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Sustainable Decluttering: How to Responsibly Dispose and Donate Unwanted Items

Although it can be tempting to simply throw everything away when purging, it’s important to be conscious and reduce waste where you can. It’s estimated that 2.01 billion tons of solid waste is produced worldwide every year, meaning that it’s time to learn how to declutter sustainably! There are ways to practically declutter while still remaining environmentally friendly, and keeping a clutter-free home will benefit both you and Mother Earth.


1. Donate or sell

Donating your items to a local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other organization is a great way to extend the life of items you no longer want or need. This helps prevent them from ending up in landfills and allows you to give back to the community in a charitable way. You could also give items away to family or friends, and they’ll be appreciated by someone you directly know and love. Items being donated should still be in good condition, but it’s okay if they are slightly worn. For old furniture, Household Goods in Acton, Restore in Dedham, or New Life Furniture Bank in Walpole are great places to donate around the Boston area.


If you have higher-quality items, selling is another good way to give them a second life and make yourself some extra money. You could use eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Thredup, or host your own garage sale. See, decluttering can be fun and sustainable, especially when you’re giving back or making a profit!


2. Upcycle or reuse

Get creative about finding ways to upcycle or reuse your old items. You can use old buckets, shovels, and wheelbarrows in your garden display by painting and sprucing them up. Instead of throwing away stained t-shirts, use them as rags. If you’re crafty, you can use old fabric or yarn to create bags, mittens, or scarves to sell at a local craft fair. You can even use an old Clorox wipes container to store plastic bags. Upcycling and reusing are great ways to reduce the amount of trash going into our dumpsters and there are many ideas on how to repurpose old items!


3. Recycle

Responsibly disposing of items is an important part of decluttering sustainably. It’s not enough to just throw away or get rid of what you don’t want, you should try to dispose of things in a way that reduces harm to the environment. Local recycling centers accept various materials, and Mass.gov has resources on how and where to recycle specific items, including building materials, electronics, hazardous household products, and plastic. This is a great option for items you can’t put in your curbside bin, and lets you know where to locate the closest dropoff center.


Anything hazardous, such as batteries, paint, and chemicals, should not be thrown away at all! They should be taken to a hazardous waste disposal facility or to a local dropoff center that accepts these kinds of items.


Reducing the amount of waste we create helps positively impact the environment. By donating, upcycling, and recycling where we can, we’re each doing our part in responsibly disposing of our items and creating a more sustainable future for us and our loved ones.



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