Responsible Decluttering

It’s all very well to declutter your home or life but we all need to think where these items are going. To just send them to landfill is irresponsible and we’re all about responsible behaviour here at Thrifty Towers. Unless of course you’re talking about that time I drank half a bottle of gin and thought I was stuck in a lift and phoned my then boyfriend crying at 3am before the final exam of his Maths degree only to realise I was pressing the wrong button. Yeah.
So where do we send all of these items we’ve decluttered as part of the 30 Day Declutter if not landfill?

It should really go without saying that things such as paper, glass, tins and plastics should be recycled at home as normal if you have that facility, if you don’t I imagine the majority of councils have recycling centres, as do most large supermarkets. Here’s where to send the other stuff.

Charity shops
In these credit crunch times more and more of us are turning to auction sites etc. to sell items that we would in previous years have sent to charity shops and that’s fair enough – a girl’s gotta eat. However charity shops are  finding times hard at the moment and are clamouring to for good quality items. If you’re going to put something in your eBay pile and leave it there for 6 months until it goes out of style leaving you with all of 20p profit, perhaps consider donating instead? Perhaps you’d like to give more to charity but can’t afford to? Your donations of unwanted items are just as valid a donation as cash.
Remember – a charity shop isn’t a dumping ground, don’t send them anything you wouldn’t see as fit for sale.

Animal Shelters/Vet surgeries
If you have any towels or linens that are past their best consider sending them to an animal shelter. I sent a pile of old towels and duvets to my local animal shelter and they bit my hand off such was their need for them. Give your local animal shelter a call and ask if they’re in need of your old towels.

Textile and shoe recycling banks
You may have fabric that can’t be sold because it is damaged or stained. Get yourself down to your local recycling centre or tip and put the fabric into a textile recycling bank. You can find out where your local bank is by entering your postcode here.

When you’re going through your gadgets and electricals you’re sure to come across an assortment of batteries. Please don’t just chuck them in your general waste bin. You can take them an assortment of supermarkets who have various boxes, tubs and tins for you to deposit them in and they’ll do the rest.

I heart Freecycle. Sure the people on there can be annoying but if you ignore the pleas for brand new washing machines and wide screen televisions there are genuine, grateful people who will be more than happy to come and take anything you’re giving away. Half full tins of paint, scraps of fabric, lightbulbs, CD cases, VHS tapes, broken landline phone, old furniture, cardboard boxes, broken printers are just a few of the things I’ve rid myself of via Freecycle in the last few months.

Schools and libraries
My local library were thrilled when I phoned to ask if they’d like 100 DVD cases and a teacher from primary school up the road even came to pick up boxes full of crafting stuff and old magazines in her spare time.

Please don’t chuck your old medication away or flush it into the water supply. Please take it to a pharmacy and they’ll be able to dispose of it correctly.

Is Twitter perfect in just about everyway? Well yes, it would be if it got rid of that stupid ‘Activity’ tab. I’ve managed to pass on tents, furniture, car parts, magazines, shoes and a myriad of other things via Twitter. Just pop out a message letting people know what you’d like to pass on and more often than not someone will be thrilled to take it off your hands.

Blog sale
Why not host a blog sale to get rid of some of those clothes that no longer fit or homewares that aren’t quite working for you?

Just about everything can be spared the landfill treatment, you can send your old glasses to charity, the same with your mobile phone (or you can even get paid) and MP3 player.

When taking your items to charity shops, schools etc. please consider the amount of plastic you’re packaging them in. Can you use an old cardboard box, hamper or suitcase (empty out and take home, natch) instead?

You might find useful:
Original 30 Day Declutter post
How to organise a clothes drawer
How to organise nail polish

P.S. What do you do with your decluttered items?


  1. Thanks for all the recycling ideas/options. They are especially good for me as a UK newbie!

  2. An excellent and useful post!! I gave a mug tree to a man on freecycle the other week, never seen anyone so excited.

  3. You have such good druken anecdotes.

    Thanks for the tips! Very timely, for me.

  4. I have been listing on eBay recently but I do 1 auction and what hasn’t sold after that within reason gets taken down to the charity shop for them to benefit from – works best for both!

    Victoria xx

  5. i used to use freecycle quite a lot, and have given away all kind s of things through it, the people on there are no worse than the nutters on ebay!

  6. I must get back into Freecycle. We used to use it quite often in the old house but since moving I haven’t bothered.

    The tip about the DVD cases is brilliant!

  7. These are great tips, there’s really no excuse to not recycle is there :)
    I never thought of using local schools and libraries though!
    I feel I should donate to charity shops more, but I’m quite lucky to have a mother and little sister who are more than happy to take old clothes/books etc off my hands for themselves.

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  9. Great idea about the vet surgery!

  10. I started my de-clutter yesterday! 2 bags for charity shop, 12 items on ebay and some on a local facebook selling site. Paper and cardboard rubbish in the recycling and I’m also returning stuff I borrowed!! LMAO at your gin / lift incident, that is just the kind of thing I would do!

  11. Thank you for the links! We have had a bag of textiles to recycle sitting in the hall for about a month, I’ve just typed in my postcode and found a place just round the corner. Excellent.

  12. It’s worth checking your doorstep recycling as they often take all sorts of things. For example mine takes the usual cans, glass and paper, but also takes batteries, textiles and old shoes amongst other things.

  13. Tina of castfall says:

    Do you know where I could get rid of a fridge without having to pay an enormous fee?

  14. Goodness, I had a flush of shame reading this, I am one of those folk with an ebay pile I never find the time to list, I am sure I could whittle it down and just keep hold of the really pricey stuff, a smaller pile might not seem as daunting.
    Btw, a lot of charity shops don’t mind really old or damage clothes, they get money for the sacks of textiles they can’t sell from the rag merchant, so that moth eaten blanket or stained dress will still provide them with a little income :) Thanks for the prod and reminder, am going to compile a decluttering plan list for the weekend!

  15. Thank you for saying about the CS thing and not just donating any old crap – they only want stuff they can sell – not broken toys/chipped mugs etc. However all clothing is useful as the unsaleable stuff is sold on as rags and the charity benefits that way. Same with tatty books/magazines.

    I am planning a 30 day declutter in the new year – have already made a small start and the local rag/shoe bank has benefitted greatly!

  16. Great post!

    Local community centres often have childrens crafting groups that are willing to take fabrics and any crafting supplies too – ours does here.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Listed an old bed frame on freecycle on Sunday, collected Monday evening!

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