Clutter is often a somewhat normal aspect of life for most people. Even if you're a hardcore pack rat, though, clutter does not have to overwhelm your home. If you can't bear to throw your clutter away, consider recycling or donating it.
Here are some tips for recycling clutter in your home.
1. Hold a Clutter Swap Meet
As the old saying goes, one person's junk is another person's treasure. Collect all of the items that are cluttering up your home, and contact your neighbors, family members, and friends. Choose a day to get together, and trade or give away items that you no longer want or need. Any leftover items can be donated to charity.
2. Paper and Cardboard
This is one of the most common types of clutter in most homes, but it is one of the easiest to recycle. Excess papers in your home can be bundled together or simply tossed in a recycling bin. If you have tons of old bills lying around, you can cover any personal information with whiteout or a black magic marker.
3. Magazines and Books
While these items typically fall under the category of paper clutter, many people hesitate to simply toss them away. If you have an overabundance of books and magazines in your home, you may want to consider donating them to your local library, so others can enjoy them as well.
4. CD's and DVD's
Like books and magazines, these can sometimes be hard to part with, even if you don't use them anymore. Libraries will often accept gently used DVD's as donations, though, and many music and media stores will allow you to trade CD's and DVD's in for store credit, or even cash.
Any outdated or ill-fitting clothes can also be donated. Organizations like battered women's shelters will gladly accept women's and children's clothes, and thrift stores and churches will accept any type of clothing, as long it's in decent shape.
Once your children outgrow their old toys, these can also be donated or given to family members and friends with children. Set aside a day to go for you and your children to go through their old toys. Discard any broken toys, and give away any toys that are still in good shape.
7. Cell Phones
Throwing away your outdated cell phones may seem to be wasteful, but letting them pile up in your junk drawer is typically very counterproductive when you're trying to cut down on clutter in your home. Instead of throwing them in the trash, donate them. Most electronics and cellular stores accept old cell phones, and these are often donated to individuals in need, like soldiers and battered women.
If you're at least a little environmentally conscious, you probably have a pile of dead batteries in your junk drawer right next to your pile of old cell phones. These can be sent to a battery recycling center or dropped off at your local electronics store.
Paint is another household item that shouldn't be thrown out, since it can have some very harmful effects on the environment. Some home improvement or paint supply stores may let you drop off those partially full buckets of paint that you have stashed in your basement or garage. If you have a paint recycling center in your area, you can also drop old paint off there as well.
You can donate your old eyeglasses and reading glasses, so others can have the gift of sight, so to speak. Some places that accept donated eyeglasses include vision centers, churches, and thrift shops.
11. Scrap Metal
Scrap metal is one of the types of clutter that you may be able to make a little money from. Your broken gold jewelry can be collected and sold to a gold dealer, for instance. You can also collect the scrap metal in your basement and haul it to a scrap metal recycling center in your area. These collection centers will often pay you a certain amount of money per pound of scrap metal that you bring in.
Small – or even large – pieces of furniture can also clutter your home, particularly if you have too much. One of the easiest ways to get rid of old furniture is by setting it out on the curb in the morning. If it's in good shape, it will usually be picked up within a few hours, especially if you live in a high traffic area.
Marina is Co-owner of MatryoshkaNestingDolls.com an online store of authentic nesting dolls for kids.
Photo by spykster