Many times during our lives, we want or need to get rid of some of our belongings. One of the biggest obstacles to doing this is not knowing what to do with those items.
It can be overwhelming if you’re getting rid of a lot of stuff or have things that you don’t know how to dispose of. It can be challenging to figure out the best option for getting rid of books, clothes, technological items, furniture, extensive collections, and other things.
Have you ever decluttered your home or bought something new to replace an old or broken item and not know the next steps to take with the things you’re planning to dispose of? Do you worry about getting rid of something the wrong way and the toll it will take on the environment if you get it wrong? How often have those items ended up collecting dust in the basement or garage for weeks, months, or years while you tell yourself you’ll take care of it later?
If you’ve ever been in these scenarios, you’re not alone. That’s why we at NEATSPACES have put together this guide to the art of disposal. As one of the leading home organizing companies, we have plenty of experience helping people organize and declutter their homes and find sustainable and satisfactory ways of getting rid of their belongings.
Why and When to Dispose of Your Belongings?
There are many reasons to consider getting rid of your belongings. Making decluttering a regular part of your routine is often recommended to avoid unnecessary build-up of clutter. However, there are some common reasons and significant life events that tend to get people sorting through and disposing of their belongings.
With so much time spent in our homes over the past few years, many people realized just how much stuff they have. Others may be seeking ways to reduce the stress in their life, and as studies have shown, decluttering your home can help reduce your stress and improve your mental health. You might be doing some spring cleaning and recognize that it’s a great time to declutter as well.
Holding onto items you no longer use, want or need wastes precious space in your home. Choosing to declutter your home is a big project, but one that many find rewarding and worth the effort. Some people like to start small by taking things room by room; others may prefer to focus on one task at a time, such as digitizing your photos.
Preparing an estate is something that many people are apprehensive about. We don’t like to think of our own demise, but estate planning is a great gift to our loved ones. It’s common to declutter as part of the estate planning process. It gives people the opportunity to make sure their items go where they intend and help to avoid any future conflict if family members end up disagreeing over certain objects.
Giving away items also allows you to see their belongings get a second life, either with a family member or with someone who will cherish the item as much as you did. It also saves your family from handling an estate cleanout when grieving your loss.
If you are downsizing and decluttering your home, you likely won’t have the same amount of space at your new place, making it necessary to reduce your belongings. It also makes sense to do this decluttering before moving or downsizing, as it saves you from packing and moving extra stuff that you won’t be hanging onto.
How to Dispose of Your Belongings
We’ve talked about some of the most common reasons and times to dispose of your belongings. But what comes next? After going through your belongings and deciding what to keep and get rid of, where does it go?
Well, that can depend on what you’re getting rid of
Looking at everything you’ve decided to get rid of can be overwhelming and bring feelings of stress. Don’t worry. We’ve gathered some of the best options for disposing of your belongings and have outlined some positives, negatives, and general things to consider. There’s a solution for you no matter what or how much you’re planning to get rid of.
Selling items through an auction, collector or consignment store is a great option if you want to see your things get a second life and make some money. It can also be a great way to support local organizations and businesses.
Dealing with collector stores can be beneficial for specialty items or collections. You can also find auction houses and consignment stores that have certain specialties. For things like coins, art collections, and more, this is the best bet for finding buyers and getting the most money for your items.
These options can involve some extra work though. Depending on the amount of money you expect to get from selling your belongings, you might decide that it isn’t worth the effort.
Donating items has some of the greatest benefits of all. You’re not only giving items to people who need them but also knowing that your belongings are getting a second life and not ending up in a dumpster or landfill is a great feeling.
Another positive: almost anything in good condition can be donated. For example:
- Dishes and cookware
- Sporting equipment
- And more
Items can be donated to specific charities or local thrift or second-hand stores for resale.
The only disadvantage to donation is that it can take some digging and calling around to find an organization that can and will take what you’re getting rid of. Things like clothes and books are easily donated at various places, but it may take some extra effort to find a place for bigger or more specialized items.
Knowing your belongings will live on with someone else is a great feeling, and it’s even better when that someone else is someone you know and love. Passing on items to your family allows you to see them use and appreciate your belongings, which is wonderful to witness.
The downside of giving items to family members comes down to our expectations. Many times, people imagine their family members will want specific items, and if they don’t, it can lead to feelings of rejection and hurt. It’s important to understand that everyone has their own reasons, and offers to pass things along should be made without pressure or expectation.
If you can’t find someone to sell or give your items to, recycling is another sustainable option for disposing of items. Many things can be recycled, and it’s typically pretty convenient to recycle items. You should check with your local recycling centre to find out what can and can’t be recycled in your area.
Electronic waste can be sold, donated, or recycled, allowing it to be used again, or the material can be recycled to make new electronics.
Many organizations accept old computers and other old technology donations, and if not, they can usually be disposed of through your municipality. Remember that many municipalities will have strict rules and regulations regarding the disposal of technological items and have e-waste programs.
Throwing things in the garbage has the advantage of being fast and convenient and is sometimes the only option for broken or worn-out items. However, throwing stuff in the trash is not sustainable and can be destructive to the environment. Throwing things in the garbage should be left as a last resort.
Remember, even things like stained clothing that won’t be worn again can be donated to animal shelters as bedding or rags, or local schools for use in art projects.
It’s also important to note that for many items, it’s neither legal nor straightforward to throw them in the trash. Many municipalities have rules around the disposal of certain things, like technology items, batteries, old medications, and paint. When in doubt, check with your local government.
It can take some work to dispose of your belongings properly, but the results are well worth it. If decluttering and disposing of your belongings seems like too daunting of a task for you to handle alone, reach out to us at NEATSPACES, and we’ll be ready to lend a helping hand.