Green Decluttering

A common concern I hear from people when they’re decluttering is that they don’t want their stuff just to go to the landfill. They don’t want to be responsible for creating more trash, or they feel that their stuff could be useful to someone. They want to be green!

Here are some options:

Sell your stuff
Craigslist is a good choice if you want to sell things locally such as furniture and other large or hard-to-ship items.

Go with Oakland auction houses such as Michaan’s or Clar’s to sell big lots and expensive items. In this economy, people aren’t buying or collecting the way they used to, so selling is also harder. Both auction houses offer free appraisal services.

Selling on eBay means you’ll have to take care of shipping, so make sure it will be worthwhile for you. Check out what’s been paid for items like yours to find out how to set your price.

While selling your stuff seems like an easy way to make a buck, remember that you’ve got to do the work of posting your ad, including a photo (required on eBay and suggested on Craigslist), answering questions and scheduling pickups. Make sure your asking price is worth the time you’ll spend.

For this reason, I don’t recommend garage sales. They’re often a huge waste of time. Only do one if you publicize it well, get other households involved and don’t mind spending the day sitting in front of your house.

Give stuff away
If you can’t be bothered to sell, just offer up your goods for free on Craigslist or Freecycle. This is the fastest way to unload unwanted items. People want all kinds of wacky things, especially when they’re free!

For larger quantities of household goods, donating to local thrift stores is a good option. In some areas, pick-up services are offered. This varies a lot, so call your local store to find out.

Crafty items find a home at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse. This store caters to artists and teachers. They accept items that you might not think of donating, such as imprinted stationery, maps, popsicle sticks, yarn and film canisters.

If it’s clothing you want to donate, consider getting together with friends for a clothes swap. This is especially good if what you’re donating doesn’t fit anymore. You’ll be able to replace it with cast offs from friends that do fit.

Don’t forget Oakland’s Bulky Waste Pickup program. This is the way to get rid of trash that’s too big to fit in your garbage bin, such as mattresses, broken TVs, tires and furniture.

Next Step
Make sure you actually get the stuff out of the house! Try not to stockpile unwanted items in your garage where they’ll gather dust and be forgotten about, while still taking up precious space.