Spring Cleaning: What to do With Your Old Stuff

One man’s trash may indeed be another’s treasure.

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Out with the old, and in with the new—a mantra that many relate to the spring season -- is often easier said than done. This rings especially true for those who have trouble letting go of old clothes, shoes, books—you name it—during annual spring cleaning sweeps. However, having a plan in place for not only tackling your mess, but also for getting rid of unwanted items, makes this daunting task that much easier.

“Spring cleaning is important for your health, and to de-clutter the mind,” said Mildred Munjanganja, vice president of LifeOrganizers.com. “When your environment is clean and tidy, your mind is clean and tidy.”

Here are some of Munjanganja's tips for getting rid of the items you no longer need.

No. 1: Offer them to friends and family. Before tossing out your unwanted clothes, books or furniture, Munjanganja suggests seeing if people you know are interested in them.

“Start with friends and family,” she said. “Invite them over, and show them what you no longer find pleasurable.”

A good way to do this is to have a lunch date or even a swap meet, where everyone can bring clothes or other items they don’t want anymore, and trade them amongst one another.

No. 2: Have a garage sale. Organizing a local garage sale is a great way to get rid of old items and even make some cash.

“People have to remember that without getting rid of the old, there is no room for new in their lives,” Munjanganja said. “What you consider trash, someone may consider gold.”

No. 3: Donate. There is an organization for collecting everything from old cell phones to books and clothing online, Munjanganja said.

Doing a quick Google search will help people find local groups that are collecting items for different causes, and, she said, tragedies like the ongoing crisis in Japan are reminders of what others need. Knowing where your items are going before cleaning out is helpful for reluctant organizers.

“Put a plan in place, like getting huge boxes and labeling what they are and where they are going,” she said. “It becomes one task, and gets done in one shot.”