No matter how often you clean your home or not, there is probably a lot of junk, clutter, or old stuff you don’t need anymore. It doesn’t matter what you call the piles of clothes you don’t wear, the old ski equipment, or the school yearbooks you haven’t touched in years; you need to separate clutter from keepers.

Cleaning up clutter can be stressful. But it doesn’t have to be. Looking for the best ways to repurpose, sell, donate, recycle, or hire a professional junk removal service? Try these tips.

Set Your Goals

It may not be possible to tackle all the clutter in your home in a day, or even an entire room, depending on your situation’s severity and energy. In that case, start small. Decide what you want to accomplish. For example, you can eliminate unnecessary items from your bedroom or limit your family keepsakes to four small containers in the basement. You can also set goals by dividing your basement, garage, or whatever part of your home has junk, and schedule exactly what you plan to accomplish at any given time.

Play by The rules

Clean up the clutter by following some guidelines. For example, you can decide to throw out any clothes you haven’t worn since last Christmas or that don’t fit you anymore. Having guidelines simplifies the process and provides confidence. A time limit can be set as well. You can set a goal to fill up a certain number of boxes by a specific date. This prevents you from getting overwhelmed.

Decide What You Want to Eliminate

Prepare yourself mentally and be realistic. Often, people hold on to items thinking they can use them at some point. However, this rarely happens. Arrange everything you have decided to go through in one place. Determine what you want to keep, donate, or throw away. Make sure there are no “maybe” items.

Sorting can be done with three boxes. As for the keeping box, decide if you really need it, if you can repurpose it, and where you are going to keep it. Store them neatly in the location most convenient for you. Before throwing away items you don’t want, consider what you can sell or trade and what you can donate to your local charities.

As you sort through, you may find it helpful to take photos. You may also want to get an appraisal for high-value items. If you plan to deduct large donations on your tax return, you will need it, and it can help you set an appropriate sale price.

What You Can Do With Old Junk

After you have sorted your old junk, where will you put all this stuff, if not in another part of the house? Here are a few options to consider:

Keep it

Keep items you can reuse or repurpose. Be creative and turn junk into something useful. You could, for instance, reupholster an old chair or paint an old table. Make the pet a bed from an old sheet or blanket and an old pillow. If you can crochet, you can turn old t-shirts into mats. With repurposing, you can not only create new and useful items, but you can also save money and create a more eco-friendly option.

Donate it

You can donate using the following options.


Charities accept all kinds of items. Some distribute goods to those in need, while others sell them to earn money for their cause. Contact them directly to find out what kind of items your charity will accept. You can also contact local churches and youth organizations or organizations that provide housing and furniture to local families.

Local Organizations

Consider donating your items to local organizations. Books, electronics, or gently-used furniture may be of interest to assisted living facilities, for example. Children’s daycare centers, preschools, and elementary schools may want your kids’ toys and books. Animal shelters can use old towels.

Families and Friends in Need

You might be surprised at who might be interested in your old futon, patio furniture, or recliner. Do you know any newlyweds, college students, or people adjusting to life in their first apartment? Your cast-offs may be the start-up items they need.


Even though your old stuff may not seem valuable to you, it may be exactly what someone else needs. You can sell junk in several ways.

  • Put your items up for sale on a community board or website (virtual sale).
  • Hold a garage/yard sale. However, it’s a lot of work, and it’s not always worth it.
  • Visit your local consignment store or take part in a flea market or church sale.
  • For older but still valuable items, you might consider visiting an antique dealer (but be sure to have your items appraised)
  • Pawn Shops are another option.

Curbside or Online for Free

You can put things at the curb with a “Free” sign to get rid of them and be surprised by what passers-by pick up. You can also post free items on online networks. Interested parties can arrange pickup.


Electronic products often contain toxic chemicals such as mercury, lead, and chromium. You can recycle old, unwanted phones and laptops by using an electronics recycling service. Certain brands of athletic shoes allow you to recycle worn-out shoes with their reuse-a-shoe programs. Scrap yards will accept almost anything made of metal.

Throw It Away

When all options have been exhausted, you may just have to throw the stuff away. Do your homework and find out what green options are available in your area. A large dumpster can be used to dispose of large items, trash, landscaping debris, and construction debris. Arrange a special pickup with a junk removal service. Though this is the fastest method, it may incur some costs.


While it can be hard to let go of things, in the long run, it is worth it, especially if you are moving from one state to another. If you’re still having trouble decluttering, try getting rid of one item a day.

Over time, you’ll find that getting rid of junk becomes easier. To live lightly and be mindful about your consumption, you have to be responsible for your stuff, even when it’s time to get rid of it. It also means not accumulating things.

Emma Chen

Emma Chen holds a degree in Public Health from the University of Washington and has dedicated 13 years to promoting healthy and sustainable cleaning practices. Since joining us as a freelancer in 2020, Emma has shared her expertise in non-toxic cleaning solutions, indoor air quality, and allergen reduction. Her experience includes working in community health programs and as a health educator, which shows in her writing. Emma is a yoga instructor in her free time and participates in community clean-up drives.

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