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100 Reasons to Get Rid of It

Blueprint, March/April 2007

Because You Have Too Much Stuff
1. 1.4 million Americans suffer from chronic hoarding & clutter.
2. People burn 55 minutes a day looking for things.
3. 80 percent of what we own we never use.
Pay someone else to take out the (big, cumbersome) trash.
Lock it up in more than 2,100 locations around the U.S.
Schedule a pickup with your local Salvation Army.
Find local recycling and reuse programs for all kinds of household items.

Because It's Fun
Set up shop at the World's Longest Yard Sale, August 2-5, along 450 miles of Highway 127 in the southeastern U.S.
9. Or peddle your wares in your own front yard on National Garage Sale Day, August 10.
Attend nationwide clothing exchanges and do-it-yourself alteration workshops.
Watch as a pile of your favorite old T-shirts is converted into a quilt.

Because Someone Else Needs It
Cell Phones
Put a refurbished phone (of any brand) into the hands of a domestic violence victim.
Or let its sale benefit an environmental charity.
Send a phone to the field staff of a poverty-fighting mission.

Digital Cameras
Help keep service members in touch with their families.

All Technology
Work with charities to find homes for consumer electronics.
Put scanners, computers, and cameras in the hands of deserving, impoverished kids around the world.

Air Miles
For Red Cross staff and volunteers
For deployed soldiers
For transplant patients
For terminally ill kids

Furniture & Appliances
Match your household items with a local non-profit's wish list.
Furnish homes for disaster victims.
Give interview and work clothing to disadvantaged women.
Donate a wedding gown to benefit breast-cancer patients.
Send formal wear to teenage girls who need help getting to the prom.
A free coat to anyone who needs one.
Ship shoes and sportswear to struggling athletes around the world.

Supply children in foster care with luggage.
30. &
Send eyewear to men and women in underdeveloped countries.
Convert American Express credit card points to cash donations.
Donate a used vehicle to support your local public radio station.
Give everything from storybooks to encyclopedias.
Send towels and newspapers to animal shelters.
Fund job training programs and social services.
Post donations for charities (and regular folks) to claim.
Donate leftover building supplies to Habitat for Humanity's ReStores.

Technology and training for the disabled and disadvantaged.
Connecting donations with charities across the U.S.
Send computers to more than 50 developing countries.

Because It Can Be Turned Into Something Else
Recycled footwear materials become sports and playground surfaces.
Donated Capilene base layers become polyester fibers for new Capilene garments.
43. Pangea organics' packaging becomes an herb garden when planted in soil.
44. Cargo cosmetics' PlantLove lipstick tubes come in plantable boxes that sprout wildflowers.
Old newspapers become colored pencils.
Rubber tires become sleek purses...
...or rugged iPod covers.
Plastic soda bottles become durable hammocks.
Yogurt containers become colorful plates, flatware, toothbrushes, and razors.

Because It Will Make Your Life Better
50. Getting rid of clutter will reduce housework by 40 percent.
51. Erase a $10K credit card debt (with an average interest rate) 65 percent faster -- and pay 75 percent less total interest -- when you pay double the typical minimum monthly payment.
52. Download security software like Stopzilla to keep a lid on computer pop-ups.
53. Around 23 percent of people pay late fees on bills they cannot find.

Because You Can Get Something Back
54. Return six MAC Cosmetics containers to any MAC store and receive a free lipstick.
55. Trade in an old iPod and receive a 10 percent discount on a new one.
Easily convert spare change into "real" money.
Sell it to your neighbors.
Sell it to anyone.
Get cash for gift cards you'll never use.
Trade the books you have for the ones you want.
Trade the DVDs you've seen for the ones you haven't.
Clear off your CD shelves, and make money in the process.
The great entertainment exchange: books, music, movies, and games, all swapped in one place.

