Disposing of this weeks mission yields

Continue reading with these posts:

  • Getting the stuff out of your home It has come to my attention, both through comments on my blog and through real life experience, that one of the issues people have with their clutter, once they finally decide to be rid of […]
  • You just never know. Firstly I would just like to apologise for my recent extended absence from the blog this month. Unfortunately my mother took ill and I rushed off interstate to visit her in hospital and to […]
  • Happy Holidays to all! Wishing all my lovely readers all the very best for the holiday season.  It is such a busy time of year to be spent with friends and or family and also a good time to take a break from […]
About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. Idgy of the North

    Hi Colleen,

    What a great list! For building supplies, you may be able to donate to Habitat for Humanity Restore. Women’s shelters often have a “need” list on their websites. Examples include: women/ children clothing, toys, household items , gift card to clothing/housewares/toy stores.

    You can never underestimate the power of listing something for free. We recently tore down a poorly built addition. We posted that if you help us with the demo, can have the many windows and doors. We had a gentlemen come out and spend an afternoon with us tearing the structure down … win- win.

    • Hi Idgy… , well done advertising to declutter for help. What a stroke of brilliance.
      And thank you for mentioning Habitat for Humanity. I am going to look that up in my area and see if I can be of service. It would be a symbiotic relationship as I would learn some useful skills at the same time.

  2. Terrific post…item & disposal ideas tied together
    My church is collecting linens. Blankets for homeless men who live in the woods. Sheets for poor families. Any size towel for animal rescues. We have a big box marked “linens” at Sunday School bldg entrance.

  3. Great ideas!!! I just wanted to add one more – our church congregation has a private Facebook Page when we can list items that we have to give away (this is only for free items – we do not sell anything on here). Usually stuff posted is claimed within hours, or even minutes. It’s great for everything from stuff from our houses we are giving away, to extra produce from the garden or anything else at all! And it’s mostly “you come pick it up” – since these are all people we personally know from our congregation there is no issue with having strangers come to your house, or having to find a large vehicle if you have something big to giveaway. I’ve found new homes for tons of stuff on our page.

    • Hi Raesha, that is another good example of Buy, swap and Sell without the buy and sell. I like it. And I bet the church get in on the act and accept some of the stuff for charities they support.

  4. Women’s shelters are usually only too glad to get gently used childrens and adult books. Primary and elementary school teachers are often delighted to receive age appropriate ones for the classroom, or to have some extra to send home with children who are not in a position to have their own collection. It is not unusual for them to purchase these themselves as school budgets are cut further and further, so donations help. Especially books in a second language where it is taught. I always asked first and I think I remember getting one ‘no thanks’ to about 15 enthusiastic yeses.

  5. Good list.
    Often it takes months to rid of some of the larger items…..like my 36×36 inch coffee table. Finding the right place to give something to so the item is not an added burden is often challenging. Challenging but worth the effort.
    Thanks for the follow-up and talking about the whole cycle of items in our lives.

  6. What a great list of examples for the mini-missions this week. It has helped me to think of some things we can get rid of right now.

  7. If you decide you want to go the garage sale route I highly recommend pricing items as you put them in boxes (and then label the boxes GARAGE SALE). You’ll have enough to do setting up the sale without having to price. While some people will make offers, others will walk away from unpriced items. If you have a lot of one type you can price them with a sign “All books 50 cents” to avoid having to price individually.

    For clothing a group of friends get together roughly every 6 months with all the clothes we don’t want. Each person goes through their boxes and tries to talk everyone else into their clothing. At the end the unclaimed (which is the majority, honestly) gets boxed up and the hostess takes them over to a local charity. It’s proven to be lots of fun and a good way to stay in contact now that we all have kids and jobs, and it keeps our closets in better shape. Gives us the chance to try out different styles without having to pay for them as well.

    • Kayote – good idea to price as you go, I have a friend who was up to all hours the night before her last garage sale trying to get things priced in time.

    • That price as you go advice for garages sales is priceless Kayote, thank you for sharing. And I am one of those people who hate a garage sale where things aren’t priced.

      I love the friend clothe swapping. I guess it only works if you are all of similar size. I hope there isn’t too much trying to talk people into taking stuff as that will just burden them into receiving things they don’t really want and will likely never where. That just becomes sharing clutter. I do like that the unclaimed items get sent to charity.

      • A clothes swap for different-size people will work for the people who refashion the clothes (you can even up-size something that’s too small) or to use them to incorporate into another item of clothing or craft. More and more people these days (young as well as older) are getting interested in refashioning clothing as a hobby, as a way to avoid cheaply made goods and the ethical issues of sweatshops, and as a way to be frugal. There are even no-sew refashions for those who don’t have sewing skills or equipment.

      • Actually, it works really well that we are all different sizes. Then the thing that is now too big or too small for me fits someone else.

        You could also see it as increasing the amount that goes to charity. 🙂

  8. Hi Colleen,

    Thanks for this very helpful post. It is very timely for me as I currently have my guest room piled high with the items that my sons have decluttered so far this summer which have to be processed, packed up and delivered to the appropriate recipients. It’s going to take a while and I must say I feel quite overwhelmed when I look at it all, but I keep telling myself that we have made immense progress and the fact that my sons have participated so willingly is also a big step forward.

    My usual method is to drop off all my donations at a couple of local Goodwill stores, although I sometimes wonder what eventually becomes of it all when I see their donation truck piled high with bags and boxes, all in a complete muddle – although maybe they have a system for dealing with the chaos which just escapes me.

