Decluttering 101 — And Where to Donate Locally


So Christmas is over and a fresh, new year has begun.  

Except there is nothing fresh about all. that. clutter filling your drawers and tables and playroom and closets. Whether you’re a resolution type of a gal or not, there is no better way to start a crisp, new year when every move you make lands you in 16 toy piles and a mile-high stack of Christmas cards.  

Start Small

Grab a trash bag and a file folder for each person in your family. Label each folder accordingly for every member of your family. Go into your kitchen, office area, inside drawers, and wherever else you may keep important stuff. Begin sorting the papers into the appropriate file folder for items you would like to keep, and throw the rest away.  If you come across children’s artwork that you have no idea what to do with, take a picture of it and create an artwork album for each of your children on your phone. Then dispose of the artwork properly.  

Graduate to the Closets

To prepare, make sure to order a couple of clothing storage containers online and have plenty of large, durable trash bags on hand. Go through each closet and separate clothing into two categories: to donate (even if that means to a younger sibling in-house) and to save. Also, have a trash bag at the ready because closets are full of random trash: receipts, old lotions, expired medication, and the list goes on. If the clothing still has tags on it and you haven’t worn it in six months, donate it. If you didn’t wear it all season, donate that as well. 

Declutter and donate

And ALL the Toys

While it sounds great in theory to have your children lovingly decide what they are ready to part with and give to a family in need, it doesn’t always go that smoothly when your children help you purge the playroom (and everywhere else toys are found). I opt to have the kids pick a few things the day before I actually purge. Then later when they are asleep or off to school, I let the real purging begin. I start with those same handy trash bags, but also with small- and medium-sized containers for items that my kids have dearly loved but that need to meet the attic. Any toy I categorize as “actually played with” I leave be. For the rest, I categorize between broken or incomplete (trash), donations, and special toys (store in bins in the attic). After a good playroom purge, my children always play MUCH better and for much longer spurts.  

What About Those Items that Don’t Have a Specific Spot?

Here is the deal. We come home with a lot of stuff. Our kids bring loads of insignificant things home, from party favors to beloved pet rocks and random pottery they have made. You name it, and it makes it to our counter tops and drawers. I am going to make this real easy for ya. Go around your house and collect this “stuff.” Place it all in a central location of your house and then go through each item, asking yourself if it has any type of meaning. If not, send it straight to the donate pile. If so, find a place in your home for it right then. If you cannot find a place, friends, it is time for it to go. Usually after doing this, I am left with a pile on my table that I think I cannot bear to part with. But if three days pass and those items are still there, I know that they no longer have a place in our home, and out the door they go. 

Oh, and Those Christmas Cards?

Run to your Hobby Lobby or hit up Amazon for one of these neat photo boxes that you can label by year and use to safely save all of your Christmas cards. Then pack them away with your Christmas decor. 

What to Do with All of this Stuff?

Donate, Donate, Donate! But where to? 

  • SafeHaven, which collects donations to support Freedom from Domestic Violence, has donation stations in both Arlington and Fort Worth. 
  • Community Storehouse’s mission is to keep kids thriving and active. Its site offers a thorough wish list as well as donation opportunities for the Northeast Tarrant County corridor.
  • Rachel’s House benefits Next Step Women’s Center in Burleson and accepts gently used items for families. 
  • If you’re in the HEB area, check out The Coat of Many Colors, which supports Mission Central in helping homeless families. 
  • Both Goodwill and The Salvation Army are also great opportunities that offer at-home pick up.  

As for all of those books that your children have grown out of, organize a post-Christmas neighborhood book drive and donate the books you collect to your local library or back to your preschool or school district.  

Join me in kicking off the new year with a clean, crisp, and decluttered home while giving back to causes that are important to you! 

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Raised on seven acres of land nestled in the heart of Southlake, and a graduate of the University of North Texas in Denton, Meagan is the definition of locally grown. She’s been married to her college sweetheart, Adam, since 2005, and they have two silly daughters: one tenderhearted free-spirit and the other a strong-willed spit fire. When not playing princesses or painting by number, she is curled up in her pajamas immersed in a historical fiction novel, eating sugar, practicing yoga, or finding the end of the Internet to feed the infomaniac within her. Once a 7th grade English teacher, now a stay-at-home mom, she enjoys staying connected with youth through mentoring in Christ as an accountability leader at her church, and serving as a Wish Granter for Make-A-Wish Foundation. In her “spare” time, which is comical these days, she tries to keep up her blog The Love Filled Way.


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