5 Low (or No) Contact Ways to Donate or Get Rid of Your Old Stuff
Since the middle of March I've been working from home, and while a lot of people were fussing about being shut in, I was praising God like, "Hallelujah! I finally have time to tackle some of my home projects!" I've almost completed my living room overhaul and I'm about to move on to my bedroom/office combo, but with all this cleaning, organizing and redecorating, I have a ton of stuff that I need to get rid of. With COVID-19 limiting person-to-person contact, I've been having a hard time finding an organization that will come and pick all this stuff up. But I don't want to throw anything away that could be used for something or someone else. What do I do?
I'm been sitting here brainstorming, and have come up with 5 ways to get rid of my gently used items without having to throw them in the trash. If you're having the same issues as me, keep reading. All of these things involve low or no contact, keeping you socially distant and safe.
#1 Host a Zoom Party with Your Friends and Do a Clothing Swap... (...or just call a family member or friend to come and pick it up)
We have WAY too many house wares in my household. For a while, my mom worked for an off-priced chain store, so every time they had a sale, we were getting new glasses or dishes or decor pieces. Not to mention all the things that I would buy while thrifting. And while we've been able to reuse a lot of the pieces, there are still some things that we just don't want or need. Fortunately, I have a cousin that just moved into a new home, so we've been able to see if anything we have is something she and her family needs and we pass our pre-loved goodies on to her. If you don't have access to family or friends like that, or if you want something that's a little more socially distant than meeting people face-to-face, consider hosting an online party. Invite your social media and real-life family and friends to an online platform like Zoom for a certain date and time where you can showcase items that you're trying to get rid of. If you're shipping the pieces to them, include that price in your cost. You can also offer things like no-contact drop off or porch pick-up for your local shoppers.
#2 Post Big, Bulky Items on Nextdoor
In the span of a week, my household had a washing machine and a refrigerator go out. We were able to get them replaced, but that left us with two broken appliances that we had to get rid of. Unfortunately, our bulk trash pick up doesn't take appliances and electronics, but my family was able to find someone to haul them away for us, which was a huge blessing. Not everyone has that option, which is where this next app comes in. Nextdoor is a social media platform geared specifically towards neighborhoods. Mom hipped me to it last year and it's really cool because you can stay aware of what's going on in your neighborhood from people within your OWN neighborhood. You can also buy, sell or trade all sorts of things on there (even broken things). So now that we're getting rid of our dinosaur TV, I'll have a family member haul it to the curb and I'll post it for someone to come and pick it up for FREE. This way, we're blessing someone with something that they can use and keeping good pieces out of our landfills. See if your neighborhood is represented by clicking here.
#3 List Easy-to-Ship Items on an Online Selling Site like Mercari or Poshmark
The cost of shipping is enough to deter people from selling items online. I know with Create + Restore, it has been a challenge finding that happy medium, where our customers are comfortable paying for both the item AND the shipping. But if you have smaller items, like clothing or accessories, or non-bulky pieces, selling your items online might just be easier than you think. Online selling sites like Mercari, Poshmark, or even Ebay make selling easy, with simple navigation, easy shipping and payout policies, and little (to no) cost to get started. Have a smartphone with a decent camera? Take your pictures and start selling today!
#4 Find a Local Charity That's Accepting Donations
They may be hard to find but there are still some charities that will accept your donations. Places like Goodwill and The Salvation Army might be offering limited pick ups, and have locations open for you to make limited contact drop offs. This gives you the opportunity to bag it all up and drop it off at one time. And beware of freestanding donation bins. Unless you know the organization it belongs to, you might be giving your items to a business that will resale your pieces for their own profit. Take to the internet and search for reputable social causes that take donations near you.
#5 Start an Online Facebook Group and Invite Others to Participate
If you have a little more time to get rid of your stuff, and want to create an online area where multiple people can showcase their unused goods, consider creating a Facebook group. Now, you might be asking, "Why would I even want to make a Facebook group?" First of all, Facebook groups are free to start. Secondly, you have an instant space where you can house pictures of all the things you want to sell. That way you can send all of your friends and family to one unified space. Third, you can be the one that fosters a community in your circle of influence that promotes sustainability and reuse. And we all know that each community doing something to save our environment can lead to some big changes. Start off by signing up for a Facebook account here.
One day, we'll all feel safe enough to go back to the standard garage sales. Or will we? Maybe, just maybe, we'll work smarter, not harder, and find ways to do things that make room for what really matters.