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Use the power of the Internet to unclutter your life


We're on the cusp of the most magical time of year; but beyond tidings of comfort and joy, the holiday season is also appropriately deemed the "Season of Stuff."

Most of us already have too much junk cluttering our homes, offices and desks — it can be overwhelming. It's easy to see how this stuff accumulates: We are constantly inundated with messages to buy, subscribe, sample and "Click Here!" Over time the accumulation of swag and such can get out of control. Cleaning house, however, can take a much-needed load off your mind during this stress-inducing holiday season.

SEE ALSO: 30+ Services to Make Your Move to a New City Less Stressful

If the last episode of Hoarders hit a little too close to home, it's time to do something about it. Below are our suggestions for apps, tools, and services to help you unclutter.

Clean up your physical space

With papers and files piled high on your desk, last-season fashions crammed in your closet and dozens of tchotchkes littering your shelves, it can feel like you're drowning in your own belongings. Luckily, there are a number of helpful online services, apps and websites that can help you unload your unwanted junk to those who actually want it.

  • Conduct a home inventory assessment: Before throwing out, selling or donating items, it's useful to conduct an inventory assessment and figure out which items you no longer need, versus those you might want to hold on to for future use. Check out this list for a compilation of some of the most helpful tools and apps available for conducting such assessments, such as Know Your Stuff and Visual Inventory.

  • Consider hassle-free self-storage: You've been meaning to throw that junk that you probably won't (but might) need again into self-storage, but haven't gotten around to it — after all, nobody really loves the process of packing boxes and lugging them to an inconveniently located self-storage center. Boxbee provides a quick fix. The service, which calls itself the "urban storage valet," will provide boxes, pick up your items and let you manage your storage needs online — plus it only costs $7.50 per month, per box. Boxbee is currently available in New York and several cities throughout California.

There's also MakeSpace, which launched last year as a sort of Dropbox for your physical things, with pick-up and delivery baked into the $29/month rate. They'll take photos of everything you've stored, so you can request it in a jiffy if a need arises. The service is available throughout the contiguous U.S.

  • Subscribe to updates from Apartment Therapy: While it may seem counterintuitive to subscribe to yet another newsletter as an answer to clutter, Apartment Therapy's content provides great tips for organizing, rearranging, renovating and more.

  • Organize your cable cords: If you're stuck with a jumbled mess of cords cluttering your home entertainment system or desk, Cable Zipper gets high marks for cutting down on the unsightly cluster of cords around your workspace, television or gaming system.

  • Maximize your space: Sometimes, your apartment layout and furniture arrangement can make your home feel more cluttered than it actually is — especially when working with small spaces (cough cough: Manhattan apartments). Apps such as HomeDesign 3D, MagicPlan and Floorplanner can help you physically arrange your space to maximize your home or apartment's potential and give your digs some fresh feng shui.

  • Make some extra cash for your used stuff

It's tough to part with old designer clothes and home goods in which you initially invested hundreds or thousands of dollars. If throwing things out feels like money down the drain, consider a few of the below programs and services that allow you to trade in, donate or sell items for cash, store credit or tax breaks.

  • Sell and trade old items via online resale outlets: If the mere idea of opening your closet induces anxiety, it may be time to clean out your old wardrobe (let's face it: You're never realistically going to wear your prom dress again). Online resale outlets such as Tradesy and Poshmark, and online consignment shops like thredUP, Twice, Threadflip and Luxury Garage Sale, make this process simple.

For selling more than just clothing, OfferUp, Wallapop and Carousell offer similar buy-and-sell services in app form. And of course, the tried and true options like Craigslistand eBay are also helpful if you're trying to unload as quickly as possible.

  • Unsubscribe from junk mail: There's nothing quite as infuriating as hoards of junk mail clogging your mailbox or creating an eyesore on your kitchen counters. There are a number of ways to unsubscribe from promotional snail mail online, including Trusted ID Mail Preference Service, OptOutPrescreen and DMAchoice. While signing up for these services may not eliminate junk mail completely, they should significantly cut down on the "limited time offers" that you receive. You can also use to consolidate the newsletters and flash sale emails into a daily digest, to streamline your inbox subscriptions.

  • Get rid of old books: You're not sure how you managed to collect so many books, but they've somehow taken over your attic and basement — and now they are starting to creep into your main living spaces. Amazon's book buy-back program will get you up to 80% of your money back on used books; plus, shipping is free and you don't even have to have purchased the books from Amazon in the first place. Still want access to your prized collection of the classics, but without taking up the space? Consider an e-reader or a subscription to

  • Verizon's HopeLine donation program: The program accepts old wireless phones in any condition (and from any provider), refurbishes the devices and gives them to government and law enforcement agencies dealing with domestic violence, as well as to local domestic violence-prevention agencies. All information and data is scrubbed from donated devices, so there's no need to worry about your old photos or texts ending up in someone else's hands. To donate, visit a Verizon store or print a postage-paid label here.

  • Get rid of old tech

If there's a drawer in your room that's full of old MP3 players, video cameras, three original iPhones and other now-defunct devices, consider ditching some of these antiquated technologies by donating, recycling or selling them. Below are a few apps and companies to help.

© 2014-2023 by Smart Group LLC.

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