One of the biggest challenges to getting organized can be what to do with all of the stuff that we no longer want or need. Here is a list of resources in the Boston area that would welcome the donation of your gently used items.
- Bridesmaid Dresses & Prom Dresses: Get rid of unwanted tulle at DonateMyDress.org, which distributes prom, Sweet 16, and quinceañera frocks to girls who can’t afford them.
- Clothing and household items: Plenty of organizations will accept your tired attire, but Vietnam Veterans of America resells it to fund programs for veterans and will pick up your donation. Are the items in less than ideal condition? Include it anyway – these are sold by the pound and made into rags.
- Construction Material: Contact your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. ReStores sell donated goods at discounted prices; the money is used to fund the construction of Habitat homes. Each ReStore is different, so contact one in your area for information on what items they take.
- Eyeglasses: New Eyes for the Needy sends your old eyeglasses abroad, bringing the gift of sight to places like Bolivia, Ghana, and Cambodia. Did you know that Lions Club International collects prescription glasses Find a local chapter here.
- iPods: Through Music & Memory, iPods in working condition—as well as donated iTunes gift cards—help lift the spirits of elderly patients with Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
- Just About Anything: Freecycle, an eight-million-strong “worldwide gifting movement,” reduces waste by connecting trash-bound household items—bikes, coffee tables, moving boxes, appliances, birthday party decor, and more—with local people who want them. There’s an active group on the South Shore so you know your “gift” will be used locally.
- Linens and Towels: Animal shelters are always in need of these items for their animal clients. Scituate Animal Shelter welcomes these items as well as food and other non-perishables.
- Old Cellphones: The phones are sold to a company that recycles them, and Cell Phones for Soldiers uses the money to buy calling cards for troops stationed abroad so they can phone home for free. Go to Cellphones For Soldiers to print a free prepaid shipping label.
- Stuffed Animals: Consider donating these furry friends to Loving Hugs, which offers children in war zones, refugee camps, and orphanages a cuddly new friend. Another option is to send them to Stuffed Animals for Emergencies, which donates gently used stuffed animals to homeless shelters, hospitals, and emergency aid workers—paramedics often give the soft toys to kids they meet on their calls.
- TechnoTrash: Recycle these items at Best Buy. Drop off your chargers, cords and technology items – after you’ve wiped them clean and reset to factory settings.
- Toys and Sports Equipment: Big Brother Big Sister Foundation of Massachusetts Bay accepts books and toys, sports equipment, electronics and most household items and will pick up donations at your location.
- Women’s Professional Clothing & Accessories: Dress for Success empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. There’s a local office on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. If you can’t get into Boston, Interfaith Social Services in Quincy gladly accepts mens and womens professional clothing.
When organizing our home or office, we often want to donate our gently used items to others but we don’t know how to get started. Here are some ideas on where to donate, recycle and sell your items so they do some good.
Mobile phones can be recycled through Flipswap or Greenphone.com to keep your phone out of the landfill. Donate your office supplies to iloveschools.com – just type in your zipcode and find classrooms near you in need. Your technotrash can be sent to greendisk.com which safely recycles high tech junk and gives it new life.
There are a number of ways to get organized and help those in need…and one of my favorites, Freecycle.org, connects local households to “swap” items with local people who want them…View more ideas on Where to Get Rid of Anything online…
What, exactly, is this?
Have you ever opened a drawer, closet or bin and wondered “what the heck is in here?”. Welcome to the club of too much stuff and lack of organization. In our homes and offices, we accumulate stuff because as humans, we have an amazing capacity to create use scenarios for things. You keep the old version of your phone system “just in case” the new one doesn’t work as expected or breaks. The dishes you replaced because they were mismatched and chipped become the extras you keep “for a dining emergency” – is that even a thing? I bring home a beautiful new black sweater to replace the misshapen and faded version in the drawer but keep the original one for “kicking around the house”. Does any of this sound familiar?
Something in, something out
One of the simplest organizing rules to follow is “something in, something out”. When you replace an item – a camera, tv, suit jacket, pair of running shoes – get rid of the original! Can you find an excuse to keep the original item? If so, did it really have to be replaced at all? The rule of something in, something out helps us to manage the volume of stuff in our space. Closets, drawers, garages, basements, warehouses and every other nook and cranny is crammed with stuff we no longer use. Open a random drawer or closet and see what’s lurking in there. A not-so-smartphone from 2009 along with the cords and chargers. Clothes too small to be worn by anybody in your home. Storage cabinets filled with old technology. This is clutter. Anything that you are not using or enjoying is just taking up space.
Start employing this simple rule of organizing: when you buy something new, something must go. Donate it. Sell it. Recycle it. Someone, somewhere will benefit much more from having that thing. Are you stuck for ideas on where to donate so your item has impact? Check out these resources on my website. As a bonus, you gain space – physical, psychological and emotional – by letting go.
Want to make your home more joyful and less chaotic? Start by following these simple steps to declutter your home and enjoy your space more…
1. Start in the kitchen, bedroom, playroom – whichever room feels most impactful for you.
2. Set the timer on your phone for 30 minutes and get started.
3. Look to your left and to the highest point. Are there items that jump out as clutter (i.e. not in their proper “home” or unneeded….)
4. Take a few items from the top of the pile or shelf and relocate them to their proper location in the room. Is the proper place the basement or a similar space? Use a bin or laundry basket to contain and gather your items so you don’t spend time walking back and forth.
5. Is the item is worth keeping (and relocating) or is something that you can do without? Not sure how to decide? Is the item useful and needed in your home? Keep it and decide where it should be “housed”. Does it bring you joy when you look at it? Keep it – everyone needs beautiful and joyful things in their home. Can’t remember the last time you used the item or why you have it? Let it go.
6. When the timer goes off, stop organizing and put away the items to be relocated and put your donations in your car to be dropped off at the nearest donation center. There’s a way to donate almost anything – learn more at Where to Donate Everything in your Home A-Z.
7. Book a time for another appointment with yourself and keep going!
One of the most common barriers to getting organized is knowing what to do with all the stuff we no longer need or use. Of this keeps these items piled up in our space causing clutter and taking up valuable storage. At the same time, we want to know that our items are being used in a positive way. Here are some ideas on where to donate, recycle and even sell your items so they do some good.
Got a new phone as a holiday gift and the old phone is unneeded? Mobile phones can be recycled through SecondWaveRecycling – this great organization will take your older cell phone and donate the proceeds to charity. Your technotrash (old chargers, power cords, etc) can be sent to GreenDisk which safely recycles high tech junk and gives it new life.
There are a number of ways to get organized and help those in need. One of my favorites, Freecycle.org, connects you to “swap” items with local people who want and need them. View more ideas on Where to Get Rid of Anything online and start making lemonade out of those lemons…