Sell, Donate or Repurpose? What to Do After you Declutter


Great job, you’ve done it! You’ve decluttered, sorted through, and cleaned out that room. What do you do with all of the things you don’t want or need anymore? Rather than put more items into the local landfill why not sell, donate or repurpose your excess. 

By the way, it looks amazing – so much brighter and cleaner! I bet you feel very accomplished and proud of yourself, as you should. It’s a task that takes pre-planning, time, a fair amount of elbow grease, and of course, the motivation to get it done. 

So now the question is:  What’s next? What is the next step to complete the entire project? What do you do with those items that have potential resale value? Or items that you would like to donate to worthy causes? Maybe you’re thinking you want to repurpose a piece into something else in another room in your house?

I’m not sure I’m ready to be Marie Kondo’s apprentice yet (Marie, of course, being a certified KonMari Consultant in Organizing that literally swept the clutter and dirt from so many homes over the last few years) but speaking personally, I have found success is doing all three things: Selling items through consignment. Donating to local charity stores. And repurposing items such as furniture to be used in a different room by using a bit of creativity (chalk paint in my case) to create something new.


Now it may seem counterintuitive to use that lovely clean room you just decluttered to create more piles of stuff but if you want to pursue different options for your items, it is important to sort through them and place them accordingly to where you want them to end up. And sometimes that choice isn’t necessarily up to you. For instance, if you have baby gear like a stroller, booster seat, or high chair that you want to donate, not all charity places will accept baby items. So if they are in good condition, you would be better off finding a local consignment sale like the Wee-Sale in order to pass along those items.


Donating items to places such as Goodwill or your local church does offer the benefit of not having to sort it before giving it away. You can gather your items all together in large bags and take them to the location during their donation drop off hours (times and days vary for every place). Bonus with donations is they will provide you with a tax donation form so you can claim the donation on your taxes. Whether you are donating clothes, shoes, furniture, or housewares, please make sure all items are clean and in relatively good condition.

Books can be donated at:

Books for International Goodwill
451 Defense Highway, Annapolis.
There is a shed outside where books can be left. They have B.I.G. sales throughout the year.

Neighborhood Little Libraries


And now to my favorite part of the declutter process: the Repurpose. Whether the item comes from your own home or you are bargain shopping items from someone else’s efforts in decluttering (in my case, the saying of “One woman’s trash is another’s treasure,” holds true), it’s a fun process to take something old and transform it into something new and usable. 

Recently, I have been frequenting a local charity shop in my town in search of furniture to complete my dining room. On three separate occasions, I have found gorgeous, well-made, and heavy pieces of furniture that I have repurposed. It’s a blessing and a curse that the items in charity shops and at consignment sales are constantly changing so you never know what you’ll find as pieces are coming in frequently as well as being sold quickly.

My first furniture project was redoing a long sideboard with a glass top. I wanted the finish to match the color scheme of blues and grays in my dining room. With the help of Kris Foran at The Red Dresser in Edgewater, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint to transform the dark brown wood stain into a rich navy blue. 

My second piece was a cabinet with open shelves that I distressed and painted gray as a complement to the navy blue sideboard. The cabinet is now used to hold glassware and cocktail liquors.

Another easy project that I’ve recently completed was simple: putting new fabric on kitchen stools so they matched my dining room chairs. No sewing was required at all and with a clearance deal on fabric, it only took me a few hours to measure, cut, and staple new fabric on the stools (which I bought at Goodwill).

Where to Buy and Sell Repurposed Items

  • Ebay
    You can list up to 50 items a month for free, and eBay takes a 10-percent fee on the final sale.
  • FB Marketplace
    List free of charge and arrange shipment or pick up directly.
  • Poshmark
    For sales under $15, Poshmark takes a $2.95 commission and you keep the rest. And for sales over $15, Poshmark takes 20 percent of the sale.
  • Thred Up
    You’ll get a payout after your items sell, and you can edit the price of a listed item at any time.
  • The Red Dresser
    The Red Dresser paints, finishes, and sells furniture and other home decor using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint® and products to represent the different colors and finishes.

Options abound to make the best use of your efforts in decluttering your home. Whether you organize a neighborhood garage sale to earn extra cash, have your donated items picked up curbside by the folks at Purple Heart Association, or take a sewing lesson to learn how to alter clothes to fit your growing family, all of it is a job well done!

By Claire Darcy