Sunday, August 14, 2011

Getting Rid of Your Stuff

With yard sale season beginning its downhill decent and school is just around the corner, I just wanted to share a  great guest post from organizing guru, Bonnie Dewkett, The Joyful Organizer.

It seems as if we all have too much stuff and not enough space.  It doesn’t matter how much you make, or how big your house is, we all fight the battle of clutter day in and day out.  So its time to really think about what is taking up space in your home.  Do you love your possessions?  Do you use them?  Many times, knowing that someone will be able to use your items better than you can is enough to help you get rid of some of those under used or unwanted items.  Below you will find some ways to donate and even make some money from your old items.

Craig’s List
Craig’s List is a free website that allows you to list items for sale and for free.  Each city and state has their own site so do a search to find the one closest to you.  We have all heard that you should use caution when using Craig’s List and that’s true.  Don’t give out personal information such as your address to strangers.  Protect yourself first and foremost.  However, because Craig’s List is a high traffic site, you will be able to sell or give away items very quickly and easily.
Free Cycle
Like Craig’s List, is area specific.  Items on this site are completely free.  The purpose of the site is to keep items out of the landfill and keep them in use by someone.  You will be shocked as to what someone may want.  On Freecycle its very true that what is trash to one person, is treasure to another.  For example, broken china may be trash to you, but a wonderful find for an artist. 

We all know its great to recycle, but not many of us know where we can recycle items such as light bulbs, batteries and computers.  Earth911 ( can answer all of those questions for you.  Use the search option on the site to search for item specific recycling centers in your geographic area.

Everyone has heard of eBay.  Many of us have made purchases on it.  However, it’s a great way to get rid of your unwanted items.  Do a quick search for the item you want to sell to see what it, or like items, are selling for on the site.  You will want to price your items accordingly.  All you need to do to get started is take a few photos, make sure you have a clear description and determine what value you want from your item.  Remember, if its being unused in your home, getting ANYTHING from it is more than you have now.

While everyone has heard of The Salvation Army and Goodwill, there are lots of organizations that reply on donations to survive.  Close to my home, I have a women’s shelter that assists women going through difficult times in their life.  Call around and find your local shelters and ask what they will take.  Many shelters are always in need of toiletry items.  Clean out your travel sizes and donate them!

eBay Stores
If you think your items may have value but you don’t want to take the time to sell them yourself, find a local eBay store.  These stores will accept your items and will sell them on your behalf.  My local store will photograph the item, manage the auction and ship it when the auction ends.  They do take a percentage, but that is well worth the time I have saved my clients. 

Find a Charity
If none of the above options appeal to you, use Charity Navigator to find a charity to accept your donations.  The site, ( will help you find a charity in your area that accepts your items.  This is a great solution if you have a hard time parting with items.  Search for a charity that is meaningful to you and donating your items will seem much easier.

Remember, there isn’t a one size fits all donation location.  It will take a little time and effort.  However, knowing that your possessions are being used and loved by others will make it all worthwhile. If you need a little assistance, contact a professional organizer. 

Resource Box:  Bonnie Joy Dewkett is the owner and operator of The Joyful Organizer.  She offers professional organization services to help you organize your home and your life.  Email The Joyful Organizer at for your free home organization guide or to schedule your free organizational consultation.

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