Donating Unusual Items
Apr 26
A friend wants to shed a lifetime's accumulation of sh** so she can sell her big house and move to a two-bedroom condo on a golf course. No yard. Not much furniture. No need for closets full of paper bags, odd cooking supplies, and late-night impulse purchases from the Home Shopping Network. You know what I'm talking about, right? The sham-wow? Seventy-three sets of sheets for four beds? Your closets probably look the same. (My house does, pictured above. The sham-wow's in a cupboard.)

I recently encountered the joy of cleaning out my parents' homes (sarcasm alert), and one of my subconscious restraints on the project was the desire to use the garbage can as little as possible. I wanted a new home or a legit recycling option for pretty much everything. Sure, that's obsessive - and now I'm here to share my tried and true knowledge with you. Whether you're spring cleaning or just sick of your junk drawer, you can find a non-landfill home for most of your crap.

Articles like this one are a godsend - they get you motivated. They also start you thinking that pretty much everything can be re-used or recycled. Where to start? I'm a big fan of sorting into categories. Pull everything out of a closet and sort the discards by category: books, mags, porn, figurines, whatever. Start with the biggest category of discards in your house, do some research, cart that load away. It feels amazing; and with that load gone, more crap becomes visible. Repeat the process as much as you need to, or as much as you can handle.

Jumping off from the article above, here are a few more tips:

Do you have a drawer of old computer chargers, cords, battery packs, cameras that don't work and SIM cards for god-knows-what? Find a local green electronics recycler and get all that crap out of your house. Take the old TVs and monitors while you're at it. How about an old rack stereo system and boom boxes? Is there a Walkman hiding in a drawer somewhere? They'll take all that.

Magazines may be salable (see the article). Who knew? As a veteran eBayer, let me tell you about other items that sell: old calculators, video games, sports equipment, particularly kids' sports gear, designer jewelry, hard-to-find DVDs, and nylons still in the package. I'm not joking; I've sold all these items on eBay. At this point I check everything for salability before I donate.

Craft supplies - these sell on eBay too, FYI.

Leftover vacuum attachments. I never thought of taking these to appliance repair centers! Would they also take old vacuum cleaners for the parts? It's worth a call to find out. I'm currently calling typewriter repair people to see if they would like a small collection of old electronic versions from the '60s and '70s to sell or use for parts. It's worth a call. Or ten.

Homeless shelters also need towels, blankets, coats, gloves, and sweatshirts. Often they will take partially used shampoos and body washes. Call first to verify. (And, call veteran's and women's shelters first.)

Women's shelters also distribute clothes, toys, and craft supplies to women and children who left home in a hurry. Call your local shelter and see what they need. Also, they usually need old cell phones. Bet you have some in a drawer. (BTW, a good electronics recycler often wipes old cell phones and donates them.)

Many schools keep an inventory of donated (nice) clothes for kids who don't have enough. Call your local elementary or HS and see if they have a collection. If they do, clean your closet and take a load over there.

Want an excuse to make this fun? Here's an easy one: invite your buddies to cocktails or dinner and tell them to bring whatever it is the shelter / school / local charity currently needs. Tell them you'll do the drop-off and bring them back the donation receipts. Trust me, this works. And it gets more people motivated to clean out a closet or two.

Last thing: if you have a donation or recycling tip, please pass it on. I'm always looking for a way to turn a discard into a re-use opportunity. Here's one: this organization takes old mascara wands to clean small animals. I've told my friends to hand theirs over and I'll start a box. Why not?
(1) Comments   | Tags: re: Ducere: Cycle


Hi there! A thought about electric typewriters. Before my Step Dad passed he asked for one. He had palsy, but his mind was sharp as ever. He could hunt and peck the electric typewriter and was able to correspond until the end. I don't know if but possibly contacting residential care facilities to see if there might be others with the same issues.

Good article!

By Ann Justice on 28/04/2017

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