Declutter: What to Toss, Donate, Recycle, Reuse & Sell

Declutter: What to reuse
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effective steps to organize any space

Declutter:  What to Toss, Donate, Recycle, Reuse & Sell 

Do you struggle with clutter?  Do you keep trying to remove it from your home but it keeps coming back?

I know that feeling all too well!  Decluttering became much easier once I knew what to toss, donate, recycle, reuse and sell.  

I’m sharing those items below because knowing what to do with the clutter ahead of time speeds up the process!  

*Grab this list in a .pdf checklist format in the *Resource Library —–> HERE*

The best solution to clutter is to not bringing more of it into your home.  I know, that’s easier said than done. 

Once you get a system in place, though, it becomes easier to reduce and control the clutter!

Doing this creates a more organized and peaceful home.  

Declutter:  What to Toss

First, let’s talk about what to toss.  There are some fantastic charity locations to take donations. 

However, I’ve talked to some volunteers who say that people use them as a trash drop off.  This ends up costing them money to dispose of the items. 

Let’s save them that time and cost by tossing the things that they can’t use.  

Declutter: What to Toss

It’s okay to toss: 

  • Broken toys
  • Games or puzzles with missing pieces 
  • Clothing items that are torn or stained (call your local charity to see if they have a bin for fabric scraps) 
  • Damaged books with water stains or scribbling
  • Anything expired:  food, medicine, sunscreen, makeup, coupons (donate those to the military)
  • Dried out nail polish & paint 
  • Old alkaline batteries
  • Scratched CD’s
  • Old remotes
  • Rusted or broken tools 
  • Dried out art supplies

ToughBag Trash Bag
ToughBag Trash Bag


Declutter:  What to Donate

Local charities are a great place to donate items someone else might find useful.  Places you may be more familiar with are Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and the United Way. 

It’s easy to drop off items at these locations and they typically give you a receipt that you can use for taxes. 

Many towns also have shelters for victims of domestic abuse, drug or alcohol abuse recovery programs, or church sponsored thrift stores that will gladly accept donations of used items.    

Declutter: What to donate


Things to donate: 

  • Clothes hangers 
  • Clothing, shoes & accessories in good, used condition
  • Towels & blankets (animal shelters can always use these)
  • Kitchen goods- cookware, dishes, utensils 
  • Stuffed animals 
  • Toys
  • Books 
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Cables & phone chargers
  • VHS tapes & DVDs 
  • Clean purses and handbags
  • Used crayons & markers (in addition to donation centers, consider daycares & churches) 
  • Unused samples 

Declutter:  What to Recycle 

Recycling is important for our environment and to ensure proper disposal of certain items. 

For information on what and where to recycle in your area, a great online resource is You can also find more information through your local community’s Chamber of Commerce. 

If you use a garbage disposal company, check to see if they offer recycling services.  

Declutter: What to Recycle


  • Eyeglasses –> look for a recycle bin where you purchase them
  • Electronics –> Staples or Best Buy stores usually offer recycling options
  • Metal –> find metal recycling near your location or someone who will pick it up for you 
  • Rechargeable batteries 
  • Paper- junk mail, cards, calendars, maps, owner’s manuals, magazines & newspapers
  • Cardboard
  • Glass
  • Aluminum & tin cans
  • Plastic jugs 
  • Rubber tires 
  • CFL bulbs

Rubbermaid 50-gallon Recycling Bin
Rubbermaid 50-gallon Recycling Bin

Declutter:  What to Reuse

Reusing is also a great way to find a new use for an old item. There are so many possibilities when it comes to reusing items if you just use a little creativity! is a site where basically you can post anything you have to give away and see if there’s someone else in your community who could use it. It’s the online version of “have a penny, leave a penny… need a penny, take a penny!”   

Declutter: What to reuse


  • Mismatched socks or old t-shirts–> use them for dusting & cleaning rags
  • Old curtains –> reuse them for paint tarps
  • Costume jewelry –> give them to a crafter for projects
  • Old toothbrushes –> Use them for cleaning small spaces 
  • Containers with missing lids –> Use them for organizing bins 
  • Plastic containers –> Use for snacks, planters, piggy banks & art projects 
  • Plastic bags –> Use to wrap fragile items or as a liner for art projects 
  • Kleenex boxes –> Make great bag dispensers
  • Coffee cans –> Use to organize tools & gadgets 
  • Glass jars –> Find tons of ideas to reuse glass jars on Pinterest 

Declutter:  What to Sell

Having a yard sale is a great way to get some cash for your clutter if you live in an area where that’s possible.  Selling your clutter takes more time and effort, but it’s usually a win win situation.  You get rid of clutter and make some extra cash, and bargain hunters are happy with their new treasures.  

If a yard sale is not possible, the Internet is a great option to sell used items.  Some of the most well known seller options are Amazon (not just for retailers), ebay, craigslist, and etsy. 

Local Facebook selling groups or classifieds in your area are also great places to turn your clutter into cash! 

Declutter: What to Sell


Things that sell:

  • Clothing, shoes & accessories in good, used condition
  • Kitchen goods- cookware, dishes, utensils 
  • Toys and stuffed animals 
  • Baby items (check expiration dates on car seats) 
  • Books 
  • Furniture
  • Appliances
  • Electronics in good working condition 
  • DVD’s
  • Clean purses and handbags
  • Antiques
  • Collectibles 
  • Jewelry 

Most of the time, the hardest part of decluttering is just getting started. 

We hold on to clutter for different reasons.  We may consider something clutter but not be willing to part with it because it has sentimental value.

I know I’m guilty of the “what if I need it someday” way of thinking.  It’s also easy to reach the point where the clutter feels so overwhelming that we just avoid it.  

If we don’t address these thoughts, then our clutter just becomes a bigger problem. 

It helps to think about what decluttering will do for our homes and productivity.  Less clutter creates a space that’s easier to manage and keep organized

Less in this case really does mean more!  

Try decluttering one space at a time with one goal at a time.  For example, you can choose to work on just the toy clutter and only items that you’re going to toss.  Once that’s finished, you can come back to the same space and see if there’s anything to donate, recycle or sell. 

Over time, you will start seeing results.  Try not to get discouraged and, instead, think of this process as a marathon, not a sprint.  

  Have some decluttering tips to share?  We’d love to hear about them in the comments! 


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Declutter- What to Toss, Donate, Recycle, Reuse, Sell


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4 thoughts on “Declutter: What to Toss, Donate, Recycle, Reuse & Sell”

  1. I had a recent comment from a reader about sentimental clutter (thanks for reaching out, Michele). There’s not an easy answer when it comes to letting go of anything that has a special meaning. You are definitely not alone.
    As much as I like to declutter, I still struggle with certain items from my past or from my child’s baby years. You could consider taking a picture of these items and perhaps printing them to create a memory book. When my husband’s grandmother passed away, instead of keeping all of her cookbooks, I typed out her favorite recipes and made a small notebook out of them. I’ve also been able to let some things go to other people or places that I knew would enjoy it rather than keeping something where it could end up being damaged or not usable after a long time in storage. It’s a process that takes time and you just have to be kind to yourself and remember that you own the memory wherever you go- and that is more valuable than the item itself. Best wishes to you!

  2. Gretchen Y White

    Great post! I did a major overhaul of my apartment over the summer. It was so liberating to get rid of things I had been moving with me each time I moved. I love the space I now have and can’t wait to do it again!

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