Don’t Trash That! 7 Alternative Ways to Get Rid of Unwanted Items

On average, each American produces 4.5 pounds of trash—uneaten food, packaging, and consumable products—per day. This number doesn’t even begin to touch the number of non-perishable, unwanted items people toss. When you add the amount of furniture, shoes, clothing, etc. to the waste we produce each year, the numbers are staggering and more than a little depressing.

How about you? How much trash do you throw away? If you simply chuck everything into the bin or have bulk services come around to pick it up, you’re probably putting things into the landfill that doesn’t necessarily have to end up there.

Fortunately, you have alternatives. Here are 7 ways to get rid of unwanted items.

Don't Trash That! 7 Alternative Ways to Get Rid of Unwanted Items

1. Get Rid of Unwanted Items at a Garage Sale

Garage sales are great for getting rid of all the stuff you don’t want. What’s more, you’ll make a few bucks in the process. Garage sales are ideal for getting rid of lots of items or large items, such as used furniture and appliances. Having larger items to sell also makes your sale more visible to people driving by, which attracts more buyers.

The key to having a successful garage sale is to advertise aggressively. Put an ad in the paper, put another ad online, talk about it on social media, and put plenty of signs up around your neighborhood on the day of your sale. If you’ve never held one before, check out this guide to planning and hosting a garage sale to help you pull it off.

2. Sell Unwanted Items Online

If you don’t have enough items for a garage sale but would like to make some extra money, you can always sell your items online. Auction sites like eBay are awesome for selling collectibles and such. If you have old jewelry or luxury items, check out Luxury Buyers. You can also try to sell your used items on Amazon. With the latter, you can sell to locals and avoid paying shipping. There are many more sites to choose from as well, such as local buy and sell sites.

3. Donate It to Charity

Do you have a favorite charity? Your unwanted items may help them further their cause. If you have unused professional attire, you can donate them at Moore’s annual Canadian Suit Drive, to help men and women in need get a new job. You can also take your items to a donation bin or call the charity to see if they offer free pick up services. Many do. All you have to do is gather your items and make the call. Someone will show up and carry everything out for you. Plus, you will get a receipt for your donation that you can claim on your taxes (and some charities, such as Moore’s, offer discount coupons when you donate!).

4. Hand It Down

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Just because you can’t use it anymore, doesn’t mean someone else can’t. If you have old pots and pans, a pull-out couch, or a bookshelf to get rid of, ask around and see who needs what you’ve got. You can start with family and friends, but don’t forget about your neighbours. Someone in need might be closer than you think.

5. Create Something with It

Do you spend hours browsing craft projects on Pinterest? If so, you might like the idea of using your unwanted items to create something. Old T-shirts and clothing make great squares for quilting (my mom made a quilt for my brother from old jeans and plaid shirts). Wood salvaged from a nightstand can be used in a wall-hanging project. Do you have old pottery and dishes? You can create a beautiful mosaic with it. Your imagination is the limit. There is an unlimited amount of crafts you can make using your old items.

6. Recycle It for Cash

If you don’t want to see an old appliance or the like end up in a landfill, recycle it. You can take them to your local recycling yard and turn them in. In some cases, you will even get a check for the amount of scrap metal that they can remove from the item. Bottom line: If it’s metal, you can usually scrap it.

7. Reuse It

Think of ways you can reuse or re-purpose your unwanted items. For example, you may be able to turn an old buffet or sofa table into an aquarium stand for your fish tank (with the right reinforcements). The key is to think outside the box and find ways to use items that may be a bit different than intended. A little paint can also go a long ways, as I found out when I repainted an old, stained bookshelf for my daughters.

You don’t have to throw away your old stuff and add unnecessary garbage to your local landfill. If you strive to find uses for your items or find someone else who can, you will be doing both yourself and the environment a favor.

What do you do to get rid of unwanted items?

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