Because It's Old/Expired
Replacing old appliances with new, energy-efficient ones saves money and fuel.
65. Running shoes should be retired after 300 to 500 miles in order to prevent injuries.
66. Deep-six your toothbrush every three to four months.
67. Swap your pitcher's water filter every two months (or as directed).
68. Change out disposable air conditioner filters once a month during cooling season.
69 Replace the batteries in your smoke detector at least once a year.
Find the USDA's recommended storage limits for refrigerated and frozen food.
71. Throw out mascara and moisturizer after three months.
72. Discard foundation and sunscreen after six months to a year.
73. Keep concealer, lipstick, eye- and lip liners, fragrances, powders, blushes, and shadows for only a year and a half to two years.
74.-76. Say goodbye to the dried-out remnants of your favorite no-longer-available lipstick, and check out, T.J.Maxx stores, or Lancome's beauty bye-bye program for replacements or duplicates of discontinued cosmetics.

Because You Don't Want to Suffer from "Stuck Song Syndrome"77. And these five tunes are among the most persistent: Chili's "Baby Back Ribs" jingle, "We Will Rock You," the "Mission Impossible" theme, "YMCA," and "It's a Small World After All." (Tip: Try drowning them out with classical music, which is less likely to haunt you after it's turned off.)

Because the Last Thing You Need Is More Paper Lying Around
78. File your taxes through an authorized IRS e-file provider.
79. Eliminate paper statements by banking and paying bills online.
80. Call 1-888-567-8688 to stop unwanted credit card solicitations.
81. Opt out of mailing and telemarketing lists by logging on to

Because There's a Better Option
82. Search for phone numbers online instead of storing bulky Yellow and White Pages volumes.
83. Lose the road maps and get a GPS system to download up-to-date travel guides.
84. Read "Dating Up: Dump the Schlump and Find a Quality Man," by J. Courtney Sullivan (Warner Books, $14, 2007).

Because You Don't Want to End Up Like Them
85. Miss Havisham in "Great Expectations"
86. Big Edie and Little Edie Bouvier Beale in "Grey Gardens"
87. Oscar Madison in "The Odd Couple"
88. The family in the documentary "Packrat" (
89. The Bronx, New York, man who, in 2003, was trapped in his home under an avalanche of books and newspapers for two days before being rescued.

Because If They Said It, It's Probably True
90. "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." -Leonardo da Vinci
91. "Less is more." -Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
92. "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." -William Morris
93. "You've got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative." -Johnny Mercer
94. "The joy of giving is indeed a pleasure, especially when you get rid of something you don't want." -Frank Butler and Frank Cavett, "Going My Way"

Or Just Because...
95. It has no value, sentimental or monetary.
96. It hasn't been used in over a year.
97. There is no logical place to keep it.
98. It doesn't work.
99. An ex gave it to you.
100. And what's the worst that can happen if you throw it out?

Comments (38)

  • PersyStorage 11 Sep, 2013

    Many self storage facilities also rent trucks and sell boxes to help with the move. Most companies rent storage units with only a monthly contract too.

  • Samuel Pun 20 Aug, 2013

    Self storage is a great way to get rid of stuff. However i don't want to move all the stuff myself. That's why i use service like yes-storage。 They pick up and delivery storage box from my home and store it in their central storage facility. I am not sure if service like that is available in the US

  • Merelymel13 16 Mar, 2015

    That is not getting rid of anything, that is putting more value on the items by paying for them to be moved and paying for storage when there is now even greater probability you will never use the items.

  • Organize Diy 28 Jun, 2013

    This is an awesome reference for my DIY clients for ways to "get rid of stuff". Thanks for compiling!

