New year decluttering tips from Goodwill


By Lori Wirth
Goodwill Industries

With gifts unwrapped and decorations taken down, the question becomes where does everything go now? Retailers have shifted their focus from gift-giving to storage solutions. Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin (SCWI) has some tips for tackling your post-holiday challenges: finding a place for your new acquisitions, figuring out what to do with things you forgot you had, and sorting through decorations that may have seen better days.

Here are some ways to smooth your path:

  1. Gadgetry strategy. Again this year, updated and upgraded electronics topped many gift lists. If you hit the jackpot this holiday, you’re likely wondering what to do with the older items. A little-known fact is that most can be recycled. Goodwill SCWI partners with Dell for the Reconnect technology recycling program. You can donate your working or nonworking computer equipment.
  2. Swap something old for something new. An easy way to welcome in new presents without bringing in more clutter is to exchange new items for something old you already have. For example; if you received a new sweater, donate an old one. New toys and clothes don’t have to be a bad thing, but they should replace something else. This will prevent clutter creep down the road.
  3. Christmas décor. Do you have a nest of Christmas lights that are outdated energy hogs or don’t work at all? Goodwill SCWI recycles those, too. Make sure those lights don’t wind up in the landfill. For other Christmas décor, you needn’t wait to donate. Goodwill SCWI maintains a small section of Christmas items in its stores year ‘round.
  4. New Year’s purge. Since we have begun a new year, why not start off with a little less clutter? Challenge yourself to find one or two things from each area in the home that you don’t need or don’t like. Clearing your home of unused/unwanted clothing, toys or other items provides a fresh start to this new year.
  5. Donate to a cause. It isn’t always feasible to convert an unwanted gift into cash or store credit. A great perspective is to see this as an opportunity to be generous. Donate unwanted gifts to a nonprofit thrift shop. This strategy magnifies your donation by providing value to thrifters and funding much-needed community services. Any clothing — as long as it is clean and dry — can be resold or recycled at Goodwill SCWI.