This is the lesson I am learning in my quest to reduce the amount of clutter – on my desk, on the mantle, in my closet, in laundry room cabinets – the less extra stuff I have the less organizing I have to do.  This is great news for disorganized people like myself.  I’ve been going through my house room by room, and though I am not done I have learned a few things along the way.

Thrift Store As Rental Center

Cleaning out the hard to reach cabinet above the sink I found a beautiful glass pitcher we used for water at our wedding reception.  Since then we haven’t used it once, though I held onto it to serve mimosas at a brunch.  Well we haven’t had that brunch, and this pitcher isn’t worth the real estate of my little cabinet space.  So I decided that if we do host a brunch that I really want t pitcher for, I will scout out some thrift stores and will likely find something that will do. The afterwards I donate it back, and chalk up my $3 as a rental fee. There is no reason to hold on to stuff that I simply don’t use regularly, and when I buy used I’m keeping those items circulating in the community for others to make use of also.  I’m no longer attached to it.  The same goes for a fondue kit, a punch bowl, and any other rarely used items that I don’t need to own.  Now when I need something like that I’ll just rent it from a thrift store!

Get it Online

This mantra helped me give away cookbooks, recycle phone books, and clear out a bunch of paper clutter.  From requesting auto pay reminders in email instead of letter to opening up an Evernote account to keep track of those post it notes, lists, websites, flyers etc., I can not only reduce the paper clutter that I have, but now I am building a way to harness that information online so I don’t get the paper in the first place.

Where Does It All Go?

In clearing out my cabinets one by one I quickly amassed bags of stuff to donate which I brought to nearby thrift stores anytime I was out running an errand so as not to overwhelm my house with bags.  In addition to donating items to thrift stores and recycling the obvious things like paper,  I set up a few other options for my stuff:

  • Consignment:  Before heading to a clothing swap I brought a couple bags of better condition items to be consigned at Rescue, a Bend resale shop. What they didn’t take went to the swap, and what wasn’t claimed there then went to a thrift store.  Outdoor gear and clothing were also set aside to bring to Repeat Performance Sports to be consigned.  These little things add up and provide a nice surprise credit towards future purchases at these local stores.

    • Repair: I set aside items that I would use if not for some aspect that needs repair.  Instead of having to throw out non functioning Chaco sandals that I couldn’t repair I found out that they will replace webbing in a sandal for $20.  While watching movies I plowed through the rest of my bag sewing on buttons or darning small holes. Keep an eye on our calendar to see if a Repair Cafe is coming up soon for items you can’t repair yourself!

    • Give to Specific People: My friend turns sweaters into mittens and I knew I had the perfect one for her so I set it aside.  A neighbor was wearing a different colored dress of one I want to give away – now I’ll just give it to her.  As I am often the recipient of this kind of gifting it’s nice to think of others as recipients for things I no longer need or use.

    • Recycle: My sneakers were done.  I had already reglued the sole on before and it was peeling off again.  These were in no condition to donate and they would likely go right to the landfill from there.  I discovered that the Nike Factory Store in Bend has a drop box where they collect any worn out athletic shoe through their Reuse A Shoe program.  The shoes are separated into 3 parts and turned into a base for tennis courts, basketball courts, and also ground into running tracks.  I also had a pair of old Patagonia capilene long underwear that were totally done and in no condition for reuse.  Another reason for supporting Patagonia is that in addition to encouraging people to only buy what they need, hosting a resale outlet through ebay, they will also collect their worn out products for recycling into new fabric.  Patagonia in Downtown Bend has a drop box for collection for their Common Threads program.

    These sites and items have now been added to the “Find A Recycler or Reuser” database on this website.




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