More Ways to Give it Away

Since this coming Saturday, May 14, is Give Your Stuff Away Day, I thought I’d suggest alternative options for redistributing items you own but no longer want.  You can post your free items on Craigslist (there’s a Free category under For Sale ) or  Freecycle and let them know they can find the items at the curb. If you’re having a garage sale it’s always good to have some items to give away for free.

There are other choices less obvious choices for giving items away, some of which I found in the May 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.

Books – Try donating them to your local library book drive where they’ll be sold and the proceeds will go to support the library.  You can also donate books  to schools through’s Swap4Schools program.  There’s an organization, Books for Africa,  dedicated to sending books to children in Africa.
Furniture Habitat for Humanity‘s Restores resale outlets accepts donations of building materials and other household items.    You may also be able to donate some of your furniture items to local agencies like the Goodwill and Volunteers of America.  They may even come to pick it up.
Cellphones–  The Wireless Foundation collects and recycles unwanted wireless devices otherwise destined for the landfill.    Cell Phones for Soldiers takes donated cell phones and sells then to a recycler and uses the money to buy talk time for soldiers.  You can print a pre-paid mailing label on either site.
Computer equipment and software– The National Cristina Foundation directs donations of used computer equipment to non profit organizations, schools, and public agencies throughout the United States.  Computer donations benefit Computers with Causes charity organization in the United States. Their charity Computer Donation program participates in a zero-waste recycling program

Do a little homework and you might find a great new home for those items you don’t want.

Give it Away on Give Your Stuff Away Day

I was happy to hear of a grassroots movement started by a Rochester area man called Give Your Stuff Away Day.  Mike Morone  of North Chili has designated Saturday May 15 for that day.  I probably only live a couple of miles from Morone so I’m amazed I’ve never heard of his efforts.  Morone is hoping that people take the time to go through their belongings and set any items they don’t want at the curb on that weekend for others to take.

My friend Lori has been decluttering her house for a while in preparation for putting it on the market.  She knows that if she sets things at the curb it is usually only a matter of a couple of hours before the still useful items find a new home.  Of course how fast things move depend upon your location and the desirability of items left there.  Usually after a garage sale I have items I just want to get rid of so I’ll put them near the street in the hopes that someone stops and takes them.

I think Morone has a great idea. He’s been successful enough in his efforts to get the Governor of Connecticut to proclaim May 15 as Give Your Stuff Away Day.  He also has a Facebook page.  Morone has posted guidelines on his website for types of items to not put at the curb (you should also check with your local municipality to see what can’t be left at the curb).  He has suggestions on what to do with the items that are still there at the end of the day (Craigslist, Freecycle) .  This is an easy, low stress, low effort way to declutter.

That Saturday might be a great day to drive around town if you’re in the market for some items.  You might even find some things you can turn around and sell.  Seriously consider participating if you have been wanting to get rid of stuff.  Help promote his effort by Tweeting about it or posting a link on Facebook.  Help make a difference!

It’s over…now what?

The garage sale is over.  Now what do I do with all of the leftovers?

You will need to sort through all the items to decide what to do with them.  Group them accordingly:

  • Items you want to try to sell online or locally.  By the time the sale is over people have mentally given up their garage sale items,  so they don’t want to “take them back.”  There might be a few items you have that could reap some good cash if you try selling them through another avenue, like Ebay, Craigslist or a classified ad in th paper.
  • Items to give away. These things are not worth donating.  See if friends or family want them.  If I think there is some value to an item I usually try to give it away before throwing it out.  You can try posting them on Craigslist or Freecycle to give away.  Craigslist has a category called “Free” under the For Sale listings.  You could also try putting them at the curb to see if they get taken.  Failing all else, toss them in the garbage. Give yourself a timeline when they need to be gone and make sure they make it in the trash if the deadline passes and you’ve still got possession.
  • Items to donate. If you’re going to donate and you want the tax write-off, document items as you box them up so you have a detailed list for April 15.  There are many places to donate items:  Volunteers of America, Goodwill, local schools and churches or other non-profit agencies.   Contact the agency to make sure they will accept the items you want to donate. I was lucky with my last garage sale since I was contacted by a teacher who asked if I’d be willing to donate any items to the children in her city classroom.    After the sale, she came and took all of the toys and books I had wished to donate, which was about 10 boxes.  It was great because I was able to clean out my garage without ever leaving home.  The teacher was very happy because I was able to help a lot of families with my donation.

Reminder:  Don’t forget to take down any garage sale signs you posted.  You can potentially reuse those signs for a future sale, saving a few bucks.  Plus, it’s rude leaving your signs up on posts until they blow away.  Most municipalities don’t have a a problem with the signs being up a few days but if they’re left up indefinitely you are littering.