Preparing myself for a life-changing house-wide purge, armed with the bestselling book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up", I found that my biggest hurdle before actually parting with things was figuring out where they were all going to go. I can’t bear to just throw things away that could be useful (hence all the clutter in my house), so I needed to map this out first of all.

Following is the 'cleaning out plan’ that I came up with (with a great deal of help from friend and professional organizer, Betsy Kelly of BK Organizing). Yours would probably look a little different, depending on what organizations are in your area, and what kind of stuff you have to donate. But hopefully this will be helpful.

  • Get boxes (liquor, pharmacy, book store...) to sort items into categories: electronics, books, bathroom stuff, household, kids, etc.
  • Have trash bags ready for clothes and linens.
  • Call to schedule pickup (items can also be dropped off):
    • Salvation Army - happy to take all kinds of donations, including big items, housewares, sports equipment (1-800-728-7825/781-231-0803 or schedule online)
    • Epilepsy Foundation - clothing and some small household items (888.322.8209 or schedule online)
    • Mission of Deeds - household items like linens, dishes pots pans, lamps and furniture (781-944-9797)
  • Young kids toys, clothes, supplies can be dropped off:
    • Cradles to Crayons - takes items for 0-3 yrs old (see below)
    • Woburn Council of Social Concern - takes some things, like a bike and helmet, or a car seat, in good condition
  • Pantry (food) items go to Woburn Council of Social Concern (781-935-6495)
  • Personal care/hygiene items can go to a shelter. Emmaus House may still be collecting new and partially used toiletries, including travel size and full sized items, and making up gift bags for the homeless.
  • Books/media go to More than Words - bin behind St. Mary’s School, or will pick up - request $ donation for this
  • Winchester Dept. of Public Works (DPW) will take tools
  • Winchester Transfer Station takes electronics (lithium batteries, monitors, tax, stereos, phones, TVs)
  • List of organizations that accept wedding dress donations (and related items):
  • EnKa Foundation in Winchester will take clothing at their consignment shop
  • Goodwill truck at Whole Foods takes most everything (no toys)
Note: Generally, no one takes stuffed animals or pillows due to concerns about bugs, so plan to throw these away. (On the other hand, a down body pillow in excellent condition that I offered was accepted by Salvation Army.)
Cradles to Crayons drop-off in Winchester, MA
Liena’s of Winchester 45 Church Street, Winchester, MA. Visit website for hours of operation. Accepting new and like-new children's clothing, books, and baby items.
Winchester private residence at 53 Henry Street, Winchester, MA. Please leave drop-off items on the front porch. For questions, please contact Kelly at (617) 899-2657 or at Accepting new and like-new clothing, books, and baby items.