Set Up A Clutter Donation Box: First Step In Getting Your Home Decluttered
The first decluttering mission of the New Year is to set up a clutter donation box, or collection station in your home to place anything you decide you want to declutter that is not trash.
Purpose Of This Collection Box:
This box, basket, bag, whatever you choose for it to be, should be a permanent addition to your home because you are going to make a habit of getting rid of clutter each day, and you've got to put it somewhere until you can get it out of your home permanently.
That way as you do your daily mission, or as you just walk through your home and identify something you no longer want, but that is still usable by someone (i.e., not trash) you can place it in your donation box.
This Box Must Be Emptied Regularly:
Then, and just as important as creating and placing things in this box is to frequently and regularly empty it, by donating the items, giving them to friends or family who could use them, or . . . if you'll actually do it, selling the items. (More on that last suggestion in a minute.)
Ideally, you'll have a charitable donation center close by, and will become a regular visitor there. We have a Goodwill close to our home, for example, and it is very simple to just drive through, drop off the box or bag of stuff, get our charitable receipt and go on with the rest of the errands for the day.
It is easier to just to drop off a few items at a time, and feel like you've accomplished something, then to have to cram the car full of stuff and make a huge pilgrimage to a donation center much less frequently.
Some people find it hard to empty
out a box to give away the donations inside, and prefer to give the entire box away. If you are like this, one idea is to use shipping boxes you receive, when you make online purchases, for your donation box, so you can always give it away. You can read more about this clutter control solution here.
Should You Have Both A Box For Donations & One For Items To Sell?
Now, back to whether you should have a box in your clutter collection station that is for selling.
That's a tough one. In theory, yes, it is completely fine. Many people as they declutter set aside items for consignment, to sell on eBay, or in a garage or yard sale for example.
However, I am hesitant to suggest the last way to get rid of things, but not because I don't think it is a good or viable method for getting rid of clutter from your home. It just takes a lot more time to sell something than it does to just donate it. Plus, until you sell those items they continue to take up space in your home, space you may not practically have available.
Only you can make the decision about whether to have two clutter collection boxes permanently in place in your home, one for donation and one for selling. Just understand you're making a commitment to invest a lot more time in the decluttering process if you choose to sell items than just to donate them.
How Other Readers Have Done This Decluttering Mission:
Below I've collected ideas and pictures from readers who've done this decluttering mission for the day, showing how they've accomplished it and how they've made it work for them.
I hope you'll get some good ideas from their suggestions, because although the concept is simple it can be done in several different ways. What matters is that the way you choose to do it works for you and your family.
How I Set Up A Donation & Selling Collection Station
I used some boxes that I already had in my house, and put some stuff in there, one box for "selling" and one for "donating".
And then I put them in a shelf that I already also had.
This looks great Tess. Simple, but effective.
I like how they're in a permanent location, so you and your family members can just drop things in when you come across something, but yet they're still out of the way and not themselves taking up too much room.
Reader Question: Where To Place The Box When Have Limited Space & Small Children
I like the idea of having a permanent spot for the donation box, but I just struggle on where that would be.
I have little ones, 3 & 1, who think everything in sight or reach is for them.
I work full time and the kids are often at home with Dad, who well, is a Dad and doesn't seem to have the eyes in the back of his head deal, like Moms do.
Everything that is tall already has untouchables on it and our house has very little storage.
So I struggle with organization a lot because I just don't know where to put the odds and ends things like this.
Ideas? Thoughts? Any help is appreciated. Organizing has been a huge struggle and I am hoping to get something done this year.
Below I've gathered up some of the best responses I got from other readers when I posed the above question from Deena on the site's Facebook page.
Deanna says: How about a storage tote with lid?
Christy says: How about the car trunk? Or a spot in the garage?
Lorraine says: I use brown grocery bags and keep them hidden under the dining room table.
Leone says: I have an extra laundry bin with a lid in my laundry room. I keep a supply of black garbage bags in the bottom - and one as a liner for the bin - so I can't see what's waiting in there and be tempted to "rescue" it. As soon as it's full, off it goes to be donated.
Erica says: The trunk of your car. Makes it easy to stop off and donate the items as you are running around.
Beth says: Back of my closet. I have the same problem where they all of a sudden want their toys if they know I'm getting rid of them, otherwise could seem uninterested. I try to do a house clear out when kids are at grandmas house.
Julie says: I have a Rubbermaid tote on the floor in my walk in closet, kids aren't upstairs without me supervising as a rule, so quite safe.
Amanda says: Maybe something like a reusable grocery bag hanging on the back of a door or in the closet?
Christy says: I use empty diaper boxes in the kids closet.
Gail says: I keep a box in the garage.....whenever I decide that something is going to be donated, I put it in the box. I then have separate boxes in my basement into which I sort clothes, toys, household. Once those are filled, off they go!