  • chenjieqiong1989 19 Sep, 2012

    Denna tillverkare råkar vara nästan populära och vanliga för att skapa skjortor av den ideala högsta kvalitet och struktur. Du kan växa till vara komplett sportig person genom
    att bara välja din mest älskade Abercrombie Fitch skjorta. När du kommer att kliva ur din bostad kommer varje person att uppskatta ditt alternativ. hollister köpcentrum, kan
    vem som helst don

  • jnetti 24 Feb, 2009

    I love hearing all the interesting thoughts that contributers put here. I am always working on the clutter but this time of year the bug strikes the hardest. It is a struggle to part with my junk. Reading about all these charities that need help makes me doubly grateful for my live and what I have and it makes me want to help others with what I don't use anymore. jnetti.

  • Marycassells 9 Feb, 2009

    I have the opposite problem. I tend to throw things out. Sometimes the item belongs to my husband. Sometimes the item was a gift from my husband. I think there must be a balance.

  • CECEAV2001 4 Feb, 2009

    A year after my hubby of 50 years died, I moved to one of our small 1 bedroom rentals, opened our large home to the public and had the biggest inside sale our little town ever witnessed...didn't price a thing, just told them how much I wanted for the items they wanted...haven't missed a thing and 50 years of GOOD stuff was sold in about 10 days... I then gave away anything that didn't sell or it went to the dump...feels good not being a caretaker to stuff and my bank account is larger...

  • tjander 31 Jan, 2009

    My family

  • SMILETU 30 Jan, 2009

    Appreciated this article, anything that teaches us something is A-Okay in my book. I have always wanted to see and shop at the Worlds largest garage sale, maybe someday?
    Friends on line-Thanks for the added sites- will look them up.
    I have cleaned out my Library and taken assorted books to the area Girl School to bring them up on many topics of interest to grow from.
    Keep those ideas coming....THANKS

  • amna 29 Jan, 2009

    Thanks for this ideas! I love it and I am always looking forward for a mail like these. The only problem here in ksa, we do not have anyplace to send these old rubbish so I have to send them to my own country in the Philippines where I have to spend a lot of money for the freight. Iam also an avid fan of yours. And so much ideas I have practically make in my own home. Thank you.

  • pickypeople 28 Jan, 2009

    So grateful that you have once again published this list. Last time I saved many as favorites but wished I had saved more. Big THANK YOU! I'm making copies for my friends also.

  • dnargi 28 Jan, 2009

    and i think the last sentence clinches it - what is the worst that can happen if you throw it out? perfect I am off to PURGE.... thank you.

  • cathrynmb 28 Jan, 2009

    It feels great to get rid of stuff! I've been doing it (via Freecycle

  • CharlotteG 28 Jan, 2009

    In my logical mind, I know I must part with the closets and bins full of "I might need that someday" supplies and potential projects that I never had time to do. But that's difficult. (These lists of good causes are great incentive!)What is really impossible is parting with the boxes of photos, memorabilia that is our "family history". And all the things given to us by family members that are no longer with us. Then there's the stuff that I'm supposed to sell on ebay! Yikes!

  • learning2cookat39 28 Jan, 2009

    GREAT ARTICLE (# 99 ROCKS!)!!! There were several posts of "no how-to" listed. What I do is choose 1 closet/room/cupboard, depending on size/content, to focus on. With each item I ask: Have I used it in the past year? Does it work? Do I *really* like it? What do I use this for? If I have no good answers, I try to find somewhere to donate it or recycle. Last resort, junk it. Great for clearing kids' rooms!

  • tonikattykat 28 Jan, 2009

    Did my Mom put you up to this?

  • dimzee 28 Jan, 2009

    If you need motivation, write down 100 reasons why a clutter-free life MAKES YOUR LIFE AND HOME BETTER. I help people declutter their homes andthose who are the MOST SUCCESSFUL are the ones who have GREAT reasons to declutter like a visit from an old boyfriend, a move or someone is moving BACK or IN to the home. I say Do the Difficult Thing and attach the clutter BEFORE it gets to a crisis stage.

