Not only was I sick for close to three weeks, but I’m also still unpacking from a recent move – Mr Trashmaster and I recently combined households.
First things first. The best way to move all your stuff is to have less stuff to move. Want to “live more simply”? Don’t take all that crap with you! Mind you, I’d been living in a 560 square foot house for the last few years, but I still found plenty of stuff to get rid of.
“This sounds good”, you say. “I’m interested in having less crap and more space in my home and my life. But I also don’t want to chuck it all in a landfill.”
Heavens no, I say. You should know me better than that by now. If your stuff is in good shape, it’s entirely possible to a bit of money through yard sales or Craigslist. I don’t usually have much luck with this, but that’s me. I know of people who are, essentially, professional yard-sale hosts and Craisglisters. Me, I’d rather throw it in the back of the car, take it somewhere I know it will do someone some good, drop it off and be done with it.
If you’re moving house, or if you’re just spring (er, summer cleaning), here are some places to take – or send – your stuff.
-Goodwill Tried and true, and probably the easiest for most of us, as there’s a Goodwill less than 10 miles away in almost every city of reasonable size. We all know Goodwill as the place we take all our crap when we spring clean and where we go when we need quick, cheap Halloween costumes. But do you know what Goodwill does with your stuff and your money? Goodwill “offers customized job training, employment placement and other services to people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face employment challenges.” They help their clients (veterans, immigrants, seniors, people with disabilities, youth, etc) learn English, earn their GEDs, learn to manage their money, and much more. They also coordinate programs to mentor at-risk youth to help them stay in school, stay out of gangs, and generally make a positive difference with their lives.
Of course, there are many other charities you can donate household items to. If you have a favorite cause, and your stuff matches their requests, go for it. I mention Goodwill because it’s super-easy to find one near you, they take a wide variety of items, and because while everybody I know has heard of them, almost no one I know is familiar with the work Goodwill does outside of running the shops.
-Donate to a local school or children’s program Schools love children’s clothing of almost all sizes, especially for children 6th grade and younger. You would be amazed at how fast the office goes through spare clothing for lunch-time mishaps, “accidents”, paint spills, all sorts of things. T-shirts and button-up shirts are great for art smocks. After school programs can also use clothing. Have a bunch of office supplies? Especially in these lean economic times, teachers will often spend their own money to make sure their students have enough pencils, crayons, notebooks, rulers and glue for the year. Got an extra backpack or two? Students need a way to cart all their stuff to and from school, and not every family can afford to replace them as they wear out. Got sports equipment you aren’t using anymore? See if an after-school program can use it – maybe the Boys & Girls Club or YMCA.
-As long as we’re on the subject of sports equipment Have you heard of Play It Again Sports? They are a national retail chain that buys and resells used sports stuff along with new stuff. (Remember them when you’re looking to start up that New Year’s Resolution too). Or Sports Gift? They are a nonprofit that redistributes gear to more than 40,000 underprivileged children worldwide each year.
-Craft materials If you’ve got yarn or paint or paper or wood or bubble wrap or door knobs or just about anything that could POSSIBLY be used in an art project, or resources on how to do various kinds of crafts, try donating it to a school or a program like SCRAP. This organization “inspires creative reuse and environmentally sustainable behavior by providing educational programs and affordable materials to the community”.
-Freecycle If you’ve got it, there’s probably someone out there looking for it.