De-Cluttering your life (and Donating!)

11/27/2009 Update:

The time of year to DONATE & De-Clutter your life!

Remember, just when they need it most to help out families in need, many charities run low on supplies during this time of year. If you are thinking of getting rid of a few gently used items, baby things, toys, furniture, clothing, books, etc… please, consider donating them to the charities listed below. If you don’t have any “stuff” to give away, many of these organization could use monetary donations too.

Pare down your home (or your wallet), and feel good about helping someone else get back on their feet. Something as simple as a donated suit can help someone succeed in a job interview! (See ways to de-clutter your life after the jump!)

volunteer-donate-and-de-clutter-your-life-hoboken-nj

Donation resources:

Besides obvious places, such as eBay or Craigslist, here’s a list where you’re surely able to find a good destination for the items you want to rid yourself of, besides the drop-off boxes you might encounter in your travels:

  • Freecycle – Hoboken Group
    Have something you want to get rid of? Or need? There’s a chance someone in Hoboken might want or have it. “Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.”
  • Dress For Success
    550 Newark Avenue, Suite 403
    Jersey City, NJ 07306-1326
    Ph: 201 216 1020
    E-mail: jerseycity@dressforsuccess.org

    Benefits women entering the workforce after unemployment and welfare.
    Needs/Accepts: Interview- and work-appropriate women’s clothing in excellent condition (no obvious tears, stains, missing buttons or broken zippers), dry-cleaned or laundered as appropriate, on hangers. New and nearly new shoes, scarves, purses, belts, jewelry, new nylons and unused cosmetics are also accepted. How to donate: You may drop off donations from 9 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday.

  • Good Counsel
    411 Clinton Street
    Hoboken, NJ 07030
    Ph: 201 795 0637
    E-mail: help@goodcounselhomes.org

    Benefits mothers in a crisis pregnancy as well as their children, preparing them to live independently.
    Needs/Accepts: Newborn to age 2 baby clothes, diapers, food, toiletries, toys, and accessories How to donate: Contact them by phone or e-mail to arrange a drop-off.

  • Hudson Cradle
    1805 Kennedy Blvd
    Jersey City, NJ 07305-2171
    hudsoncrad@aol.com
    Ph: 201 332 7879
    Benefits “boarder” babies (healthy enough to be discharged from the hospital but whose families cannot yet take care of them) from birth to 18 months.
    Needs/Accepts: Newborn to 18-month baby clothes, bibs, diapers (small and medium), Alimentum formula, board books, colored paper, garbage bags, hand lotion, double strollers, high chairs, Dreft laundry detergent, tissues How to donate: Contact them via phone to arrange drop-off.
  • Hudson Milestones
    375 Monmouth Street
    Jersey City, NJ 07302
    Ph: 201 792 1161
    E-mail: hudsonmilestones@juno.com

    Benefits low income families with developmentally challenged children up to 3-years old through three locations.
    Needs/Accepts: Baby through preschool toys, books, puzzles, and games; baby gear, including high chairs, strollers, car seats, cribs; casual women’s clothing; household items, including bedding and furniture How to donate: Contact them by phone or via e-mail to arrange a drop-off.

  • Jubilee Center
    601 Jackson Street
    Hoboken, NJ 07030
    This Center, sponsored by All Saints Development Corporation, provides afterschool homework support to kids in Hoboken’s public houseing, as well as services to families during the summer.
    Needs/Accepts: Volunteers to help prepare a meal from 4:30-6:30 pm Monday-Friday during the summer, lunchtime volunteesr to read to children at 1:00 pm on summer weekdays, and volunteers to speak to children about their career, in the evening.
    How to volunteer: Contact Shelly Ferguson Barnes at shelly@hobokenproperties.com
  • Project Home
    Jersey City, NJ
    201-309-4663
    This 18-month transitional housing program is for woman in recovery from substance abuse and the effects of domestic violence and their children. Recovery is fostered through a wide range of services leading to independence.
    Needs/Accepts: Baby items, such as, cribs, strollers, bouncy seats, high chairs as well as diapers, toys and books. How to donate: Contact Emily at 201-309-4663 x14 or Carol Rickert at 201-659-2806 or car109@optonline.net.
  • Reach Out and Read
    Jersey City Family Health Center
    Benefits children living in poverty by putting books into their hands while waiting for medical treatment, in addition to stressing the importance of early reading to a child’s development, via volunteer readers in waiting rooms.
    Needs/Accepts: Volunteer readers, as well as new or “gently read” books. How to doante: Contact Alicia Weinstein at 201-222-8404 or abwtennis@yahoo.com.
  • Salvation Army Thrift Store
    248 Erie Street
    Jersey City, NJ 07302
    Ph: 201 653 3071

