Sunday, April 5th, 2020

20 Ways To Ethically Purge Your Stuff

Published on May 3, 2018 by   ·   3 Comments Pin It

You have no idea the good your old stuff could be doing. Rather than letting things you no longer have use for decompose and off-gas in a big, heaping pile of trash – do the right thing and ethically purge.  I promise, it’s easier than you think, and you’ll be so happy to see the joy on someone’s face who recieved something they needed (that you didn’t) or make cash on your unused items. There is nothing better than the feeling of a good, deep cleanse – that holds true from a deep extraction facial or a closet clean out. Remember Grandma’s old mantra: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” and think about the excitement you’d feel if someone surprised you with a vintage chanel handbag or antique jewelry. There is almost nothing from your home that needs to go in a garbage can, except poopy diapers, used q-tips, and cat hair. If there is something you don’t know what do with – you will after reading this list!

20 Ways To Ethically Purge Your Stuff

20 Ways To Ethically Purge Your Stuff

  1. Give away items to someone you know would love or could use a particular thing. For example; let’s just assume you have a 4 year old boy – find a friend with a 2 year old boy and give her all your small boys clothes and out-aged toys. Who doesn’t love hand-me-downs? I know I do! Better yet, join a facebook “swap” group and dole out your outgrown sizes/ stuff for things that are of use to you.
  2. Hold a clothing swap with your crew, but open it up to include housewares, toys, etc. Serve refreshments, play fun music, and make it a girls-night-in sort of gathering! My friends look forward to mine and always ask me when I’m holding the next one.
  3. Sell your clothing to a local consignment/ resale shop, make some cash and clean out your unused duds. Note, there are upscale consignment shops who are very picky (read: they will not accept your Banana Republic wrap dress, but will accept a Balenciaga boot) and ones who are open to all brands in good condition. Google consignment shops in your area, and visit their websites to get a vibe for what they’ll take before you waste your time bringing in 5 garbage bags of clothes.
  4. Order a ThredUp bag and toss everything (mens/womens/kids/ shoes/ bags) you no longer want in it and ship it back (free) to them – sit back and let the cash roll in. You can opt to have them recycle all items they don’t accept so you don’t end up in the same conundrum you were originally in. There are many other apps and sites like Poshmark that you can sell your stuff on, but with those you have to upload the pix and run the sale yourself – which may take more time than you’re interested in spending – you may, however, make more money.
  5. Send high-end items to The RealReal and make serious dough – only big name designers for this one though – but working with them always pays off bigtime.
  6. Sell stuff yourself on eBay – there’s no end to what you can sell
  7. Have a yard sale.
  8. Use GiveBackBox – which will allow you to print out a free shipping label to donate your old items to a local charity in need
  9. Donate to any local shelter, hospital, home for women/ children, homeless shelter, church, synagogue, mosque, pre-school, local public school, library, police or fire station etc.
  10. If you have a handful of items of the same kind, google the type of item you want to donate – example: “donate old shoes,” sure enough – up pops which allows you to ship your old shoes (for free) to be distributed in poverty stricken countries.
  11. Ethically recycle non-working/ destroyed items. There are textile (clothing) recycling bins all over – google your local one if you can’t find it easily. The same goes for electronic equipment. There are often free shipping programs you can use to ship items to recycling centers not close to you.
  12. Sell your old electronics. Gazelle makes it so easy – simply go to their website and they’ll send you a box and/or a free shipping label.  Send them your old working (or even non working depending on product!) electronics (mainly phones and computers and ipads) and make more money than you’d think!
  13. Donate old sheets, towels, teddy bears, and rags to any animal shelters, rescue groups, or animal foster families. There is a company that accepts old teddy bears which they use to make into new dog toys! Same with old sheets!
  14. Sell anything using your social media accounts, instagram or facebook etc. – this keeps buyers closeby and the sales easier/ more trustworthy.
  15. Take your penny jar/ spare change to the bank and put it in your account, or give it to your kids to bring to their school to donate to a “penny fundraiser.”
  16. Offer your goods up for free on Freecycle or CraigsList – you’d be shocked what people want! Extra 2 packs of plastic cups? Half a mannequin? A used cat tree? All these things are prime fare and bonus – they pick up and you don’t have to deal with pick up or booking a goodwill pick up!
  17. Your local H&M accepts old textiles of any kind for their recycling program in exchange for a coupon for 15% off your shopping trip there in future.
  18. Donate old clothes/ shoes/ bags/ accessories to Schoola to benefit your school or the Malala Fund – shipping’s on them.
  19. Be creative: reinvent and repurpose old items. Example: We had an old bookshelf of about 5 years that was useless and broken as a bookshelf so we turned it on it’s side and used it as toy storage for the kids. It stayed that way for at least 5 years before we recycled it.
  20. Finally; Maybe you don’t actually need to get rid of it – maybe it just needs a repair. Example; I once had a stained old beige leather knapsack from college. I loved this knapsack and didn’t want to let it go, so I brought it to the shoemaker and he dyed it chocolate brown and voila – my old backpack lasted another 10 years til I decided to donate it to a clothing drive.

Moving forward: Be more mindful about your consumerism. Be sure to ask yourself “Is this something I truly need/ Will it truly give me joy/ Does this piece have longevity in my life” before you bring anything home. The less clutter you accumulate, the less you’ll have to reassign in future.

Chloé Jo Davis is the founder and editor of, a conscious-living spokesmama, nurturer to all, and an obsessive recycler!

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Readers Comments (3)

  1. Kezia says:

    Our annual clothing swaps (#2) are a ton of fun. Practically my favorite day of the year. I just hosted it a few weeks ago. We combine it with a vegan potluck and lots of booze. Along with clothes and housewares, people bring books/media, home office gear, pet stuff, makeup they tried but didn’t like (if hygienic). People have even gotten rid of bikes and furniture. A couple of tips for readers:

    Set up a FB event far in advance, 2 months at least, so guests have enough time to purge every square inch of their house.

    Invitees can post on the event page if they’re looking for a particular item – sometimes knowing another guest really needs XYZ item encourages people to part with XYZ item.

    Same for large items, people can post what they want to get rid of, and if there are no takers it saves them the trouble of schlepping it over.

    Let people who can’t make it to the party drop off their unwanted stuff in advance.

    After the swap, give the leftovers away using the other means listed above!

  2. […] Organize their closet and help them try on clothes to decide what to donate, what to keep, and what to sell – make this part of a reduce, reuse, recycle lesson […]

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