What do you do with all the stuff that doesn’t spark joy? Resist tossing it in the garbage! There are dozens of options for discarding your piles of unwanted (“in good condition”) clutter that doesn’t involve adding more to the world’s trash. Here are some of our favorite tips for recycling that are not only better for the environment but may even help someone in need.
Check out Earth911.com to find recycling options in your community.
Earth 911 maintains one of the most extensive recycling databases to make recycling a little less complicated. Their mission is to increase recycling rates and help people choose sustainable options. Simply enter what you are trying to recycle along with your zip code and it will help you find where to recycle items like electronics, household cleaners, and paint.
Recycle cardboard boxes and household items through The Give Back Box.
Do you have extra online shipping boxes and gently worn clothing/accessories you are ready to discard? The Give Back Box (who has partnered with Amazon) allows you to mail items that you want to donate. It’s super easy to do. Get a prepaid labelhere. Fill a box with clothing and household goods you no longer need. Attach the shipping label and drop off at the post office or UPS. Gives every cardboard box a second life and helps people in need.
Have charities come pick up your stuff.
You don’t even have to leave home to make an impact. These free home pick-up donation organizations take everything from furniture to appliances to cars. You will need to contact each organization to ask what items they do and don’t take (think unframed mirrors, baby cribs, & upholstered items with pet odors). When you think of donation pick-ups, the Salvation Army is one of the biggest and oldest. Items are either brought directly to those who need them or sold at a Salvation Army store. Donations allow the Epilepsy Foundation to provide education, support services and advocacy for individuals and families with epilepsy. Goodwill will bring your items to a nearby Goodwill store and sell them at a steep discount to those in need. The money raised goes to various initiatives, including job training and placement programs. And finally, Habitat for Humanity, provides affordable housing to families in need around the world.
Think outside the box when it comes to donating.
When finding places to donate gently used items like books think of local libraries, daycares, hospitals or retirement communities. The MSCPA is always looking for used sheets, towels or soft bedding for their furry residents. If you have clothing that is too worn to donate or sell, you can take them to chain stores like H&M, Levis or Madewell where they will be used for textile recycling. You can trade-in your old phone to Apple and receive an Apple gift card, and if the item is too old Apple will recycle it for you. Staples accepts used ink cartridges and Autozone will take away your old car battery.
Finally, don’t forget to save those donation receipts and deduct them from your taxes. Once you’ve dropped off your items, the charity organization should be able to provide you with a tax deduction receipt. Come tax time, these receipts could end up saving you a bundle. If you’re documenting your charitable contributions for tax purposes, here’s a site that gives suggested values of commonly donated items.