Declutter for a cause Your extra household items can make a difference

Lulu, a beagle-basset mix, is dried with towels donated to the shelter at the Charleston Animal Society.

From front doors to back, duplicate, triplicate and even quadruplicate items have many homes bursting at the seams.

Just about everybody has too much stuff. How to curb clutter is a recurring topic of conversation.

But when Molly Miller’s family has too many pieces of clothing, dishes and other usable items, she doesn’t waste too much time talking about them. She gives them to charitable organizations.

Miller strongly believes in giving others an opportunity to use the good stuff her family doesn’t need but admits to being driven by discomfort with clutter.

“I try to keep clutter under control,” Miller says. “I don’t like looking at a mess. It’s stressful.”

Once items are gone from her family’s home at the Charleston Air Force Base, she can breathe a little easier.

While many may admire what Miller does, they still hang on to things they don’t use.

Kristi Meyer is a professional organizer and owner of “The House that Clutter Built” in North Charleston (

“What some people believe is if they have space, they have to fill it up,” she says.

So, we selected 12 items from among those that home organizing experts say people have too much of and are common causes of clutter.

Then we created a list of programs in need of those items.

What’s important is to have a home where items can be found when they are needed, Meyer says. That means getting rid of never-used coffee mugs, old towels, eyeglasses and other things just occupying space.

Charleston Animal Society is one organization that needs some of them, including towels.

“We can use towels,” says Kay Hyman, director of community engagement for the society.

“I would estimate we go through over 300 towels a day,” she says.

“We use them when bathing the dogs. We use them in crates for comfort. We use them in our surgery suite. Animals are tucked in every night with towels.

“Any condition, any color. We are not picky at all.”

The society is open seven days a week and can take them any day.

Meyer says those who can’t decide what to give may need a plan.

For example, they might need to employ a strategy to decide which objects in a kitchen drawer are needed and which are extra, she says.

Meyer says if your kitchen drawer can hardly be opened or closed, keep track of those items in it that get washed during the course of a week. If something is not washed in a week, it has not been used. You don’t need it. Give it away.

The exceptions are things used only for holidays, Meyer says. Store those away from pieces used everyday.

Reach Wevonneda Minis at 937-5705.