Chunk Your Junk

13 Nov

recyclingIt sounds so simple. But keeping tabs on the growing collection of rarely used items in your attic, garage, closets and basement never seems to happen until you finally run out of room.

And then we try to figure out what to do with it all.

Given some time and a plan, you can safely dispose of unwanted items, make donations to local charities, better organize your home and get back some storage space.

  • Start at the top and work your way down. Kick off your junk removal efforts in the attic or extra closets, where you’re likely to make the biggest improvement right off the bat.
  • When it comes to cleaning out closets, be tough. Donate any clothes that no longer fit, or that you haven’t worn in a year.
  • Donations to the Salvation Army, Goodwill, Kidney Foundation, Disabled Veterans, etc. are tax deductible. Be sure to ask for an itemized receipt when you drop them off. Some organizations will even pick up donations at your home.
  • Consider selling some unused items online to make a few bucks.
  • When it comes to borderline items, use the “pile” system. In the first pile, place items you may use every few months or so. Then organize them, placing them into plastic bins for more effective storage. In the second pile, place items you haven’t used in six months or more. Odds are that second pile can go.
  • Don’t try to do it all in one day. Set aside time, 15 minutes a night or several hours on a weekend, etc. This way you won’t get overwhelmed sorting through items.

It’s a bit trickier when you move to the garage, where all sorts of potentially hazardous materials like paint, pesticides, cleaners and fuels are stored.

  • Properly dispose of as many as possible by following manufacturers’ guidelines on containers, or by calling your local waste disposal authorities.
  • Dispose of any materials not clearly labeled, past their expiration date or that are no longer needed.
  • Check containers for proper seals. If seals have degraded over time, toxins could be leaking into the air inside your home. Properly dispose of these items as well.

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