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8 great ways to declutter your life

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Image: OJO Images | Getty Images

In 2010 you may feel like making a fresh start and getting rid of unwanted or worn-out items.

Here are some great ways to easily de-clutter your home and help someone else at the same time.

[Hint: Print out this list and post it in your break room! Maybe your entire team could de-clutter together!]

1. Swap clothing with friends. If you have clothes that are in good condition, ask friends if they have the same and then get together, throw in some snacks and beverages, and swap items. The skirt that never really fit you properly may look great on a friend, and her sweater may match your new pants perfectly! You won’t have spent a dime, but you’ll have new clothes in your wardrobe. An added bonus is the good time you’ll have with your friends!

2. Give your old storage containers to local soup kitchens. Places that serve the hungry are often in need of storage containers such as empty plastic margarine containers, ice cream tubs or coffee cans. Check with your local group to see what sizes they need and how many.

3. Help out your local high school drama department! School budgets are extra tight these days, and theater groups are always in need of furniture or clothes for their productions. Got a funky hat from the 1970s or parachute pants from your MC Hammer days? The costume department would love to have it. Or why not make a teenage production a bit better by letting them have your old coffee table or kitchen table and chairs?

4. Don’t throw your electronics in the garbage! Not only is it bad for the environment, but you need to make sure you clear your personal information from devices such as cell phones and computers before they leave your possession. You can find recycling or donation sites nearest to you through the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. Also, check out the Environmental Protection Agency site, which can help you find local organizations such as schools where you can donate your computer, cell phone and other electronics.

5. If you’ve recently received some new luggage, think of giving old suitcases to your local child welfare department. When children are removed from homes, officials often have to put their things in trash bags. Extra luggage can mean a young person has a place to store personal items when being moved from one location to another.

6. Animal shelters often need old blankets, sheets and towels to use for animal bedding. The Humane Society of the United States will accept old furs to send to wild animal rehabilitators. The old furs help comfort and warm the animals.

7. Donate extra hotel room shampoo, conditioner, soap, shower caps, lotions, etc., to a women’s shelter. These individual products are greatly needed. Many women leave abusive situations in a hurry, often unable to take the most basic personal items with them. Cosmetic counters often offer freebies when you buy a product; if they’re not right for you, consider donating them to a shelter.

8. Habitat for Humanity will take used cars, trucks, boats or RVs—running or not. The donation can possibly be used as a tax deduction; you’ll need to refer to IRS rules or confer with an accountant.

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Anita Bruzzese

Anita Bruzzese is an award-winning journalist. Her book, 45 Things You Do That Drive Your Boss Crazy...And How to Avoid Them, was named one of the top 10 most notable business books by the New York Post in 2007. For more information, visit her Website at 45things.com.
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