With a new year upon us, you might be thinking of new year's resolutions, including a resolve to get organized, live with less stuff, and organize the stuff you do have. As the English writer and designer William Morris said: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
How to Declutter Your Home
There's many ways you can get organized and declutter your life. The best way to start decluttering is to take inventory. What's in your home that you can finally part with or is taking up too much space? Start by going room-by-room to not overwhelm yourself at once. Figure out what those items look like and start sorting them into piles of what you'll keep or trash.
Once you start to pile up the items that no longer belong in your home, there's a few ways you can take care of them.
Selling Unwanted Items
The weather in Miami makes yard sales popular year-round, and one option for getting rid of clutter. You can also sell via Facebook groups, Craigslist.org, eBay, Amazon, bulletin boards at your condo or workplace or via friends.
Consignment stores will take good-quality items on consignment and pay you when they sell. Each has its own rules about what is accepted, but in general you'll do best with high-end items in good condition. You can find Miami consignment stores here.
Donating Unwanted Items
Many people use moving as a time to downsize, but most are surprised when they open their boxes to discover that they packed, transported and now are unpacking things they really don't need. Or, items that worked great in your old home don't go with the new one at all.
But just because you don't need something doesn't mean someone else doesn't need it. Many people would love to have that couch that is too big for the new family room, the toys your kids have outgrown or the exercise equipment you use as a clothes hanger. In Miami-Dade County, more than 20 percent of residents live below the poverty level, earning less than $25,000 a year for a family of four. If you need incentive to declutter, think about how others can use items you have stashed in closets or in your garage.
March through your home ruthlessly, identifying objects that you can sell and those you will donate. Note: It's a lot less work to donate, so factor that into your calculations.
You can, of course, donate to Goodwill (you have to take your items there) or the Salvation Army (which may pick up some items), as well as various church groups that help people set up households or hold rummage sales to raise money.
Here are six Miami charities that will take your gently used goods and help you achieve your goal of clearing out clutter and get organized:
This organization provides a homeless shelter for women and children as well as providing the support families need to get back on their feet. The charity accepts new and gently used clothing, furnishings and households goods, which it uses for the families it serves or sells in its Lotus House Thrift Chic Boutique at 2040 NW Seventh Ave. in Miami. Workers may pick up donations. Contact information: 305-576-4112 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Out of the Closet
This organization provides free HIV testing and runs a pharmacy as well as operating thrift stores to finance its work, which includes HIV education and advocacy. Out of the Closet stores nationwide are run by the Aids Healthcare Foundation, and the Miami store is at 2900 N. Biscayne Blvd. There also are stores in Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale. The organization will pick up donations if they're large enough. Call (877) 2-PICK-IT-UP to schedule a pickup.
Miami Rescue Mission
This organization provides services to the homeless, including meals, shelter, health clinics, transition assistance and programs for children. The Rescue Mission uses donated clothing and household items for clients or sells goods in its thrift stores to raise money for programs. The organization will pick up donations. Its Bargain Barn thrift shop is part of the main Miami campus at 8700 NW 7 Ave., Miami, FL 33150. Phone: 305-571-2273.
The national charity, which provides jobs and job training to the disabled, operates stores throughout South Florida. It has donation sites where you can bring goods you no longer want, but furniture is accepted at only a few locations. Goodwill usually does not pick up donations.
The religious group has thrift stores in South Florida and it will pick up donations. Proceeds from the thrift stores are used for drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs as well as other ministries. You can find a dropoff site or request a pickup here.
Dress for Success
If you have business clothing you no longer use, this organization specializes in helping women enter or re-enter the workforce. The suits you no longer wear will be valued by a woman who can't afford to buy good business attire for a job interview. Call 305-444-1944.
Go Green & Get Organized: Electronics Recycling
If you're a customer of Miami-Dade County's trash collection department, you can recycle your old electronics, including computers and TVs, via the county. The county will accept hazardous chemicals from any county resident.
Some cities, including Miami, will pick up and dispose of anything you set out on bulk trash pickup day. Check with your city about the rules for bulk pickup.
Best Buy and Staples accept used electronics for recycling. The Miami Recycle Center will pick up most used electronic items at no cost.
If the decluttering tips above (donating, recycling and selling) aren't an option, consider investing in a self-storage unit to help you declutter your space and live with less!