Tips for Discarding and Donating once you have decluttered.
April showers present a terrific opportunity to spend some time inside decluttering and discarding. If you’ve been recently gathering up outgrown clothes, unwanted household goods and unnecessary items, it’s now time to get the stuff out of your house.
WASTE vs RECYCLABLES: Uncertain whether something can go in the Blue Recycling Bin or Green Garbage Bin? Don’t make the mistake of simply setting it aside. Once you’ve decided to get rid anything, it’s critical to get it out of your house, before one or two things turn into a pile or a growing mound of what is, quite literally, garbage.
It’s likely that at least some of what you’re getting rid should go straight in the garbage. For example, Items such as broken plastic toys, dishes, mugs, etc. are not recyclable. Also note that black plastic packaging can't be recycled.
When in doubt, it’s always best to consult your municipality’s guidelines for disposal. If you live in Toronto, consult your Waste Management Guide, visit toronto.ca/wastewizard or call 311 for assistance.
EXPIRED MEDICATION: Never flush unused or expired medication or vitamins down the toilet or toss in the garbage. Take to any Pharmacy or a local Drop-Off Depot for proper disposal. Be sure to remove the pills from their packaging and put them in a plastic bag. Containers can be recycled. Note that creams or liquids are not accepted.
ELECTRONICS: There are special rules for disposing of old computers, keyboards, printers, televisions, cell phones and even batteries. Be sure to follow the strict guidelines for getting rid of electronic waste. For example, in Toronto, batteries must be taken to a Drop-Off Depot or to a Community Environment Day event. Some retailers, such as The Source, and even the Management Office of office towers accept old batteries to ensure they are properly disposed of.
PAPER WORK: Getting rid of masses of paper?
• Newspapers: They don’t need to be bundled or tied together. Simply toss them in the Blue Bin for recycling.
• Books and Magazines: Consider taking them to a nearby seniors’ residence or hospital waiting area. Some libraries accept books in good used condition, but check before dropping them off. Or leave by your curb for passersby to help themselves. Otherwise, toss them in the Blue Bin.
• Paper: Consider investing in a small paper shredder. Old documents you no longer need, such as paid utility bills, receipts, past financial records, old bank statements and tax documents include personal information. Properly and routinely disposing of old documents is not only a good habit to adopt, but the process of shredding papers can offer peace of mind knowing that any of your personal and/or financial data is completely unreadable and protected from identity theft.
If there are any documents you’re hesitant to throw out, in case you may one day need it for reference, instead of letting these papers stack up, scan them. Even inexpensive printers feature scanning capabilities. Spend a rainy afternoon scanning papers and saving them in a folder on your computer. After you’re done, put all shredded paper in either a clear plastic bag or grocery bag and then into the Blue Bin.
Depending on where you live, sometimes putting a few items at a time out by your curb is a good way to get rid of things. Anyone driving by can help themselves. You may even want to tape on a handwritten note indicating whether the item works but needs a good cleaning, is missing a part, etc. As the old saying goes, “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”
If you’re getting rid of old clothing, do not put it in the Blue Bin. It is not recyclable. It should either go in the garbage or be donated.
For a list of more than 60 charities and organization accepting clothing and other reusable goods, visit Toronto.ca/reuseit.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR!
Toronto’s Annual “Clean Toronto Together” is April 21 and 22. Even if you can’t get to a park to help with a community clean up, spend some time tidying up around your property. Even 30 minutes can make a visible difference to your yard and laneway just by picking up pop cans, plastic bags, cigarette butts and other garbage that’s accumulated over the winter.
Whether you’re discarding or donating goods, or a bit of both, celebrate knowing you’ve succeeded in getting things out of your home and that you are taking significant steps towards living an decluttered home.
Need help? Call Clutterfly! We can provide assistance with helping your declutter and discard – even taking things on your behalf to Drop-Off Depots and Donation Centres that are meaningful to you.