I’m always looking for simple ways to cut clutter from my home. It doesn’t come naturally for me. Even routines and habits don’t seem to stick if I’m not constantly focusing on them.
So over the years I’ve come up with tools and systems that help me stay on top of the clutter so it doesn’t get a chance to build up too much. When you use these 5 simple tools as part of your decluttering system, they help change your mindset about letting go of things.
- Donation Box
- Re-sell it Box
- Recycling Box
- Curbside Recycling Box(s)
- Trash Container
These five boxes, containers, and/or designated shelf space (as described below) have helped me keep most of the rooms in my home fairly clutter free. When I decide I don’t need an item anymore I put it in one of the five boxes/containers. If I didn’t have a designated place to put the item I would probably just put it back where it was “for now” and deal with it “later”. I’m sure you know how that turns out!
Below I describe each tool in more detail.
1. Donation Box
There should be at least one donation box in your home. This box is for items in usable condition such as clothes, small household or personal items, and kitchen items that can be donated to a charity. You may have one box in your closet for clothes and another box in a storage room or garage for the household items.
The benefit of always having a donation box is it eliminates the excuse of what to do with the items before you have the chance to take them to a charity.
This box does not have to be an ugly cardboard one sitting in your closet. You can buy a cute laundry hamper or basket. That make’s it more fun to use. A cute donation box/hamper can even be part of the laundry room, bathroom, or bedroom decor.
When the donation box becomes full or if you are running errands near the charity you donate to, all you need to do is empty the items into a bag or cardboard box and take it to the drop off location.
2. Re-sell it Box (optional)
This is where you’ll put all the items you plan on selling at a garage sale, Ebay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace. If you’re planning a garage sale you obviously will need more than one box. The same if you sell a lot of items on the online sales markets.
If you’re not sure if you want to have a garage sale or not, check out this article. It can help you decide if it’s worth it. “Do You Really Want To Have A Garage Sale?”
If you plan to sell items online you also need a storage area. This area needs to be treated like a business if you plan on selling items on a regular basis. You’ll need a place to store supplies for packing and shipping. This is where you’ll want some shelf space in a closet, bookshelf, or storage room that is easy to access when an item is sold.
If you plan to sell locally you can keep the items in a box or basic storage place until they are placed for sale, sold, and delivered or picked-up.
3. Recycling Box
We all know that recycling is important for the future of our planet. You probably know there are a lot of items that can and should be recycled but curbside recycling (see number 4. below) doesn’t pick up many of those items. So what do you do with them. That’s where this box comes in. It’s for all those other recyclables that require special places to recycle. These include items such as:
- Broken and/or old electronics such as computers, printers, TV’s.
- Old cables, cords, surge protectors, etc.
- CFL and florescent bulbs.
- Rechargeable batteries, and tools with them built in.
- Old worn out athletic shoes.
- Old worn out clothes and other textiles.
When you replace some of these things don’t just shove the old one into a closet “for now”. Put it in the desinated recycling box.
To make this box work you’ll first have to do a little research to find out where these items can be recycled. Once you’ve found out what company/store will take what item, create a list. Whenever you run errands check to see if you can drop off a few items from this box.
Here is a list of some stores that recycle some of the above items. Be sure to call your local store to find out what they may accept. Also ask if there is a fee for any of the items.
- Best Buy (electronics, old cables, cords, CD’s, software, etc.)
- Lowes (CFL and florescent bulbs, plastic pots from garden plants,)
- Home Depot (CFL and florescent bulbs, plastic pots from garden plants)
- Batteries Plus (rechargeable batteries, tools with batteries built in, CFL and florescent bulbs)
Also check out your local city or county for recycling events during the year.
4. Curbside Recycling Box
If you have curbside recycling be sure to check out what they accept. Mine is a single stream recycling program so I can put all kinds of plastic, cardboard boxes, papers, and magazines. I have a trash can in the kitchen to catch these kinds of items. When it’s full I dump it into the curbside bin. I also keep a small container under my desk to throw all the papers that are for recycling. That way they are contained. When it’s trash day I empty this container into the curbside bin.
Like I said above, I try to eliminate any excuses I may have to just put those papers in a pile on the desk or leave the plastic containers by the sink.
If you don’t have curbside recycling that doesn’t mean you can’t recycle these items. You will have to do a little research to find out where these items can be dropped off. You may want to purchase stacking recycling bins so you can keep it organized. When you run errands plan to drop off the different items.
5. Trash Container.
The trash container doesn’t need a lot of explanation. Whatever can’t be donated, sold, or recycled in some way goes in the trash.
You may want to set up all five or only a few of the boxes/containers above. If you don’t plan on having a garage sale or sell items online you don’t need that box. All your usable items will go in the donation box.
If you don’t have curbside recycling find out where and what you can recycle at local drop off centers/bins. Do the best you can but don’t use it as an excuse to store those kinds of items indefinitely. Your home is not a garage dump. If you can’t recycle, donate, or sell something then just put it in the trash container.
To a lighter load along the road.