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How to Discard: Donations, Recycling, & Trash

Where do you take donations, recycling, and trash? What can I donate? What about hazmat?


Where & What can I Donate?

In the United States there are three major donation centers:

Goodwill

General Items:

  • Clothing
  • Housewares and Small Home Appliances
  • Toys and Games
  • Books and Textbooks
  • Bikes, Skateboards, and Scooters
  • Shoes
  • Purses, Bags, and Luggage
  • Home Décor
  • Movies, Music, and Media
  • Sporting Goods
  • Jewelry
  • Bedding and Linens

See more information about large donations, electronic donations, and items they DO NOT accept.

Salvation Army

  • Household Appliances
  • Automobiles
  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Household Goods
  • Electronics

Learn more about specific items to donate and how to value donations.

Habitat for Humanity

  • Household Appliances
  • Furniture
  • Building Materials
  • Household Goods
  • Electronics

Find a resell store near you and learn more about what you can donate.

Can I Schedule A Donation Pick Up?

Yes! All of the above centers offer Donation Pick Up Options!

You can also reach out to your local Waste Management for help!

What Can I Recycle?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the most common recyclables are:

What NOT to throw in the trash?

What are Hazardous Materials? What needs to be disposed of separately?

What if there’s just too many donations, recycling, and trash?

Consider renting a dumpster or hiring a junk remover.

Do you need more recommendations and help?

organized kitchen cabinet

How to Organize Duplicates Guide

Learn how to declutter, organize, and maintain duplicates with our step by step guide!


What are the pain points?

  • Having too much of the same thing
  • Buying items and then realizing you already have them
  • Wasting money by buying what you don’t need
  • Losing time by searching for items and then rebuying when you can’t find them

What are the causes?

  • Items do not have a designated home (place of belonging)
  • Like-items are stored in multiple places
  • Items are stored in inconvenient places – too high, far back, or out of sight

What is the solution?

Step 1: Joy Check Duplicates

Step 2: Designate a Home for the item(s)

When picking a location, pick a place that is:

  • Easy
  • Convenient
  • Flows with your daily routine and lifestyle

Step 3: Pick a place to Store and Display

  • Bin/Basket/Bowl on a counter
  • Basket/Bin on a shelf
  • Hook on the wall
  • Rack on the wall
  • Designate a drawer
  • Box on bottom or top shelf

Step 4: How to Store and Display

  • Organize items horizontally instead of vertically
  • The goal is to see everything instantly
  • The location and way it is placed is easy to get, put back, and maintain

Step 5: Practice and Repeat Habits

  • Try finding and putting items back regularly for 7 days
  • When you shop, be mindful of what have.

With a functional and organized system it is easy to take inventory and buy only what you need and truly want.

Step 5: Adjust and Evaluate

You know you need to readjust your system if:

  • You start to accumulate more of the same things
  • Your storage space can’t accommodate the amount you have
  • You buy more than what you use and need

Do you want help with how to organize duplicates?

How to stop Losing & Searching for Things

What can you do today to stop losing & searching for things?


What are the pain points?

  • Misplacing items on a regular basis
  • Spending time and energy to find items
  • Feeling frustrated/annoyed by repeating the same tasks
  • Feeling out of control in your environment
  • Panicking when you’re in a rush

What are the causes?

  • Items do not have a designated home (place of belonging)
  • Stress, fatigue
  • Multitasking

What is the solution?

Step 1: Designate a Home for the item(s)

When picking a location, pick a place that is:

  • Easy
  • Convenient
  • Flows with your daily routine and lifestyle

Step 2: Pick a place to Store and Display

  • Bin/Basket/Bowl on a counter
  • Basket on a shelf
  • Hook on the wall
  • Rack on the wall
  • Designate a drawer
  • Box under bottom shelf

Step 3: Practice and Repeat Habits

  • Try finding and putting items back regularly for 7 days

Step 4: Adjust and Evaluate

You know you need to readjust your system if:

  • You place items in random places
  • You place items outside of the designated home
  • You have to search for items

Try to move the location to an easy and more convenient place that makes sense around your habits.


Example: “I always lose my keys, wallet, and glasses.”

Step 1: Designate a home

  • Near the entryway so I can drop and pick up items easily at the door.

Step 2: Store and Display Options

  • The right drawer in the entryway console.