    Hours: 9 am – 5 pm, seven days/week
    Benefits the volunteer efforts of the Salvation Army.
    Needs/Accepts: Men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, shoes and accessories, books and toys, household items, furniture How to donate: Clothing can be dropped off any day 8 am – 10 pm, other items can be dropped off during business hours. Call during business hours to arrange for furniture donation pick-up.

  • Symposia Community Bookstore Inc.
    510 Washington St.
    Hoboken, NJ 07030
    phone: 201 963 0909
    Symposia is a non-profit project whose mission is to foster personal and community development by creating and supporting local groups in Hoboken and surrounding neighborhoods. Symposia accepts donations of books, DVDs, CDs, tapes and office equipment. To make book donation, visit our store located at 510 Washington St. in Hoboken during the opening hours (Noon to 6 p.m. every day), or call us at (201) 805-1739 to schedule a pick up.

3/12/2008:
hoboken-clutter.jpgWith Spring right around the corner, Hoboken411 reader Sara thought it’d be a good time to start a thread about downsizing and decluttering your home and life.

Do any of you have a system? Or are you currently suffering from clutter overload like myself? Excess clothing, books, toys, baby-gear, old electronics, computers, DVD’s or CD’s? Do you throw them out? Give them to charity? If so where? Why do we accumulate so much? Will it help you mentally and financially if you needed or collected less?

Additionally, thinking about the material clutter in your life made me realize that it’s not just physical clutter that impedes clarity and progress in life: With your time, friends, hobbies, entertainment, vices, communication methods and beyond. It’s mental clutter, human clutter, and more!

Clutter has many shapes and forms. Whether it be time constraints, paperwork, belongings, projects, or whatever else. Clutter can be defined as “things that are inefficient, that consumer your time with minimal progress, etc…” Perhaps taking too much on can evolve into clutter, even if you’re organized! There are only 24 hours in a day.

Read more about clutter, and find some solutions below. Helpful links, places to donate in and out of Hoboken and more. Ironically, this article was scheduled to be written a week ago, but I have so much clutter, I didn’t have time. No joke.

1. Material Clutter

messy-desk.jpgHoarding items and never organizing, discarding or donating unused personal items happens for many reason. Some individuals are just pack-rats, and are afraid to let purchases go, with the chance that they might be able to recoup some of the value back one day. Other times, it could be just honest laziness and disorganization. Not everyone is capable of “compartmentalizing” their belongings, and might forget they even own it if it’s not visible: Out of sight, out of mind.

For most of us, it’s probably procrastination that is a result of having a “cluttered, blocked mind,” as Ph.D. Schleicher says in her article at tapthepotential.com.

“Your mental clutter may include the projects you started and never finished, the stack of paperwork on your desk, unsorted photos, old clothes taking up space in your closet, junk piled in your garage, etc. These are things we notice, and tolerate on a daily basis. Cleaning out the clutter is a way of cleaning out your mental clutter, or “psychic vampires” that rob you of your vitality.

When left unattended for long periods of time, this clutter robs us of our energy and vitality. Think of all the times you have walked into your garage, noticed the mess, and thought “one day, I should get this cleaned up” all the while feeling a twinge of guilt for procrastinating. There may be certain parts of your home or workspace that you avoid, just because looking at the mess leaves you feeling overwhelmed and drained. When you have a cluttered work or living space, your creativity and energy stay bound up in the clutter.”

She recommends starting small, and building momentum from there. You’ll enjoy the renewed mental clarity as you make progress.

Other Resources:

Website zenhabits.com has a compact list of 15 Great Decluttering Tips to get you started. Such as:

  1. Decluttering for 15 minutes a day
    Like the doctor mentioned previously, you have to start somewhere, and might be surprised at the results.
  2. Donate excess stuff – (See local list and end of article)
    Rather than throwing things out as a last resort, find a place to donate, AND get a tax-deduction.
  3. Clean as you go
    Instead of staring at the microwave or teapot, pick up a few things while you wait.
  4. 6 month rule (for clothing)
    If you haven’t worn it in a season or two, sell or donate.
  5. One room at a time
    Completely tackle one room. It’ll supposedly motivate you to continue in other areas.

See the complete list here. What other ways could you suggest for eliminating/reducing clutter?

Non-material clutter: it’s still clutter

Interestingly, clutter really shouldn’t be inherently labeled as material goods. Clutter is a general way of saying “disorganized mess,” and can apply to many aspects of your life, across the board. Goals can be harder to stick to such as a diet, resolution, workout, or savings plan. New projects can be difficult to finish because your time, energy and attention is being sapped by other useless junk on your mind, in your house, or on your schedule.

For instance, “why can’t you stick to your diet?” popular author Peter Walsh asks. After writing best-selling organizational books “It’s All Too Much” and “How to Organize (just about) Everything,” he just released a book called “Does this Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat?” which goes into what he believes losing weight and keeping it off is directly related to your kitchen: planning your meals, routines and organizing you spaces.

I haven’t read the book (no time) but I can sort of see where he’s coming from. Often times my kitchen is such a disaster, that I have no way to prepare healthy, fresh food. So I go and make something quick and unhealthy.

Time Clutter

How do you spend your time? Do you take on too much? Are you inefficient with the time you have, yet still complain that you have no time (such as I)?

Time clutter can be many things. Going out too much, excessive passive activities (sleeping, TV, lounging), shopping, way too many friends, acquaintances, idle chatter (phone, IM, Text messaging, Myspace), and probably one of the biggest may in fact be WORK.

I’ve finally realized after two years, that the lifestyle I’ve chosen will eventually require me to cut even more things out of my schedule if I want to make some real progress. If you’re really constrained for time each day, some activities naturally fall by the wayside. Often times that means getting/staying organized, not sticking to a diet or workout plan, your finances, etc. Those that can handle being busy are smart, and cut out events like going to the bar, or watching TV. The rest of us get stuck with the mess that’s left behind if we don’t handle our priorities carefully.

Last resort: Temporary lock-down
By choice, I’ve put myself in a rough position. I’ve touched every single aspect you see on Hoboken411 (and everything behind the scenes). Every graphic, photo, video, feature, article, email, ad, and everything in between I manage or create. This job has consumed me like you wouldn’t believe. Occasionally, my life reaches a boiling point, and a temporary lock-down is in order. That means cutting out the unnecessary things I like to do for a period. From taking days off, going out, watching TV, or even showering! (yuck!) And if I’m lucky, I can reverse the clutter-bug and regain some efficiency and clarity in my life.

Maintaining it for extended periods of time is another story. I, like many others, go through the same revolving door over and over. Hopefully one time I’ll crack the code for life.

Thanks again to Sara, Irene and the HFA for their help in putting this list together!

Any others to add to the list?

Leave a Reply

6 Comments on "De-Cluttering your life (and Donating!)"

Stpaddygirl
Member

My life is horribly cluttered I am now living like that crazy old lady with a path to her bathroom. Yet I am scared to throw anything away………maybe I should be looking at the therapist article instead.

LM
Member

Freecycle is great, I haven’t had any issues.

I called St. Mary’s to confirm donation dropoff times. I was told Thurs-Sat from noon to 4:30 (closed the rest of the week); she suggested calling in advance if you want to donate on Saturday because of the volume of dropoffs. There is also a limit on clothing donations–two of the white trash bags or one of the large black ones.

eam144
Member

Uptown – I use both the Hoboken and Hudson county sites and it works great. I only had one person not show up for anything I was giving away. I highly recommend.

uptown girl
Member

Has any one joined/used the Freecycle Hoboken group? I am interested in how it worked (not how it works.) My sister-in-law does this near her and thinks it is great especially for kids stuff.

elainetyger
Member
elainetyger

Thanks, Sara and 411. I’ll come back here if I have something to donate. Usually I just put it out front as a “sidewalk special,” since we got a bunch of our furniture that way when we first moved to Hoboken, and I like to keep the karma cycle going.

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