The Declutterer

During and after our discussion on the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing Hardcover by Marie Kondō, we shared ideas on places where we had successfully found new homes for the items in our lives that no longer sparked joy.

Here is a mostly unedited collection of the suggestions. Please add your ideas!

  • The ECUMENICAL HUNGER PROJECT in East Palo Alto takes donations of furniture, household goods and clothing. I brought a lot my daughter’s toys and games and clothing, as well as some of our clothes that we no longer use. These are distributed to low-income folks in East Palo Alto. They don’t have a lot of storage space, and usually want only items they have room for, or can find a home for right away, especially for furniture. You might want to check with them before driving there. (They have a truck, and if they want your furniture, you can arrange for them to come pick it up.) 
  • If you want to recycle your books and are willing to spend the time, you can sell them on AMAZON. You have to be prepared to package the books and make trips to the Post Office. You don’t get much but it can add up. 
  • GAMBLE GARDEN:  The Over the Garden Fence sale takes place during the Gamble Garden annual garden tour.  They accept donations of everything from fine art, china, linens, glassware, home and garden furnishings, to collectables and more. “Your gently used treasures will find a new home and proceeds will benefit Gamble Garden.”  Last March they were accepting small donations dropped off at the Gamble office and could arrange pick-up of large its by emailing If you miss this year’s deadline, I would expect they’ll be asking for donations again next March — so save up your goodies :))
  • SALVATION ARMY SAN JOSE:  A few years ago when our local Palo Alto Goodwill store turned down our donation of “painted furniture”, we found that the Salvation Army, 702 W. Taylor St, San Jose, welcomed our donation with open arms.  
  • CAMERA DEALERS: There are two dealers who will buy used camera equipment. One of our members offered to help with this.
  • NEIGHBORHOOD EMAIL LISTS: I’ve offered items on the BPA site and Nextdoor Barron Park. Descriptions as well as photos are good. I’ve been asked to describe things in detail.
  • EBAY: Can take a lot of time and following up and packaging and mailing, but can be quite successful. One of our members offered to give specific advice on how to get started.
  • Friends of the PA Library: they take books and many other items. See
  • Freecycle – set up an account. My husband’s process for freecycle is to take a picture of the item, then create an ‘offer’ with an honest description and add the picture.
  • The only annoying thing about freecycle is that often people say they want an item, then don’t pick it up.
  • To deal with this, he has developed a two step process: 1. Instead of responding Yes to the first person who says they want it, he asks when they could pick the item up. The first person who responds with an appropriate time wins! 2. Then we put the thing on our front porch, and they usually come and get it.
  • If you have multiple freecycle pickups happening at the same time, make sure to label each item with the person’s name; we’ve had people pick up other people’s stuff because it was unlabeled.

Suggestions for searching for more ideas online: