Unclutter Your Life: What do you do with the clutter? Keep it, sell it, throw it out?

DETROIT – As you’re going through your things, getting rid of clutter -- you might face the dreaded question -- what do I do with it?

There are a few choices you can make: repurpose it, sell it, donate it, or toss it. 

We spoke with experts about how to repurpose items. For that story, click here

Use this guide to help you decide on whether to sell it, donate it, or toss it. 

Selling it?

Thinking about making some money off your stuff? Just because it’s worth good money doesn’t mean you should necessarily sell it. 

When decluttering, only put something in your “sell pile” after asking two questions:

  • Is it worth it?

If the item is worth more than it would cost to sell (organizing a garage sale, traveling to deliver the item after online sale, etc.), it’s probably not worth your time. Also consider if you’re going to make a profit, based on the item’s condition. 

  • Do I have the time and energy to sell this?

The second question is crucial. If you know you probably won’t get around to selling it or getting a garage sale together to put the item in -- the item will probably just sit in your home -- collecting the dreaded clutter dust.

If you’re looking for ways to make cash, then you’ll be more inclined to put together a sale. If your No. 1 priority is to declutter your home, then don’t create these unnecessary obstacles. 

Donating it?

Everyone has their own threshold for when an item is good to donate, but you should consider the following things:

  • The item looks appealing – make sure it’s in decent condition, with no rust or holes or tattered edges. If it’s dirty, it might not be a good idea to donate it.
  • It’s in working condition. (This, of course, comes with a caveat, we know there are many people and organizations that would take things that are NOT in working condition, like an old car -- so you might have to do some research on your own for this!)
  • You know someone could benefit from the item. Marie Kondo talks about an item bringing someone joy. If it doesn’t bring you joy anymore, it might for someone else! 

Tossing it?

When in doubt -- throw it out!

Let’s be clear though: never throw something away out of laziness. Only throw something away if you know you can’t sell it or donate it. 

So let’s talk about tossing things out the RIGHT way. 

For example, old paint cans, batteries, light bulbs all need to go to a hazardous waste facility.

Some cities even have an entire day when you can bring those items for proper disposal.

If you need to know the closest place, check out the website, Earth911.

Type in your zip code and it will show you locations for waste disposal.

The EPA website also gives you tips and places to throw things out. It also lists stores that will take old electronics.

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