What To Do with My Stuff after Spring Cleaning: Get Creative

By Bouncey, March 27, 2014, Green

SpringCleaningKCXDMost homes go through the great annual purge known as “Spring Cleaning.” Clutter accumulates in every corner of free space in your house, and can slowly overtake your home if you are not careful. It is rather amazing how overrun your house can become with toys, ill-fitting clothes, and other cast-off items. In the first installment of our “What To Do with My Stuff after Spring Cleaning” series, we discuss how to get creative with taking care of your stuff.

Now, as I am sure this is the case with most homes, my husband and I have two totally different cleaning styles. My husband loves to purge and get rid of things. I, on the other hand, will keep an item “just in case.” I will admit that these “just in case” situations never occur, but when that time comes, I will be fully prepared. While I want my home to be more organized, I hate throwing things away. I attach a lot of sentimental value to random objects because it makes me think of a memory or special event, and therefore, whether it gets used or not, I save it only to complain about the never-ending clutter later.

I hate to throw things away is the straight-up guilt that I am being wasteful. The purchase might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but several months or years later, there that purchase remains completely unused. So, I wanted this year’s spring cleaning to have a purpose and a direction, after some success, I wanted to share my tips with you.

ClutteredHomeOfficeIAmARealEstatePhotographerA Method to the Madness

Instead of just returning an item to its dusty home, first think about how that item would be most useful if it was being used. Next, ask yourself the following: “If the item is not being used, can it be recycled, sold, donated, re-purposed, or is it indeed actual trash?” With these two starting points, you can clean your house room by room.

Take a Picture – It’ll Last Longer

To save myself from the memory lane conundrum, I have found taking a picture to be most helpful. If the item isn’t worth saving, but I just like the memory that is associated with it, I take a picture of it. I upload the pic into my app of choice and write a brief description about the memory. For example: I took a picture of a Texas Rangers plastic helmet ice cream dish that was shared between my husband and I at our first Rangers game together, and it’s something I recently re-purposed as a play toy.

I am starting to get into the habit of after going to an event, like our son’s first musical, taking a picture of the ticket stubs and then recycling the stubs. By taking the photo right then and there, it allowed me to prevent clutter from even happening. I got my memory item to look at, and my house is free of new clutter!

Some smartphone apps even allow you to print out the photo with the description too. This will be a great help when and if I ever have the time to sit down and scrapbook again!

Garage Sale

Take all the items you can sell and host a garage sale with your other friends finished with their spring cleaning. If you don’t want to hold traditional a garage sale, use Facebook and Instagram to post your items online for people to purchase. Save the money from the sale of these items for a special family outing or something new for the house.

Upcycle

Another way to get rid of unwanted items is to upcycle, or re-purpose, them into something that is actually needed. Your favorite t-shirt that has seen better days can be re-purposed into new cleaning cloths. Old toothbrushes make excellent scrubbers for hard-to-reach crevices. Faded bath towels cut up become paper towel replacements.

Instead of buying new large plastic toys, try looking for used ones that can easily be re-purposed. Large plastic playhouses that are faded and worn can be transformed by just a few coats of paint. You can post toys that are no longer wanted on freecycle and help a toy get a new home at the swap meet in my next idea.

SwapMeetMonicaArellanoOngpinSwap Meet

Get a few friends together and host a swap meet. It can be themed around particular items, like baby items, or it can be a random mix of discarded products. Each person brings items that are no longer useful to them, and leaves the get-together with gently used items that are new to them. It’s like free shopping!

Donate

Before you make the leap that the item you no longer want is trash, ask yourself, “Is it still usable?” Clothes that no longer fit or get worn can be taken to local thrift stores or different charities. With some articles of clothing you think can’t be donated, like bras, there are organizations that help get these much-needed items to women that are survivors of domestic violence.

Recently upgraded to a new cell phone?  There are numerous organizations that are in need of old cell phones, whether it is to help a survivor of domestic violence or for a solider. Pick an organization that you feel passionately around and keep a cell phone out of the landfill.

Larger items like appliances, furniture, building materials can all be donated to Habitat for Humanity for use in their Restores. As an added bonus, most of the Restores will pick up these large items for free! Mattresses can even be donated although it is a little trickier then other items. When purchasing a new mattress some companies offer ways to recycle your old mattress.

Recycle

Items that you cannot sell or donate might be able to be recycled. Glass jars, plastic bottles, tires, and carpet are just a few items that you can recycle. Check your local recycling center to see the list of approved and non-approved items.

Taking out the Trash

If the item is deemed to be hazardous waste like pesticides or paint it cannot be recycled or dumped in regular trash. Proper disposal of such waste would be done at your local environmental collections center. Old medicine should not just be tossed out. Walgreens has a medical disposal program that allows their customers an environmentally responsible way to get rid of unwanted medicine. 25,000 pounds of unused medicine was kept out of the landfill because of this program. Local law enforcement agencies also have the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day which provides another way to safely dispose of medicine.

Compost

The majority of our trash is food and yard waste. This can be drastically minimized by starting a composting bin either indoors or outdoors. By utilizing our discarded waste in creating compost, you not only enrich your soil more, but also have less of a need for chemical fertilizer.

Thinking of our landfill as absolutely the last resort for our unwanted items will lead to many people’s lives being richer, and our landfills emptier. Hopefully, you can use these tips to get creative with taking care of your stuff after spring cleaning – instead of throwing it in the trash.

Spring Cleaning Room image courtesy of kcxd.

Cluttered Home Office image courtesy of i am a real estate photographer.

Swap Meet image courtesy of Monica Arellano-Ongpin.

Be Sociable, Share!

About 

Bouncey Bunny is the official "spokesbunny" for Bounce Energy, a Texas-based energy company. Bounce is committed to delivering value to our customers through excellent customer service, innovative plans and products, and competitive pricing.

Tags: , , ,








Comments are closed.