For the last 3 1/2 weeks, I've been steadily working on decluttering our basement as part of Org Junkie's 29 Day Challenge! Now with only 5 days left- the pressure is on to wrap up this project! Actually, the cleaning out of all of the piles and bins, and the sorting of the endless amounts of useful and useless stuff is almost done. What I really need to focus on over the coming weekend is “setting the room”, which means deciding how I want to lay out all of the functional areas based on the amount of stuff we decided to keep. I can't wait to see how it turns out and then share it with you here next Thursday for my “Big Basement Reveal!” Whoo hoo!
And just in case you've forgotten the sad state of affairs back when we started…. here's a little reminder….
Today I wanted to focus on sharing with you some strategies of what to do with all of the junk that you uncover and have decided not to keep. Throwing it in the trash is not too environmentally friendly, and perhaps someone out there can find a second life for your discarded items! So here's a few ideas:
Sell the Good Stuff on Ebay or Craiglist
Last spring I conducted a little at-home experiment to see how well I could do by trying to sell a few of my unwanted items on either Ebay or Craiglist:
And I found that Ebay definitely was a much better solution for me. Offering items for sale on a national platform such as Ebay gives you a much better opportunity to connect with sellers, and being able to put an item into a box and ship it to the “winner” is SO much better than trying to figure out where you are comfortable meeting up with someone who has made you an offer on Craigslist. So unless the item is too bulky to ship cost effectively- I say that Ebay is the way to go! You should keep Ebay in mind for any item that you no longer want, but has some amount of monetary value. Great candidates are handbags, coats, suits and dresses, home decor, and jewelry.
Find a Local Charity to Pick it Up
I think one of the best ways to find someone who will pick up charity donations locally is to use Good Donor. You can create an account with them online and simply schedule your pick up date. You can print a list of accepted items by charity, and indicate how large of a donation you intend to make. When I use this service, Big Brothers Big Sisters is usually the charity that comes to pick up my donation.
Using freecycle to find someone to pick up your unwanted stuff at no charge is a great way to get rid of old furniture. You simply list the item and stand back and wait to be contacted (which usually happens quite quickly). We've gotten rid of two old couches and a massive old television that way. While you are happy to get rid of it, other people are just so happy to get it for free! Win win!
Our town has a recycling center where we can take paper, cardboard, as well as e-waste such as computer keyboards, monitors, etc. And we have made several trips just to recycle the paper, cardboard, and e-waste that we had hanging around in the basement! We keep a box in our pantry to throw in used batteries that we drop off at our local hardware store every so often. And last weekend we dropped off a large collection of burned-out compact fluorescent bulbs (including the long tube-styles ones that we use in the basement lighting). Elecrtonics and CFLs may contain mercury and other chemicals that are harmful to the soil- so they should never be thrown out with the trash- they should be recycled properly.
Some of Your Junk- Truly is Junk
And there's no getting around the fact, that some of your stuff is really just trash hanging around. It is broken and not recyclable. No one wants it. So all that's left to do is to stuff it into one of those giant black trash bags and let it go. We had a few boxes of old encyclopedias hanging around… and I tried to track down all sorts of places to take them… the local library, the recycling center, and I even spent some time researching it online. While I found a few sites that offered tutorials on how to turn old encyclopedias into bookshelves, I realized that I would just be trading old junk for some new junk….. so I had to just let those books go.
And of course, this wouldn't be a decluttering update without me showing off one of my 10-minute mini-projects, right?
Make Up Basket Mini Project:
This week I decided to tackle my makeup basket that I keep on my bathroom countertop. It has become so cluttered with free samples and little jars of things that I never use that it made it a hassle for me to dig through and find the things that I do use every morning.
So in just 10 minutes, I dumped the contents of the basket onto the counter, sorting through what I use daily, what I use occasionally, and what needed to be thrown out. I then cleaned the inside of the basket, and returned the daily use items to that basket. I then hunted downstairs for a new container that could hold my occasional-use makeup, which I filled, and then found a new home for inside of a bathroom drawer. Ahhh- so much better!
So there you have it… we have 5 days left to complete this project- and I can't wait to see how it turns out! If you missed my first three posts on the Big Basement Challenge- I would love for you to check them out here:
Now it's your turn…. I would love to hear some of your best ideas of where to go to get rid of all of your extra junk! Please leave a comment and share!