  • k-9 28 Jan, 2009

    Consign decent clothes--I have made over a thousand dollars and a lot of room in my closet in the last six months. They say you only wear 20% of your wardrobe (how do they know this?) and donate the others, if not to the sites listed, to Goodwill--they can even make shoprags out of old t shirts!
    I'd rather have the space than the thing it occupies, a lot of the time! So much more peaceful.

  • mrst53 28 Jan, 2009

    I love the sites to recycle, but unfortunately I live in the middle of nowwhere! I do use, but most of the recycle sites, do not exist in my area and my county doesn't even encourage recycling. I am a clutterer my nature and I need help to get started and keep it going. The ideas are great, but unless, I have TNT under my behind, I'm not going to keep moving. :-)

  • Sherylc 28 Jan, 2009

    Wow great article..My philosophy: By getting the physical clutter in our lives under control or just gone..helps us to cope with the emotional clutter in our lives...and boy do I need control...LOVE IT MARTHA! and the TEAM

  • jennbc 28 Jan, 2009

    Don't forget about to keep unwanted catalogs from cluttering your home!

  • chicagosully 28 Jan, 2009

    WOW! This is why I love Martha Stewart and her staff. This is such an amazing and helpful e:mail. It is time we all realize that we don't need 'stuff' to make us better people! It covers everything here to the psychology of hoarding

  • eferreira1 28 Jan, 2009 is # 36 on the list.

  • Rinchen 28 Jan, 2009

    I can't believe that no one has mentioned Check out the site and scroll down to your city and join. You will be giving your stuff to somebody who actually thinks they need it.

  • Rinchen 28 Jan, 2009

    I can't believe that no one has mentioned Check out the site and scroll down to your city and join. You will be giving your stuff to somebody who actually thinks they need it.

  • militarymummydp 28 Jan, 2009

    The best tip was number 99, over a twelve year period I got rid of all my things from my ex and replaced furniture etc. with all new things I picked up new or from yardsales with my own money earned I threw the garbage out twelve years ago and never brought new garbage into the house again.

  • deeanne5354 28 Jan, 2009

    All great ideas. Check out for more decluttering advice. Her system works!!!1

  • kimberlys 28 Jan, 2009

    Great advice. Hopefully it will keep me motivated. I just donated 5 boxes of books to the local library, 12 garbage bags of toys to charity, and 1/2 dumpster full of garbage...and I have a lot more to go!

  • Haydeez 28 Jan, 2009

    This is excellent advice, and so timely! I have been focusing on clearing the clutter in my house over the last few weeks, and every time a bag goes out to Goodwill I feel so much better! I've even convinced my husband to join in on the fun, and he's bought into it too. Very rewarding to get rid of old stuff and focus on organizing the things you love and use often!

  • famhul88 28 Jan, 2009

    Great Article! As Mrs_Younger said above, please visit, a free website. Marla Cilley provides you with the tools to release all kinds of clutter from your life through positive, encouraging messages.

  • MrsDiet 28 Jan, 2009

    Fantastic. Happy to find out about all the places via websites that can use the items you know are still usable but that you don't personally need.

  • superiorhabitat 8 Sep, 2008

    I love love love this article - totally right on and lots of great inspiring ideas!

  • Mrs_Younger 24 Apr, 2008

    How to get rid of clutter: put it in the trash can or give it away. See if you don't need it, use it or love it, it gets thrown away or given away.

  • susytassy 11 Apr, 2008

    DITTO TO COMMENTS BELOW. I want to know more of HOW TO.

  • NatLizAn 9 Apr, 2008

    I think it is a bit of a "how-to". It just doesn't tell you how to throw stuff out (I think we know that already), it tells you how to dispose of it in a useful manner. Great article.

  • kburden 8 Apr, 2008

    Yes, this is more of a "where to" and "why to" than a "how to" -- however, I thought it was FABOOLUSS! Great web addys to help get rid of stuff most charities won't take and place it where it will do the most good. Motivation not included.

  • donnaletton 23 Mar, 2008

    it was an interesting read, but not enough actual "how-to" for me.