Embrace Minimalism: A Guide to Toss, Donate, Sell, Recycle, and Keep When Decluttering

One of the great dilemmas in the process of decluttering is deciding what to keep, what to discard, what to donate, sell, or recycle. It’s an overwhelming task that often keeps people from starting in the first place. Whether you’re inspired by Marie Kondo’s “Spark Joy” principle or simply aiming to live with less, these guidelines can help you navigate the decluttering process with ease.

  1. What To Toss

Things that fall into this category are typically items that are broken, damaged, or have outlived their usefulness.

  • Broken Items: These are things that you’ve kept with the intention of repairing but never got around to it. If it’s been broken for a year or more, chances are, you don’t need it.
  • Expired Items: This includes things like expired food, medication, and cosmetics. They’re not safe or effective to use, so they should be disposed of appropriately.
  • Worn-out Clothes and Shoes: If they’re in such bad condition that they can’t be worn or repaired, it’s time to let them go.
  1. What To Donate

Donation is a great way to give items a second life and help those in need. However, make sure the items are in good condition.

  • Good Condition Clothing: Clothes that you no longer wear but are still in good condition can be a blessing to someone else. This also applies to shoes, handbags, and accessories.
  • Functional Appliances: If you have appliances that work perfectly fine but you no longer need them, consider donating.
  • Books and Toys: These can be donated to local libraries, schools, or charities that will put them to good use.
  1. What To Sell

Selling is a good option for items that have value and are in good condition but don’t serve a purpose in your life anymore.

  • Valuable Antiques and Collectibles: If you’ve lost interest in these, selling can earn you some extra cash.
  • Electronics: Older models of phones, laptops, or tablets that are still in working condition can be sold.
  • Designer Clothing: If you have designer pieces you no longer wear, these can be sold through consignment shops or online platforms like Poshmark or The RealReal.
  1. What To Recycle

Recycling should be considered for items that are not in a condition to be donated or sold but can be transformed into something useful again.

  • Paper and Cardboard: These can be easily recycled in your local area.
  • Old Electronics: Many cities have electronic waste recycling programs. This helps to reduce the number of harmful materials that end up in landfills.
  • Glass, Plastic, and Metal: These are also recyclable, just make sure to clean them first.
  1. What To Keep

Finally, the items to keep should bring you joy, be useful, or have significant sentimental value.

  • Essential Documents: These include important papers like your birth certificate, passport, social security card, etc.
  • Sentimental Items: These are things that bring you happiness and remind you of loved ones or special times.
  • Frequently Used Items: If you use it regularly, it’s a keeper. This could include kitchenware, tools, clothing, and more.
  • Quality Items: High-quality items that will last for years are usually worth keeping.


Decluttering doesn’t have to be an overwhelming process. Remember, the aim is to surround yourself with items that serve a purpose or bring you joy. When you’re deciding what to do with each item, ask yourself if it’s useful, if it brings you joy, and if not, could it serve a better purpose elsewhere. Be ruthless in your decluttering and enjoy the newfound space and serenity that comes with a decluttered home.

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