Spring Cleaning Hacks

Donation box with clothing on wooden chair
Photo by Africa Studio/Fotolia

While we await the first signs of spring, there’s no better time to break out the duster and the donation bins and get your spring cleaning on. Whether you’ve been pouring over the pages of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or you simply want to get rid of a few items you no longer use, an annual purge can be a cathartic experience by intentionally filling your home with items that bring you joy and freeing yourself from the rest.

But what should you do with the worn clothing, old furniture, and other unwanted household items? As a responsible consumer, it is always a good idea to see what you can donate or recycle before dumping it all in the trash. Here’s a quick guide to where you can bring gently used items or worn-out items:

Clothing

The first step to a renewed wardrobe is going through all of your clothing and outerwear and determining what no longer fits, what you no longer wear, and what is too worn to wear. Clothing can be hard to give away because it often reminds us of pleasant memories—a good rule of thumb as you parse through your clothing is to reflect on the past year or two. If you rarely or never reached for an item during its appropriate season over the past year or two, it is time to let it go. Often, items can be donated and bring someone else more happiness than they will bring you sitting in the closet.

Donate gently used business professional and business casual clothing to Ready for Success to provide workplace and interview attire to low-income women and men in the Twin Cities. Goodwill is another great place to drop off clothing because many locations will take both items that can be resold in their stores and worn or damaged pieces to be recycled for fibers.

Furniture & Housewares

Help furnish homes for those transitioning out homelessness and poverty in Minnesota by bringing gently used furniture, housewares, and small appliances to Bridging. As a general guideline, Bridging accepts items that are in good working condition and free from rips and stains—you can also check their list of approved items on their website. (If you wouldn’t mind giving the item to a friend or family member, it can probably be donated.) Drop items off at their warehouses in Bloomington and Roseville, or schedule a fee-based home pickup.

If your furniture has seen better days and is not eligible to be donated, try an eco-friendly junk removal or recycling company. Minneapolis-based Second Chance Recycling takes old mattresses and box springs for $20 each, dismantles them, and separates the materials for recycling, while Mudek Trucking & JJ Recycling in St. Paul offers easy disposal and recycling of couches, mattresses, and other furniture.

Electronics

For hazardous household waste such as fluorescent lightbulbs and batteries, local hardware stores often accept these items for recycling. Most of the time, however, you will have to pay per item at these locations, so checking with your recycling center to see if they take these items for free, like Hennepin County does, can save you a few extra bucks.

Electronic retailers including Best Buy and Staples will take old TVs, computer monitors, and laptops. Local business Tech Dump also has drop-off locations in Bloomington, Minneapolis, and St. Paul for old electronics as well as cords, cell phones, and audio equipment.

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