Local Resource Guide for Decluttering

Decluttering decisions can be physically exhausting and emotionally challenging. Finding resources to reuse, reduce, or recycle your items can be time-consuming and frustrating. Don’t allow your clean-out process to stall at the disposal stage. Removing the items before you second guess your intentional choice to let them go is critical. In the East Bay we have access to a great tool from Stopwaste.org, called RE:Source. It is your Online Guide for Reuse, Repair, Recycling, and Safe Disposal. Beyond that, I have complied a list of local resources to facilitate your movement towards a simplified life.

Hint: once you have collected a bag or box of donations, put it in the trunk of your car. Get it out of the house and quickly on to its second life.

Downsizing and retirement:

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter, by Margareta Magnusson, is described as a charming, practical, and unsentimental approach to putting a home in order while reflecting on the tiny joys that make up a long life. It is my absolute favorite. Please look for a copy at your local library.

The National Association of Senior Move Managers offers a helpful guide to rightsizing and relocation. 

AARP offers advice on how to help your aging parents prepare for a manageable move.

Donating furniture and other household items:

Furniture banks like Make it Home furnishes homes of those in need with donated furniture and household goods. You can feel good about giving your items a second life.

Habitat for Humanity Restore is unique. In addition to regular household items like furniture and appliances, they also accept tool and building material donations.

Donation Town is an excellent resource for donating clothing and other household goods to charity. Enter your zip code, and they will generate a list of charities in your area that offer pick-up.

The East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse turns trash into treasure, and they are a handy resource for artists and crafters. Their address is 4695 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.

Urban Ore started at the Berkeley city dump in the 1980s as a way to salvage items for reuse that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. Today they offer a wide range of items and accept many categories of donations. Their address is 900 Murray Street, Berkeley, CA. Their website has an excellent list of local reuse stores.

Donating clothing and textiles:

You may donate clean and gently used clothing to a number of local charities. Some charities will also accept gently used household linens. But what about used bedding, socks, underwear, and damaged or worn-out clothes that are not resaleable? 

Many local animal shelters accept donations of bed sheets, blankets, and towels for their animals. Please call first to confirm their acceptance.

For now, the best way to handle textile recycling is to label the goods as recycling and drop them at Goodwill. Goodwill has a sufficient infrastructure to support the sale of old textiles to recycling programs abroad. You can also bring unwanted clothes, made by any brand and in any condition, to H&M stores for recycling. H&M’s garment collecting program began in 2013.

Electronics recycling:

For Berkeley and Oakland, the ewasteCollective is a good resource. They also offer a service to provide free computers to schools, non-profits, and others in need.

Contra Costa County offers a list that you can choose from to find e-waste disposal options.

San Francisco Recology offers a curbside e-waste collection.

County recycling guides:

The various cities in Alameda County have different curbside recycling and garbage pick-up services. Please check with your service provider or city for details. 

Contra Costa County Reuse and Recycling Guide

County household hazardous waste centers:

Alameda County

Contra Costa County

San Francisco County

Paper shredding:



San Francisco

Determining the Value of Donated Items:

The IRS has many publications to help filers determine the fair market value of their donations. Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property, is comprehensive.

Turbo Tax offers an app that integrates into their tax software that allows tracking of donations years round. It’s Deductible – find out what your donations are worth.

Lastly, our friends at NOLO Press also have a number of resources to help you determine the deduction value for your donations. 

*AON is not responsible for the performance of a third-party company, including any conduct that falls below an acceptable standard or results in damages.