Eco-Friendly Ways to “Discard” Your Konmari Castoffs

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Yesterday was Earth Day and that made me think about how Konmari and other forms of decluttering your home often result in a lot of discarding and throwing things out. Marie Kondo in particular mentions discarding a lot in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (aka the “Konmari” book). In the spirit of being more environmentally friendly, I started looking for ways to reduce how much of my clutter gets thrown away and increase how much is recycled or given new life. I wanted to share a few of the websites and resources I found.

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Some links below may contain referrals that earn you and me bonuses. If you don’t want to use my links, just Google the name of the company instead.

Clothing

There are a few websites that will actually buy your gently used clothing from you. Now keep in mind that they do this to make a profit so they won’t offer very much. I’d say you’d get about as much as you do from a yard sale but without all the work. My favorite is ThredUP. All you do is order a bag, fill it up, and wait for your payment.

Another great option is donating your clothing. There are always the obvious local charities such as Goodwill, St. Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army, etc., but there are also some organizations that send you a bag to fill up and mail back. One of my favorites is Schoola which allows you to donate clothing to be resold and 40% of the proceeds go to the school of your choice. So you can support a local school, even your child’s school, and give your clothes a new life with someone else. Another great option is Donate Stuff. They mostly schedule local pickups but if you don’t live in an area that has this option, they’ll mail you a few bags to fill up and return.

All of the above options are postage paid meaning you will not have to pay ANYTHING, not even gas because you can schedule UPS or USPS (depending on what service the company uses) pickup.

Books

Who doesn’t have a ton of books that don’t spark joy? I can’t be the only one who impulse buys books at thrift stores and yard sales and then never reads them! As for books, you have a few great options. First is selling the books. If your book has an ISBN which is a 10 or 13 digit number usually located near the barcode (but not the same as the barcode number), you can see if it’s worth anything to a reseller. Punch in those numbers on Bigwords and Bookscouter to see if you can cash in. You can also try trading in books (and other media) on Amazon!

Whatever books you can’t sell can be mailed into Better World Books. BWB is a fantastic company that resells used books, keeping them out of the landfills, and donate part of their profits to literacy programs around the world. When you donate a book, your contribution could mean a child in Africa gets a chapter book to aid in learning how to read. How cool is that?

Cell Phones

If you have a junk drawer full of old cell phones, you may be able to cash in! Gazelle purchases cell phones and some consumer electronics like laptops and tablets. Using this link, you can actually get a bonus $10 if your item is worth $25 or more.

If your phones aren’t worth much, consider donating them! If you prefer your phone stay local, donate to a local women’s shelter. Any old cell phone that can still get a signal can dial 911. For women who have been abused, stalked, or harassed, this can be a huge stress relief knowing they can reach emergency personnel if the need arises. If you don’t have a local shelter, you can also send to Verizon’s HopeLine program.

Another option is Lifecell, a charity that helps provide clean water to those who need it by recycling your old phone. They recycle your phone, collect a small recycling reward, and purchase Lifestraws for those in need.

DVDs and CDs

If you have movies and music that you simply don’t enjoy anymore, you might consider swapping them for one you would enjoy. SwapADVD and SwapACD allow you to do just that. You can list the Backstreet Boys or Britney Spears CDs you liked when you were 13 and trade them in for something you enjoy now that you’re an adult. Or maybe you’re feeling nostalgic and actually *want* the late 90s pop CDs. So list something you don’t want and trade them in. The same goes with swapping DVDs. Perhaps your children have outgrown The Land Before Time and its 500 sequels and would rather watch The Lego Movie. Trade in those old DVDs and swap for something that does spark joy!

If you’d rather not have any DVDs or CDs, you can try selling them on Decluttr. They don’t pay much but they take a lot of CDs and DVDs that most websites wouldn’t bother with. Another selling option is Abundatrade.

If you can’t sell your DVDs or CDs, consider donating them. Discs for Dogs accepts used media and sells them to benefit the SPCA. They will even reimburse your shipping costs. If animals aren’t your thing, how about kids? Kid Flicks takes donations of DVDs and creates movie libraries for children in hospitals across the country. If all else fails, you can recycle old DVDs and CDs through CD Recycling Center of America.

Home Decor and Miscellaneous Items

One of my absolute favorite places to offload my stuff without feeling guilty is Listia. It’s like eBay only you trade for points. You can offer free shipping or charge the “buyer” for free shipping. You can list just about anything, including things that are mentioned above. You can then save up for items that others are selling or buy something from the Rewards Store like Amazon gift cards or high-end electronics. It’s a great way to save a bit of money while also decluttering.

Another fantastic option is Yerdle. Yerdle is similar to Listia in that you trade for points called “Yerdle Dollars” and then use those to buy other items. Now Yerdle does have a firm 10 pound weight limit on items traded through their service. This is because they subsidize the shipping costs for the buyer. Shipping costs $4-6 which is a bargain considering you could be buying something quite heavy like a laser printer (yes, I found one on Yerdle once)! The seller never has any cash to deal with, they simply print out a prepaid shipping label that is emailed to them, box up the item, slap on the label, and bring it to UPS.

I’ve been using Yerdle and Listia to “discard” things I don’t need and things that don’t spark joy for me and I’m saving up my points to put towards things that do such as beautiful home decor, camera accessories or vintage cameras (I *love* old cameras!), and other various things. I try to be careful about what I choose to “buy” just like I do in person.

Craiglist

If all else fails, try listing your stuff on Craigslist’s Free Section. Several times, I have listed a box full of random junk clutter on Craigslist under their free section and within an hour someone is here to load it up and take it away. It can’t really get any easier than that!

How many of these sites did you already know about? Did any surprise you?

Eco-Friendly Ways to "Discard" Your Konmari Castoffs. Where to sell or donate books, movies, clothes and more.

 

If you want to find more places to donate, try Apartment Therapy’s list of 25 Places to Donate Your Stuff or Oprah’s Where to Get Rid of Anything list that is organized by state.


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8 Comments

  1. Great list! I was already on Yerdle, but I’m trying Listia and Amazon Trade In because there seems to be the option for real cash or better cash value redemptions between them.

    I’m also trying thredup.

    1. Good luck! ThredUP is definitely a crap shoot. Sometimes they pay well and other times they do not. If you aren’t hurting for the money and would prefer to not deal with a yard sale, it’s perfectly fine. If you need more money out of your stuff, you’re probably better off sending clothes to a local consignment shop.

  2. I have to chime in here as a Librarian — donating to your local library is a fantastic way to get rid of books, CDs, and DVDs you don’t want. Call or stop by first to make sure they accept donations and if they have any rules, such as only taking one box at a time or only accepting donations on Mondays and Wednesdays. If a book/DVD/CD is in good condition the library may add it to their collection, sometimes replacing their own worn out or lost item. Items they don’t keep will usually go into a book sale. Many libraries have a book sale area, while others stash the books and do a big sale once or twice a year. My library sells books for a quarter, and CDs and DVDs are fifty cents. It really does add up!

  3. For clothes that have holes or stains & worn out shoes, I’ve been taking them to the USAGAIN boxes around town. They are supposed to recycle them!

  4. Oh no… don’t get me started on clothes! This is definitely the biggest issue when it comes to organization in my household. Love your list, though, and am definitely bookmarking it for the next time I’m decluttering!

  5. Nice big list you have here! Clothes I usually send to the salvation army but personally my problem is books..lots and lots of books. Didn’t think there was good money in old ones until I came across Rachel Rays video and your blog. So many good suggestions here, thanks!

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