Quick story: Over the summer, I felt the need to de-clutter so strongly that I asked my husband to rent a dumpster for my birthday. Did he laugh? Yes. Was I kidding? No. Fast forward to now, and Dolly the Dumpster is still sitting in my driveway. Everything that can’t be donated goes straight into Dolly and finally, I can see the light (storage space) at the end of the tunnel (our basement).
Have you felt the itch to clean house before the holidays? Don’t have dumpster parking available? No sweat—I love sharing ideas for sustainable ways to upcycle, recycle, clear clutter, and simplify. Pause your episode of The Home Edit on Netflix and let’s (dumpster) dive into donations, consignment, and more!
What to Do When You Have Too Much Stuff
Most of us have too much stuff: toys, the “someday” jeans you kept from 2009, knitting needles you’ll never pick up again, boxes of your 3rd grade artwork.
But most of us also know how good it feels to open a closet and not be met with a sweater avalanche. So today, let’s chat through some healthy, helpful, and sustainable ways to part with things that no longer serve a purpose.
Donate, donate, donate
Back in 2019, Marie Kondo sparked more than just joy with her Netflix series, Tidying Up. In some parts of the country, Goodwill donation rates spiked 20% as we collectively decided to make “Marie Kondo” a verb. In fact, some donation centers were so flush with goods that they had to stop accepting new donations.
Which brings us to an important point: There’s always a good way to donate—but taking a few extra steps can make your bagful of Abercrombie jeans go a lot farther.
- General donations to local Goodwill and Amvets locations are a great place to start in your purging process, but…
- Give them a ring before showing up with 10 bags of old Halloween costumes. You might find there are better options for donating specific genres of goods or clothing.
Shawn told me she learned the value of specificity during the East fam’s recent move—and subsequent donation spree. (BTW, their new house tour is a can't miss).
“We have put a lot of time and effort into looking for donation places when it comes to specific items,” she said. “In Nashville, we have an organization called Mother to Mother that is always accepting baby and kid donations, including unopened formula, for moms in need.”
Another example: The Easts found they just had too much wine (who knew that was possible?). “When we moved, we found a place in Nashville that took unopened wine as donations for charity auctions or church events,” Shawn said.
“There’s a place for all of your stuff, especially this time of year,” Shawn said. “There are so many families who would appreciate those donations so much!”
Give a little, get a little
I confess: I’m terrible at selling old stuff. Never was one for a yard sale. But do as I write, not as I do: If you have great stuff in great condition, consider selling it to a consignment shop that specializes in your gently-loved goods and clothes.
And if consignment isn’t your thing? You could try Facebook, which is full of so-called “buy nothing” groups or local clothing exchanges. Or you could go IRL and try organizing a clothing and goods swap with friends or neighbors to see if you can fill someone else’s ultra-specific need for 4T Encanto socks.
What goes around, comes around
The bottom line? The garbage bin should be the last resort.
Finding a new home for the things you don’t use or need does more than free up storage space. It helps us slow the damage from decades of throwing out garments and clogging up landfills. And it could provide someone in your community with the items they really need.
So go forth and Kondo—and if you find yourselves with too much wine like the Easts? Hit reply and I’ll send you my address.
So your son is named one of the sexiest men alive…Okay, most of us will never have to worry about this, but Kelly Ripa does. Kelly and husband Mark Consuelos’s oldest son Michael was recently featured in People Magazine’s annual celebration of hotties. Her reaction was hilarious.
A low-stress Turkey Day? Sign me up. The Barefoot Contessa herself, Ina Garten, shares some tips for enjoying the big day including a solid meal plan and leaving the apps to someone else.
Our favorite friend. Remember when Jennifer Aniston broke the internet with her first IG post in 2019? It received 16 million likes. Turns out, social media really isn’t her thing—she has some feedback.
That’s it for today! Wishing you a clutter-free week full of neatly folded sweaters and a pantry chock full of labeled snacks.