Although minimalism has been the new thing for the past decade, you don’t need to be a minimalist to know that clutter can impact your mental and physical health. You may look around and realize that you just have too much stuff. Or, you may know that there are some particular needs in your community that you can help to satisfy. Whatever your reasons for decluttering, one of the main things to keep in mind is to not just automatically head towards the landfill. Most items can be donated, simultaneously saving the planet and your sanity.

When Clutter Becomes Dangerous

Just because you don’t think that you are a hoarder, doesn’t mean that your clutter isn’t a danger issue. Many homes have blocked fire routes because boxes and shelves of unused items are sitting there untouched and in the way. Too many items in your home that are left uncleaned or undusted can also add to allergy issues. Many home accidents are caused by tripping over items. Small toys and items that are left on the floor because there is just simply nowhere else to put them can become a choking hazard to small children and pets. If items do not have a specific home within your house, it is time to declutter.

When You Don’t Even Know What You Have

How many items in your house do you use? One of the tricks you can implement to examine your wants and needs is to clear everything out of a room. As you need an item, place it back into the room. Do this for thirty days, reevaluate and then do it again for six months. After six months, look at everything that is left, outside of that room. Do you need six of the same spatulas? If items are sitting in boxes or unseen, there is a good chance that you may end up buying another in replacement, simply because you don’t know where the original is. You would be surprised to see what you need in each room, versus just collecting things that you may think you want during different phases in your life.

When There is a Natural Disaster in Your Area

Many locations around the country suffer from an immediate need for belongings due to a natural disaster. Many shelters, organizations, and agencies are always looking for items to help those who are in need. Donating items, even broken or heavily used items, can be of help to those who do not have anything. Clothes, kitchen utensils, home décor, furniture, blankets, and bathroom supplies are all needed regularly for those who lose everything in a natural disaster. Remember, greed is one step past enough. Donating items to individuals who need them ensures that your belongings are well-loved and appreciated.

When You Feel Stressed Out

Did you know that clutter is one of the main causes of stress, anxiety, and depression? Holding on to sentimental items can bring back both positive and negative memories. These are the hardest items to go through. You need to ask yourself, am I holding on to the item or the memory? Too much clutter causes anxiety because your attention is always distracted on items that are piling up. If your home does not feel like a sanctuary, and it feels more like a storage area, it is time to start going through and parting with some of your items so that your mental health can stay in a more relaxed mode.

When You Go Through a Major Life Change

When loved ones pass on, or when children fly the coop, this is a perfect time to begin to declutter. Although it will be difficult to part with some things, do you need to hold on to everything, just in case? When you are going through a major change in life, sometimes decluttering can be one of the most therapeutic things that you can do. It helps to make way for new memories and more open space. Letting go can be a difficult thing, but on the other side is a whole new feeling of starting anew.

When You Are Getting Ready to Move

What better time to declutter than when you are getting ready to move? You don’t want to tote all the unnecessary things with you. Make sure that you start early. Start with things that you know you aren’t going to use over the next month. Start packing up bins and taking them to the local donation center so that they are out of your way. Then move to what you won’t use over the next three weeks. Then two weeks. You will be amazed at how much you can get packed and organized when you aren’t tripping over unwanted items. Also, by donating items when you are moving, chances are you are helping someone else who is getting ready to move and may not have much to start with.

When You Want a More Stream-Lined Look

There are two kinds of people. Some like the stream-lined minimalist look, and those who love the comfortable and cozy look. Then some have the “I don’t care what my house looks like” look. Don’t be the latter. There is a comfortable medium between minimalism and comfort. If you are looking to have a more streamlined and organized look, start by decluttering. Don’t start by buying even more bins. If things don’t have a home already, don’t buy more stuff to organize them. Get rid of things that you don’t currently have room for.

When It Is a Seasonal Clean-Out Time

Spring cleaning. Fall cleaning. Birthdays. Christmas. These are all great times of the year to clean-out clutter seasonally. Whether it is donating worn out rollerblades or ice skates, there comes a time when things are no longer fashionable, useable, or completely out of season. Decluttering before big gifting months is a great idea also. Not only can you gift some of the things that you are looking to get rid of, but you may also be helping other people with their seasonal shopping because they can now purchase it at a more reasonable price, even though it may be slightly used

No doubt donating unwanted clutter is the way to go, for so many reasons. Those who need donations rarely care if they are gently used or not- if they don’t have it and need it, you are helping them acquire it in times of need. Plus, look at the benefits it can have on your own mental and physical health.