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Home & Garden

Spring Clean Complete… Now What? How to quickly declutter your home and get rid of the unwanted items

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The first weeks of spring can be some of the best times. However, as we open our window to a burst of fresh air, the sudden urge to wipe winter away sets in – the dust, the clutter and all the heaps of jackets, mittens, hats and boots that have accumulated over the months.

The cleaning process can be overwhelming. In my research and experience, I have learned it’s best to start small and organize one room at a time. If you divide the work, it won’t seem like such a monstrous task. TIP: The hardest part of going room to room is sticking to that one room. Place a wastebasket at the front entrance of the room to remind you to stay put and to use it to place objects in that belong to other rooms.

There are dozens – if not hundreds – of articles on spring cleaning. (I have a Pinboard on Pinterest titled ‘Home Made Easy!’ with some of my favourite decluttering and home organization ideas – Find me at DawnBoothYMM.) This piece has tips on what to do with the pile of unwanted stuff.


What You Will Need:  Boxes, bins and plastic bags for sorting, storing and delivering the items to donate.

This spring, I started with the children’s rooms. The closets were full of outgrown clothes and unused toys. Some people use tactics to get rid of stuff while their children are away. However, I used the opportunity to show them how we can take our old stuff and recycle it by donating to others.

It worked well. They were happy to choose items they no longer played with and the process happened quickly with six extra hands. It was also helpful to have them close by to try on clothes.

While you are sorting through each room, use three separate boxes: one for keeping, one for throwing away/recycling and one for donate/sell. After you’ve completed this task, the next step is to go through your donations. There are several options around the city to send your donations to on a regular basis. NOTE: If you are familiarized with an establishment, ask in advance.

Before you start packing items, be sure the donations are gently used and washed. Broken toys and worn out clothes are not suitable to donate. (Most toys are recyclable and old clothes can be reused by making rags for cleaning.) TIP: Don’t let donations linger in your home, as the unwanted pile may stick around for a few weeks. Try to get them to the places as soon as possible or put them in your vehicle to drop them off while you are out and about.


Day homes and childcare facilities:  Many local day homes and childcare facilities accept donations of toys and craft supplies. Keep in mind, donations must be gently-used or new and should come from a pet and smoke-free home.


The following are currently accepting donations:

  • Micah’s Dayhome (Registered Day Home) - Address: 160 Grecian Place - Phone: 780-381-8673
  • Starting Place Preschool - Address: #500-208 Beacon Hill Drive - Phone: 780-743-2966
  • Doctor and dental offices – Most offices welcome new and used books. Please call in advance or ask the receptionist at your next visit.
  • Local hospital – The Northern Lights Regional Health Centre accepts new and used books for the Continuing Care Unit and the Pediatrics unit. (Used books must be in good condition.)
  • Local thrift stores – The Salvation Army is well-known for receiving donations. It kindly accepts; clothing, housewares, furniture, electronics, toys, media & books, accessories, antiques & collectibles and computers. Check out The Salvation Army of Fort McMurray on Facebook for regular updates.


Whether choosing to donate or sell, it’s ultimately up to you. Though, if you don’t need the extra cash, donating is a quick and easy way to give back to the community.


Dawn Booth is a local journalist and business owner of the communication service, Media Booth. Residing in Fort McMurray since 2007, Booth has been actively working in the Wood Buffalo region as a media and marketing expert. From her arrival to the city, until November 2010, she worked as the Special Features Editor at the Fort McMurray Today. In April 2011, she co-launched snapd Wood Buffalo and managed the publication for three years, until June 2014. In March 2014, she created Media Booth and is currently working with a wide-variety of clients in the business and nonprofit sectors throughout Alberta. Her passion for volunteering in the community has given her two civic awards from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. She has also received the title for the Fort McMurray Connect's Top 40 Under 40 and is one of Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta's 2014-2015 Women of Inspiration. A happy wife and loving mother to two young boys and a baby girl, Booth can be found easily at