Step 3: Practice and Repeat Habits

  • For 7 days I will put my keys, wallet and glasses in the drawer when I come home.
  • For 7 days I will retrieve my keys, wallet, and glasses from the drawer when I leave.

Step 4: Adjust and Evaluate

  • After 2 weeks, I started to put items on the surface of the entryway console.
  • I placed a beautiful glass dish on the entryway console to place my keys, wallet, and glasses.
  • I find it’s much easier to empty my pockets and pick up my stuff easily off the counter rather than open a drawer.

What things are you losing and searching for?

questions and answers tidy lifestyle organizing

Q & A: Tidy Lifestyle Organizing

Q & A: Tidy Lifestyle Organizing

What triggers cause people to want to organize?

  • Feelings of frustration, stress, and distraction regularly when at home or in the office.
  • Life events like expecting a baby, a recent break up, or the passing of a relative or friend.
  • Special Occasions such as upcoming holidays, weddings, and birthday celebrations.
  • Situations involving a big move or trip abroad where organizing and preparation are a must.

What are the signs to start organizing now?

Physical:

  • Visual clutter from surfacing being covered and piles of stuff
  • Hidden chaos when you open drawers and closets
  • Duplicates of the same items

Behavioral

  • Losing track of items
  • Spending time searching for items
  • Consistently buying items at the store only to come home and realize you already have it.
  • Buying items only for them to be left unused with tags on or sitting around in original packaging
  • Organizing day by day, yet nothing changes

Emotional

  • Distraction
  • Frustration
  • Overwhelmed
  • Hopeless
  • Out of control

What can I do today?

Start with a category. Clothing is the easiest category to get started with. Clothes are something we touch and use daily. It is much easier to decide what to keep and discard because you know what you wear and what you don’t. Before you organize your clothes, first sort through them one by one.

Begin with a super simple subcategory like socks. Pick out the socks you use often and are prone to grab; use these as a basis for what to keep. Try to compare your favorite socks with the others. Is the band loose and fall down when you walk? Are there holes on the bottom? How old are these socks? If socks are 3-5 years old I recommend purchasing new socks. Once you know what socks you are keeping, check out your storage space – will all of your socks fit nicely? Should they be folded in half or in thirds so they can be lined up horizontally? Learn how to display and fold your sock with Tidy Lifestyle’s How-To Videos.

What can help me stay motivated to tidy?

Take a moment and think about why you want to tidy. If everything in your life was completely organized and seemingly perfect, what would that look like? What is your ideal lifestyle? Describe the physical space, how you feel in the space, and what you would do. Why do you want that lifestyle? Why do you want to tidy? Create a detailed image of this ideal lifestyle.

Before you begin to organize, transport yourself into this vision. This long-term goal is a great motivator and reminder of why you are organizing. Remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. Have fun and take breaks if you’re feeling burned out.

Find a nice space to fold or do a short meditation before you get started. Try your best to reframe your mindset to see organizing as a positive habit that helps make your life easier.

What does Tidy Lifestyle offer that I can’t do on my own?

A personal guide who will support you with solutions that are tailored to your specific habits and lifestyle.

Nicole’s coaching lessons can be compared to a life coach or personal trainer. Nicole teaches clients how to maintain organization through folding lessons, how to categorize, store, and to utilize spaces efficiently. She asks questions to understand habits and behaviors so she can strategically know where and how to place items. She creates an organizing solution personalized for each client and every client.

Too busy to organize? Want to save time and just get the job done? For those busy with work and other commitments, Nicole also offers traditional organizing services where she organizes for you. From organizing, to beautiful displays, to donation drop offs, and shopping – Take advantage of this all inclusive service.

Why should you pick Tidy Lifestyle?

Meet Nicole Sachiko – Organizing means so much more to me than tidying physical spaces. It is a vehicle to help clients learn about themselves, how to maintain organization, and to live their ideal tidy lifestyle.

During my childhood I grew up in a hoarder home. It was typical to walk through “alley ways” of piles upon piles of stuff, a tradition to clear clutter off the table before meals, and a struggle to find items when needed. I can empathize personally with what it feels like to be physically cluttered and mentally stressed. How items naturally accumulate over time and hold us back instead of enhancing our daily lives. In college I studied Psychology, Child Development, and Health Education to ease my insatiable curiosity to help and understand people. After organizing my parents hoarder home I realized how the magic of tidying up can change lives physically and mentally. I went on to get certified with Marie Kondo as a KonMari® Organizing Consultant.

