It seems that these days I do a lot of talking about the benefits of decluttering but very little on ways to go about it. This is probably because I know I have a lot of readers who are well seasoned declutterers by now, and they know this stuff. But the fact also is that new readers find my blog all the time and may not be so informed about such things. So today I am going to mentions my favourite and most successful ways that I have managed to give away my stuff.
I am not going to write about selling stuff today only about giving it away, because quite frankly that is usually the quickest way to go about it. So here goes…
- Thrift Shops ~ This is by far the method I have used most to reduce my clutter while at the same time helping others. Even before I started my “One thing a day” mission I had already been frequenting the thrift shop that I currently volunteer at. I did a little investigating to find a store near my home that would take a wide variety of stuff and it is the store that I gave and still give most of what I declutter. A simple lookup in the Yellow Pages online was how I found the store and it has been a God send to me. Prior to my volunteering there, I would put my daily decluttered item in my transition point in the garage and when I had a car load to donate I would load it into my little hatchback and take it to the store. It was a joy to see it go and also to know I was helping both the charity, their shoppers who found these bargains, and also, through the charity, the trouble souls who without their suicide hotline might not be alive today. These days I just drop off the things I am decluttering on the day I go to do my shift. I have also made some lovely friends as a result. Thrift shops will often also pick up larger items such as furniture, mattresses etc.
- Freecycle.org ~ This is another great method for giving away your stuff. It is an online sharing site where people, with stuff to give away, list their items with a short description and location. People looking for these items can then send you and email to say they would like to be the recipient and you can then decide who to give the item/s to. You them give them your address to pick the item up from. You don’t even have to be there, just put the item on the stoop for them to collect when it is convenient. It was rare that I didn’t get at least six people wishing to take the stuff I was giving away. One of the beauties of this site is that you can give away items that are broken. Simply describe the item and its condition and there are usually people out there who have the skill to repair and reuse these things. I gave away several broken items as well as perfectly good ones that for one reason or another I didn’t think suitable for the thrift shop. There are Freecycle groups all over the world. Perhaps there is one near you.
- Curb Side or the Feebie Box~ This method has also been very successful for me. In fact I used it just this week to give away some mini fluorescent light globes. (I have been switching to LEDs because they are better for the environment.) In this case it was a freebie box in the foyer but curb side is the same principle. You take the item you wish to give away and put it at the curb in front of your home. Or, as in my situation, in the foyer or other communal area of an apartment block, with a FREE sign on it. You could also take these items to your work place or community group. I have found that these items are claimed in very short time. I love to check on them just to see how fast they disappear. I put my light globes in the foyer at about 8am, when I knew there would be plenty of foot traffic down there, and they were gone when I went back down at around 10am. I am guessing they had been gone for a while at that point.
- Friends or Family ~ There was a mass exodus of stuff from my home when my kids moved out. Even stuff I wasn’t really planning on giving away. They would tell me if there was something they wanted and, if it didn’t matter much to me or I wasn’t using it all the much, I would allow them to take it. Also, most of my friends knew I was decluttering and if they had a need for something they would often ask ~ “You aren’t getting rid of INSERT ITEM HERE by any chance are you? And quite often I had just such and item I was happy to part with. Also I would ask friends and family if they wanted things if I thought they might be interested. *Vicki K has reminded me to tell you about utilising your cell phone camera to send photos, to family and friends, of items you are giving away. This is a quick and easy way to get a response to your enquiries. If people aren’t interested then you know you can swiftly dispatch the items to the thrift shop.
- Targeting Specific Recipients ~ There are some items that you just know would be greatly appreciated by certain groups, for example ~ Schools can’t get enough free stationary or craft supplies. Animal shelters appreciate blankets, pillows and towels. Painters make great use of your old sheets. Playgroups will happily take your kids old toys. We even have a Bicycle Ecology Centre here in my city that takes old bikes and bike parts. They recondition bikes and either give them to those in need or sell them to fund the project. I think you get the idea. There a many places who have a specific need for you stuff and with a little imagination I am sure you can come up with some in your local area.
I think that covers my favourite ways to give away stuff. If you have a method other than these that have worked for you please tell us about it.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter or put away an item from your car, even it it is just a trash that is lying around in there.
Eco Tip for the Day
For a full list of my eco tips so far click here
It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow