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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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      Published on November 14, 2018

      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

      Symptoms of Fatigue

      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
      • mental blocks
      • lack of motivation
      • headache
      • dizziness
      • muscle weakness
      • slowed reflexes and responses
      • impaired decision-making and judgement
      • moodiness, such as irritability
      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
      • reduced immune system function
      • blurry vision
      • short-term memory problems
      • poor concentration
      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

      Causes of Fatigue

      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

      Medical Causes of Fatigue

      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

      Anemia

      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

      Diabetes

      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

      Sleep Apnea

      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

      Thyroid disease

      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

      • Lack of sleep
      • Too much sleep 
      • Alcohol and drugs 
      • Sleep disturbances 
      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
      • Poor diet 

      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

      1. Tell The Truth

      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

      • How you feel
      • What time of day it is
      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
      • How your mind and body reacts

      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

      2. Reduce Your Commitments

      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

      4. Express More Gratitude

      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

      5. Focus On Yourself

      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

      7. Take a Power Nap

      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

      8. Take More Exercise

      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

      9. Get More Quality Sleep

      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

      10. Improve Your Diet

      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

      12. Get Hydrated

      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

      The Bottom Line

      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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