Get Rid of Almost Anything, Responsibly

If you have too much stuff in your home, you are not alone! Americans collect stuff like it’s their job, and we’d do well to curb this habit. But our consumerist culture and habits make it easier than not to amass things that we don’t need. 

Keep it Out of the Landfill

Decluttering and reducing your load is always a good idea in my book. When you let go of belongings you don’t need, it frees up space and energy for more important things. 

And keeping the earth’s limited resources in mind, it’s best to rehome things by reselling or donating. If that’s not possible, try to recycle. If it’s hazardous, make sure it’s disposed of properly. The landfill should be thought of as a last resort. 

If you’re ready to say goodbye to a few or many things which no longer serve you, I’ve compiled a list of thrift stores in Denver, consignment shops in Denver, and donation sites in Denver for you to check out. If what you’re looking to unload is not on this list, check here for a more complete list of donation sites in Denver, or get in touch and I will check in with my network to find an answer.   

Donate, Resell, or Consign in Denver

Reselling clothes, furniture and gear can put money in your pocket and provide value to someone else for a good price. Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are great platforms to sell big or small items, as long as there is demand and you have the time and energy for it. Make sure to do some research to price appropriately – just because something cost a lot when you bought it doesn’t mean it’s held its value. Beware of scammers, and know that sometimes people will be flakey on such platforms. I like to gather a few interested parties just in case the first (or second) one doesn’t work out.   

Consigning is easy but of course the shop takes a cut and they can be particular about what they’ll accept. Rags, Common Threads and Wilderness Exchange are my go-tos in Denver for clothing and gear. Check out Joy’s Consigned Furnishings and Design Repeats  for furniture.

Donate items that are usable and still in good shape at your local thrift store. In Denver I like ARC or Goodwill.  

Habitat for Humanity’s Restore is my favorite place to donate building materials such as working appliances, a ceiling fan, plywood, drywall sheets or even cinder blocks.  

Give things away online if thrift stores won’t take them. Great platforms are Buy Nothing and Freecycle, where you can post and someone will usually come quickly to scoop your free item, saving you the transport. Facebook has local “buy-nothing” groups in nearly every city. I once posted an inflatable kid’s slide that the thrift store wouldn’t take and had it gone in less than a day, with a grateful mom on the other end. 

Specialized donation sites include Dress for Success, geared towards helping people get a career wardrobe, and Clothes to Kids, which allows kids to “shop” in a well-stocked store and get new-to-them outfits for school. A more complete list of specialized donation sites can be found here

Of course, a good purge takes time and effort, especially when you’re being careful about where stuff ends up. It’s not unusual to feel too overwhelmed to start. It can be helpful to call an organizer, not only for help with the physical labor, but also to help motivate and keep the plan in place.  

Proper Disposal of Hazardous Materials 

Denver provides once-a-year pickups on toxic waste such as bleach, varnish, lawn fertilizers, household chemicals and similar nasty stuff, for just a $15 copay. For a full list of accepted materials and to schedule your hazardous materials pickup, click here

Recycle Old Paint in Denver

Denver partners with a few paint retailers to recycle paint. Greensheen takes any number of old cans of paint to recycle and turn into new paint. Here’s a list of more retailers that may recycle old paint in Denver.   

Donate Scrap Material

Scrap metal is a useful material! Don’t toss it in the landfill. Take it here.

Where to Take Old Medications

Old medications can be dropped off at most any drug store. Head towards the back, near the pharmacy, and there is usually a drop box to dump your expired or no-longer-needed medications safely.

Avoid Landfill to Respect Earth

As an organizer, I help people let go of a lot of unnecessary stuff, which helps them feel better in their spaces. As an environmentally-conscious human, I strive to help them divert as much of that stuff as possible from the landfill. Letting go of stuff responsibly often means extra effort, but it’s the right thing to do to save landfill space and to respect the earth’s valuable resources. 

Denver’s Recycling Facility

Letting Go of Gifts

To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purposeMarie Kondo

You don’t need to hold onto something just because someone gave it to you.

For many people it’s hard to let go of stuff, period. But gifts are a special category. Oftentimes I can tell that someone doesn’t really like the thing. But they say with resignation, “Oh, I can’t get rid of that, Aunt Martha gave it to me.” Well, I’m here to tell you: You CAN let it go!

Marie Kondo, whose methods started a tidying revolution, says in her book that once a gift is given, its job is done. The gift is meant to give the giver the pleasure of giving. So once Aunt Martha has given you that pine-scented potpourri candle, she’s gotten her joy. You’re not doing yourself or her any favors by burying it in a box and letting it decompose. In fact, the candle likely has a better life out there somewhere, once you release it by donating or giving it away.

Point being, if you are only holding onto something out of a sense of duty or guilt, you’re better off losing the negative vibe by letting it go. And it’s likely better off too when it finds its highest and best use.

While we’re on the subject of gifts – I believe consumables are the best gifts because they’re the least imposing. Chocolate, wine, coffee — even movie tickets, lottery tickets, or plane tickets. These don’t hang around making anyone feel obligated, guilty or annoyed for not liking the thing.

Gift better! And find it in your heart to let go.