Wasted Guilt

02.21.2023

I​ had an email come in thanking me for the post on Decluttering Guilt and mentioning another guilt about decluttering – the waste. What if the charity shops are full and if no one wants your clutter? What if something is unusable, broken or unfixable? What if it actually has to be thrown out and ends up in a landfill?

W​hile it is ideal that we would find someone appreciative and in need of our used goods (See list below of where to send items), sometimes you have clutter that no one needs or wants. And keeping them in your own home instead of disposing them is not helpful.

I​s it making your life better by having that clutter that no one wants? Do you ever throw other things out?

M​ost things now have a smaller lifespan and aren’t made to last. Eventually they all need to be tossed. Even things you give to charity will one day be unusable. All the things will eventually end up as trash.

A​fter you die, someone will take that stuff you couldn’t part with and throw it out, if it can’t be given away.

W​e say to ourselves, “It’s such a waste.” And it is. So it’s time to dispose of the waste. Your home is not a place to store clutter and garbage.

F​orgive yourself for past overbuying or neglect of items. Most of us are more attuned and buying more mindfully.

You can’t change the past, but i​n the future, we will buy less, make less environmental impact, buy things with less packaging, buy used, etc. But, at the moment you have something that needs to go into the garbage. And that little bit of garbage makes much less impact than the airplanes flying overhead, factories, and corporations.

I​f you can, pick up what needs to be thrown out right now and toss it.

If you have lots of environmental guilt, make a donation to an environmental cause.

T​owels – vet, shelters, clinic

B​ras – Free the Girls

B​ooks – Bookswa

C​lothes for recycling – For Days / https://www.charitynavigator.org/search/ / https://dressforsuccess.org/get-involved/donation-drives/

E​lectronics – Best Buy

E​yeglasses – Lions Clu

C​ell Phones – various

L​uggage/tote bags – local Buy Nothing Group. Or, try Nextdoor, Freecycle, and Facebook Marketplace. – foster care organizations

S​chool Supplies – your local school or church

S​hoes – Soles4Shoes

S​tuffed Animals – Stuffed Animals for Emergencies

V​arious – www.decluttr.com , givebackbox.shop

And if you want to start giving money to charity, here is how you can support charities on a budget.


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4 Comments

  • Jo@JoSimplyWill says:

    Your post is spot on as always Beth. Last year my siblings and I cleared out our parents’ home of 50 years. We all took some things that we could use and that had sentimental value. A lot went to the op shop, and a lot was beyond salvage and went into a skip. I wrote about it quite a bit on my blog, including a post entitled ‘What a person’s life comes down to’ because that was what really struck me about the exercise.

    Personally, I’m an under-buyer, I like a neat and orderly home, and don’t have clutter or hold on to stuff that is just rubbish. Even so I still have a lot of stuff! Many items that have meaning to me will have no meaning to whoever cleans my home out, and I accept that they will be passed on.

    It is a big problem that some people continue to buy more and more when their homes are already filled with junk and clutter. Getting to the source of this is the real challenge.

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Thanks so much Jo. Great insights!

  • Shawnda says:

    I completely agree. Garbage is still garbage whether it’s at the dump or in your home. It was *already* trash if it’s unusable, unfixable, unsalvageable, or it requires more time/effort/money than it is worth. By letting it go, you aren’t “creating waste”. Put it where it belongs in the dump and reclaim your space.

    Another issue I see sometimes is that oftentimes while hanging on to items for sentimental reasons or because it might be useful “someday” these items are stored in a less than ideal situation (basements, garages, storage units) and as they aren’t being used or viewed frequently, become homes to rodents or mold. This converts those items that COULD have been immediately useful to someone else into garbage. By letting go of the item, even if it belonged to your beloved Aunt Edna, you’re giving her buffet the chance to live on, be useful and to enhance someone’s life even if you don’t have space for the behemoth in your own house. It doesn’t take your memories of Aunt Edna away from you to let it go. It just prevents that buffet from making it hard to get to your Christmas decorations. It makes it easier for you to protect the investment you’ve made in your vehicle by parking it in the garage.

    We recently moved after nearly 20 years in our last house. As far as I’m concerned, this will be my forever home. I’m getting rid of everything that I can’t/won’t make space for in my pursuit of creating an organized home for myself and my husband. I owe it to myself to make my life easier by not having to move stuff to get to the stuff I USE. and I’m not allowing items to live in my home rent-free anymore. They have to serve a purpose and if they aren’t working for me, they need to GOOOOO… We have sold a lot of stuff, have listed more for sale, tossed an entire container full of stuff that got ruined in our basement by a misbehaving cat, and I’m still unpacking and sorting but I’m done hanging on to stuff for “some day”. If I woke up this morning then today is the only day I’m guaranteed and I might not even get all of it. I’m not leaving all this crap for my kids to deal with.

    Am I hanging on to certain pieces of furniture that I love while I live in our new space to find out how we use it day to day? Yes. But once we’ve been here a bit, I’ll be able to tell what is working and what isn’t and let go of the excess.

  • Beth Dargis says:

    HI Shawnda, I am so happy you are delving into your decluttering. Great tips and noticings for others!

    Enjoy making your forever home a lovely place for your present.

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