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Declutter 40 bags in 40 daysOn Ash Wednesday, Joe Warrenville and others shared this website on facebook. Great idea! I'm going to try it.  Give Up Stuff, rather than Chocolate for Lent. There seemed to be interest (not as much as the massage parlor, but that's another story).

It sounds easy. Find a bag of unused stuff around the house each day, and get rid of it. Lots of clutter - should be a piece of cake. But if you're like me, there are 2 problems with getting this project in gear:

  1. I think it will take a long time each day, so I don't start.
  2. I don't want to throw stuff in the landfill. There is stuff that I don't need, but it doesn't seem like garbage, it seems like something someone can use - or maybe I'll use it "some day".  Thinking about what to get rid of and how to get rid of it slows me down.

I'm going to try a couple changes. Rather than focus on the 40 bags, I plan to focus on 40 areas of the house that need de-cluttering (using the planning sheet). I will pick one small area each day, set my timer for 15 or 30 minutes, and stop when I finish so I don't get burned out, following the flylady decluttering guidelines.

"You can do anything for 15 minutes." -

In January, I decluttered my bedroom. The difference is amazing - once the dressers are free of junk,  I don't want to mess them up again. Once you see results, it keeps you going.

On to Problem 2. Which stuff to get rid of, and what to do with it. Do you love it? Does it make you smile? If not, do you use it? If not, then get rid of it. Where does it go?

How to Get Rid of "Stuff" and Keep It Out Of the Landfill

If you need to sell it,  list it on Craig's list. If not,  donate it and bless someone else or recycle it. Here's how:

Is it good shape? Find a resale shop. Most resale shops take clothes, shoes, accessories, household goods, sports equipment, dishes, kitchen gadgets, toys, knick knacks, small working household appliances (NOT big TV's or computer monitor, even if they work) Click links for hours and more detailed lists.

Some things just shouldn't go in the landfill. Period. These include old medicine, paints and cleaning chemicals, oil based paints, and electronics. We're lucky to have a nearby Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) disposal every weekend in Naperville. Learn more at these websites:

  • HHW In Naperville Information Sheet (PDF) - New Location - Jefferson and Forthill (Not in the Fire Station Anymore). They made the drop-off bigger so cars can move thru more quickly.
  • Warrenville Ace Hardware - Electronics Recycling box in back of store (NO TV's) and CFL light bulbs
  • Medicine Disposal - at many local police stations (not Warrenville), and HHW- Dump all the pills into a ziplock bag.

There's another category of "stuff". It does't seem appropriate for the resale shop, but seems too good for the landfill. These items are still made of natural resources (e.g. keys, small metal pieces, lawn chairs, books) or are things that someone might be able to use (pens, blank paper, crayons, games, puzzles, yarn, glue, craft supplies, books, file folders, tools, lawn furniture .....). Here are places to get rid of of stuff that's too good to throw away:

  • Warrenville Public Library: Books (in good shape), CD/DVD Cases, eye glasses (including sunglasses), ink jet cartridges
  • SCARCE in Glen Ellyn has BookRescue, Tools for Schools and Super Crayons projects - Anything that a teacher might use in a classroom, including any and all books, paper, pens, pencils & crayons - broken or not, game pieces or groups of other small things for kids to count / manipulate, anything that could be used for craft projects, any office supplies, buttons, sewing machines, sewing supplies and more. See  Tools for Schoosl List
  • SCARCE in Glen Ellyn Recycles odds and ends recyling - Keys, flags, records, small metal pieces, cell phones, lights & cords (all year),
  • Freecycle- Join the Warrenville Group - post what you want to give away - "one person's trash is another person's treasure" - You can make arrangements for them to pick it up
  • Food Panty in Immanual Church - non-perishables that you won't use (that are still good)
  • People's Resource Center in Wheaton - non-perishable food, clothes, computers, books
  • Sharing Connections - Furniture and Household Items - they will pickup
  • Good shopping bags - Resale shops including Discoveries (above)
  • Bubble Wrap & Peanuts - UPS and other packaging stores (call first)
  • Hangers - return to cleaners (call first)

No more excuses.  .... I'm going to do it, and mark a star on calendar each day it's done - starting with my linen closet.

How about you? Are you ready to decrapify?

If you have questions about what to do with "stuff" - write them in the comments, and I'll figure it out & post back. Also, feel free to write that are committing to this project in the comments.

Download this file (HHW info-newloc.pdf)HHW info-newloc.pdf[Household Hazardous Waste Flyer]

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