Updated: Feb 10
Do you feel guilty when throwing away items? Or fed up with that pile of stuff you set aside months ago, that you intended to sell online but forgot about?
I have the perfect solution for you: Donation!
Not only are you removing items you no longer need, want, or don’t make you happy, but you can feel good about helping your fellow (wo)man.
Pass these things along, so that they can be appreciated instead of sitting in a pile on your bedroom floor.
When I declutter my home, I always set aside items that I no longer need/want, but don’t want to throw into the garbage to sit in a landfill for years. Not only do I want to reduce my contribution to “waste culture”, but I also want to give back to my community. After I’ve completed my annual “spring clean” of my home, I fill my car with boxes of items and drop them off at my local donation centre. I always feel a sense of accomplishment, filling me with happiness. Instead of these items being unappreciated and abandoned in my home, they will be cared for and enjoyed by someone else.
When I’m working with clients who hesitate to part with an item because it is just “gently used” I always recommend donating. I even include one free carload of donations in my in-home organizing service package to help encourage and support the act of giving.
With the Spring Cleaning season just around the corner, I have come up with 10 common items that are great for donating! I can guarantee everyone has items that fit at least one of these categories piling up in their home!
1. Clothes 👚
When looking through your closet, consider donating items that either no longer fit, have not been worn in the last year, or no longer suit your style. Donating these items allows you to reclaim precious closet space & create your perfect wardrobe.
2. Shoes 👟
Just like clothes, when looking at your shoes consider donating items that either no longer fit, have not been worn in the last year or, no longer fit your style. Donating these items will provide you with functional & practical space to store your most beloved footwear.
3. Handbags 👜
Some people enjoy collecting handbags/purses, but in reality, only a couple are rotated for daily use. When looking through your collection, consider donating items that either, have not been used in the last year or no longer fit your style, leaving you with only those handbags that make you happy to use!
4. Books 📚
When considering books for donation, start with categories such as outdated magazines or duplicate books that are just taking up space on your shelves. Another great category, especially for children, is aged-out books/genres. These books can be donated to a library or a women’s shelter for other kids to enjoy. Once you’ve removed the clutter, your shelves will be filled with only those books you truly love & enjoy!
5. Kitchenware 🍽️
It’s easy to accumulate too many kitchen items. We want to feel prepared for any food emergency, but ask yourself how often you use that asparagus steamer or panini press. One of the first steps is to consider any unused appliances that are just collecting dust, as they often take up the most space. When sifting through your kitchen drawers, consider donating either duplicate utensils or unused containers, that are just taking up precious space. Additionally, Not only will you reclaim space, but you’ll be left with items that are practical and spark joy when cooking in the kitchen.
6. Toys 🐻
It is important to teach children the value of donating. I recommend working with your child(ren) to identify unused toys/stuffed animals, giving the child a chance to make their own decision on what toys they want to keep or donate. For you parents, identifying aged-out toys/games (including toys you’ve set aside for prospective grandkids!) is another ‘quick win’ in reclaiming precious storage space!
7. Linens 🛏️
The general rule of thumb when it comes to sheets is to have 2 sets per bed in the home. For towels, you want enough per family member for 1 week. Identifying extra sheets/comforters, extra blankets, extra towels or aged-out bedding sets are perfect for donating! Suddenly that linen closet of yours is looking less cluttered!
8. Toiletries 💅
The most important thing to keep in mind when donating toiletries is to make sure they are unopened. Any open or partially used toiletries should be disposed of in the garbage or emptied and then the containers recycled. Simple places to start are with backstock items that you can trim down, or hygiene essentials such as deodorant, shampoo, conditioner etc. that can be donated to shelters in your city for those in need.
9. Furniture 🛋️
If living in a small home, downsizing the amount of furniture you have is a great way to reclaim storage and functional space. When looking at your furniture, consider donating aged-out furniture, unused/old pieces, or items that are no longer your style. Giving these pieces to people who will appreciate and utilize them saves them from ending up in the landfill or just cluttering up your storage area.
10. Outdoor Items 🏒
This category is quite broad and can apply to a variety of outdoor activities. When looking through your garage or your basement, consider donating unused sporting equipment, unused camping equipment, or unused seasonal items, especially if they have been sitting in storage for more than 1 year. Once you remove the clutter, you’ll be left with those items you used and are connected to hobbies or activities you enjoy!
Now that you have a comprehensive list of items, I encourage you to look around your home and identify a few items in each of these categories that can be taken to your nearest donation centre.
Remember organizing is a process so completing these exercises in small, digestible chunks will help keep you motivated, inspired, and feel good about reclaiming your space while helping out those in need.
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About the Author: Brittany Smith lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and feline furbaby Zoey. She is a Certified Professional Organizer, Owner, and Founder of Control the Chaos, a Professional Organizing business that provides personalized in-home, virtual and digital organizing services aimed at transforming anyone's chaos into calm.