It is my joy in life to help guide you to rediscover what truly sparks joy for you – not only with your possessions but with your life in San Diego!

What are the core benefits of working with Tidy Lifestyle?

Nicole –

  • genuinely cares about you
  • is committed to starting and finishing your project completely
  • carefully considers how to set up your custom organizing systems to make your life easier
  • creates a safe and judgment free zone where you can feel fully self expressed

Q & A: Tidy Lifestyle Organizing

Question? Concern?

Organize Sentimental

How to organize sentimental items and showcase joy in your home

Why do I have so many keepsakes?

  • We hold onto items to remember and cherish the past
  • When we see and feel these items we relive moments in the past

Remember & Reframe

  • Truly special memories never die, even when we discard items associated with such events.
  • The joy and excitement of the here and now is more important than holding onto something from the past, only to forget about it.
  • The boxes we store in the attic, back of the closet, under the bed often remain there, untouched.
  • When we store sentimental items away they become a weight from our past that holds us back from moving forward in the present.
  • The space in our home is for the person we are and want to become, not who we were in the past.
  • Organize sentimental photos now and display them throughout your home or in a photo album to enjoy for the rest of your years.

The Guide to Organize Sentimental

Photos

  • Remove all photos from albums and boxes
  • Joy Check photos one by one
  • Try to keep only five photos per a trip/event
  • Very important photos don’t often have duplicates
  • Keep scenery photos when you can identify the trip/event

“The meaning of a photo lies in the excitement and joy you feel when taking it. In many cases, the prints developed afterward have already outlived their purpose.”

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

Letters

  • A letter fulfills it’s purpose the moment it’s read
  • The person who wrote it has long forgotten the existence of the letter, its content, and has moved on.

Gifts

  • Keep it if it truly sparks joy
  • Be courageous and say goodbye if
    • you held onto this item because of a sense of guilt
    • it sparked joy in the past but doesn’t spark joy in the present
    • adds joy to who you are today, not who you were
    • the items served its purpose in your life and by letting it go, frees more space in your home and mind for today and tomorrow

Childhood Memorabilia

  • Stuffed animals feel like they have souls. They were with us in our fondest childhood memories.
    • If it sparks joy for you to hold and see – Display it on a shelf or in your closet
    • If you choose to discard a stuffed animal it helps to cover the eyes.

How to Joy Check

  • Step 1: Pile all sentimental items
    • If you have many photos, it’s okay to create a separate pile of just photos
  • Step 2: Pick one item that undoubtedly sparks joy
    • If you keep it, where will it be stored?
    • Will you display it so you can see and enjoy it?
    • Ask yourself honestly, does it bring you joy today and in the future?
    • Does this item help you cherish who you are now?
  • Step 3: Place items in Keep, Donate, or Trash
  • Step 4: Display keepsakes on walls and shelves to spark joy every day!
  • Step 6: Have the courage to let go & say thank you

Final Touches

When we display sentimental items we remember and celebrate who we were. We are also reminded of who we are now and who we strive to be.

  • Hang sentimental photos on the wall to look at it
  • Display sentimental items to spark joy daily

What sentimental item do you display proudly in your home?

Client’s receive up to 25% off at The Container Store!

“By handling each sentimental item and deciding what to discard, you process your past. If you just stow these things away in a drawer or cardboard box, before you realize it, your past will become a weight that holds you back and keeps you from living in the here and now.”

– The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

Organize Kitchen Komono

How to organize kitchen komono & live your best life!

Why are my counters cluttered?

