Rights & Money

Decluttering, Part III: What to Do With the Stuff You Can’t Sell

If you’re sitting on a pile of things you don’t want or need, there are easy ways to get rid of it

 By Katrina Caruso

We humans are really good at accumulating a lot of things that we will eventually no longer need. Decluttering is the (possibly painful) process of sorting the stuff we need from the stuff that’s just taking up space.

Last week, we looked at the sorts of things you might be able to sell—online, at auction, or in a garage sale—but you’re bound to be left with a lot of stuff that no one wants to buy.

While it might be tempting to just throw things out, there are a lot of other options that won’t take that much more time and will be better for the planet and your community.

– Shelters, food banks, and missions can take things like food, books, art supplies, clothing, shoes, unused cosmetics, and toys. Some of these organizations will even pick up from your home.

– There are local groups on Facebook for selling, giving things away, or trading—and there are also more specialized groups that can help refugees or other marginalized communities find things they need.

– In non-pandemic times, you can schedule a pickup with Diabetes Canada or take your stuff to one of the organization’s donation bins (you can check the website to see if a drop-off has re-opened near you). Here’s a list of what they will and won’t pick up.

– Organize a clothing swap with friends. This can be a great way to refresh your wardrobe. You can include things like shoes, accessories, and jewellery—have fun with it! Donate anything that doesn’t get selected to a charity or thrift store.

– Breathe a second life into the item: could it be reused? For example, you can cut up old clothes or towels to use as rags, start a new crafting project (searching Pinterest can provide a lot of inspiration), or perhaps even get the item mended. A good cobbler might be able to do wonders with a favourite pair of boots or shoes!

Photo: iStock/ChristinLola.