It’s almost Spring, a time for new birth, renewal, and well….Spring cleaning. I don’t know about you, but after being mostly indoors all winter, I typically feel inspired to let in some fresh air, deep clean, and start throwing shit away.
Secretly, I probably only let go of some things so I can make room to buy brand new stuff. “Out with the old, in with the new!” as the old adage says. Going through your stuff to get rid of unused things is an arduous, and for some, emotional process. The last thing you want is to figure out what to do with all that stuff you’ve finally decided to kiss au revoir.
Please. Please don’t throw your stuff in the garbage. Goodwill and Salvation Army are always good bets for donations of household items. If you don’t feel good about someone making money off your old junk, or you find yourself being turned away because everybody in your neighborhood has suddenly been inspired to clear out their closets all at once, there are plenty of other ways you can bring value to your unwanted things.
If You Want To Make Treasure Out of Your Trash
Do you buy all of your stuff at Banana Republic and Sur La Table but you have things you no longer want? PM me and I will send you my mailing address so you can send all that stuff to me! Just kidding.
eBay is an oldie, but a goodie. If you have the time and the energy, you’d be surprised what people will pay for your old things. Give it a try. I’ve had a lot of success with selling items on Facebook Marketplace, but you have to be prepared for people to lowball you. Price your stuff accordingly, and be clear if you are unwilling to negotiate the price. There is also a marketplace on Nextdoor which is a great community to be a part of if you haven’t yet joined. Offer Up is also a good place to sell anything from boats to wedding dresses.
If You Want Your Trash To Help Others
Here is a comprehensive list of donation orgs that have a deeper mission beyond re-purposing your used goods. I highly recommend calling ahead to these donation centers to make sure they have room to take your items. I wouldn’t want you to feel like you’ve wasted your time. Catholic Charities is often a good place to donate. You will need to contact your local chapter to find out what they need. They often take furniture and kitchen appliances to help house the homeless and resettle refugees. Some Catholic Charities chapters also take car donations. You can also schedule for them to pick items up from your location.
If You Want Your Trash to Live It’s Best Life
Clothing swaps are a popular choice for keeping your items out of the landfill. You could alternatively have a kitchen swap too. It’s a great way to feel like you’re shopping vintage, except you’ll know exactly where your new items came from. The ones I’ve attended typically lay out all the items in an aesthetically pleasing way so people don’t have to dig through piles. Refreshments are customary, and the host usually takes the leftover items to the donation center. Check out this article for some simple tips on how to host a swap party. Funny story, I once hosted a clothing swap and unknowingly gave away a family heirloom. Oops! My mom still hasn’t forgiven me.
Recycling your clothes is always a good idea. Keep in mind that many donation centers will take unsalable items to a textile recycling center as well, but if you can’t stand the idea of someone sifting through a bag of your old, holey underwear you could go directly to these places:
- H&M – They will take any garment regardless of its condition and give you some store credit to boot!
- Nike – Through the Reuse-A-Shoe program and Nike Grind, old athletic shoes get reincarnated into things like new footwear and sports surfaces.
- The Bra Recyclers – Will donate, recycle, or repurpose your gently used bra.
- The North Face – Clothes The Loop program will take clothing and footwear of any brand for reuse and recycling.
If You Aren’t Shredding It’s Time to Start
One of the things that takes up the most space in people’s homes is paper clutter. Most of it is junk, but we don’t always have time to sort through it. Maybe you are one of the more practical ones who get their statements paperless. If you’re anything like me, though, I need to have a hard copy to remind me to pay my bills.
I am however an avid shredder, because identity theft is real yo. Sidenote, I once knew an 8 year old who was a victim of identity theft. Yup, not even old enough to have a credit card. That’s how serious it is. So if you don’t have a strict shredding schedule at home a good way to start is by taking all your current stuff to a shredding event. There are often many shredding events in April to commemorate Earth Day. Check your local listings for one happening near you. AARP will have a list of shredding events in your area very soon.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of resources, but it’s enough to point you in the right direction of getting that unwanted junk out of your house and, in the words of Marie Kondo, enjoy the things that spark joy.