Whether you are moving house, down-sizing or just having a spring clean-out, you are bound to end up with a heap of "stuff" that you need to get rid of somehow. In my last post, we looked at the types of things that we ended up parting with, there were kitchen utensils and appliances, lamps, old awards, and this weekend we added clothes, old toys and books to the pile. Of course we don't want to just throw all of this stuff in the bin! What a waste! So what do we do with it once we've made the tough decision to part with it?
For stuff that is still in good condition and may have cost a lot to purchase in the first place, you may be able to get some money back by selling it. Depending on the size, value and quantity of stuff, there are a few ways to do this.
Online - eBay and Gumtree are the most popular websites locally for buying and selling. eBay handles the whole transaction and offers a bit of security in that you get your money before you part with your stuff and all communications with the buyer is done through eBay. You can set a price or auction and you pay ebay a perentage of the sale price. Gumtree is more like a free online classifieds website where the buyer contacts you direct and you arrange payment and collection with them. Keep in mind postage costs if you are sending stuff and security if buyers are picking up from you.
If you have a lot of smaller items it can be a lot of work to set up listings online for not much return. It may be worthwhile holding a garage sale or a stall at your local markets.
Garage sale - with a bit a preparation, this can be a great fun way to get rid of a heap of stuff all on one day. Try and advertise locally for a week or two before. Talk to your neighbours, maybe they want to get involved and sell some stuff too, you could share advertising. Get the kids involved too, it might be a way to get them to part with more old toys if they know they get to keep the profits!
Sometimes its not worth the time it takes to try and sell some old books for a couple of dollars. The quickest and easiest way to part with low value items that are still in good condition is to donate them to charity. Especially things like clothes and blankets, it's nice to know that someone in need may benefit and it's a lot less effort than trying to sell them. In the past I have also advertised older furniture on Gumtree for free if the taker would pick up by a certain date. It's generally someone who can't afford new furniture who jumps on these ads and so a worthy home.
For those items that really are trash and not someone else's treasure, maybe they can be recycled. Whether its putting them in the yellow topped bin for collection, or cutting up old stained t-shirts to use as rags, it's better for the environment than just binning it. When I move house I also like to get boxes from a certain storage company that will take them back afterwards to reuse them and they also refund half your money back.
If it's a big office clean out that you've had, you may have stacks of paper that, for security reasons, you don't want to throw straight in the recycle bin. Depending on the volume of paper you have, you can buy a shredder (handy for ongoing day to day shredding) or there are companies that will shred large amounts of paper for you. They'll recycle the paper afterwards and some of them will even come to you and you can watch to make sure it's all done securely.
The last resort. Some things you just can't help but send to landfill. But at least you know you have done what you could to benefit others, reuse, recycle, and maybe even make a profit. With the rest, maybe it will feel liberating to to just "chuck it in the bin" and move on with the next part of your life with a bit less clutter.