When you declutter your house, usually only a small portion of what you decide to get rid of is trash. All the rest is reusable somewhere in the world. There are many ways to disperse such articles that fall under three main channels of distribution; recycle, donate, or sell.
The easiest thing to do would be to donate, and most likely, the charity will recycle anything unusable. Direct recycling is another option. The hardest way to move your items out of your home is to sell them, but it can be a great way to pick up some extra cash.
Open For Business
Selling your stuff entails work and patience. The first step in the process is to obtain a current value of an item before you begin the sales effort. Many people over-estimate the monetary value of their belongings because they usually can remember what they paid for the item. Unfortunately, the minute the tag comes off, your item significantly depreciates. Articles in like-new condition can equal less than half the value new. Realistically, most used items are worth one-third of their original cost. The older the article becomes, the less the chance of an actual sale. The only exceptions are for antiques, collectibles, precious metals or stones. Generally, brick-and-mortar resale stores only take in items under two years old.
Finding the current value of your item requires research. First, have an accurate product description in place, which includes the make, model, year, color, condition, and so on. The more details you can generate, the better. The quickest way to receive pricing is to access the internet using your product description. Many online resale websites will surface with your item and its current sale price. Not finding your article in an internet search may indicate that it is not in demand and may not sell. You can also contact brick-and-mortar resale stores and ask if they have your item for sale and find the price that way.
You will soon realize whether your item is worth the sale effort based on your findings. Invest your time and energy into an item that is worth thirty-minutes of your time. An online sales effort can vary according to the resale website. You also have the option to hand-deliver your items to a resale store and accept their price or consignment terms.
It can make the most sense to handle large volumes of items in a single transaction. Collections of clothing that are less than a couple of years old can sell at a consignment store. The brick-and-mortar resale stores typically require set appointments and a contract. Toys and other juvenile merchandise do well at resale stores.
Online resale websites, such as eBay, need to get set-up so you can accept payments. Each online store has particular policies and different protocols for handling a transaction. Most allow the customer to rate the purchase with a review. You will be required to handle customer questions and ship the item promptly. Also, the website makes a profit, as does the payment processing carrier. It all seems like too much work in the beginning, but once you are established on a site, listing items to sell moves quickly.
You can also list your items online and make a personal transaction with a customer face-to-face. For example, on social media, Facebook has a free marketplace to post things for sale. Craigslist is another online place to list and sell in person. You need to be the kind of person that can accept meetings and dealing with strangers to sell something. Use common sense and plenty of caution in handling such transactions.
Part with Your Heart
Donating and recycling helps those in need; the environment; and, creates jobs for people. Imagine someone in need keeping warm with the coat you had sitting in your front hall closet collecting dust for the past five years. There will be someone excited to be able to afford the pair of shoes that never fit you at the Goodwill.
Everyone has a right, and some people need to give to a charity of their choice. Many people do not even know about all the specialized charitable organizations that would be grateful if you made the extra effort to reach out to them with your donations. Following is a comprehensive list of charities and what they specialize in doing for people.
Ship to a charity for FREE!
Give Back Box
Provide a cardboard box and go to https://www.givebackbox.shop to receive a free shipping label! The website suggests many charities that you may never have known about otherwise.
Freecycle is a free Internet service that allows people to offer items they no longer need for free to others who can use them. You can join by visiting the website and locating the list that serves your geographic area. Freecycle lists anything that can be legally given away except for animals and other living creatures.
Donate gently loved shoes and clothing to lift people out of poverty here and around the world.
Zappos for Good is a free-ship program created by Zappos online shoe store. Receive shipping labels at https://www.zapposforgood.org
PartnerShip will manage the shipping for you. Contact them at 800-599-2902
Most religious institutions accept many different types of donations, including clothing. Usually, the goods get distributed to members in need. For example, such places host drives for a family that loses all their belongings in a house fire.
The main goal of a homeless shelter or mission is to provide people with a safe place to stay, but many homeless shelters also accept clothing donations. These shelters accept all kinds of clothing but have commonly need coats and warm blankets during the cold winter months.
Many public schools do clothing drives once or twice a year. Hosting the clothing drive helps the students learn about the importance of charity, and the schools usually donate the clothes they collect to charities. Be sure to check with the school about tax deductions before you give.
Baby2baby distributes baby clothing and many baby-related items such as diapers, high chairs, maternity clothes, diaper bags, bottles, and so on to children living in poverty in 35 cities across the United States.
Dress For Success
Donate gently used professional clothes such as suits, blouses, and shoes for women.
Donate gently used professional and business casual clothing, suits, shoes, shirts, and accessories for men.
Donate a prom dress that is in style and good condition. You can look for a chapter in your area to donate from their website.
https://www.beccascloset.org or call (954) 424-9999.
Proceeds benefit the homeless and less privileged
Vietnam Veterans of America
Proceeds benefit American veterans with hospital bills, food, and housing
Proceeds help fund job training programs and employment placement services for people who have disabilities, lack education or face employment challenges.
Many medical facilities accept gently used toys for their young patients to play with while hospitalized. There are hospitals with toy wish lists posted on their website so you can see their exact toy needs. Always check with a hospital before you show up with a box of toys, though. Some will not take any items that are not new because of the risk of spreading illness.
First responders-police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical service (EMS) often carry small toys, usually stuffed animals, to comfort scared and injured children on the scene. These departments generally look to the public for donations to provide this service. Call your local police and fire departments to find out if they would like gently-used toys to comfort children during a stressful situation.
Send your books directly to the addresses provided online. Media mail is a discounted mail service through the USPS.
Books to Prisoners
Pay particular attention to the requested genres. Please only send gently-used books.
Email them at email@example.com before sending them due to overstock in specific book genres.
