Ideas to Get Rid of Stuff Ecologically

Ideas to Get Rid of Stuff Ecologically


The end of the holiday season is always a special time of year for me. Special because it taps into one of my guilty pleasures: throwing things away. From one organizing enthusiast to another, that might not sound so odd. After all, a key aspect of being neat, tidy, and uncluttered, is not having too much stuff.

But for me, it goes a bit deeper. I actually get a little bit of a happy rush when I see a full garbage can. And the week after Christmas provides a full neighborhood of streets lined with garbage cans and recycle bins overflowing with the remnants of holiday cheer. It is so expected that the garbage company even allots for additional waste the first pickup after Christmas.

As with all guilty pleasures, I'm not particularly proud of my Oscar the Grouch affinity for all things trash. But hey, that is what makes it a guilty pleasure. I know the importance and necessity for proper recycling and reducing and reusing as much as we can, to help the environment and the future of our planet.

So even though I feel a glee for a full garbage can, I know the importance of having an empty one. And so with that in mind, the following are a few tips and best practices to get rid of what you no longer need in a way that doesn't hurt the planet.

  • Learn what your local refuse company's policies are on trash, recycle and yard waste. Follow their rules as a baseline. Don't put cardboard in your yard bin, and don't put grass clippings in your trash.

  • Don't throw light bulbs, batteries or hazardous waste into the trash. Most refuse company’s provide special pick-up instructions for these items, or provide lists of places where you can drop them off. For example, my local fire station accepts small batteries for recycle.

  • Freecycle: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It’s just a matter of connecting with folks online who want what you don’t. A safety tip: always meet in public for the exchange.

  • Craigslist: Another online option for ads to sell or give away unwanted items.

  • Donate to charity: Goodwill, The Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity are all great charities.

  • Consignment: For good quality or rare items, consignment can allow you to donate what you no longer want, while still making a few dollars. Common consignment stores are for clothing, furniture, and music.

  • Sell: Either online through Ebay or Amazon Marketplace. Also, there is still the good ol’ fashioned garage sale.

  • Give to a friend. Check out my post on regifting.

  • Try to reduce the amount of consumables you bring into your home. Buy with intention. Think with a critical eye about limiting the amount of “stuff” that comes into your home, as well as the packaging that it comes in. Sure, Amazon is really convenient, but can you combine the deliveries that will result in less of a carbon footprint?

Quick Tip: Print out your refuse company's trash policies and tape it to the outside of your home's main garbage can (our's is in our kitchen). This way, the next time you are unsure of how to dispose of something, you have their guidelines right there to remind you!