May 2005
Vol. 3, No. 5

Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

“Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”
— William James

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Where to donate what

I talk a lot about the need to let go of clutter
– things that are just taking up valuable space in your home. But what are you supposed to do with stuff that’s still perfectly usable?

Generally, I recommend that you find one charity that accepts all types of things from clothing and shoes to furnishings. That way, you don’t have to think about what should go where. All you have to do is put it in a box and take it to that one place.

But there are some organizations that specialize in the collection of certain types of things that are very needed by people around the world.
Following is a partial list of where to donate what:

Eyeglasses: Donate used prescription eyeglasses and prescription or non-prescription sunglasses to the Lions Recycle for Sight Program. Look for a drop-off box at your eye doctor’s office or the retail store where you shop for eyeglasses. Your glasses will be shipped to regional recycling centers where they will be cleaned, categorized by prescription and prepared for distribution to needy people around the world.

Women’s business clothing: Donate those suits, blouses, and slacks you no longer wear to Dress for Success, an organization that distributes clothing to low-income women who are trying to get jobs to support themselves and their children.
Larger sizes are in high demand. Look for a drop- off point in your area: http://www.dressforsuccess.org

Period clothing: A local theater might love to have clothing from previous decades.

Computers: If you have a desktop with a Pentium or higher CPU or a laptop with a 486 or higher CPU, you can donate to The National Cristina Foundation, a non-profit organization that distributes used systems to disadvantaged children. For more information, go to http://www.cristina.org

Magazines and newspapers: Many schools and other organizations put out dumpsters for collecting magazines, newspapers and phone books for recycling, which keeps all that paper out of our already- crowded landfills.

Textbooks: Donate to a local prison.

Towels: Take to an animal shelter or homeless shelter.

Games: Donate to a children’s hospital, prison or recreation center.

Cell phones: Take any kind of cell phone, charger and accessories to the nearest Franklin Covey store.
Through the Donate-a-Phone program, used cell phones are recycled and used to assist victims of domestic violence. Your local police station might also accept cell phones for the same purpose.

General: If you would like to find a “good” home for anything, but particularly large items such as furniture, post a notice in your local area at http://www.freecycle.org and have whoever wants it come and get it.

Next month: Summer organizing projects


In Canada, the first week of May (May 2-6) is National Organizing Week. Come on now. . .
get to it!

SURVEY RESULTS: Garage sales

Last month, I asked: “When was the last time you had a garage sale?”

As promised, here are the results of that survey:

8% said: Within the last month 11% said: One to six months ago 30% said: Six months to a year ago 20% said: More than a year ago 32% said: Never

May is a popular garage sale month. I guess it’s because it’s that time of year when you do your spring cleaning and decide that some stuff has been taking up valuable space for too long and now it’s got to go.

My best advice for garage salers is this: Plan to donate whatever is left at the end of your sale.
Pack it up in your car and take it to the nearest Salvation Army Store or Goodwill Store. Or post it at http://www.freecycle.org and have whoever wants it come and get it. Remember. . . your goal was to get rid of it!

NEW SURVEY: Settled or not

How long have you lived in your current home?

a. 0-2 years b. 3-7 years c. 8-12 years d. 13-20 years e. 21-29 years f. 30 years or more

TO RESPOND TO THE SURVEY, send an e-mail to editor@unclutter.com with the word “Survey” and your answer in the subject line. Feel free to include comments in the body of your e-mail. I really enjoy reading them.

I will share the results of this survey in the next issue.

READERS WRITE: A tisket, a tasket

I use a medium-sized basket with a handle to put letters to be mailed, bills ready to take to the places I will pay them, grocery list with coupons, a notebook with my “to do” list for that day, my CVS list, names of people I need to see that day for some reason, etc.

When I am ready to go out the door for my errands, everything is neatly organized and stored in the basket. I just pick it up at the door and whisk away, knowing I have what I need so I won’t have to backtrack and come home for something I forgot.

I get the basket ready the night before so I have time in the morning while dressing to review my day and think of anything else to do or add to the list or basket. By the time I come home, my basket is empty, and I can start thinking about filling it for the next day’s errands!

It helps me save time and gas money, both important in this busy world we live in!

Submitted by Colleen Ambardekar, Cochran GA

WRITE TO WIN an autographed copy of my most recent book!

Do you have a really great organizing tip you would like to share with other readers? Or a question about an organizing challenge you have?

Send an e-mail to editor@unclutter.com with “Readers_Write” in the subject line.

If your question or tip is included in a future issue of this newsletter, I will send you a free autographed copy of my latest book, The One- Minute Organizer Plain & Simple. Check it out at


PLEASE NOTE: I get a lot of questions and it’s impossible for me to respond to them all. Please know that I do read them and do try to answer as many as I can.


Did you happen to catch me last month on the “Get Wise, Get Organized” Internet Radio Show?

Click on the link below to hear the interview in which I shared some secrets from a new project with Dr Oren Mason, a family practitioner specializing in the treatment of ADHD. It’s all about improving your ability to organize your finances when you have adult ADHD.

Here’s the interview link: http://www.worldtalkradio.com/archive.asp?aid=3859

All I am doing this month is writing, writing, writing Cleaning Plain & Simple, a comprehensive guide to housecleaning, which is scheduled to be released in January 2006. My deadline is. . .
yikes! Gotta go.

If you would like a signed copy of any of my books, you can order direct from me: http://www.unclutter.com/books.html Click on the SignedCopy.com logo to have a signed copy sent to you.

That’s it for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.