The concept is to share your book with another member of BookCrossing. Become a member to release your book to someone by leaving it somewhere like the post office for them to pick up. It is excellent to share and recycle. You can track the travels of your book’s journey.
Building Materials, Cabinets, Appliances & Furniture
Habitat for Humanity accepts donations which are sold mainly through their ReStore locations, and the proceeds directly fund current building projects.
Whether you have overstock, surplus, or discontinued product lines or display materials, or are involved in remodeling projects where reusable materials replace with a new product, Habitat for Humanity may need your donation.
Drop off your donations at Restore but call in advance or schedule a pickup.
Animal shelters and humane societies will use your unwanted blankets, towels, and rugs to provide warmth and comfort to animals. Call your local ASPCA, Humane Society, or animal rescue group in your area.
National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) collects cell phones to help fund their programs. They accept phones and partner with Cellular Recycler, which sells refurbished electronics. Some of the funds from those sales then go back to NCADV. They’ll also take other types of old electronics, too, including old laptops, digital cameras, video game consoles, and MP3 players, along with all of the related charging cords and accessories.
Print a free shipping label from their website: https://ncadv.org/donate-a-phone
Cell Phones For Soldiers
Cell Phones For Soldiers, accepts any cell phone from any carrier. Newer, gently-used mobile devices, phone chargers, and accessories.
Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 678-580-1976. There may be other small electronics they can use.
Donating eyeglasses is easy. All you have to do is to take your old pairs to a Lions Club eyeglass donation bin in your town or mail them to the Lions Clubs International headquarters.
For more information, please visit www.lionsclub.org
Computers & Electronic Waste
World Computer Exchange
World Computer Exchange uses donated electronics to build computer labs in primary schools and colleges in underdeveloped countries. Often, children in these countries do not have access to a computer or the internet.
Contact them via email on their website.
Email them at Info@WorldComputerExchange.org for large donations.
Computers With Causes
Whenever financially beneficial, Computers With Causes will repair, refurbish, and adequately prepare the donated property for placement into an educational environment or other cause they support. They accept laptops and desktops, as well as tablets, servers, and even printers and game consoles.
Telephone (888) 228-7320
https://computerswithcauses.org Live chat available
Recycle Into The Environment For Future Generations
We are running out of natural resources. It has never been easier to recycle. The following are ways to recycle common household items.
Paper makes up 25 percent of municipal solid waste (trash) generated each year, more than any other material. Americans recycled nearly 66 percent of the paper they used in 2017. This recovered paper is used to make new paper products, saving trees and other natural resources. Most community or office recycling programs accept paper and paper products. Check what your community or office program accepts before you put it in the bin. When you go shopping, look for products that are made from recycled paper.
Gift Wrap and Gift Bags
If you use gift wrap, look to find a type that can be recycled or that is made from recycled content. Consumers can also reduce waste by using decorative boxes that do not require wrapping and that can be recycled. A lot of gift wrap isn’t recyclable because of the coating on the paper, which is often shiny and laminated. However, check with your local recycling provider first to be certain and for the best ways to dispose of wrapping paper.
The Agency encourages consumers to reuse gift bags and tissue paper, and not discard them after a single use.
- Dry-Cell Batteries are used in a variety of electronics and include alkaline and carbon zinc (9-volt, D, C, AA, AAA), mercuric-oxide (button, some cylindrical and rectangular), silver-oxide and zinc-air (button), and lithium (9-volt, C, AA, coin, button, rechargeable) batteries. Look for in-store recycling bins or community collection events to dispose of these batteries.
Most community recycling programs accept some, but not all, types of plastics. Look for products made from recycled plastic materials.
What do the symbols mean on the bottom of plastic bottles and containers? These symbols were created by plastic manufacturers to help people identify the kind of plastic resin used to make the container, which can help you determine if your local recycling program can accept the container. The resin number is in a triangle, which looks very similar to the recycling symbol. However, it is not definite it can get collected in your community.
Glass, especially glass food and beverage containers, can be recycled over and over again. Making new glass from recycled glass is typically cheaper than using raw materials. Most curbside community recycling programs accept different glass colors and types mixed, and then the glass is sorted at the recovery facility. Check with your local program to see if you need to separate your glass or not.
Never dump your used motor oil down the drain — the used oil from one oil change can contaminate one million gallons of freshwater. By recycling your used oil, you not only help keep our water supply clean but help reduce American dependence on foreign oil. It takes 42 gallons of crude oil, but only one gallon of used oil, to produce 2.5 quarts of new motor oil. Many garages and auto-supply stores that sell motor oil also accept oil for recycling.
Household Hazardous Waste
Household Hazardous Waste Recycling
Leftover household products that contain corrosive, toxic, ignitable, or reactive ingredients are considered to be hazardous waste. Products such as paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides that contain potentially harmful components require special care when you dispose of them. HHW may be dangerous to people or bad for the environment if poured down the drain, dumped on the ground, or thrown out with regular trash.
What you can do:
- Try to reduce your purchases of these products and look for an alternative, non-hazardous products.
- When you do need to dispose of these products, look for special collection events in your community or permanent collection centers. Sometimes businesses that sell these products will also accept them for recycling.
- If you have to dispose of HHW, first check with your local waste management agency to see what rules apply in your community.
Disease-carrying pests such as rodents may live in tire piles. Tire piles can also catch on fire. Most garages are required to accept and recycle your used tires when you have new ones installed. You may be able to return used tires to either a tire retailer or a local recycling facility that accepts tires. Some communities will hold collection events for used tires.
Find a Recycling Location Near You
Looking for Information on Plastic Bags?
Take your plastic bags back to a grocery store collection bin. NEVER put them in your curbside recycling bin.