Clear the Clutter

Clear the Clutter

By Duane Friend

Now that Christmas has arrived, there is more stuff to store. Do you have room for it, or do you need to clear out some of your old stuff? The following suggestions comes from the University of Illinois Extension website (Dealing with Clutter) at

When you’re having difficulty deciding what to get rid of, ask yourself these questions:

  • How long has it been since I used this?
  • Do I like it?
  • Does it work properly?
  • Do I have more of this kind of thing? How many do I need?
  • If I keep this, what will I get rid of to make room for it?
  • Can I locate this information somewhere else (probably on the Internet) if I need it?

Shred or tear up documents you intend to toss that contain personal information. Look for hazardous waste pickup locations or events in your area. Items that are typically accepted include mercury thermometers, oil-based paints, tires, pesticides, used motor oil and used batteries. Search online for special programs to recycle computers or other items that you can’t recycle locally.

You can multiply the benefits of getting organized by donating your unneeded items to help others, and maybe get a tax break at the same time.

If you itemize deductions on your income taxes, you will want to drop off your donations where you can get a receipt. For more information about deducting donations, visit the IRS web site and download IRS publication 526, Charitable Donations. These deductions can in some cases be more than you think.

Turn some of that former clutter into cash! This can be a great way to motivate yourself and your children to sort through belongings. Investigate local websites or other sites where you can register and sell used items. Check to see how you are assured of receiving payment, or say you will only accept cash.

If you decide to wait until warmer weather and do a yard sale, be prepared to take care of the items that do not sell!



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About the author

Duane is an Educator with University of Illinois Extension in the Calhoun/Cass/Greene/Morgan/Scott unit.

View all articles by Duane Friend

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