Discard it, sell it, donate it, but get rid of that clutter
It’s that time of year again, time to make promises to ourselves. If you’re like most, one of those pledges is to get organized.
“It’s No. 4 in top resolutions for the New Year,” said professional organizer Saundra Wright of Jackson Township, Ohio. “People want to quit smoking, exercise more, lose weight and get organized. It’s a biggie.”
If you need motivation to follow through on your resolution, think cash. As you declutter to get organized, you can sell your excess and castoffs.
But first things first — a post-holiday “purge.”
“One of the best strategies in trying to declutter as you bring in gifts from Christmas is take one out,” Wright said. “If you get a new toaster, throw out the old one. If you get a new pair of pajamas, get rid of an old pair.”
If you are having difficulty throwing things out, “containerize it,” suggests Mary Lynn Simmons of Alliance, Ohio. “Then, if you haven’t gotten into that box for a year, you need to take it to a resale shop or donate it.”
Simmons preaches consolidation.
“Why do you need seven pairs of black pants?” Simmons asked. “Why do you need 10 spatulas? Clear out the duplicates.”
Her tough-love mantra is, “Anything that isn’t useful or beautiful, get rid of it.”
How? You can sell it yourself, have others sell it for you, or donate it.
- Sell it yourself at a garage or yard sale, through a newspaper ad, through an online auction such as eBay, or through online sales sites such as Craigslist.
- Arrange for others to sell for you through local consignment auctions, at local thrift stores or consignment shops.
- Donate it for a tax deduction.
When thinking about donating, Wright says don’t forget churches.
“Last year I got a new laptop for Christmas, and I asked our church. They said they could use it for the youth group and gave me a receipt for a taxable deduction,” Wright said. “The same with toys. Churches have preschools, nurseries and need toys, books, even little chairs.”
Professional organizers find that the rooms most often in need of decluttering are garages and basements.
“A lot of people clear out basements in January as they’re putting away Christmas decorations,” Wright said.
Simmons said the most common cry for help is, “I don’t have room for my things,” but the current economy may help us cut back on clutter.
“We’re a buying society, or at least we have been. That is starting to change,” Simmons said. “People are now saying, we’ve got to get rid of these credit cards. They’re starting to evaluate their lives more than at any time I’ve seen in my business.”
Mary Lynn Simmons, Organization Station
Saundra Wright, Organized Wright
To find a professional near you:
National Association of Professional Organizers