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Alternatives to throwing away old items

Karen Miner is the Food & Travel Assignment Editor for SheKnows, ChefMom and FabulousFoods. She is a freelance writer, recipe developer and is also the cook, author and photographer behind the food blog, Tasty Trials, a collection of ori...

Think twice before throwing that away!

Spring cleaning season is in full swing, and you’re bound to have piles of household items that you no longer need or want. How will you get rid of all that clutter?
Woman donating clothes

It might be easier to toss all your unwanted things into the garbage, but with just a little extra effort you can keep more trash from going to the landfill, help those in need or maybe even make a little extra money. Before throwing things away, consider these alternatives.

Donate it

If you like to wear the current trends and are always keeping up with new styles, chances are you don’t want to wear last year’s wardrobe. A good place to unload all those clothes is a nonprofit donation center like Goodwill Industries or The Salvation Army. Along with clothes, they also take kitchen goods, small appliances, furniture and more. To make it even easier on you, some branches even offer free pick-ups.

Joining Freecycle.org is another way to reuse and reduce waste. It’s an online nonprofit network that coordinates people in nearby towns who are giving away (and getting) stuff for free.

Before recycling any books, think about your local library. Libraries are great place to donate gently used books and they are always in need of new inventory.

After a sweep through the kitchen cabinets, non-perishable unexpired foods can be donated to help feed a few extra mouths. Food banks take donations but have strict rules and regulations that they must follow. Check with your local food bank to see what they will accept.

Download a spring cleaning app to help you get organized >>

Sell it

Selling your unwanted things definitely takes a bit more effort, but if the item is valuable enough, it might be worth it. Many online marketplace options are available; sites like Craigslist and eBay are two powerhouses and make it fairly simple to list and sell to a large audience.

Consignment stores basically do the work for you, but do take a cut of the sale for their involvement. This can be a good option, however, as they can reach more people and know what their customers are looking for.

Not only can hosting a garage sale be profitable, but it can also be a lot of fun. Recruit a few neighbors to participate on the same day and turn it into a party. Bring the barbecue out from the backyard, fill up the cooler and turn on some music. You won’t mind spending the day selling when you’re having a good time doing it.

Follow these tips to host a successful yard sale >>

Repurpose it

Instead of getting rid of your items, why not turning them into something new? There are very creative people out there who can easily turn suitcases into home decor, an old dress into a new shirt or a piece of vintage furniture into a fabulous kitchen island. With so many step-by-step tutorials available online, you can join this crafty bunch of people. A simple Internet search will most likely turn up everything you need to know for just about any project, from how to sew on buttons to how to strip paint off wood.

Check out these creative furniture repurposing ideas >>

More spring cleaning tips

Spring cleaning checklists
Working Mom 3.0: Spring cleaning sanity-savers
Tips to help you spring clean your kitchen

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