  • No designated forever home for categories
  • Less frequently used items left out
  • Too many items to store

Marie Kondo’s Tidy Order

Cooking

  • Cooking Utensils
  • Cookware
  • Appliances

Eating

  • Dish-ware
  • Cutlery
  • Mats, Coasters, Towels, accessories etc.
  • Food Storage Containers

Food

  • Dry goods/Canned
  • Snacks
  • Baking
  • Teas & Coffee
  • Health foods

*If there are many items in a category, create a new subcategory*

How to Joy Check Kitchen Komono

  • Step 1: Pile one subcategory at a time
  • Step 2: Check expiration dates
  • Step 3: Pick an item that sparks joy
    • How often do you use this?
    • Does this make your life easier?
    • When did you buy this?
  • Step 4: Place items in Keep, Donate, or Trash
  • Step 5: Store items by category temporarily (final storage will be at the end)
  • Step 6: Donate food/Toss expired foods in the trash

Tips to Organize Kitchen Komono

  • Take a deep breath
  • Begin the easiest subcategory to joy check
    • Example: if you love baking, start with baking supplies or baking foods
  • Store large items first
    • Fill in the gaps with smaller items
  • Let the design of your kitchen guide you
    • Example: cups stored near “coffee station”
  • Containers & Bins are your BEST FRIENDS! Try to contain each category together by placing everything in a bin. Take a step further and label!

What kitchen gadget give you joy?

“Keep things because you love them – not ‘just because'”

– The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

Organize Komono

How to organize komono – all the miscellaneous items in your life!

Why are my drawers and cabinets chaotic?

  • No designated forever home for categories
  • Not putting things away

Marie Kondo’s Tidy Order

  • 1. CDs/ DVDs
  • 2. Stationery supplies: tools, paper-like (post-its), letter writing (envelope)
  • 3. Electronic Items (phones, camera)
  • 4. Electronic Cords
  • 5. Electric items: USB, ink cartridges for printers, batteries
  • 6. Skin care items
  • 7. Makeup
  • 8. Hair goods
  • 9. Relaxing goods: candles, essential oils,
  • 10. Hygiene care
  • 11. Medicine
  • 12. Valuables: passbook, wallets, certificates
  • 13. Sewing kit materials and cloth: thread, scissors, needles, tweezers, etc.
  • 14. Tools
  • 15. Hobby
  • 16. Collections
  • 17. “Just Because” buttons, key chains, change, phone cases
  • 18. Linen & Towels
  • 19. Stuffed Toys
  • 20. Recreation: fishing, balls, equipment
  • 21. Seasonal
  • 22. Special occasion: ceremonial, charms, ritual objects
  • 23. Rain gear
  • 24. Paper + Shopping Bags
  • 25. Consumables: tissue, toilet paper, etc.

If there are many items in a category, create a new subcategory

How to Joy Check

  • Step 1: Pile one subcategory at a time
  • Step 2: Pick an item that sparks joy
    • Does it spark joy for you today?
    • Does it weigh you down or compete with your other priorities?
    • Does it contribute to your ideal lifestyle moving forward?
    • Is it something worth keeping if you move?
  • Step 3: Place items in Keep, Donate, or Trash
  • Step 4: Store items by category temporarily (final storage will be at the end)

Facts about komono

  • Be mindful of the items you kept “just because.” See how much of this category takes up precious space.
  • Presents show someone thought of you. The gift should not be kept out of a sense of obligation, guilt, or should be stored away. Thank it for the joy it gave you when you received it and say goodbye if it is not joyful.
  • Travel toiletries have a short shelf life of a few weeks to six months at most
  • Throw away mystery cords. They’ll always be an unsolved mystery.
  • How often do you have overnight guests? If you have guests once or twice a year, be mindful of how many linens you need and keep only ones that spark joy.
  • Free, new, unused items such as calendars, etc, can be donated
  • Add spare change in your wallet so you can use it

What Komono do you need help to organize?

Clients Receive up to 25% off organizer products at The Container Store!

“Keep things because you love them – not ‘just because'”

– The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

owner of tidy time organizing san francisco

Why hire a Professional Organizer?

Tidy Lifestyle is a Professional Organizer Service committed to help you live your best life and feel inspired everyday through a sustainable organizing system that makes life easier.

Common Situations

Physical

  • clutter on surfaces, things left out
  • hidden clutter: inside drawers, closets, cabinets
  • frequently searching for things, misplacing/losing things
  • too many items, duplicates
  • similar items are stored in many places with no designated home

Emotional

  • Overwhelmed
  • Stressed
  • Distracted
  • Guilty
  • Frustrated

Spiritual

  • “I want to tidy but don’t know where to begin.”
  • “I’ve tried to minimize but still have too much stuff.”
  • “I have trouble letting go.”
  • “I may use this one day.”

