Time to Tidy Up!

by Chris Bjorklund
Decluttering your home can make you realize how much extra stuff you’ve accumulated, like these bobbleheads Chris found.

Decluttering your home can make you realize how much extra stuff you’ve accumulated, like these bobbleheads Chris found.

I’ve been tidying up my house since mid-January. To be truthful, I didn’t intentionally set out to declutter and reorganize my home. Instead, it was a byproduct of my latest home improvement project. After nine years, it was time to re-paint a bathroom, three bedrooms and all the closets in my house. Every organizer will tell you to completely empty your closets and then edit the things you’re going to put back into them. So, that’s how my tidying got started. Now, I’m continuing to tackle other rooms and even our garage. I’m on a roll!

Popular organizing books suggest only keeping things that you truly love and giving or throwing away everything else. This is easier said than done, but it’s a good starting point. One strategy is to put similar items together in one pile when you’re sorting clothes. Jackets, for example, should be pulled from all closets so you can easily see how many you have and eliminate duplicates. It’s a good idea to leave the sorting of sentimental things like photos and letters for later.

The other issue that comes with decluttering is what to do with all the stuff you no longer want or need. I hate throwing away things that can be reused or recycled, so I spent a lot of time finding out where to turn in old eyeglasses, expired medications, e-waste like phone chargers and DVD players, unusable paint, and a bad mattress and box springs. Fortunately, I found a new home for a trundle bed with a nonprofit that helps homeless families transition to apartments. But I won’t kid you—this took a lot of time.

What I hadn’t anticipated was that my husband would become motivated, too. He donated dozens of old ties, books, luggage, hats and sweatshirts. He was shocked at what had accumulated over the last 25 years. We delivered cartons of photo albums, yearbooks and report cards to our young adult children. Along with Giants’ bobbleheads and trolls, I found an old Nintendo and a collector’s set of Wayne Newton albums. I’m still thinking about what to do with those.

To help you get started on your spring cleanup, I’m listing a number of sources for recycling and donating items in the Bay Area.

Expired medications: Take Back Your Meds
Eyeglasses: Eye Sight for All
E-waste and hazardous materials: Local garbage companies
Old furniture: Goodwill and Salvation Army
Children’s clothing: Loved Twice
Medical equipment: ReCARES
Career clothing: Dress for Success
Unused toiletries: Glide Memorial
Books and magazines: Public libraries (call first)
Used toothbrushes: Preserve

If you have more suggestions, feel free to post them on our Facebook page.