It’s time to come clean: My house is a mess. Between kids, work, and life, I just don’t have the time to keep up with it all. There’s just too much stuff. You know those people who save this, that, and the other thing because they “might need it” one day? Guilty. There’s so much stuff that I thought I could use that I’ve had for years and, guess what? I’ve never needed it and probably never will.

While I will never be a neat freak, I would at least like to have my house be more presentable for those times when people unexpectedly stop by. We’ve inherited so much junk from other people who thought we could use it because they had thought they would use it but realized they never would. So now one man’s junk has become another man’s … junk.

It shouldn’t take a New Year’s resolution or spring cleaning to make a fresh start. I’m trying to commit to a weekly roundup of things that are just taking up space. Living in a mess-free space just feels so much better. I know I’m not alone in this, so for my fellow clutter-bugs, I’m sharing some ways to find a new home for all your stuff-you-might-need-but-will-never-use. While plenty of us have enough junk to spare, there are just as many folks who would love to use that coffeemaker that’s been sitting in the closet for eight years as a backup in case your current one dies. (Again, guilty.)

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The charitable organizations that run donation centers are plenty and make it easy to drop off your items. Some, like the Salvation Army and the National MS Society, will even pick up items at your house. It can’t get any easier than that. Consignment shops are a great way to lighten your load while making a little extra cash, and social media offers many venues to sell or simply upcycle your old stuff. So stop slamming the closet door closed on the overflow of things falling out. Toss it into boxes and bags and share it with those in need. You’ll feel better about yourself in more ways than one.

Consignment Shops

Located throughout the area, these shops are more specialized and cater to various categories like men’s and women’s clothing, children’s clothing and toys, furniture, and sporting goods. Karma Tahoe, Mountain Kids and Echo Blue, Mountain Living Home Consignment, Tahoe Sports Hub, and Unique Boutique are a few options.

Thrift Shops

These stores are typically tied to a charity, whether on the local level like Tahoe Forest Hospice Gift and Thrift, or a grander scale like Catholic Charities, Goodwill, the MS Society, and Salvation Army. Listed below are a handful of thrift shops in the Reno/Truckee/North Tahoe area. A quick Google search will reveal numerous other locations.

  • Pass It On Thrift
    599 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City
    (530) 581-3117
  • Tahoe Family Solutions Thrift Store
    797 Southwood Blvd. #13, Incline Village
    (775) 833-4414, tahoefamily.org
  • Tahoe Forest Hospice Gift and Thrift
    10338 River Park Pl., Truckee
    (530) 582-4947, tfhd.com

Paper Shredding

A big part of my mess comes from paperwork that I put aside to get to “later.” Much of it is junk, but most contains personal information that, in the age of identity theft, shouldn’t just be thrown in the trash. I’ve started to take important papers to be shredded at The Office Boss because, even if I had a shredder of my own, I’d never get to it. You can also have it done for free at a local paper-shredding event, often sponsored by organizations like Keep Truckee Green and the Rotary Club of Tahoe City. Check your town’s calendar of events for scheduled days.

Donation Bins

They’re scattered here and there, branded with the name of a seemingly charitable organization. You dump your bags of old clothes and drive off feeling good about yourself because they’re going to a worthy cause. A word of caution: Not all donation bins are created equal. Some go to for-profit entities and are designed to look like nonprofit benefiting. Goodwill cautions to be sure your chosen bin includes a clear mission statement, notes how and what percentage of sales benefit the designated organization, contains contact info for questions and to obtain a tax receipt, in addition to clearly bearing the name and logo of the organization.


Main Image Caption: CLUTTER BUG: Feeling a little lighter with a full carload ready to donate. Photo by Juliana Demarest/Moonshine Ink

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