Our house is filled with unwanted items – aka junk!!
Sadly, it keeps piling up. Although I am not a hoarder (that’s what I think), I have things I haven’t used for years. Some can probably relate to this, but it drives me crazy!
In this article, I’ll guide you through the 8 options for organizing unwanted items.
8 options for organizing unwanted items
Option #1: Give away to family & friends
Don’t we all have gifted items we don’t use? For instance, I have a food processor sitting in the basement. But I prefer manual labor (using a knife) as it cultivates ideas. So I decided to offer the machine to my friend who owns a restaurant. Clearly, it would be much more useful for someone in the food industry.
Tip: When you offer an item to someone, think about who would benefit from it the most. And who would enjoy it more than you do.
Option #2: Donate unwanted items to local charity
But what if you can’t think of anyone to give an item to?! Then donate it to a local charity! Most definitely, people in need can benefit from it.
Although this is an indirect method, those items can bring happiness to your own community!
Tip: search for local charities. You’ll be amazed how many of them are in your own community. I often donate items to the Salvation Army and charities supporting women in need.
Option 3: Offer for free
If you are looking for a quick way to get rid of items, place them on the street with a ‘Free’ sign. During quarantine, many people have offered a variety of things.
For example, you might have seen street libraries, or furniture on a boulevard. They are certainly everywhere within your direct community. You might get engaged in a conversation with people (in your neighborhood) you’ve never met.
Story : One day, I placed an arm chair for free on the street. A few months later, a gentleman dropped by at my garage sale. He told me that he was the one who took the chair and reupholstered it. Most definitely he was excited, and he thanked me for putting it out for free.
Option 4: Garage sale for unwanted items
If you have time or are looking to make some money, this is certainly a great idea. While you are clearing up some stuff, you also get to know or meet other people. It is even better when you get together with your neighbors to have a street garage sale.
However, I have to emphasize it is time consuming. If it’s just for fun to get rid of unwanted items, go for it!
Tip: set prices lower if you really want people to buy! And whatever is left behind can be donated or offered for free.
Option 5: Sell online
One of my husband’s strategy is listing items online. To make the sale easier, it is usually best to use local sites. There are a few alternative places like classified ads in the paper or on a community bulletin board. But as you know, people check sites over newspapers nowadays!
Tip: look up local sites for faster response. You can also avoid shipping most of the time. Sell online is definitely much easier than organizing a garage sale.
Option 6: Fix & Use
Many of us have grown up in a consumer society. When something breaks, chuck it – easy peasy lemon squeezy! But this was not acceptable for my grandma, who never wasted things.
After skipping a generation (my mother), I inherited the same sensibilities! So I try to fix things or ask someone else to fix them. I certainly have huge respect for handy people!
For example, sewing can be a quick fix. As a mother of two boys, my sewing machine really comes in handy. (See the examples in the picture.) In fact, it saves money, too!
Option 7: Repurpose unwanted items
This is obviously my passion & area of expertise!! In fact, this gives me so much joy and satisfaction! Believe it or not, this is the last resource before I actually let it go into the garbage. While others may see something as unsalvageable, my imagination lets me see the potential.
See the picture above as an example of repurposing. Ten+years later, a pallet became a vertical planter! As a result, my family has been receiving the sweet rewards (strawberries)!
Option 8: Say good bye to unwanted items
Unwanted items go through the options above. As we know that we can’t save everything, and hoarding is not healthy. Reducing garbage is clearly my goal, and hopefully yours as well.
Before you get rid of unwanted items, use the 7 options above to guide you through the process. Sometimes, mixing the options makes more sense. Like having a garage sale first, then left over stuff goes for donation or free.
When you start paying attention to the process, it helps you and nature. I often ask myself, “Do I REALLY need this?” In other words, I like the joy & challenge of sustainable living – simplifying my life for happier life.