Use your imagination for offloading your stuff

I am sure I have talked about this topic numerous times but it is worth repeating over and over again. Two situations in recent times have brought both sides of this subject to the fore again for me.

Situation 1 ~ Many times over the last few years I have given advice to my friend, who I just helped declutter, to slowly start getting rid of her stuff. She even reads my blog sometimes. One of the pieces of advice dished out was to have a plan for where to offload her unwanted stuff. However aside from giving me craft items and her friend, who is a teacher, craft and stationery items and she gave paper shredding to the vet., she still had no real plan in place until the crunch came and she had to move.

At this point she discovered a thrift store mere blocks away where she could drop off stuff. This made the bulk of her decluttering easy. Then we began decluttering toiletry items such as hand creams etc. I suggested investigating local women’s shelters, at which point she told me that a friend who lived in a flat upstairs works at such a shelter. My first thought was ~ “So, why oh why, had you not thought to utilise such a convenient way to shift this stuff.” But it occurred to me that many people just don’t think the same way I do.

I then also set an example of how you can give other stuff away right on your own doorstep, by hanging a bag of partly used notebooks on the apartment fence in clear view of passersby. They were gone within the hour. I put a free sign on them of course so people new they were meant to be taken.

Situation 2 ~ I was reading a comment from Wendy B. on Monday where she tells how she is giving away stuff. Here is what she wrote…

“I guess our reason is We Don’t Want To Move It. Ian is a man on a mission. The other day he called up the Boy Scouts and left a message — do they want camping gear? The reply was “Yes, we’ll even come and get it”. He is currently rounding up tents and backpacks and sleeping bags (definitely Thursday mission) Earlier this morning he pillaged the plumbing and electrical boxes and drawers and we have 2 boxes of stuff to offer to the Habitat ReStore. For my part, I’ve gone through the seed boxes and given away or thrown out all the flower and veggie seeds we will never plant. We are on a roll…”

As you can see, Ian and Wendy are both thinking ahead. And some pretty logical and clever thinking indeed. They are looking at their stuff, deciding what needs to go and then thinking who might best benefit from their donations. As you can see from her comment they found very good homes, very quickly for their stuff. And this is a very good example of using your imagination or, in my opinion, logic to work out places to offload your stuff.

Let me give you a few more examples.

  • There are plenty of people less privileged than yourself. Whether in you own neighbourhood or in other countries. So naturally they would benefit greatly from your donation of all sorts of things. Things such as old eyeglasses which most optometrist will collect and send to charities who deal with this sort of donation. Thrift shops will send clothes that they can’t sell on the local market to companies that send overseas. Mobility aids such as crutches, wheel chairs and the like are also called for. And there are many more examples.
  • There are charity craft groups who make clothing for premature babies and clothes, blankets and toys for underprivileged children.
  • There are also sporting groups who will take equipment.
  • Magazines can go to doctor and dentist surgeries or any waiting place where a little light reading would be enjoyed. Also mens and women’s shelters and schools would also benefit from these.
  • Schools can save a lot of much needed funds through receiving donations of all sorts of stationary and equipment.
  • Sheets, blankets, towels and pillows to animal shelters, vets and pet and wildlife rescue charities.
  • Even stained clothing can be donated and accepted by charities to be sold as rag.

The list goes on and on but as you can see the options are logical and generally easily accessible.  Once you have an idea all you need then is your computer search engine or the phone book to find a perspective beneficiary in your area. You can see some more suggestions here.

All you need to do is identify an item you intend to declutter and consider who might best benefit from it and go from there. 80% if stuff will usually be accepted by a thrift shop but as you can see there are plenty of other options for that 80% as well as the other 20.

Today’s Mini Mission

  Return something that belongs to someone else.

“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?” — Unknown

Eco Tip for the Day

Be very selective about what you buy so that you are so satisfied with the product that you will use it until it wears out and not trade it in for something else soon after.

For a full list of my eco tips so far click here

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

Please follow and like us:
Pin Share

Continue reading with these posts:

  • How little we really need Every time I go on a long vacation I am reminded of how little one really needs to live a comfortable and functional lifestyle. My husband and I often stay in Airbnb places when on […]
  • 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 […]
About Colleen Madsen

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


  1. Colleen, I am amazed at how often I have just done something you suggest on your blog. For instance, I will already have recently done the things you suggest on the mini missions, etc. maybe this happens because I am currently going through everything in my home, but I’d like to think it is that “great minds think alike” thing. Ha! Anyway, I am basically giving up my rubber stamping/card making hobby. (will keep some basics) In the past, I have tried to give away excess paper to a school teacher, but it wasn’t needed. However, it occurred to me yesterday that a small Christian school near my home would probably love to have some of my excess papers as well as extra pens, pencils, and art supplies. My plan was to call them today, and then you had this post.
    I am diligently working on getting rid of anything in my home that I don’t absolutely love, want or need (including the clothes mentioned yesterday). Right now, I’m working toward having my FINAL yard sale. Yay!!!!!!! I love your blog and the motivation it inspires!!!! Thank you!

    • Hi Brenda, I would say that it is “Great minds think alike.” and I am so glad se think alike on this. Some times a friend and I drive around the sidewalk bulk rubbish pickup piles and rescue stuff and take it to the thrift shop. It really saddens me that people can find no end of time to shop for stuff but can’t make a small effort to find it new homes when they are done with it. I hope they thing people like me will pick it up or that they are under the misunderstanding that when it is collected it is then sorted and sold. But that is in the first case a gamble and in the second a fallacy.

