My decluttering muscle is well defined. Over the years I’ve used it, flexed it and strengthened it to the point where I am pretty comfortable with removing things from my life and home that no longer add value. The problem I had was I would always hit the same stumbling block when I was trying to remove the unwanted items from my home and that was: WHERE do I take the stuff I no longer want?
I didn’t just want to throw my stuff into landfill and be done with it. Well I did, because it was the easiest and fastest option to get the stuff out of my space but that would have made me feel seven shades of guilty.
So, my brain did the following: I could donate it, but what if they don’t take it? I could try and sell it but gumtree is hell and what if no one wanted to buy my stuff? What if it has to be recycled? Where can I recycle it?
I wanted to declutter responsibly but it was proving to be hard.
Let me make it easy for you though with my top tips on where to take your stuff once you’ve decided to let them go:
There are so many places that take donations of used goods these days. Vinnies, Salvos and Goodwill are just to name some of the bigger ones. Back in the day they would take anything and everything, nowadays though charities are a lot more selective in what they will and won’t accept.
- Check with your local charities and see what they will take. Also check to see if they offer pick up services for larger items like furniture.
- Lions club bargain centre. I strongly suggest you find your closest one and go check it. They are a great place to donate items that aren’t quite perfect.
- If you have something specific you would like to donate, google your location and the item and you never know what you might find e.g. gently used women’s business clothing can be donated to place like Dress for Success
- Many vets happily receive donations of old towels and blankets (nothing with feathers though)! Towels make great beds for sick little dogs.
- Remember you are decluttering so no bargain hunting!
Now I’ve haven’t had a great deal of success with selling my unwanted items. I’ve tried a few different avenues but I always come away feeling like I wasted a lot of my time and energy with not much to show for it. That been said for large or expensive items it might be worth trying to sell them. That’s for you to decide.
- Think about what your time is worth. Do you have the time to be running around sorting it all out (uploading item, corresponding with potential buyers, weeding out the spammy ones, travelling to consignment store, posting item or waiting on someone to pick it up)? If you do, have at it!
- Think about sunk cost (just because you bought the phone for $1000 doesn’t mean it’s worth that now).
- If it’s not working, know when to cut your losses and move on. I like expiries. If an item hasn’t sold in say one month, either take any offer you’ve been given or just remove the item completely and donate it.
Where to sell? Gumtree, your local fb buy swap and sell, eBay, consignment stores (clothing) and don’t overlook cash converters (you might not get much but it’s minimal effort).
If you can’t sell or donate consider recycling. I live in South Australia where recycling is a way of life. I found a number of great resources that may help you recycle.
- My favourite places for electronic goods recycling are Bunnings and Officeworks. Bunnings is part of the Unplug-n-drop program and Officeworks are part of a few recycling programs including mobile muster, Bring IT back and cartridges for planet ark.
NOTE: ALWAYS remember to clear your personal data before you recycle any of your electronic devices!
- An awesome resource for South Australians is the Recycle Right website which allows you simply enter your suburb and the item you want to recycle and it will give you a number of places to recycle.
- Light bulbs can be recycled at Mitre 10 and ALDI take used batteries.
If you can’t sell, donate or recycle your unwanted goods what’s next?
- Firstly, try and think outside the box and reuse the item.
- Next is it toxic? E.g. paint or house chemicals I would talk to your local council. My council recently held a drop off day where we could bring in toxic household items so they could be disposed of safely.
- If all else fails it might be time to toss. Sometimes that’s the only course of action left. What I will say is take the time to think about what you are throwing out and how you might prevent a repeat in the future. Are you buying poor quality items that break after a few uses? Are you impulse buying items you don’t really need? Changing some of our shopping habits can go a long way. For example, next time you need something why not consider buying second hand? You can get some really great deals.
- Also check out local services like toy libraries. They are an amazing resource. Kids are ever changing so rather than constantly buying new things to keep them entertained visit a toy library and let them pick a few things to borrow.
- My final thought on rethinking is experiences. Next time you look at buying a gift for someone think about doing something instead. Movie ticket, zoo pass, cooking class, ice-cream voucher, strawberry picking! If you get stuck for ideas google is your friend.
Well that’s everything I can think of. I hope you’ve found it useful and I have given you some new avenues in re-homing some of your stuff.
Happy decluttering x