General Question

Stinley's avatar

What do you do with your stuff when you no longer need it?

Asked by Stinley (11505points) January 14th, 2016

In the UK there is a thriving market for old stuff. We take our unwanted goods to local charity shops. The charity shops put the items out for sale. This is one of their fundraising streams. It’s a really popular thing. High streets often have several charity shops, and they also tend to cluster together. For example in my nearby town there is a street with 8 of these shops. They are for different charities – Cancer Research, Dogs Trust, Air Ambulance, Scope (for people with disabilities) etc.

Do other countries have this to this extent? In France, there is just one charity which does this – Emmaus (for homeless people) and I have heard of Goodwill in the US. Why isn’t there a take up of this good idea? What do people do with their stuff?

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17 Answers

LuckyGuy's avatar

I donate items to GoodWill. They support the Blind and Visually Impaired. They also offer them employment opportunities.
(I also purchase items from GoodWiil.)
Do you like the jeans I’m wearing? Yep! GW.

JLeslie's avatar

America has charities that take used items. Goodwill is one of the large nationwide organizations, Salvation Army another, and there are veterans organizations. Goodwill, we as donators get to write the donation off of our taxes, but Goodwill sells the items, they don’t give them away. Some organizations give the goods away for free to the needy.

On the local level there are quite a few organizations that help women. Single mothers, battered women, and they take donations. I’ve given work clothes to places like that. A lot of the women are trying to get a job or a better job.

Aside from charities we have consignment shops and antique stores.

Also, we have garage sales, even sometimes a whole block of neighbors do a garage/yard sale together. When I lived in Tennessee our town did a garage sale one day a year. The town provided signs and advertised it. People shopped within the town and people came from neighboring cities. I really liked the townwide garage sale.

Seek's avatar

I pretty much use things until they are useless to anyone but me.

I get most things second-hand, through charity shops, thrift stores, jumble sales, etc., or even found off the side of the road. I’ve gotten most of my furniture that way.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

There are large donation containers set outside gas stations in our area for used clothes. The clothes go to local churches to give to the needy.

Many people now sell or give away items in Facebook groups. One group I belong to is called “Everything for $100 or less in McDonough County.” I sold swing equipment that I had bought for our daughter but never used. It all sold the same day I put it up for sale.

rojo's avatar

Like @Seek, I tend to use things up. After that I hide it until my wife finds where I squirreled it away and throws it out, or gives it to goodwill if it has any life left in it.

Cruiser's avatar

Here in the US we also have many organizations that solicit clothing and furnishings such as Veteran organizations that will offer collection dates in your neighborhood and all you need to do is leave the items on your doorstep that day.

We also have Freecycle which is a grass roots movement of online communities where when you join you get emails when people in your area post items they no longer need. I have seen everything from coat hangers to big screen TV’s. I have a very nice leather couch in my office and a beautiful baby grand piano at home I got off Freecycle.

JLeslie's avatar

Freecycle is awesome.

Silence04's avatar

In the US, Craigslist is a thriving market. That’s where I usually get rid of things. I’ll try selling it first, but if I don’t get any buyers I’ll post it in the free section. Then someone will come and pick it up within minutes/hours.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

My wife is a former hoarder.

I wish I could use the Don Draper method and just pull up to a dumpster, open the trunk and toss in the boxes without looking at what’s inside.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

Donate to Goodwill or chuck it.

ibstubro's avatar

Goodwill and Salvation Army thrift shops are pretty universal in the Midwest, US. There are other chains – Savers and Value Village come to mind – and St. Vincent Du Paul operates quite a few.

Locally, there are at least 6 independent, mostly faith-based thrifts operating.

Personally? I hoard.
I’m ready for a purge…I wish there was a decent re-sale shop for men’s clothing. I hate to just give the stuff away when I see clothes ¼ as nice selling at the thrifts for $3–4+ each.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

My two-car garage was so full of shit once that my wife and I had to park our cars on the street. It took a week to sort things and 2 months to distribute them. It became a mania. I went through some closets, the attic and even the study. My wife would leave the house in fear because she was afraid her stuff would be missing when she got back. I wouldn’t do that, but she admitted to some uneasiness and began putting red stickers on things around the house that she wanted to be there when she came home from work.

This is where it all went:

Family got the family stuff.
Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul and Salvation Army (depending on who picked up that day), got old clothes, cooking utensils, small pieces of furniture, TVs, old radios, etc.
Lawn Sale and giveaways to friends.
Ebay & Craingslist (made enough money for a new washer & dryer)

Old cell phones went to a women’s shelter for refurbishing and distribution as 911 devices to abused, phoneless women.

Old computers, peripherals and bulk electronics went to Computers with Causes, a bunch of young geeks in Seattle who either canabalized them for parts or refurbished them for redistribution to needy communities in the states and around the world. I paid the shipping. It’s a good group, a good cause, with a good idea.

After gleaning out the first editions, I donated 32 boxes of books (26 of which I had dragged over 2 continents in 11 years without ever opening) to Better World Books who, in turn, distributed them to needy libraries throughout the world. I had to pay the shipping costs to their warehouse in Miami, but I’m not about to burn a book, so it was worth it.

The trash. Lots and lots of trash.

linguaphile's avatar

Where I donate depends on what I’m donating. Clothes that I can’t sell, I donate to an abused women’s shelter or the local ASPCA thrift store—the money goes to the care of animals.

Homeless shelters, vet clinics, and animal shelters will take towels and bedding. Homeless shelters often will also take recently purchased toiletries. For example—I bought shampoo and lotion that didn’t work for me. These have no resale value, so I donated those to the homeless shelter. They always appreciate personal hygiene products.

Stuffed animals—I donate to firemen and policemen organizations. They often keep stuffed animals in their vehicles to help comfort children in the middle of a crisis.

I don’t like to donate indiscriminately because there’s so much that certain companies can’t use. Savers (a thrift store run by the Epilepsy Foundation) told me that they just throw out what they don’t use or what doesn’t sell. I’m not okay with that—so I do take more time to donate in a way that my objects get maximum reuse.

I no longer donate to Goodwill because of the CEO’s salary— it’s supposed to be a non-profit organization, but the CEO is walking away with 3-times the salary of an average for-profit CEO. I prefer to donate to organizations that are not making one person super-wealthy, especially while they’re working with the poorest of the poor!! I find that beyond reprehensible.

I also will not donate to organizations that force people to listen to a religious sermon before receiving any service.

I like @Espiritus_Corvus’ list too.

cookieman's avatar

There’s a Salvation Army location a mile from my house. I drop by with stuff once or twice a year.

Strauss's avatar

There are about 4 or 5 organizations that call me on a regular basis to let me know they’ll have a truck in the neighborhood, to schedule a pickup.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Either sell, donate to the local mission (charity store) or recycle

msh's avatar

I keep everything books, music, and what I want to keep. The rest goes to charity, trash, or giant art projects in the front yard. My stuff, my decisions, my artworks. It works!

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