Spring Decluttering – Deciding, Sorting, and Parting Ways

Spring decluttering lightens your spirit and makes it easy to find the stuff you like and use. Deciding, sorting, and parting ways with your excess stuff are covered in this post, part 2 of 3.

Before you begin, come up with a game plan, engage other household members, and determine how decisions will be made on what stuff to keep or get rid of.

Spring Decluttering Preparation

Empty Box for Sorting Excess StuffClear an area for sorting and temporarily staging items. Get some boxes and label them with the categories below or use your own. If you feel you really must have an “undecided” box, keep it small. I like boxes because they facilitate the deciding and sorting process, are easy to toss stuff into, and can be used to transport items to their final destination, which is not your garage or basement.

Deciding and Sorting Stuff

It does not matter if you set aside an entire weekend or schedule 15 minute increments throughout the week. Start with an easy area.


Return items that belong to other people such as a neighbor’s shovel, your mother’s Tupperware, or books borrowed from a friend.


Repair things that have been residing in the back of a closet or in the garage. Sewing a button on a pair of pants only takes a few minutes, and you might be surprised at the sense of accomplishment you feel.

Author's Flowered Porcelain Coffee Mug Received as a Re-giftRe-gift

Set aside items you think friends or family members might appreciate and enjoy receiving as a gift. Some of my favorite things were re-gifts. I pour my morning coffee into one of the beautiful porcelain mugs a friend re-gifted to me.


Donate unwanted or unneeded items that are in good condition. Be careful and creative. One person’s junk is not necessarily anyone’s treasure. Items can be donated you might not think of such as excess construction materials, art supplies, and eyeglasses.

Give Away

Online sites like Freecycle or Listia match up people who have free stuff to give with people who want free stuff. Caution, while posting the stuff you are giving away, avoid looking at stuff other people are giving away.


Collect items that someone might pay money for and sell them at a garage sale, on eBay or craigslist, to a second hand or consignment store, or via a social media site. Some companies specialize in buying electronics (working or not).


Un-repairable, broken, or worn out items that can be recycled in part or entirety should be broken down if needed and placed directly in the recycle bin. If your community does not have curbside recycling, now is a good time to advocate for it.


The last resort is throwing stuff in the trash and having it end up in a landfill.

E-Waste Pile of Computers, Monitors, KeyboardsE-Waste

E-Waste consists of inoperable and obsolete electronic equipment such as cell phones, computer monitors, TVs, etc. These items often contain hazardous materials and should not be thrown in the trash. E-waste recycling programs are offered by community service groups, charities, and other organizations.

Household and Hazardous Waste

Household and hazardous waste includes cleaners, paint, medications, motor oil, batteries, fluorescent light bulbs (including CFLs), and should not be poured down the drain or thrown in the trash. Check your local municipal waste website to learn what is considered hazardous waste and where you can drop it off for proper disposal. Some stores accept items like batteries or fluorescent light bulbs.

Parting Ways

The Internet is your friend when it comes to finding ways to donate, recycle, sell, or give away your excess stuff.

Arrange for a donation pick up, ship sold or free items, take excess paint to a donation center, and drop off hazardous waste at a disposal facility. Then enjoy the feeling of accomplishment and lightness.

Staying decluttered is the topic of part 3 of the spring decluttering post series.


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Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information and to spark conversation. Her mission is to live more lightly on Earth and to persuade everyone else to do the same.

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