If you want to get rid of extra stuff around your house, but don’t want to bother with selling items online or holding a garage sale, here are our frugal living tips for good ways to trade, recycle or donate unwanted items.
Trading or swapping gets more of what you want without spending any cash. Recycling is more about keeping usable goods out of our landfills.
You may be able to deduct the value of donations on your income tax return. Just be sure to track and report your donation correctly. Consult your tax accountant or review IRS publications that explain how to value and claim a deduction for charitable contributions: Publication 526, Charitable Contributions and Publication 561, Determining the Value of Donated Property.
- Swap or trade music, games, and movies. Contact Swap.com to swap books and other media for a small fee plus shipping. Use BookMooch to exchange used books with others via mail.
- Recycle or dispose computers responsibly. Contact PC Disposal or All Green Recycling to find a certified responsible recycler in your area.
- Give away free stuff on Freecycle. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.
- Recycle empty printer cartridges, old cellphones and small electronics to reduce landfill and raise money for your cause. Contact Planet Green Recycle.
- Recycle cellphones, smartphones, iPads or iPods to benefit the Shelter Alliance Emergency Fund. Contact ShelterAlliance.net.
- Donate cellphones. Cellphones for Soldiers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing cost-free communication services to active duty military members and veterans.
- Donate eyeglasses. According to the World Health Organization, 153 million people have a need for corrective lenses. Lions Clubs collect millions of eyeglasses each year to address this need. Contact the Lions Club to donate eyeglasses at a local collection box or by mail.
- Donate professional clothing to Dress for Success. Its mission is to promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire to help them thrive in work and in life.
- Donate evening gowns and prom dresses to Donate My Dress for girls who cannot afford them for prom, sweet 16 parties, quinceañeras or formal occasions and dances.
Other organizations that accept donations of goods
- Women’s shelters rely heavily on donations. Contact local shelters in your area. Gently used items to donate include clothing and shoes for women and children, bedding and towels, toys and games, books and magazines and cellphones.
- Animal shelters take some in-kind donations. Contact local animal shelters in your area. Used items to donate include: gently used dog crates, dog houses, litter boxes, towels, blankets, rugs and pet toys.
- Habitat for Humanity builds low-income housing and has local chapters across the country. They accept gifts of property, tools, equipment, building materials and construction gear (boots, gloves, etc.). Contact your local Habitat for Humanity chapter for in-kind donation information.
My favorite swap sites for media are:
http://www.paperbackswap.com (not just paperbacks – all books!)
All of these are “sister” sites and you can move your credits between them. The forums are great places to get “deals”. I frequently run freebies with an order from my shelves.