We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
6 years ago, as we prepared to move to a new house, my wife and I decided to 'declutter'. Since then, we have been in permanent declutter mode, because having too much stuff around is a pain. Not only that, but as the saying goes "one man's trash is another man's treasure." Well, not so much trash, but if I'm not using it, it may was well be trash.
In order to get rid of household items, we utilized a variety of services. The most well known would be Craigslist and Ebay. After all, you can make a few bucks while in the process of getting rid of useful things you consider junk. However, my wife also stumbled on Freecycle.
We use it through Yahoo! Groups, but you can join on the web. It's free, it's easy to use, and you do nothing more than post what you're offering and what town you're in. The person then picks it up at your door.
When I was on my way to the airport one early morning, my cab driver told me she was recently divorced and havig a rough time. She had picked up several things from us on Freecycle saying "you people have been a godsend." Another person sent me an email telling me that the barely used Heelies (kids wheeled sneakers) were the hit of an otherwise difficult Christmas. For our part, we rarely take, but last spring somebody posted "As many perennials as you can dig," and we wound up spending an hour digging up plants which now fill a previously bland portion of our backyard.
If you haven't tried it, or aren't familiar, Freecycle (Yahoo! link) can help you clean up as 2012 begins, while helping out others at the same time. It's not for everybody, but I'm a devotee.
I've used FreeCycle in 4 different locations. I've found that each local freecycle group has its own culture, and in two of the locations I stopped bothering with freecycle altogether.
In the first location it was fantastic, and the recipients of stuff were great.
In subsequent places we have had much less hassle in making appointments to give people things for free by posting on the "free" category of Craigslist.
On either you need to be very clear in your posting about your location, especially for small-dollar items, otherwise you may be fielding calls from lots of people for whom the transport costs would exceed the worth of the item.
Another outlet for the useful bits left over from home renovation projects is Habitat for Humanity -- they run "ReStore" retail outlets where donations are sold, and the odd 20 sq ft of underlayment or Pergo that was left over after your installation might be just perfect for someone's half-bath or backdoor landing. Our local one is great for matching discontinued colors of vinyl-composition tile.
Freecycle in my area has been pretty good for getting rid of things, especially things that charities won't take. People also often post about things they've seen on put out on curbs for the trash. In my area, they have a sister group where you can put up posts for items for sale, or let people know about a yard sale you're planning to have. My biggest complaint about the Yahoo group I use is that the moderator isn't always quick about getting posts up on a timely basis.