Sell, Donate, Dispose or Recycle? Options For Unwanted Items


Sell, Donate, Dispose or Recycle? Options For Unwanted Items


denimWe all have items in our home that we no longer want.

It’s perhaps a consequence of living in a society where speed and efficiency is of the essence. We all want life hacks that are going to change our lives, allow us to bust through tasks without pausing for a moment’s thought. We want to speed up cooking, so we peruse for ideas. We want to be able to clean more efficiently, so we hover on the advice at to ensure we manage it. Everything has to be quicker, so we can try and grab some relaxing time.

So when you add that to the fact we’re a consumerist society, it’s not a good mix. Items will be purchased and never used (for example, eight out of 10 women own clothes they know don’t fit) and we will swap products for the next generation, leaving the previous ones languishing in our homes. It can all build up into a huge amount of stuff, most of which will never see the useful light of day again.

This is perhaps why the trend of decluttering became so popular; a response to the acknowledgment that we tend to own too many things. Decluttering is good for you and your home for a variety of reasons, but the foremost is that it gives you the chance to use everything you own. There’s no point worrying about storage for items you have no use for, so getting rid of them gives you access to more room in your house for the things you actually need.

However, this isn’t just another blog post about how to declutter your home. After all, the basics of doing that are fairly simple: go through everything and decide what you want to keep and what can go. Instead, we’re going to focus on what happens with the ‘not needed’ pile that you have decided can exit your home – what can you do with that?

Option 1: Sell

For the items that are still in a usable condition but just surplus to your requirements, you can sell them on.

There are a variety of different ways to do this, but a good starting guide:

  • Sell them on auction websites like eBay. You’re going to need good, clear photographs and a well-written description to catch people’s eye, so take some time creating your listing where necessary. The more effort you put into making your items look attractive, the more likely it will be for you to find a buyer.
  • Try consignment stores if you don’t want to go to the bother of doing the above yourself. These stores will sell items on your behalf and then give you a cut of the profit, usually at a 50:50 ratio. You might not get as much, but it’s still going to be easier than selling them yourself.
  • It’s also worth trying to sell items on social media, particularly Facebook. Join local groups and explain what you have to offer.
  • There is a new breed of apps available, though experiences with how reliable they are tend to differ. It’s worth experimenting with your less valuable items to see if it will work for you.

Option 2: Donate

Some people have an incorrect impression of what donation actually entails. They will round up all of their rubbish and unwanted items, then dump it on the door of a charity shop, telling themselves they have done their bit.

If you want to donate, then it’s important that you don’t do this. Charities do want items, but they need to be usable items. Wash clothes before you donate them and make sure anything you hand over is fit for purpose, rather than seeing donation as a quick way of disposing of items. What you give away will hopefully be sold on at a profit to the charity – remember, they can’t just sell any old junk, so don’t expect them to. Donate items that have a real second-hand value and find another method of disposal (such as listed below) for everything else.

Option 3: Recycle

Just because you no longer have a use for an item doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still have a use in some capacity!

Recycling items into separate containers and finding out where to take them can be time-consuming. If you’re as pressed for time as most of us are, then it might be an idea to hand over to the likes of who can take care of it for you. Doing this can mean the difference between another pile going into unsustainable landfill and something genuinely good coming out of your unused items.

If you have small amounts to sort through that you think you can handle yourself, then be thorough. Clothes can be recycled or reused; you can usually find collections if you do a bit of scouting around your local area. As for furniture, small businesses can often reuse off-cuts, so it’s worth a cheap advert online to see if there’s anyone who is interested.

Option 4: Repurpose

A good example of this would be an old set of shelves that no longer works with your decor. Rather than removing them from your home, could you find a new lifespan for them? Perhaps you could move them into the garden to hold pots of plants, or be chopped down to create wall shelving?

Finding ways to repurpose old items is something of a trend, often referred to as upcycling. You’ll have to dedicate the time to doing it, but it could let you give a new lease of life to an item otherwise destined for landfill.

Hopefully, by following one of the above options, you will find a solution that works for you. It’s always worth spending the time thinking about these things, as it helps to clarify the way you organise your life from this point on. Unless you want to have to run through these decisions again in a few months time, perhaps it will be worth focusing on what you bring into your home and what you really need!

Naomi Isted
Editor in Chief, Naomi Isted is known as The Ultimate Lifestylist to her readers and viewers. She is a TV Presenter and Columnist. Ranked in the Top 100 LFW Social Media Influencers AW14 & SS15, Brand Ambassador for Pears Soap UK. Her Celebrity beauty TV Series currently airs to 27million homes on Physique TV in UAE, previously on Wedding TV in the UK. She brings fashion and beauty advice to her readers and viewers on a daily basis. She is Fashion and Beauty Columnist for Herald Scotland and has a Fashion and Beauty Bridal Blog for HELLO. She can usually be found attending celebrity fashion and beauty events in and around London and sharing the latest fashion and beauty trends with her readers.

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