The beginning of a new year is a great time to make a fresh start, especially in your closets and cupboards! But what are you going to do with all of that stuff you don’t want or need any longer?

Seeing piles of things that you might be willing to part with can cause stress and make your projects feel like they are unfinished. Organisational experts recommend that you start all of your cleaning projects with a disposal plan.

Here are some categories you might try using in planning for your disposal:

TRASH AND RECYCLING: Which day does your garbage pickup happen? Do
they take bulky items? Give a quick call to your waste disposal company or city
office if you are unsure. If you need some things hauled away, many charities like Goodwill have partnered with hauling companies, who, for a fee, will pick up your items and take them to the dump, to be recycled if possible and used for donations with minimal effort on your part! Some can even come inside to help move things around and bring them to the truck outside.

GIVE TO SOMEONE ELSE: Sometimes there are items you don’t want to
toss or even donate, because they belong to someone else and need returning or
they are very special and you want to keep them in your family. For example,
maybe you have a lot of baby or maternity clothing that you promised to a friend or relative. As you begin organizing, make sure you place these items in your car right away or make a plan for someone to come and get them. Call or text that person now before the items sit in your garage for too long!

Be sure to give the person a deadline on the decision or pickup time, after which you will donate the items.

HAZARDOUS WASTE: As you are cleaning out your garage or other storage area, you may run into chemicals like lawn fertilizers, paint, batteries or pesticides that are
dangerous to throw in the normal garbage. You can check websites like as a resource for hazardous waste disposal locations in our area. They can also provide information about many specific items that can or cannot be recycled.

One big note of caution: Don’t get bogged down in perfectionism with your disposal plan. If you are the type of person who wants to find the “perfect home” for every item, you are going to slow yourself down to a grinding halt. Having one place to donate most all of your items, such as Goodwill or other charity, is a better solution to help quickly clear your clutter.

And if you are planning to give a lot of items to your adult children or grandchildren, be considerate of whether they truly want the items or if you are just wishing they would take them. Remember that one person's treasure might be someone else’s clutter! If your relatives hesitate or hedge, it might be a clue that you should donate those items instead.

Make the choice now to jump start your new year by helping others!