DeClutter Guide: How to Consign, Donate, Recycle and Upcycle in Baltimore - (cool) progeny

In the spirit of Earth Week, I thought I’d tackle my number one household nemesis: clutter.

I don’t know how it happens. It just seems to be the life of ‘stuff’ in our house. What starts as an individual small purchase {a book} becomes a dust collector on the kitchen counter {because I never get a chance to read it}, is then relegated to a random bookcase {because I’ll eventually read it one day}, and finally makes it’s way into a box in the basement {because I haven’t read it yet! Why would I give it away?}.

Then there are baby clothes, wear-em-once clothes, sports gear that’s been outgrown or out-interested, gifts that were warmly received but never used {really? that particular item made you think of me? and yet it was a gift so I can’t get rid of it because it really was so nice you thought of me!}, triplicate tools because we couldn’t find the first or second one we had bought … And so it goes. The accumulation of stuff.

So this earth week, de-clutter your house and de-clutter your mind — but don’t throw it away! Here’s our handy guide for clutter busting, donating, upcycling, consigning and recycling in Baltimore.

Baby Clothing
Have gently used baby clothes lying around? Sure, you could consign them but consider donating them instead. Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital accepts gently loved clothing and their patients would love new cozy threads. All of those newborn size clothes your kiddo never wore — and they still have the tags on them? Check your local hospital’s NICU. Most will give you a receipt so you can write the donation off as a tax credit.

Pint-Sized Toys, Gear, Clothing
Consider consigning never-worn or almost-mint-condition baby and kid clothes to earn a little cash. Little Lamb Consignments in Roland Park, The Lily Pad of Towson in Stoneleigh, Greenberries in Columbia, and Tried but True in Cockeysville are great options. Best part? Consigning in a local shop means they’ll do all the tagging and selling for you! If you don’t mind putting a bit more elbow grease into the process, check out Tot Swap for their next area kids consignment sale dates (you’ll have to tag yourself — but you can unload toys, books, gear and clothes all in one spot). If online is more your speed, you might want to look into Dashing Bee. The online kids’ consignment shop is operated by two Baltimore moms!

Rather donate? Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul Society, and Martha’s Table accept clothing donations.

Adult-Sized Clothing, Bags and Accessories
Re Deux in Wyndhurst and Fashion Attic in Canton are fashion-forward choices for consigning your own duds. If you’re thinking about donating, try The Wise Penny near Belvedere Square. Owned and operated by the Junior League of Baltimore, consignment sales benefit their local programs. {They accept home goods, too!}

Electronics
Sure, there’s eBay for selling electronics, but you may also want to look into BuyMyTronics.com for a more focused marketplace. And there are even sites that will pay you for your old cell phone or iPad. If the computer you’re looking to get rid of is less than five years old, consider donating to The Lazarus Foundation in Columbia. They’ll refurbish it and provide it to a local non-profit or school. Baltimore City also offers an eCycling program, so you can safely discard electronics.

Books
The Book Thing is the perfect place to donate your no-longer-needed books. It’s a tax deductible donation and you can pick up a new read for free, too. You can donate children’s and young adult books to The Book Bank, the donation arm of the Baltimore Reads program, too. Baltimore Reads distributes books to teachers, day care providers and health care workers free of charge. {Have a huge collection? They might just pick it up for you!}

Furniture and More
You know that jewelry-making hobby you spent $400 to jumpstart and never really took off or that oak desk taking up space in the basement? Give Baltimore’s The Free Store a whirl. Not only can you get rid of things you don’t want, you can pick up something new-to-you that you need for free! They’re currently looking for a storefront but are holding monthly free markets around the city. You can also try Craigslist or your local Freecycle Group, too.