The quest to declutter and rid a home of unneeded belongings is a perpetual one (especially for families with kids). Stuff just seems to pile up and it can be hard to motivate yourself time after time to throw it out. It might help to think about cleaning in terms of doing good! Here are some creative ways you can declutter and donate, eliminate your trash and recycle it as someone else’s treasure.
1. Used Greeting Cards
Every birthday and Christmas we get so many of these cards! We can’t throw them away because we’ll feel guilty, but they add up quickly and take up a lot of room. Believe it or not, you can donate them! St. Jude’s Ranch for Children uses the front of used greeting cards to create new “green” cards. You can also donate your cards to a local preschool or daycare program. Kids can use them for art projects and practice using scissors.
2. Old Books
Declutter your library! Books require a lot of storage. Even the most avid collector might need to get rid of part of their selection every once in a while. When that time comes, donate these books. Used book stores and thrift stores are great options. If you have books for children, you can also donate these to an elementary or middle school library. They will probably be overjoyed to receive books for free!
You can also donate magazines! Doctor’s offices, hospital waiting rooms, nursing homes, and many other places are often grateful for fresh reading material. Just be sure to remove your name and address from everything you donate, check in with the receptionist to make sure donations are okay, and try to match the reading material to the location (health magazines at the doctor, car magazines at the mechanic, etc.).
3. Expired Coupons
Maybe you clip coupons like crazy, but never seem to use them all. Maybe you clip a bunch of coupons and then always forget about them. In any case, if you have a pile of expired coupons lying around, don’t throw them away! They’re not worthless after all. Expired manufacturer’s coupons can be used up to 6 months after the expiration date by military families overseas at their commissary. Declutter your kitchen’s too! Groups that facilitate this process include Expired Coupons for Overseas Military (ECOM) and Troopons.
4. The Declutter Classics
Of course, there are always the time-tested methods of donating items to a thrift shop or having a garage sale. In either case, make sure what you are getting rid of is sanitary and in good working condition. Don’t insult people by offering them your trash.
Do Good For the Community and Your Home
Your home gets cleaner while others get resources that better their lives. It’s a win-win situation! You can donate everything from mattresses to cars to old eyeglasses. You just have to find the right organization that can put your used items to good use. So next time, before you throw something away, make sure someone else can’t get use out of it first!