APRIL…… the days are longer, the weather is warmer, and it’s the time of year when many homeowners get around to doing their major spring cleaning, from the basement to the garage.

It’s a great idea, once or twice a year, to do an intensive de-cluttering and either hold a garage sale or find other outlets for goods you no longer need or want.

As a Realtor with more than 30 years of experience in the Ottawa area, I can say without hesitation that the most common task that we ask of owners before we list their properties is to do a thorough de-cluttering, to give their home the clean, airy look that appeals to buyers.

It’s easy to let our things accumulate over the years, thinking we will get around to removing them “later.”  There are the clothes we no longer wear, the books and magazines we enjoyed, the electronic items we no longer use, the half-filled cans of paint or deck stain crowding the garage floor.

Even if you are not considering selling in the immediate future, it’s a good idea to de-clutter your house regularly. It feels good, it makes it easier to find what you still need, and it will also make it easier if you decide to sell in a few years, with fewer things to go through to get your house looking ready for those Open Houses.

Trying to figure out what to do with all these things can feel difficult. Many people today are environmentally conscious and do not want to add to our landfill sites, if our used items can be appreciated and used by others.

In the case of electronic devices or hazardous household materials, these can be trickier. City of Ottawa garbage collectors will not take these items. They must be disposed of at sites that know how to handle them.

To give you a hand and make the cleaning easier, we’ve compiled a few organizations in the Ottawa area that can take some of your items.

To start, find out what you can leave at the curb: It can be confusing to know what you can leave at the curb and which items you can’t. For details, visit the City of Ottawa’s page on garbage collection: www.ottawa.ca/en/residents/garbage-and-recycling/garbage

Books: Don’t toss out those old books. If they are recent and in good condition, consider donating them to Friends of the Ottawa Public Library, the charitable organization that supports the Library through book sales. To see what the organization accepts and where to bring it, visit the Friends website, at www.fopla-aabpo.ca/what-we-accept/

Clothing and household items: Those pants and jackets your children grew out of? The jeans you no longer wear but which are still in good condition?

Instead of tossing them, consider dropping them off at a second-hand clothing store, such as Value Village. There are several locations in the Ottawa area. The stores also accept items such as coffee makers, blenders, kettles and other household items. Some stores accept furniture, depending on the size and condition.

To get an idea of the kinds of items the stores accept, drop by a store and have a look, or chat with the manager.

Value Village’s stores in Ottawa include locations at 1221 Cyrville Rd., 1824 Bank St., 1651 Merivale Rd. and 4345 Strandherd Dr. Information: www.valuevillage.com

Another organization is the Salvation Army, through several Thrift Stores in the Ottawa area. These stores accept clothing, housewares, toys, books, working electronic items, furniture and other goods. The store has drop bins throughout the region, and offers a pick-up service for larger items.

There are numerous locations in Ottawa, including outlets at 1490 Richmond Rd., 2339 Ogilvie Rd. and 1010 Belfast Rd.

To read about the items the store accepts and how to donate, visit www.thriftstore.ca/ottawa/donating-goods

For a list of Ottawa-area stores, visit  www.thriftstore.ca/ottawa/locations

Electronic Waste: Electronic items cannot be left at your curb, but there are many locations in the Ottawa region that are authorized drop-off locations, as part of the Ontario Electronics Stewardship (OES) program for your old computers, laptops, cell phones, printers, scanners, land-line telephones and other items.

These outlets can arrange for the devices to be dismantled for their parts or recovered for re-use. For the location and hours of the outlet nearest you, and to read tips on wiping your device of your personal information, visit the OES website, at www.recyclemyelectronics.ca/on/where-can-i-recycle/

Household Hazardous Waste: Many homeowners wonder how to safely dispose of items that are corrosive, flammable or poisonous. These can include paint, fertilizers, oil, batteries, pool chemicals, fluorescent bulbs and tubes and propane cylinders.

As the City of Ottawa website says, these items can contaminate landfills and should never be poured down the drain or left with your regular garbage for collection.

To help residents dispose of these items safely, the City of Ottawa operates one-day Household Hazardous Waste depots from April to October at several sites. In 2017, Ottawa residents helped divert more than 627 tonnes of hazardous waste from the landfill with the help of these sites.

For locations of the depots coming up this season, visit the website at www.ottawa.ca/en/residents/garbage-and-recycling/hazardous-waste-and-special-items

Hours of the depots are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Locations for 2018 include: April 29 at the OCTranspo Park and Ride, at 1201 Trim Rd.; May 6 at Tunney’s Pasture, Sir Frederick Banting Dr.; and June 3 at Waste Connections of Canada, 3354 Navan Rd.

Good luck with your spring cleaning. It can seem like a lot of work, but it’s a great feeling to have it done!

If you’re considering buying or selling property in the Ottawa area, I’d love to chat with you about the Ottawa market and the expertise I offer, with more than three decades of experience. You can contact me  through my website, at nancybenson.com, or give me a call at 613-747-4747.