Tidy Lifestyle can help you –

Physical

  • organize more efficiently
  • support with where and what to donate and recycle
  • custom shopping lists with recommended items to buy
  • display things beautifully and practically around the home
  • create a organizing system that you can maintain and that makes life easier

Emotional:

  • keep items based on joy, that add value, and are useful
  • let go of gifts, unused, forgotten items, etc.
  • to build confidence in your decisions of what to keep and discard
  • to rediscover yourself, reevaluate the possessions you own, and to work towards the lifestyle you want and deserve

Long-term

  • hold yourself accountable by putting items back where they belong
  • easily find items when you need them
  • know everything you have, where it is stored, and when you need to buy more
  • to be surrounded by items you truly love, that spark joy, and that make life easier

Why Tidy Lifestyle?

  • Nicole genuinely cares.
  • Nicole is passionate about organizing.
  • Nicole loves learning about others and helping clients reach their goals.
  • Nicole wants you to live your BEST life! You deserve it!
owner of tidy time organizing san francisco

Meet Nicole Sachiko – Organizing means so much more to me than tidying physical spaces. It is a vehicle to help clients learn about themselves, how to maintain organization, and to live their ideal tidy lifestyle.

During my childhood I grew up in a hoarder home. It was typical to walk through “alley ways” of piles upon piles of stuff, a tradition to clear clutter off the table before meals, and a struggle to find items when needed. I can empathize personally with what it feels like to be physically cluttered and mentally stressed. How items naturally accumulate over time and hold us back instead of enhancing our daily lives. In college I studied Psychology, Child Development, and Health Education to ease my insatiable curiosity to help and understand people. After organizing my parents hoarder home I realized how the magic of tidying up can change lives physically and mentally. I went on to get certified with Marie Kondo as a KonMari® Organizing Consultant.

It is my joy in life to help guide you to rediscover what truly sparks joy for you – not only with your possessions but with your life.

In-Person & Virtual Clients
Receive up to 15% off!

BA in Psychology & Child Development
Minor in Health Education

Find my Consultant profile ”Nicole Sachiko” on Marie Kondo’s Website

organize papers

Organize Papers

How to organize papers effectively

Why are papers everywhere?

  • Even in our digital age, we accumulate receipts, tags, warranties, mail
  • Papers saved over the years for events like tax season
  • Coursework we intended to refer back to from seminars/classes

The guide to success

  • Create a pending box for “to-do” items
  • Have a file folder or file box with dividers
  • Separate sensitive documents for shredding
  • Save shredding for last, shred everything at the same time

How to set up to organize papers –

  • Gather a manageable amount of papers in a pile or box. Pile an amount that is reasonable to sort through in your set timeframe.
  • Ready your supplies
    • filing cabinet/folder accessible
    • labeler or labels to write down each category
    • Recycling bin/bag
    • Shredding bin/bag
    • Pending box (to-do items)
    • phone or camera nearby
  • Create labels for subcategories. A few examples are:
    • Tax
    • Medical
    • Auto
    • Work
    • Manuals/Warranties
  • Have extra blank labels on hand for new categories you discover as you go.

How to Joy Check papers?

  • Step 1: Pile all papers on large surface
  • Step 2: Pick up papers or a binder one by one.
  • Step 3: Joy Check
    • What papers make life easier?
    • What documents are essential to keep for the future?
    • When did you last refer to these papers? (Seminars/Coursework)
    • Have you ever used this for reference?
    • Will you reference this? If so, when?
  • Step 4: As you sort, subcategorize keep papers in separate piles or a filing cabinet
  • Step 5: Separate and pile empty folders, binders, and notebooks. At the VERY END you will be able to see all of these together. This is the opportunity to joy check and pick the ones you want to keep and use!
  • Step 6: If you want to digitize your documents, I recommend to take photos at the end of each paper session rather than at the very end of ALL papers. This helps to break up the monotony of paper sorting while helping you to digitize your documents as you go.
  • Step 7: Recycle discards & shred sensitive documents
  • Step 8: Designate a home for your papers to live. Perhaps in the office or a cabinet.

Storage

  • Have a “pending box” for all incoming mail
  • Attend to your pending box regularly to avoid build-up
  • Store all papers in one spot ex. office

Need help to organize papers?