Problem #1: The area between our two bookshelves was always the catch-all for junk and clutter, probably because nothing really went there and the spot always looked empty and available! The only thing that really belonged there was the wicker basket (which you can barely see!).
Problem #2: The basket was supposed to house the items that were waiting to be donated, packed away or garage sale inventory. However, the basket was way too small for the job, and always overflowing and sloppy before I could get the items moved along to their final resting place.Problem #3: Nobody in the family except me knew what this basket was for, and so it just looked like a basket full of junk.
Step 1: I needed a large container, something that kept the junky mess contained and hidden. I scoured the recycle pad at the transfer station and found a perfect container: a large, cardboard moving box. It is tall, very sturdy and perfect… except, it’s brown cardboard, which really isn’t that attractive. Frugal solution: cover the box with gift wrap, which I also found free at the recycle pad!
Step 2: I cleared out all the clutter, putting the items in their homes and throwing the broken chair out with the trash (I told you things just found their way into that spot!). The garage sale items went into bags marked “garage sale” and were taken to the garage to await their fate. The donations were bagged and put into my car for drop-off. And the too-small kid clothes that I wanted to keep were packed into their respective storage boxes, marked with gender and size.
Step 3: Put the word out! I showed my family the new Donation Station and explained its use. If they know the system, they’ll use the system! Any items that we don’t want, don’t like, clothes that don’t fit, etc. go into the Donation Station. Once a month, mom sorts it into garage sale, donation, eBay, pack away for later, etc.
(My husband and I had a big shock when my daughter announced she no longer liked any of her “little kiddish” things, and we had a huge room makeover to do. I believe we would not have been so shocked if she had been able to take things she didn’t like anymore, clothes that were too small, or toys she didn’t want, and have a place to put them – no questions asked. We would have seen the princess items turning up in there and gotten the hint!)
The new Donation Station is perfect. It gives a home to all these transitional items and gives everyone free reign to declutter their rooms at their leisure! And my corner looks nice and tidy. Cost of Donation Station: $0, and a mere 10 minutes to wrap the box!