Updated: Sep 18
So you've started your decluttering journey. You've made all of the tough decisions about what really adds value to your life and what doesn't. You're embracing your inner Marie Kondo and creating a huge pile of all those items which no longer spark joy. Brilliant. Pat yourself on the back. But what happens next? Where does all this stuff go now that you've decided to part with it?
It can be tough dealing with the guilt you feel for having excess but that's nothing on the guilt you'll feel if all this stuff now gets dumped in a hole in the ground only to leach chemicals into the earth for thousands of years to come. Sounds pretty grim, doesn't it? If only there was a better way to deal with your things and prevent them from becoming landfill...
Well- there is! You just need to find how and where to recycle these items to give them a chance at a second life. They may no longer give you a return on your investment but I'm pretty sure there's someone out there for whom your trash, would be their treasure.
This is your guide to letting go without that feeling of landfill lament - aka a donation directory. Here are some ideas for the places (in Australia) that you can send your stuff to divert it from being dumped:
Charity Stores - Most second-hand stores or opportunity shops will take all of your general household items excluding electrical and some baby items (like cots, prams, high chairs) including:
Homewares - vases/ mugs etc
For more information about what you can and can't give to second hand stores click the following link:
To find your local charity store google "charity stores near me."
If you decide you want to earn some cash for your unwanted items, and you think there is a market out there for what you're selling, you could consider:
Be mindful that you’ll have to pay fees based on the final sale price and take into account the time it takes time to photograph, write the post, answer questions, package and send the item. You will need to decide if you want to sell it for a fixed price or auction it. Also consider whether the price of postage will be included in the sale price or an additional fee. Ebay has a huge customer base, including international reach so is a great option if you have collectables, brand-name clothing and accessories or unique/ rare items.
Facebook (buy/ swap/ sell) pages: https://www.facebook.com/
Facebook has local, regional and themed pages for people to list and sell or trade items. It has no fees for listing your items but as above it does require some time to setup and manage your post- also note that people might try to negotiate your price down or want to come to your home and view the item. So work out what is your time worth and if you can make enough to justify the effort. If you would like to trade your item you can suggest what you might like in return if not $.
This is another site which is free to list but with the option to pay extra for boosting your ad to the top of the list or displaying in bold. As with other selling sites it can take time to photograph, write a description of the item and manage the interested parties. Because people generally search by location it can be worth listing big items that you are happy to part with at a low cost (or for free) but indicate pick-up required, to save yourself the hassle and expense of moving them on yourself.
Search in your local area to see if consignment stores exist for your items. Most consignment stores will either offer you a flat rate for your item and then go on to sell it for a profit which they'll keep or will charge you a fee based on the item/ sales price. The shop will be responsible for listing, displaying, storing and selling your item. You just have to drop and go. There may be an option to collect any unsold items after a period of time depending on store policy. Consignment stores can be quite fussy about what they will and wont accept so be sure to read your store's policy closely.
If you have other specific items which you don't want money for but wish to keep out of landfill click on the links below to find out where to take them for recycling:
Bra's and swimwear: https://www.upliftbras.org/
Bread tags: https://www.breadtagsforwheelchairs.co.za/
Cars/ car parts: https://www.apraa.net/
Computers and e-waste: https://techcollect.com.au/
Fabric and sewing equipment: https://boomerangbags.org/
Hearing aids: http://www.recycledsound.org.au/
Medicines (unwanted/ out of date): https://returnmed.com.au/
Mobile phones: https://www.mobilemuster.com.au/
Paint and tins: https://www.paintback.com.au/
Plastic bottle lids: https://envision.org.au/
Prescription glasses and contact lenses: https://lionsclubs.org.au/activities/health/vision-hearing/recycle-for-sight/
Printer Cartridges: https://recyclingnearyou.com.au/cartridges/
Running Shoes: https://www.shoesforplanetearth.com/
Wedding dresses: https://www.angelgownsaustralia.org.au/
Landcare/ Bushcare or Community gardens will often take donations of stockings/ tights and some old clothes to use as ties for veggie stakes or use as weed matting under mulch etc. Natural fibres are generally preferred. Check your local directory for your nearest group.
Think about holding a clothing swap party with a bunch of friends or church/ school community.
Have a whole host of items? Maybe think about having a garage sale to let it all go at once without even needing to leave your home or band together with a few neighbours to host a mega garage sale.
Take cleaned toys, puzzles and books to your local daycare centre, community group or dentist/ doctor's clinic. They usually wont accept anything broken or soft that cannot be hygienically cleaned.
Antiques? Find your local antique store or market and have them make you an offer on your vintage/ antique goods.
You've already made the hardest decision, which is to let your item go. Now make the smart decision about where that item ends up. The recipient and the planet will thank you.
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