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Method For: Donate, Resell, Recycle

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Don’t get stuck once you’ve decided what to purge

The biggest and most challenging part of getting organized is the sorting and categorizing of all of your stuff. Many people make it through this big milestone in their project, only to falter when it comes to disposing of everything they have purged. As you are progressing through the sorting stage you are likely putting your purged items into one of four categories: Trash, Donate, Resell and Recycle. That’s where people get stuck. Aside from the Trash category, where the subsequent move is obvious, most folks are unsure of next steps when it comes to the other categories. Below is a guide of sorts to help you push through that last stage in your project so you can experience the sweet reward of the physical and mental space you just cleared by decluttering!


There are many options to easily donate those clothes you never wear

I have all this stuff to give away, now what? There are lots of options for donating the treasures you no longer need or want, the right one for you may depend on the category you are donating. The Goodwill takes almost all categories, including clothing, furniture, toys and household items and they have many locations – there is very likely one convenient to you. This is the best option when you have a lot of stuff that crosses categories and their drive through donation is super convenient (the line moves fast!) One big purge category is kids clothing, toys and baby gear. If you’d like your items to go directly to an organization focused on underprivileged children, Wellspring takes donations for their Family store in Seattle. Cleaning out your garage? One category I see a lot of (including in my own garage) is building materials leftover from renovation projects. If you have tiles, flooring, light fixtures or other building materials left from your remodel you can donate them to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. One trip to the re-store and you will be so happy to have that real-estate freed up in your garage! Habitat has 3 Re-Stores in the Seattle Metro area: Bellevue, Lynwood and Southcenter.


Have some things you feel are worth the effort to resell? Great, it feels good to get some money back – especially if you are purging in advance of some new purchases coming into your home. However, before you get too excited you should ask yourself 2 questions: 1) Are these items going to be worth something to someone other than you? and 2) How much effort are you willing to put out to sell your things? After contemplating these questions, if the (honest) answer to either of them is ‘not much’ then hop back up to the Donation section, you’re done here!

I’m not getting into the weeds on the obvious resell platforms like Craig’s List, Offer Up and Facebook Marketplace. They are all good, especially for bigger items like furniture and larger items (bicycles, skis, etc.) and well known with large audiences. I do have a couple of platforms for more specific categories that I have found to be effective, some requiring slightly more effort than others.


TheRealReal is my favorite option for reselling Designer and Contemporary clothing

If you have high-end branded clothing, shoes, handbags or jewelry you are ready to part with TheRealReal is an excellent option. They will send someone to come pick up your things, photograph them, list them, sell them (pretty quickly in most cases) and deposit your commission in your bank. You can go on their site to see their list of brands, most all of them in the Designer and Contemporary space; the more you sell the higher your commission rate. I have used TheRealReal for years and vouch for their frictionless experience – I love it.

Poshmark is an apparel resell marketplace that makes it relatively easy to sell your clothing, especially if it is branded stuff that people know and value. The great thing about Poshmark is how frictionless the actual transacting is for both buyer and seller, the rub is that it does take a material effort to post the items in your ‘closet’, especially if you are optimizing to get a lot of eyeballs on your product. I wouldn’t bother with Poshmark if you have no interest in photographing, writing copy or opting into a social network that helps give your items visibility. Not worth the headache in many cases so make sure you know what you are signing up for.


If your wedding china is collecting dust consider reselling it to Replacements.com

This may seem like a random category to include but I see many clients who are ready to let go of their wedding china because they don’t use it and their kids don’t want it. If you fall into this category I recommend checking out Replacements.com. You can look up your china pattern to see the current value (demand for various brands/patterns varies) but you have to wait for the actual offer to see how much they will pay for your set. They love getting complete sets of 12 place settings so if this is you and your china is in excellent condition (likely since you never use it!) you should get on this option ASAP! Incidentally, if you do use your china and are looking for replacement pieces you can find them here! I had a client who never used her china because she had 8 place settings and always hosted groups of 10+. So she went to Replacements.com and got 4 additional place settings for a great price! I love my china (and my mother’s that I inherited) and use them for multiple holidays. If you have a beautiful set that you want to keep, please use it!


Old technology and paint need to be disposed of responsibly

There are a couple of categories that you may consider trash but require responsible disposal because of their nature: old technology and paint. In the state of Washington, we have a free E-Cycle program for broken, obsolete, or worn-out electronics. Electronic products contain valuable materials that can be recycled and toxic chemicals that should be kept out of the landfill, so please don’t include them in your regular trash. They have a ton of drop off sites across the Seattle area so it’s pretty easy to do the right thing. (incidentally if you are keeping old computers because there are pictures on them you don’t want to lose, you need one of my Digital Organizing Packages!) So if you just cleared out your technology graveyard head on down to the E-Cycle near you!

Exciting news that I just found out about: in Washington (and 11 other states) there is now a service that takes your extra/old paint and recycles it! Paint is another insidious category that takes up a lot of space in garages because it is so hard to dispose of. Paint Care will take all of your paint and they have a lot of convenient locations to choose from, many at local transfer stations. So put in your zip code to see where you should go to free yourself of all of those paint cans that have been sitting in your garage for years!

It’s very draining to go through the effort of a big decluttering project, so make sure you have budgeted time and mental bandwidth to deal with the disposal steps, there may be more than one depending on your project. If you think about these steps as part of the process before you begin you will be far more likely to actually finish the job you started!

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