Last week I wrote to you about the power of putting gratitude into action. Of acting in service of others. Of passing on things you no longer love, need, or use. Of performing Random Acts of Kindness as a way of being part of the solution.
I know one of the barriers to letting stuff go is not knowing what to do with the items once you’ve decided to send them on their way, so this week I’ve created a resource list to help you clear some common challenging items.
If you’ve recently (or not so recently!) upgraded your desktop or laptop computer, your old machine may be sitting there like an anvil taking up precious real estate both in your home and in your head.You might be hesitant to get rid of it for fear that it still contains sensitive information. Once you’ve backed up your files or transferred them to your new computer, you can relatively easily wipe your hard drive clean. To erase your Macintosh hard drive, follow these steps. For Windows, click here. If any of the steps confuse you, find the closest teenager to help you out!
Once the computer is ready to go, it can be dropped off at stores like Best Buy and Staples for proper recycling. To find a reputable recycler near you, visit http://e-stewards.org/find-a-recycler/.
If the computer is still in working order, consider contacting a local girls and boys club, library, or school to see if it’s needed.
2. Cell phones
There are more than seven billion cell phones in the world currently and with the seductive advertising of new models all the time, you might have an old phone or two hanging around.Cell phones are easy to sell these days with online places such as Gazelle and Decluttr. You might also find an ecoATM at a nearby mall or Walmart.
If donating is more your thing, there are several organizations that put old cell phones to good use. Cell Phones for Soldiers takes all makes and models, in any condition, and uses the proceeds from recycled phones to buy minutes for soldiers to call home and to help veterans transition to civilian life.
Another great organization is Secure the Call. A non-profit organization that aims to keep cell phones out of landfills and instead turns them into life-saving devices. Secure the Call will ensure that your cell phone is clean of any sensitive information and set it up for emergency calling only. These 911 phones are then given to those who can’t afford one so they have the means to call for help if needed.
3. Linens (sheets, towels, bedding)
Your local animal shelter is almost always in need of towels and blankets and is most appreciative of your donation. To find one near you, click here.
There are millions of people in the world who live with “functional blindness,” that could be remediated with a pair of glasses. However, in low-income communities or developing countries, the cost is prohibitive. Fortunately, there are ways to get your old glasses to them! For more information, click here.
5. CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes
A few years back, I was ready to get rid of all the CDs we had in our music collection. I rarely, if ever, pulled one off the shelf to listen to, instead opting to stream music on my computer. My plan was to sell them at a used music store or online without even looking at them, but Melissa had other plans. She wanted to go through them and import any songs she/we wanted to keep. (Yup, that’s her in the picture above!)
This is a job I wanted no part of, so it was all on her. And while it took her quite a while (think months and months of sporadic importing), she got it done! We then sold the CDs through the handy Decluttr app which allows you to scan the barcode of the CD to see what it’s worth. While we ended up with just over $100 for all of these CDs, the biggest payment for me was having them GONE.
Whether you have CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes or all of the above, Decluttr is your friend. In fact, some of those old VHS movies might be quite valuable in fact! Check out this listing to see if yours is on there.
Furniture can be tricky because it’s often big, heavy, and difficult to determine its value. If you have a piece that’s in good condition, first decide if you’re interested in selling or donating. If donating, there are several charitable organizations that will pick up furniture in re-sellable condition. One such non-profit is Vietnam Veterans of America. They’ll pick up clothes and other household donations as well. Freecycle is another great resource to find someone interested in your couch or dresser and who will gladly come and take it off your hands.
Should you be interested in selling your furniture, Facebook Marketplace is a good option as well as Craig’s List. There are also some easy-to-use apps such as OfferUp and LetGo that make it quick and simple. Snap a photo and post. Voila! Done!
What I don’t love about the quick apps is it makes it way too easy to post an incomplete and ineffective ad. When selling anything online, giving as much information as possible in the post copy will save you a lot of time and frustration. It will also significantly decrease the questions coming into your inbox. For lots of great tips on successfully selling stuff online, watch my webinar here.
If you think your item might be too valuable for these online outlets, consider contacting an antique store (if applicable) or an estate sale company for an appraisal to help you decide what to do.
As you’ve likely heard me plead before, please use the trash can or a dumpster as an absolute last resort. You might have something that you could never imagine someone else desiring, but you’d be surprised. I have seen the idea of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” in action.
For example, when we sold our house, we had several quarts and gallons of partially used paint. After offering them up on a local “curb alert” Facebook group, within 30 minutes someone pulled up to the front of my house and loaded them into their trunk. As I carried the last couple things to the curb, I learned that this woman was a local artist who loved to play with all different mediums, colors, and textures. She was thrilled to have the paint! And I was thrilled to have it gone.
I hope this helps you find new homes for the things with which you’ve been stumped.
Do you have some suggestions to add? Share in the comments below!