have lots of junk.
When it comes to mattresses, no way is anyone gonna buy a used mattress unless it’s super high end, in perfect condition and super cheap. Still, you have options:
- Curbside pickup through your city, which in my city costs about $30, but once a year I get coupons for a free large item pickup and always hang onto them.
- If you’re able to take the mattress to a dump yourself, landfill fees are around $10 to $50
- Some mattress retailers will pick up your old mattress if you buy a new one, but will still charge you around $5 to $30, so check first.
6. Upload tax forms and important documents to the cloud.
It’s easy to let your old tax forms and documents quickly pile up, especially if you’re worried about throwing out something important. I was always taught to hold onto taxes from the last ten years, but the IRS recommends that you hold onto any forms that prove your income and anything showing your deductions and claims for three years from the original filing. But I don’t trust them and still hang onto things from ten years back. If you’re like me and want to be on the safe side, scan your documents or take a quick photo and upload it to the cloud.
7. Sell or trade in your old athletic gear.
Just because your kid’s love of lacrosse only lasted one year doesn’t mean you should let that expensive gear go to waste. Sports stores such as Play it Again Sports will pay for your old athletic gear. You can even trade some of your athletic gear for credit towards new equipment if your kids have moved on to their next sports obsession.
8. Declutter your home, one shoe at a time.
Everyone has a few pairs of shoes that out of style. Thankfully, you’ve got a few options for decluttering your shoe closet. If they’re in good enough shape, you can of course bring them to your local Goodwill or other thrift stores. But if they’re really worn out, you can recycle your old shoes (as well as some clothes and other items) through the American Textile Recycling Service. By recycling, you keep textiles from ending up in landfills and help create local community jobs. Call their hotline at (866) 900-9308 to get in touch with a Community Recycling Coordinator.
9. Make a memory book of your child’s artwork.
Your fridge only has so much room for your kids’ artwork. But if you want to save your children’s artistic creations, just snap a photo and upload to iCloud or Google Drive. You can always make them into a photobook with Shutterfly years down the road. Plus, you won’t have the guilt of tossing away that Crayola masterpiece your toddler made you.
10. Buy and rent digital media versus CDs and DVDs.
Are you still hoping that CDs and DVDs (or super-retro VHS tapes) make a comeback? Well, it probably won’t happen, and digital media is here to stay. Whether you start streaming movies from Netflix or Amazon Prime or get your Spotify on, consider the amount of space you’re saving in CD/DVD cases alone. And because you can stream with your data plan, you have easy access pretty much whenever (and wherever) you have internet access.
11. Read digital magazines instead of physical ones.
If you’re still nostalgic for classic magazines but don’t want all that paper clutter, consider taking your favorite reads online. Digital apps such as Apple News+ make it easy to keep your favorite subscriptions in one place.
12. Use more digital manufacturer coupons.
You probably already have stacks of paper manufacturer coupons on your desk. And, judging by the mail flow, paper coupons aren’t going to stop coming any time soon. But, digital coupons are a great option, especially since paper manufacturing coupons tend to expire before their identical digital coupon counterparts (which you can find in store apps or in the KCL app). Digital coupons also can often be used more than once within the store app, so no need to buy multiple newspapers or inserts unless the coupon is only paper. Once you’re done recycling your expired paper coupons, consider downloading these coupon apps:
Most grocery stores also have apps with store and manufacturer coupons:
13. Clear out your bookshelf and opt for free eBooks.
Today’s library ain’t your memaw’s library covered in doilies and large-print copies of Agatha Christie novels (not that there’s anything wrong with that). You can find everything from eBooks, to video games to power tools and tickets to the local museum—for free.
14. Trade clutter for experiences and memories.
Look. It’s nice to own things, but studies show that experiences stay with you longer than the euphoria the now-dusty birdcage once brought you. Now that you have some extra dough from selling your stuff, try one of these websites for some fun, new experiences.
- Groupon offers up deals on some summer experiences you’d usually miss out on
- CityPASS shares hot attractions locally for less cold hard cash
- Restaurant.com offers more dining discoveries for less dough
- ToursByLocals helps you find an informative tour guide in 160 countries around the world
- Eventbrite hooks you up with tickets to everything from conferences and fundraisers to marathons and concerts
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