garage full of old unused items

Treasure From Trash: A System for Clearing Out All Your Old Stuff

If you’ve been settled and living in the same place for a while, chances are you’ve got unused stuff lying around. An old chair in need of upholstery could be sitting piles of paper from the office instead of people’s bottoms; your desktop computer from university days might be gathering dust now that you’ve moved on to laptops and tablets with better specs.

We all can get carried away with the day-to-day business of living, and grow accustomed to piles of junk. But at some point, things can change, and we find a need to dispose of the clutter that has accumulated in our homes. The task of clearing up and getting rid of stuff can be intimidating. Finding ways to break it down into more straightforward steps is helpful, and here’s one system – classifying your things by the manner of disposal.

Give away

You can probably find some items in your house that are still useful for their original purpose, but maybe not to you. For instance, children’s books that you read ragged decades ago, or old clothes that don’t fit, might have sentimental value – and probably won’t fetch a lot if you were to sell them, due to their condition. And it’s unlikely you’ll need them again.

Such items are a great candidate to give away to someone who can put them to better use. You might know someone – a friend or relative, a co-worker – who’s raising kids, or might be the right size for your old clothes. Even if you don’t, various charities would probably be willing to take them off your hands.

Giving things away carries a sense of purpose; it can often feel fulfilling to know that you helped someone by giving away personal items.


taking items to the thrift shop

There’s nothing wrong with making some extra cash off the stuff you’re not using. Sometimes you win appliances or gadgets from office giveaways, but you’ve already got one of those. How many Bluetooth speakers or extra microwaves do you need? If an item is in good condition or never used, and still works perfect, you can still sell it for value.

How you conduct a sale of items will depend mostly on bulk and your lifestyle. If you have the right sort of space and neighbourhood, consider a garage sale. People who pass by regularly can be more willing to part with some cash; the convenience of inspecting and picking up the items is a big factor.

However, you might not have the extra time or space to manage a garage sale. Or you could be living on a street with very little traffic or a few neighbours. Posting your items for sale online can be more effective. Include descriptions and pictures to increase your sales.


Many items you’ll find have little to no resale value and aren’t useful enough to give away or donate. If you have the enthusiasm for DIY projects, a little online research yields plenty of creative projects that let you upcycle almost anything.

The simplest solution is to sort these items for waste recycling. Everyday items such as aluminium cans and plastic bottles can be taken to a local collection point if your community offers such services. If you have a lot of stuff and don’t want to invest much more energy into the process, contact a local scrap yard or skip hire service so they can pick up and collect everything for you.

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