New Ways to Get Rid of Old Stuff (and Find Free Stuff)

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Image by congerdesign from Pixabay 

Sometimes all that’s needed to relieve stress and create a fresh
start is to clean out clutter and unwanted items. Whether it hides
in drawers, closets, the garage or even in plain sight, most of us
have stuff we no longer need, want or can use. These tips can help
you open up space in your home, reduce waste and unnecessary
purchases, and maybe even help others find just what they

Recycling glass,
plastic, old magazines, catalogs and outdated paperwork is a great
first step. But for items that can’t go to the recycling center,
such as clothing and odd dishes, consider bartering, selling or
donating them.

Swap parties are becoming increasingly popular, so invite your
friends or a neighborhood group over for an afternoon of trading.
Everyone can contribute their unneeded items to the pile, and then
the fun ‘shopping’ begins!

When your guests are gone, collect unclaimed pieces and make a
delivery to your local donation center or
They accept gently used clothing, fabric, kitchenware and hard toys
(such as plastic or metal), among other things. Some local centers
also take furniture, but be sure to call ahead and check, as they
may be limited regarding the type and sizes they can reasonably
handle. You can also take clothing to consignment or other
secondhand stores. Sell old books, donate them to a library, or
send them to soldiers via the
Booksfor Soldiers program.

For usable items, you can post them for sale on
eBay or
Craiglist. You can also offer your treasures
for give-away on Freecycle. It’s a great way to find new homes
for items that can’t be recycled or donated, and maybe find items
that you do need, like that folding table for your daughter’s dorm

Some items, such as stuffed animals, require special cleaning and
sanitization in order to be reused, which limits the places that
can accept them. Project Night Night collects stuffed animals
for children without homes, and Animals Beacons of Light distributes them to
shelters, orphanages and other areas where they’re needed. Members
of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stationed in Iraq are accepting
stuffed animal donations (as well as school supplies and gently
used clothing) for Iraqi children. For more information, click

Certain products have their own reuse/recycle programs, such as the
Reuse-a-Shoe program for worn out tennies.
Whether it’s a mateless cross-trainer or your collection of high
school running sneakers, send them in to be converted to tracks,
playgrounds and athletic courts.

There are also special homes for defunct
electronic and technical equipment. Most
major computer companies now offer recycling programs (for a
fee) for their computers.
Dell will recycle any of their old computers
for free (you just pay shipping) ? and if you’re purchasing a
new Dell or
Apple computer, both offer free recycling
(shipping not included) for your old computer, regardless of its

There are many places to sell working electronic equipment, and if
you can’t exchange them for cash, consider donating them.
will take your CDs, VCR, cords, cables, MP3 players, video game
cartridges, VHS and cassette tapes, digital cameras and other
technical items. And you can send your old PDA, pager and cell
phone to CollectiveGood, where they’ll be recycled or
refurbished and donated.

Share your ideas for clutter control in the comments section