Now is the time of year when many of us finally get around to tackling our biggest cleaning and organizing projects around the house. That might include cleaning out cramped closets, boxing up clothes, and even getting to that cluttered garage. Do Your Part and create a second life for your extra and outgrown stuff and keep it out of the landfill.
There's just something satisfying about a clean closet. As you organize, you might have a lot of old or outgrown clothes you no longer need. An easy thing to do with clothing in good condition is to donate them to Goodwill. You will get a tax deduction and the resale of the items pays for job training programs. Gently worn children's and teen clothing are highly sought after and you can even make a little money by taking them to a re-sale or consignment shop.
For shoes of all sizes, consider donating them to SolesForSouls.org. This organization gives your shoes to kids and adults around the world who need them most. You can find collection sites in hundreds of stores all across the country.
Toys take up a lot of room all over the house. When you're tired of tripping over the ones that no longer get any attention, you have options. Many local charities accept them, as do certain battered women's shelters. Children's hospitals generally won't accept toys unless they're new.
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Sometimes when we do a deep clean, we stumble across old cell phones, chargers, mp3 players, and other electronic devices we no longer need. NextWorth.com or Gazelle.com are two websites that will pay you to send in your electronics. That's a great reward for not sending that e-waste to the landfill where toxic chemicals can seep into the soil and water. If you want to get rid of a computer, a good option is to drop it off at Goodwill. Workers there will wipe out any personal information and either resell it or remove the valuable parts for recycling.
If you have plans for a kitchen or bathroom remodel, Habitat for Humanity's Restores can be a valuable resource. Some stores have crews who will disassemble and remove usable cabinets for free. They sell these and other donated household goods to fund building local Habitat for Humanity homes.
Finally, don't forget to get rid of any household hazardous waste that may be lurking in your home or garage. Household hazardous waste includes things like paints, bug killers, antifreeze, most batteries and even used CFLs because they contain mercury. The last thing we should do is put these dangerous items in our trash. Instead, go to Earth911.com and search by zip code to find locations near you that will recycle or dispose of the products safely.
Cleaning and organizing is a chore. But when you Do Your Part with those items you no longer need, you can feel good knowing that you're helping others and protecting the planet.