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10 Things to Do With Spring Cleaning Junk

10 Things to Do With Spring Cleaning Junk

With springtime starting up, a lot of people will begin spring cleaning. For those of us who only do major cleaning a few times a year, we’re bound to come across tons of “junk” that we don’t need but don’t know what to do with it. Don’t worry, I have you covered—I’ll show you 10 things you can do with common junk we come across when spring cleaning.

1: Recycle Electronics

Did you find an old DVD player, a drawer full of batteries, a broken laptop, or even a fax machine while spring cleaning? A lot of people make the mistake of throwing their old electronics in the trash, but not only is this wasteful, but 17 states have actually placed a ban on throwing away electronics in landfills. It’s not that they want you to keep your old computer monitor forever, but many o these gadgets contain hazardous materials that can seep into groundwater.

Instead of harming the environment with toxic chemicals, take your old gear to a local electronics recycling center. Finding a place to recycle electronics is actually pretty easy, so there’s no excuse for shoving your broken hard drives and computers into a black trash bag and throwing them out at night. Some options you have are:

2: Sell Things on eBay

Why not make some money with your old junk? I’ve been a seller on eBay for years (Top Rated Seller status!) and it’s a pretty good way to make money by selling things you don’t use or need. Electronics (working and broken ones), clothes, nick-knacks, old dishware, toys, and even the weird stuff you keep locked in a closet for nobody to find can all be sold on eBay.

With eBay, you can sell 50 items via free listings every month, and with their new system for calculating fees, it’s pretty easy to figure out exactly how much money you can make from each sale. Here’s a pretty handy eBay fee calculator that I use to get an idea of how much I’ll make from each sale. You may even find that you have enough junk to start up an eBay store as a side business. Here’s a video that shows exactly how the things that you would think are useless can actually make money on eBay.

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3: Repurpose

Waste not, want not. For the resourceful readers out there, you may be able to salvage and repurpose some of the items you come across while cleaning. The great thing about repurposing is that it’s fun and resourceful. DIY projects are extremely popular right now, and I’m always shocked at how creative the designers on HGTV get when they upcycle old wood, furniture, or other items just laying around. Etsy is filled with items that have been repurposed.

book shelves
    Shelf made from books- Jonny Valiant

    You can look at Pinterest or this list to get ideas on how to repurpose some common items you have around the house.

    4: Donate

    An oldie but a goody: donating your clothes, old toys, or other items you don’t use frees up some space for you and helps someone in need. There are plenty of non-profit organizations that will not only accept your donations, but some will even come and pick them up from your house to save you a trip. Browse the Salvation Army website to find a location near you to donate.

    You may also have seen donation boxes around your town. The ones where I live are usually in shopping centers, but you can find them all over. Another option you have is to donate to a local thrift store: when thrift stores resell donated items, they donate a portion of the money to charities. Some donations are even tax deductible, so be sure to get receipts for donations if you plan on claiming them on your tax return.

    5: Use It

    There is no law stating that you have to get rid of the old things you find when spring cleaning. We tend to associate a great spring clean-out with throwing things away, but I’ve definitely had an occasion or two where I found old things that I forgot about but could still use.

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    When cleaning, I suggest making a pile of the stuff that you think you might use. Just keep those items separate from everything you know you’re going to get rid of. Once you’re done cleaning, go through all of the items you set aside and keep anything you will use. The reason I recommend doing it this way is because you might find that after you’re done cleaning, you have a new use for old things. For example, you might have come across some old shelving that you were considering throwing out. After cleaning, you might need them for books, decorations, or pictures.

    Only keep items that you will have an immediate need for, however. Immediate need means that you will use it within a couple weeks, otherwise you’ll end up keeping it in the closet until the next time you clean.

    6: Throw it away

    Anything from tip #5 that you won’t have an immediate need for can be thrown away, assuming you’re not going to do anything else with it. There are certain items that you won’t have any use for at all and don’t have any value. For instance, those old shoes that have been completely worn out. Some people think that ripped and shredded clothes and shoes can be donated, but most charitable organizations do not accept broken, ripped, and well… crappy items.

    If you know that the item is completely unusable and is able to be disposed of safely, throw it away.

    7: Re-gift!

    While few people admit it, everyone will re-gift something at some point. Why spend money buying your cousin’s, wife’s, sister’s children a gift when there’s a perfectly good bobble head in the back of your closet? Re-gifting is no longer looked down upon as much as it once was. In fact, National Re-gift Day is December 19th.

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    When it comes to re-gifting, try to use some discretion and follow re-gifting etiquette. Don’t give someone an old CD that is open and nobody would want, and never re-gift something to the person that originally gave you the gift. Stick to new items that haven’t been used whenever possible—nobody wants your old boxers. Some popular items that you can re-gift are:

    • Baby clothes
    • Old electronics
    • Movies
    • Giftcards
    • Books
    • Wine and alcohol
    • Candles
    • Picture Frames

    8: Avoid Holding On

    Some of the items you come across during spring cleaning will have some sentimental value, however, it’s important not to let your feelings get in the way of getting rid of old junk. Items like a scarf that belonged to your grandma (who has since passed on) are fine to keep, but holding on to old nick-knacks that you like can really take up a lot of space.

    At a certain point in time, you have to depart from the past and move forward. Keep the items that are invaluable, but start giving some serious consideration to getting rid of the junk you can do without. If you haven’t used or looked at something in months, you probably don’t need it.

    9: Share it Online (Blog, Social Media)

    Something fun you can do with old items is to share it via social media or on a blog. For instance, maybe you came across some vintage clothing you had from years ago or an old Atari console. Tweet about it, post a picture on your Facebook page, or pin it on Pinterest. Your friends might get a kick out of it.

    If you blog, make a post about some of your odd finds, or write a post about nostalgia you got from some of the things you found in your closet.

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    10: Give Away

    I once gave away a box of stuff that I didn’t want anymore via an internet forum. I just made a thread offering to give away a secret box to whoever had post #100 in the thread. It’s fun for the recipient to go through the items because they get the excitement of being surprised. The box I sent had a game, a battery pack for an X-Box 360 controller, and some other random items. After he received the box, he posted pics of it in the thread.

    You don’t necessarily have to do the exact same thing I did, but giving away your items to people is a nice gesture. It’s similar to donating except you’re giving the stuff directly to the end user. They might pass along some of the items to someone else and start a chain of giving.

    Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be a pain: use any of the tips here to add a twist to your cleaning and dealing with the junk you come across. Do you have anything cool and creative you do with your old junk?

    Green Clean Your Home

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      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

      Boundaries are limits

      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
      • When do you feel disrespected?
      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
      • When do you want to be alone?
      • How much space do you need?

      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

      Sample language:

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      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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      Final Thoughts

      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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