      Also, oh how you tease me! I feel the pangs of “want” when people say they are decluttering their card making supplies. Although I have greatly downsized my craft supplies and am still doing so by making and selling cards I still enjoy a new crafting tool every now and again. The beauty is that the things I use most, embossing folders and cutting dies take up so little room.

  2. Great post Colleeen. Earlier this week a friend said, “I remember on your blog how you advised to give things away to friends, so here are two packages of braces wax (for teeth braces) and I have these after-swim ear drops I’m not going to use any more for Anne because she’s complained that her oldest gets ear infections easily when he swims.” Three small items that could easily have ended up in the trash. Instead, Teri thought of a way to get rid of them to someone else who would use them.

    • Hi Cindy, this is a perfect example of how just about anything can be passed on to someone else. Thank you for sharing this story. I have liberated some nail polish that my daughter didn’t want and am using it for craft projects. I will take the results to the art space this week and see if I can sell them.

  3. Old cellphones are being collected here in NZ for kids in Starship Hospital – yes that’s it’s real name, it’s our country’s paediatric specialist hospital. So the kids who get admitted get a phone if they don’t already have one so they can have contact with friends and family. Such a simple idea but a great idea.

    • Hi Moni, that is a great use for old phones. We can donate old phones at a large office supply chain here which makes passing them on very easy. Some go to women is danger of abuse.

  4. Today I called a local Boy Scout Group dedicated to boys with special needs.
    I asked the lady who answered if she could use four , in good condition, backpacks for her Group.
    The lady was so pleased to get them she arranged to meet me about 15 minutes later.
    She said that it was such good timing as they were planning a camping outing in a couple of weeks.

    So, thank you Colleen, for your wonderful suggestions in your blog.

    • Hi Meta, sorry it has taken a while to approve this comment. I get so much spam to plough through these days that it sometimes takes a while to find the gems. Nice piece of decluttering and donating there. Well done. And welcome to 365 Less Things.

  5. We can take old metal such as bakeware, frying pans, racks, etc. to our local independent recycler. We have to remove plastic handles first, but it makes me feel so much better knowing that the bulk of these items at the end of their life are going to be made into something else, not just taking up room in the earth. I thought it was unlikely they would take such items, but I asked just in case, and it paid off. It’s also worthwhile to read whatever information you get from time to time on your community recycling or composting programs, if you have them, because the items they accept can change over time. I discovered when reading our recycle calendar a couple of years ago that we can now put out foil pie plates or other foil bakeware, and even tinfoil – they just need to be cleaned first.

  6. Hi Colleen, thanks for the compliments! The Scout lady came and filled up her car, the ReStore took all our donations and this evening three small bags of things went to friends and neighbors.
    Living out in the country does limit our donation possibilities so getting things to good homes is a bit more of a challenge than if we lived in a city. One of the hurdles of being a ‘rescuer’ is that we sometimes get stuck with something we can’t find a home for and so it sits. It is very hard but occasionally we have to simply accept that junk is junk, and then junk it! We’re working on that.

  7. Colleen, now YOU are teasing ME!!!!! I have SO wanted embossing folders and cutting dies!!!!!!! However, I started making cards in the late 80’s, and it seems I don’t have much time for it anymore. I was very fortunate at the time, because my best friend got lots of free paper and card stock supplies from a friend at a print shop when they had scraps. Over the years I have acquired a lot of rubber stamps. It is mostly the excess paper and stamps that I am downsizing……and chalk pastels and water colors and such. I probably don’t really have anything you would need, if that makes you feel better. : ) My card making was before things got very sophisticated! I am AMAZED at what is available now!!!!

    Sorry, I HAD this in the reply at our original comments, but did something on my iPad and now it will go to the bottom. I did this yesterday, too. 🙁

  8. One thing I have learned over my too many years 🙂 is that there is always a charitable option for giving things away.
    I have worn prescription eyeglasses since my early 20’s and have always donated them to our local Lions Club who
    refurbish them and pass them on to individuals here and abroad with the same prescription needs but who cannot afford the cost of glasses.
    Personally, I don’t donate clothes that I would consider rags, however, I have cut off the buttons of items not worthy of donation and donated the button bags when they were full. Soles for Souls is an excellent option for donating new or gently used shoes or flip flops for people who live in the U.S. We even have retail stores that host their own drives for clothing, food, shoes, toys, handbags, school supplies etc. etc. It’s amazing. Giving back is always a good thing.

  9. These are all great ideas. It’s amazing what you can come up with if you take time to be aware of your surroundings and make an effort to find new/creative places to off-load your clutter. I love knowing that my clutter is going to a “good home” or somewhere it will actually be needed and used.

  10. These are great. I am so glad we have many options right around us so we don’t have to be far to donate our uncluttered items.

  11. Don’t forget unused knitting yarns, even small balls, can be used by knitting & crocheting groups to make into blankets for the homeless, small children, the elderly. Project Linus will take 100% cotton fabrics ( even scraps for patchwork), batting , unwanted reels of thread and knitting wool to make blankets for sick children and children going through difficult times. I know there are Project Linus groups in the UK and USA, not sure about Australia and NZ.