Decluttering 101: Keep, Donate, or Throw Away?

When the weather finally starts to get nice again, we think of one thing; spring cleaning. The fact is, spring cleaning is a ritual that’s been around for generations. It’s an annual rite-of-passage that tells us it’s time to decide what to do with all your extra stuff; donate or throw away?

The only hold-up to spring cleaning comes from the 3 biggest and most-asked questions. Should you keep it, donate it, or throw it away? This article will give you the help you need to answer all 3 and get your house spic-and-span for the new year ahead.

Keep, Donate, or Throw Away?

Although the term ‘spring cleaning’ conjures up visions of giving your home a deep clean. The truth is, most people get into spring cleaning to declutter their living space. That includes bedrooms, closets, garages, attic, and any other area where there’s a lot of stuff. Clearing out closets for many is one of the biggest reasons to clean up in the spring.

Whatever you plan to clean-out, those 3 questions will start to gnaw away at your brain as soon as you start. Immediately your mind will begin to wonder what to do with all the things that still have some value. The key is to know if an item that you don’t use still has any value, and what type of ‘value’ that you’re talking about.

What Should You Consider Keeping?

When considering what to keep, donate, or throw away, remember to ask yourself if the item in question has value to you. For example, a sweater in good shape has monetary value, but it might also have sentimental value. The same goes for pretty much anything in your home. As you’re cleaning, it’s a question you’ll no doubt be asking yourself quite often. If it does have value, you’ll likely want to keep it rather than tossing it. Here’s an example of items we’d keep:

  • Winter clothing (for next year)
  • Clothes that still fit, look good, and are in style
  • Items you use once in a while
  • Anything with strong sentimental value
  • Items with a very high monetary value
  • Sports equipment you still use
  • Holiday decorations
  • Winter bedding like comforters

The Do’s and Don’ts of Donating

If you’ve decided that an item you own doesn’t have any value to you, it might have value for someone else. You can decide to sell that item online or at a yard sale or donate the item to charity or goodwill. Donating your stuff is a great way to help your fellow human.

So, then the question becomes what to donate, and where? Also, what things are the best to donate and what things aren’t. donate old shoes or throw them away. You wouldn’t want to donate your old sneakers with holes in the soles. That old toothbrush? That’s a definite toss. Items like gently worn clothing and working kitchen gadgets are perfect for donating.

The question to answer is “does this have any value left that another person can take advantage of?” If the answer to that question is yes, don’t toss it. Donate it instead.

What Items Should You Donate to Charity?

We already talked about donating items that don’t hold value to you. Beyond that, charities tend to welcome certain types of donations more than others. Here are some examples of items that charity organizations are usually seeking:

  • Any clothing that’s in decent shape but you don’t want anymore
  • Shoes, sneakers, and boots that are in good shape
  • Linens, bedding, towels
  • Electrical appliances that still work
  • Sports equipment you don’t use
  • Toys that still work and have all their parts (but ask your kids first!)
  • Books
  • Furniture
  • Costume jewelry
  • Paintings, posters, and wall art
  • Pillows
Donate or Throw Away

What Items Should You Throw Away?

When considering what to donate or throw away, remember that if it has no value to you or anyone else, then tossing it in the trash is your best bet. That toothbrush we talked about is a good example, but it also applies to things that are falling apart or worn out. If you say to yourself “who would want this piece of junk?” then it’s likely that you should just toss it. Toss out items like these:

  • Clothing that’s falling apart
  • Broken toys that are missing many pieces
  • Broken electronics
  • Furniture that’s falling apart
  • Anything that you believe holds no value for anyone

Now You Can Decide to Keep, Donate, or Throw Away

At the end of the day, the choice of whether to keep, toss or donate falls on your shoulders. Keep in mind. if you’re running out of space, you can always rent a small storage unit.

Donating your items is a very noble thing to do and will help others who don’t have it as good as you do. It might not be valuable to you anymore but, to someone else, might be exactly what they’ve been looking for. Best of luck with your spring cleaning!

This post was originally published on 03/17/2020
It was updated on 12/23/2020