    Another thing I just did was call the librarian at my sons’ former high school to ask if she could use old study guides and she seemed very pleased at the idea of having a box of those available for the students to borrow, so we are going to drop those off to her this week. I have already told my sons that when they are back here for the Christmas vacation we’ll be continuing with the clear-out and next on the list are their books, so I’ll probably try the high and middle schools to see if they are interested. I also like your idea of having a box at the workplace so I’ll be asking my husband if his office has any such arrangements and if not he could suggest leaving free books and other items in their break rooms.

    We also have a neighborhood website which hosts all sorts of discussions and local advice and where you can list items for sale or to give away. We posted about a bed we wanted to give away and by the following evening someone had come to pick it up. I shall definitely be using this resource again.

    • Hi Christine, I can assure you the charities have a system for dealing with the chaos of all those donation. I work for one so I know. Clothing items are graded, then either sold locally, sent overseas, used for rag and destroyed. People often use charities as their dumping group ground so there is always and element of stuff that is just trash when donated and the poor charities spend a lot of money each year sending such items to the refuse tip. That is why I mentioned in the post about making sure the stuff is clean and in good order.

      It sounds like you are coming up with some good ideas of your own when it comes to finding good home for you unwanted stuff. Well done you! And I like the idea of that neighbourhood web site. I would like to get something started like that in my apartment building. We have a bulletin board but online is a better platform I think.

      • Yes, Colleen, the neighborhood web site is proving very helpful. I hope you can get something organized. Ours is set up through something called Next Door which bills itself as a private social network for your neighborhood. I see people using it to donate or sell furniture, electronics, anything really – or often people will have ideas as to who might be able to use a particular thing like old TVs or cameras.

    • Christine – I worked with a friend who filled a garage with stuff to declutter and then felt overwhelmed. What I suggested was for her to make a rough list of what was in one area and then to take herself out to her kitchen for a cup of tea (or just a change of scenery) and jot down who/what/where she wanted the stuff to go. Then return and do an inventory of another area.

      It turned out that around the whole garage there were a number of things that were destined for the same charity. This made it easy for her to do drop offs ie no return trips because something was left behind, and easier to organise pick ups as she knew exactly what was on offer.

      Along the way she discovered that a number of charities were interested in extra items which she wouldn’t have thought of ie the annual second hand book sale had branched out into CDs, DVDs and games and puzzles.

      Once the donatable stuff was out of the way, we focused on the stuff she wanted to sell. I got her to figure out what was a reasonable amount for each item and we listed the more expensive items first. After doing half a dozen or so, she came to the realisation that it was a fair amount of work and she decided that listing items under $5 wasn’t the best use of her time (they were preparing their house for sale) and she held a garage sale. What didn’t sell was then donated and by then she was able to get them to the right charities quite quickly.

      • Moni – thanks for your suggestions! Sounds like you came up with a great plan to help your friend. I agree that you sometimes have to walk away from it to be able to think straight, so I’m glad I can close the door for a while and know that I can deal with it all gradually. I have started by piling together the similar items – a lot of it is clothing which is taking up a lot of space but shouldn’t be too hard to deal with. Another bulky category is the now-empty storage containers, shelving units, cubbies etc which we won’t be needing with all this stuff out of here.

        • Getting rid of storage containers and furniture is one of my favourite decluttering objectives!! a spacious home feels just so. much. better.

        • Christine – often a ‘game plan’ makes us feel like we’re in control of the situation. Just a suggestion – if you were going to donate the clothes, enquire if the charity is also interested in the storage bins. My local one was very happy to get some of mine, so you could deliver the clothes in the bins and kill two birds with one stone!

          • I don’t have to tell you guys how many empty storage containers I (USED TO!) have. I gave them all to the Salvation Army, and the ladies there loved them. Even if the store can’t use them (which I bet they can), I know the volunteers will take them home and use them.

  9. MY favourite disposal is the street box with the for free Sign on it…. This is by far the easiest Method, but it is not very responsible, as You dont know the fate of the things.

    I Would like to mention also refugee homes/camps/institutions. Call your local refugee/asylum seekers home and ask what they Need. In my town there is a new “gratis” flea market for those poor souls that came here with just their clothes on. They Are usuelly not allowed to work and earn money so every little thing helps.

  10. Hi Lena, I don’t think the the street box is irresponsible. I don’t think people take the stuff who don’t want it. So long as you aren’t leaving it out in bad weather or allowing it to sit there for long periods of time. Although one reader did say it was bringing down the look of their neighbourhood, which is a possibility if done to excess. That being said, giving it to charity is going to benefit the needy more than just making stuff available to anyone to take who probably doesn’t need it.

    I do like the refugee home… idea. We get some refugees here in my town but I believe they are usually sponsored by a church organisation so tend to be reasonably cared for in this way. Also our situation is Australia is different because people can’t just arrive here unnoticed, being as we are an Island nation.

    • Colleen, I think Australia has a different immigration policy as well 😉

      Europe is dealing with huge amounts of refugees at the moment and most of the countries are not well prepared. We are hearing about the “problematic refugee situation” daily, and the temperature is rising. not in a good way though.
      Every help is needed.

  11. Framed artworks may be welcomed by hospitals, nursing homes or similar institutions. Call to check their donation policy.
    Many literacy programs or libraries give childrens books away to low income families to encourage reading. Some hospitals have libraries or roving book carts.
    One church near here has a “pay what you think it’s worth” garage sale. No haggling or asking prices – you just take what you want and put money in the donation jar. Everybody wins.

  12. A very thorough list, Colleen – well done on that.

    Sometimes a person may want to support a specific charity but don’t have the kind of items for donation that the charity wants. But you can always inquire whether they hold their own yard sales to raise money – and if so, your donations suddenly become useful to them. Many times they will even send someone to pick them up. In our area, I’m thinking of the SPCA, a men’s service group, and school drama/music/dance groups – they all accept items for this purpose.