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De-Cluttering in North Iowa

By: Rachel Wumkes

For years, Americans have been accumulating stuff, thinking the more options we have available at our fingertips, the more satisfied our lives will be.  Studies have shown people tend to tie their piles and piles of stuff to their self-worth.  Rather than viewing our many objects as “mine” we tend to view them as “me.” 

I have done this many times over in my life as well.  Accumulating more and more in a feeble attempt to keep up with friends and family.  Thinking my quest for happiness in life would be fulfilled as I added more items.

What did you get for your birthday?  Stuff. 

And Christmas? A pile of stuff. 

Mother’s Day? Father’s Day?  Anniversary?

Stuff. Stuff. And more stuff. 

We’ve become inundated with all the stuff in our lives.  It consumes us.  It controls our every thought, and even our moods.  And when the time comes where we need to rid our lives of some of the stuff – we hesitate.


Some people keep items for sentimental reasons, or maybe because they think it will be worth something someday.  Fear is often a factor in letting certain possessions go which are no longer relevant in our lives.  That, and the fact we’ve been told since childhood to “not be wasteful.”

The reality is over the years, our hobbies and interests change.  We adapt our wardrobe to fit our lifestyle, preferences, and age.  It’s logical that, over time, a person goes through an extremely large comprehensive list of items.  I can understand the difficulty in severing ties with one’s prized possessions.

It becomes a problem, however, when taken too far. 

Clutter is one thing, but being a hoarder is a whole different level.  It’s detrimental to not only mental health, but physical well-being too.  The more stuff you have, the more surfaces available for dust and allergens to collect on.  This can decrease air quality in your home, causing an array of issues.

So how do you resolve the problem?  One room at a time!  Some of the best in the “de-cluttering business” say you should treat each room like you’re moving out.  Fill boxes with all your items before giving the walls, shelves, cupboards or countertops a thorough cleaning. 

Then, as you begin to put items back into your “new home” it will be easier to recognize which items are never used.

And when you are finished, there are some incredible organizations in North Iowa where you can donate all the things you’ve decided to remove from your home. 

Because while many people are looking to downsize their lives – the flip side is a slew of people who need essential items to survive.  You’re not just de-cluttering your space, you’re helping someone in need.  Sharing your blessings with them to help get them back on their feet and on their way to living a happy, healthy life.

  • Goodwill – Dive around the west side of the building to the back, an employee will come out of the building and help you load your items into the bin.  Simple as that!
    • 3575 4th Street SW, Mason City
    • (641) 424-8338
  • The General Store (a subsidiary of One Vision) – Drive north, around the backside of the building, where you’ll find a covered drive-thru area.  An employee will help you unload your items from your vehicle.  They are open for deliveries from 10am-6pm on Monday through Saturday.
    • 830 Hwy 18, Clear Lake
    • (641) 357-5270
  • Re-Store (Habitat for Humanity) – Open for donations on Tuesdays & Thursday.  Whether you’ve got smaller decorative household items to get rid of, or are doing a total overhaul and need a place to donate appliances and large parts of your home, this is a great way to give back to those in need. 
    • 517 1st St NW, Mason City
    • (641) 424-8978
  • Salvation Army – Donating your goods to this organization helps fund the Adult Rehabilitation Centers, where those struggling with drugs and alcohol can find help, hope and a second chance at life.  Funds are raised as items are sold at their Thrift Store.  They’ll take anything.  Big or small, from books and clothing to furniture and appliances. 
    • 747 Village Green Dr SW, Mason City
    • (641) 424-5574
  • Affordables – You can drop off donations Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00am and 6:45pm.  OR, best option ever – they will come “pick up” your donations!  Just call 423-7071 or email
    • 315 N. Delaware, Mason City
    • (641) 423-7071
  • Crisis Intervention – This service relies on the generosity of others to achieve their mission.  When someone is the victim of abuse, in whatever form that may be, and makes the decision to get help or leave a volatile situation, it can be scary.  They often start over with only the clothes on their back – and nothing else.  Your donations can literally save their lives.  Give them a call to find specific needs for victims. 
    • 206 Third NE, Mason City
    • (641) 424-9113
  • Mollies Mission – This unique organization was formed out of the need to help feed four legged friends in North Iowa.  Their motto is to Feed, Foster and Friend to bridge the gaps between care.
    • 22975 295th Street, Nora Springs

New Start – Specific items are needed for North Iowa people making a new start in their lives.  To find out what they need, email

Northern Lights – This organization serves the North Iowa area homeless by giving them a “hand up” instead of a “hand out” by providing shelter to men, women and children.  Contact them to see if your items are a match for what is needed in their shelter homes!

Women’s Shelter: 202 1st Street NW, Mason City

(641) 423-5920

Men’s Shelter: 307 N Monroe Ave, Mason City

(641) 380-0047

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