Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday Series- The Eco-Elitist- Getting Rid of Stuff

As the weather gets warmer, we all start to take a hard look at our messy garages and packed basements in an effort to to organize and "purge". This is certainly a great exercise and much needed in most houses as we all have way too much stuff. The first thought is to rent a dumpster and send all your unwanted things to the landfill. I suggest you take a little extra time to try to find new homes for those things or to dispose of them properly. You'll be surprised at how many options you can find. My suggestions are as follows:

1. Ebay, Craig's List, local Consignment shops and Tag Sales- Why not make some extra cash on your collection of LPs, beer signs and costume jewelry? There are plenty of people who like to collect what you don't want anymore. I've never tried Craig's List but Ebay is very easy to set up and Tag Sales can be fun, especially for children.
2. Good Will, Salvation Army, etc.- Donations are almost always welcome at places who need good quality home products, furniture and clothes. Call first before you schlep the couch because they might not want it. Unfortunately many of them don't take toys anymore.
3. Children's Agencies such as the FCA (Family Children Agencies)- they will be happy to take your car seat, breast pump, crib, high chair, etc for their new mothers who really need gear. 4. Charities that look for very specific used items such as (I was thrilled to find some of these suggestions in the new issue of O The Oprah Magazine):
sportsgift.org- they will take your unwanted athletic clothes, basketballs, soccer balls, volleyballs, baseballs, cleats, shinguards, running shoes and jerseys
rebounces.com- they will take your old tennis balls (yeah- we have so many!) and restores their bounce so that they can be resold at a discount for practice balls. Landfills get over 20,000 tons of tennis balls a year.
joniaandfriends.org-they want your gently used orthotics such a wheel chair, crutches, canes, ankle splints, knee braces, etc.
playitagainsports.com- they'd love to have your used dumbells, in-line skates, treadmills, skis, etc. They are a retail chain with more than 360 locations in the U.S and Canada. They resell these items at a great deal.
dressforsuccess.org- This one of my favorite organizations. They take your gently used work clothes and pass them on to disadvantaged women who are trying to take "charge of their lives" in finding a new job. Your clothes and their support team will give these women the self-esteem and much need confidence to get them back on the road to self-sufficiency.
freecycle.org- I love this concept- they help organize local groups that get together and exhange things (clothes, housewares, children's toys, electronics, etc) all for free and fun!
5. Old Electronics and Hazardous Waste- Check your town's website for information on the proper way to dispose of old electronics (eg. tvs, monitors, vacuums, outdoor equipment, etc) and oil pant, turpentine, bleach, oil, etc. There should be designated days to drop these items off for free. They will also take your old batteries. It is very easy once you find out the date. Store your unwanted items until the day, bring it to the site and drop it off and drive away knowing that you did the right thing! Please don't send these items to the landfill! Thanks!

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