7 Things You Need to Donate or Give Away — ASAP

published Jan 25, 2022
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Often, emotions are the biggest impediment to reducing clutter in your home. Whether it’s sentimental items that you can’t seem to part with or perfectly useful items you can’t let go of, cutting ties can involve guilt, fear, and sadness: Guilt at getting rid of something you spent money on and aren’t using; fear that you’ll need that thing someday; and sadness that certain stages of your life are in the past.

My favorite way to overcome these feelings is to find a new home for the stuff that no longer serves me. Making plans to pass along my belongings to others who will use and enjoy them far more than my family takes the sting out of letting go.

Here are seven items that can become someone else’s treasure:

Extra Plant Pots

If you’re a plant enthusiast (and perhaps even if you’re not), you’ve probably accumulated more plant pots than you need. Pass some of these along to other plant lovers! You’ll have more space and, next time you need to re-pot a new plant, maybe you’ll be able to actually find that perfect pot more easily.

Small Appliances

These take up so much space and are really only worth it if you use them regularly. Be honest with yourself and consider whether that coffee maker that’s currently little more than a dust collector or the fondue set that you haven’t used in a decade are worth the storage space they consume. Donate or give them to some recent grads or other friends and you get to clear out space without the guilt.

Baby Gear

Speaking from experience, this one can be difficult. While some parents are elated to get rid of bulky baby gear, saying goodbye to the baby swing you used for all your children is a concrete step out of the “baby stage” forever. Consider finding a women’s shelter or a friend of a friend to pass your baby gear. It might help soothe the bittersweetness.

Pro tip: Before you give it away, make sure your gear is still safe. Check recall lists and expiration dates for things like cribs or carseats before donating.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Linens

Extra towels, bedding sets, blankets, and other household linens make for an overstuffed linen closet that makes it difficult to find what you actually need. Since many donation sites won’t accept used linens, check your local animal shelter or vet offices, which are often in short supply of bedding for rescue pups and kittens.

Yard Equipment and Tools

You may have a stash of yard equipment and tools that you had every good intention of using. But life may have nudged you to outsource yardwork and those tools might be sitting around doing nothing — except causing a storage problem and making you feel bad about not using them. Check with local construction-based charities like Habitat for Humanity to see if you could donate your items there. Or, throw them up on your local buy-sell-trade groups so your languishing equipment can go off to a better life.

Craft Supplies

It’s true that you cannot reasonably tell if or when you’ll need something from your collection of craft supplies. However, if you have items from a hobby you’ve given up, extra supplies from projects you’ve finished, or just so much stuff that it makes crafting daunting, maybe it’s time to pass some of it along. Many schools would be thrilled to have craft supplies donated. Just make sure to call first so arrangements can be made.

Books

Getting rid of books feels so personal. Rather than donating them to a nameless reseller, see if your local library or school library would like to have them. Or, pass them along to friends, family, and neighbors.