Teresa says: I'm just getting started on this venture as well and have a very small house with minimal storage space. I've decided to use the space at the bottom of my hall (aka bathroom) closet. I hope this helps and good luck!
Paige says: Don't forget the back of doors: pantry, linen closet, water heater closet, etc. There are lots of over-door storage options available. Also, the shoe bags that hang in the closet are great for holding lots of different kinds of things. Remember the backs of cabinet doors too. Luggage makes great storage for out of season things too. (I used to hide my kids' Christmas gifts in them!) Check out the storage aisle of your nearest discount store. Don't forget the plumbing aisle too and think outside the box. You don't have to use that over the toilet rack just in the bathroom!
Kristine says: Like Leonne above, I have a laundry center with a hanging bar and two canvas bags covered by a top that can be raised. For years, I wondered what to do with those bags, since they were not really convenient for storing either dirty or clean laundry. A few weeks ago, I started using them as donation central. They are mostly out of sight, yet when the bags are full, very easy to get to and take out to the car for donating. I also find that I am much more likely to put something in the donation bag since it is so handy. Definitely a decluttering win!
Use Over The Door Hangers To Keep Donations Bag Out Of Kids Hands
by HSS101 Reader
HSS101 Reader says:
Use those over the door hangers for robes, only hang cloth bags for donations on them.
I have the same problem with the little kids getting into everything! It is definitely a challenge, and every high piece of furniture in my house has stuff up there to keep the kids from getting their hands on them also.
I absolutely adore this idea!
I know how kids like to get into just about everything, and having them "liberate" items you've already decided to declutter from your home before you have a chance to donate them can make lots of work for you, plus can actually make you rethink decisions about items and keep more clutter in your home longer. Not good.
This is a great way to use underutilized storage space in even the tiniest homes!
Keep List Of What's Donated To Attach To Receipt For Taxes
by Mary Walker
I keep a list next to my donation box so that I can quickly check off what I have put in there and what it is worth.
When I get the receipt from the store then I have the list to attach it to so that I am eligible for the tax deduction.
Check with your tax preparer to see if they have such a list that they can share with you.
If you are audited and do not have the list of what was donated, the receipt does you no good.
I cannot tell you how many people each year have forgotten this vital step in record keeping for their tax preparation and are upset that they cannot use the deduction if they haven't kept track of exactly what was donated.
Other Readers Suggestions For How They Set Up Charity & Selling Boxes
Courtney from Indiana says:
I already had this area somewhat established. It's a section of my bedroom the is essentially unusable for anything else but storage (really low walls on the second floor). It's not pretty or organized but at least I know I have a spot to put stuff I want to get rid of!
Katrina from North GA says:
We just moved and as I decorated for Christmas I divided out the decorations that I no longer liked and set them aside so that I can take them to the consignment store when she begins putting out Christmas items this year.
I also started going through magazines and clothes to give away and have boxes set up for those too.
I have a box in the master bedroom closet for donations but I do have a lot of stuff that I try to sell, and sometimes that is difficult to keep under control since my apartment is on the smallish side. If I haven't sold it after a while I try to put it into the donation box and get it out of here ASAP.
This has been a real struggle for me. Everything we want to get rid of just gets tossed down the basement stairs and with 6 kids that's a lot.
Finally, I figured out to use a 2 bin laundry sorter for donate and sell and make it easily accessible for everyone to throw stuff in it.
Then I'm going to put on my calendar to deal with it every month, as needed. I hope this works. I ordered the bin yesterday so I'm just waiting for it to get here.
Taylor's response to Ann:
I think this is a great idea. A similar idea that some people use is stackable recycling bins, such as those shown to the right.
These bins are relatively big, but are easy to keep in the corner of a basement or garage to get the clutter out of the main part of your house, but still don't take up too much floor space since they're stackable.
They're not so big though that you can just keep filling them forever. It still forces you to sell things frequently, or just donate them!
I have a large utility/laundry room. I have a utility shelf that has a couple of boxes of donation boxes. Once a get a carload I take it in. (I live an hour from the closest donation center.)
I keep a large leaf bag in our garage and whenever I run across something we don't need (clothes, knick-knack, toys, whatever) I drop it in the bag. When the bag is full I sort it and donate it where appropriate. Easy! I love it!
I have a box lined with a shopping bag on a bench in my laundry room. When it is full I tie up the handles and put it in the car. Not too big or heavy. Works for me. ...easy to declutter clothes too small etc (once washed).
I hope these ideas help you with this first decluttering mission, and also explain in more detail what you should do for it.
I would love to hear from even more people who've done the mission, especially showing photos of what your clutter collection station looks like, and why you do or do not choose to have both a donation box and a selling box.
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