What to do with the stuff you don’t need

Do you find yourself putting off the task of organizing your rooms, cupboards, closets, and other spaces? You’re not alone! Even though a cluttered space can weigh you down, the thought of having to figure out what to do with those items you no longer need can be overwhelming.

Let’s face it, many of us hold on to items that just aren’t needed, but that we either feel we “shouldn’t” or “can’t” get rid of. It might be a family heirloom (that’s not in our style), or memorabilia (that you used to collect), or simply something we don’t know how to dispose of. Many of them fall into a category I call mental blocks of clutter—and now they’re piling up in your rooms or cupboards!

But these items are reducing your livable space, affecting your health and adding stress to your life. It’s time to clear away the clutter! Start by setting aside the items you neither use, need or love.  Block off time on your calendar—really set an appointment with yourself (maybe the next. rainy day?)—and use this guide to help you declutter your rooms and tucked away spaces:

Donate the Items

The rule of thumb is that if you can’t use an item in its current condition, then no one will want to buy it. Donating the items, therefore, eases your space and allows another person to make use of the item. Besides freeing up your space, donating:

  • is good for your health: according to the Moffitt Cancer Center, donating items or any form of charity is good for your mental health.
  • increases your happiness and boosts your self-esteem.
  • saves you the time of looking for buyers and the hassle of negotiating the cost of old items.

Before donating, make sure items are in reasonably good condition. If you’re donating clothes, for instance, they should be stain free with little to no wear-and-tear. Don’t donate items that belong in the trash.


Recycling is a win-win: you rid your home of items you no longer need, and there’s less piling up in landfills. Check for disposal/recycling centers near me and drop the items for recycling.

Not everything, however, is recyclable. Check for a recycle symbol and compare to the list of numbers accepted by your local center. You may be surprised to learn, for instance, that fabric is often recyclable, and you can send unwanted clothes that are too worn to donate, to the textile recyclers instead. If the item doesn’t have a recycle symbol, then you’ll need one of the other options.

Sell the assets

Some items that fill up your space are actually “assets” —items with resale value. If that’s the case, by all means plan to sell! Search for stores that buy and sell second-hand items to simplify the sale process, or try your local Facebook marketplace or Craigslist.

The one caution I have for you is to be realistic—and conservative—in what you decide to invest your time into selling. It’s easy to spend way more time than you can recoup in dollars! Is selling a $5-dollar item worth the time it takes to capture good photos, post, and arrange for a safe location to meet potential buyers (who, sadly, often end up ghosting you)?

What to do with all the other stuff you don’t need: Trash It!

If the item cannot be donated, recycled, or sold, it belongs in the trash. Watch out for items that shouldn’t end up in a landfill though; avoid tossing hazardous items like chemicals and electronics in your weekly pickup. In most localities, you dispose of unsafe waste at specific waste sites.

In Cary, NC for instance, if your home organizing leads to a pile of old cell phones or laptops, the Citizen’s Convenience Center is the go-to location—or you may be able to schedule a pickup. (There’s a handy search function on the Town of Cary’s website that will direct you to the best solution.) Other towns in the area, including Fuquay-Varina have similar options.

The Bottom Line 

You can do this! Separating the items you use, need or love from… everything else, is the first step. And now you know what to do with them!

If piles of items in the house are making it too hard to begin, give me a call. We’re here to help you. We will guide and help you dispose of the items after clearing and organizing your house. Call us today, or if DIY is your middle name, consider our video-based Master Class in Organizing Your Home.

SOS by Lisa | Professional Organizer, Home Organizer
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