Reader Claire writes in to ask,
I love the goals of this site. My issue has always been: what do I do with all this stuff that I’m getting rid of? I don’t like to create trash, and trying to give stuff away on Craigslist or freecycle sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. Ideas?
Well, if you don’t want it, no one on Craigslist will buy it, and no one on freecycle will take it for free, then chances are it is trash. Your choices are then to dump it in the rubbish bin or live in a home filled with trash, and I hope that’s an easy choice. If you’ve done everything you can to find a new home for your clutter and you just can’t, there’s no reason to feel guilty about trashing it.
Some might suggest that you should just drive it over to the Salvation Army or some other charity, but you might want to think twice about that. In his great book, It’s All Too Much, Peter Walsh has this to say about pawning off your stuff on charities:
Goodwill receives a billion pounds of clothing every year. Ultimately, they use less than half of the clothes they get. Clothing is cheap, and the cost of sorting, cleaning, storing, and transporting the clothes is higher than their value. If you wouldn’t give an article to a family member, it’s probably not good enough for charity. Sure, it’s great to get the tax deduction and it makes you feel like you didn’t waste money buying the clothes, but if you’re truly charitable, be sensitive to the needs of the organization. Charities aren’t dumping grounds for your trash.
So, give yourself permission to just throw it out.