- Freecycle: Join a group in your area and list the items you have to give away. Other members of the group can contact you to claim your items. Depending on how active the group is, you may find that all of your extra items have new homes within a day or two. Some Freecycle groups hold an annual garage sale event where members bring items to give away and the public is invited to browse and take what they can use.
- Craigslist: Find your local Craigslist and create a free classified ad listing for each item you have to sell or give away. Do not post your email address or telephone number. Craigslist automatically generates an email forwarding address so your personal information is protected.
- Repurpose: Look carefully at an item before you throw it out. It may have another use. If you have young children, collect interesting odds and ends such as buttons, extra puzzle pieces, nuts and bolts, and broken crayons in a collage box. Next time they complain of boredom, pull out the box and a bottle of glue and challenge them to create a piece of artwork using only what they find in the box.
- Consignment: When you have valuable items that you simply do not need, consider taking them to a consignment shop. The consigner will place your items in the shop and pay you a percentage of the sale price. Clothing and baby gear are popular consignment items. Many parents groups, such as Mothers of Multiples, hold an annual consignment garage sale.
- Second Hand Shops: Shops run by Goodwill, Salvation Army, and hospitals are a fast, easy way to find a new home for things you no longer need. Most require that items be in good condition, although they will do some minor repairs and cleaning.
Finding new homes for your clutter may not be as easy as hauling it out to the curb on trash day, but consider it part of the experience. Next time you are out shopping, ask yourself what you will do with an item once you are finished with it. You may decide you don’t really need it after all, and you will cut off cycle of clutter before it begins.
What are your favorite ways to repurpose, recycle, or get rid of extra stuff – without sending it to the landfill?