Whether you are preparing for a move, spring cleaning, or just have the itch to tidy up and purge, getting rid of the stuff you no longer want makes a lot of sense. Not only will you feel good, but others can benefit from the items you no longer have a use for. Here are some ways to responsibly part with all those things that are taking up space and collecting dust.
1. Start with trash. Then, recycle!
When sorting your items, always consider whether there is any use left in them. If the items are soiled, damaged, or have parts missing, they might not have any use left in them. Be sure to dispose of these items through your community’s waste disposal program.
- Ann Arbor Waste Management
- Ann Arbor Recycling
- Canton Waste Management
- Chelsea Waste Management
- Saline Waste Management
- Ypsilanti Waste Management
Toxic materials, like lighter fluid, deck stain, or paint, should never be poured into a sewer or put in the trash. Dispose of toxic materials by dropping them off at the Washtenaw County Home Toxics Collection Center.
2. Sometimes, the curb is all you need.
When you have decent items that you just don’t want, try placing them at the curb with a handwritten sign that says “Free” or “Take Me.” There are plenty of folks out there who like to scoop a good find on the day before trash day each week. Many metal collectors drive the neighborhoods in pickup trucks to grab metal items that have been set out, like rusted out grills or old kitchen sinks.
If you have the time and inclination, you could host a garage sale or sell through popular websites.
When choosing to have a garage sale, be sure to comply with any by-laws that your homeowners’ association or community may have about time, duration, and location of garage sales.
Some come with a small fee, like eBay.com, while others like Nextdoor.com provide a bulletin board system for classifieds with no cost to you. Selling items might get you a few bucks, depending on what you are selling and what condition it’s in, but it will take some time to post a description and photos and then wait for someone to be interested in the item. Here are some links to popular sites where an individual can sell items. Each one has its own rules and restrictions, so be sure to check them all out before committing to using the site.
There are so many charities that can use or sell your gently used items, and most of them will pick up from your porch! Be sure to give your items a thorough once-over. Look to ensure that items are clean, free of tears or stains, and that all parts are included. Mattresses, electronics, and vehicles are special cases, so be sure to call first to learn how the local chapter of your favorite charity handles those items. Charities cannot accept items that are banned, have been recalled, or which do not meet current safety standards. When in doubt, give them a call.
- Donatestuff.com – Schedule a FREE pickup from your porch to support a local charity! Just leave your items on your porch on the day you choose, and a truck will come by to take it and leave you a blank tax receipt. The charity that benefits depends on zip code and will be displayed to you at the beginning of the process. Accepted items include household items, clothing, jewelry, bedding, linens, small appliances. Generally, the rule is that this type of service accepts items that one man can carry. So, the old fridge? No. One man can’t carry it. Bicycle? Yes! One man can carry it. For a full list of items you can donate and to schedule a pickup, visit donatestuff.com.
- Salvation Army – Schedule a FREE pickup from your porch to support your local chapter, or visit satruck.org to find the closest location to you for drop off. Cars, boats, and other vehicles can be donated at some locations, but best to call first for details about this process. Satruck.org also provides a Donation Value Guide to help you understand the value of the goods that you are donating so that your tax receipt will most accurately reflect your donation. Visit satruck.org to schedule a delivery. Area locations include:
- Ann Arbor Family Store & Donation Center – 1621 State Street – Ann Arbor, MI, 48104 – 734-332-3474
- Canton Family Store & Donation Center – 43403 Joy Road – Canton, MI, 48187 – 734-416-1925
- Livonia Family Store & Donation Center – 33600 Plymouth Road – Livonia, MI, 48150 – 734-425-7573
- Saline Family Store & Donation Center – 423 E Michigan Avenue – Saline, MI, 48176 – (734) 429-9838
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore – Local chapters of Habitat for Humanity own and operate area ReStores. These are non-profit home improvement and resale stores offering new or gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building supplies and more. And, yes, you do get a tax receipt for your donation, the proceeds of which aid in the building and development of affordable, local housing. Drop off at an area location or arrange for a free pickup. The list of accepted items is HUGE at ReStore! Everything is welcome, from pots and pans to couches, lawnmowers, cabinetry, large appliances, flooring, tools, lighting and so much more. When in doubt, speak with them first. Area locations include:
- Huron Valley ReStore – 170 Aprill Drive, Ann Arbor MI, 48103 – (734) 822-1530 – AnnArborRestore.org
- Oakland County ReStore – 28575 Grand River Avenue, Farmington MI, 48336 – (248) 442-2267 – HabitatOakland.org/restores
- Goodwill Industries – Donations to Goodwill support the creation of opportunities for individuals who need to build skills and find jobs, including veterans, single mothers, and many others. Almost all household items, including clothing, are accepted.
- Goodwill Canton – 41937 Ford Road, Canton MI – (734) 981-1692
- Goodwill Ypsilanti – 557 E. Michigan Ave, Suite 3B, Ypsilanti MI – (734) 429-2789
- Goodwill Chelsea – 1167 S. Main Street, Chelsea MI – (734) 433-9380
- Goodwill Livonia – 12651 Middlebelt Road, Livonia MI – (734) 245-0115
5. Computers, Electronics, Televisions
These items are a special case. They often cannot be donated, nor placed with regular household trash or recycling.
- Check with the item’s manufacturer – many have buyback programs so you don’t have to put it in a landfill.
- Washtenaw County E-Waste Recycling [http://www.ewashtenaw.org/government/departments/environmental_health/recycling_home_toxics/hhw/ewaste.html]
- Many Best Buy stores accept televisions and electronics for recycling. In Ann Arbor, contact Best Buy at 3100 Lohr Road at (888) 229-3770 for current program details.
- Visit pcdisposal.com for options to dispose of your computer and related items.
- If your community offers the Simple Recycling program, like the one in Canton Michigan, you may be able to set out electronics and televisions for pickup. Each community’s program can vary, so be sure to check on the rules for yours.
- The Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor accepts electronics for recycling. Contact this group at (734) 665-0450 for current dropoff times and more details.
- National Computer Recovery will take many computers, including hardware like monitors, mice, cabinets, servers, and more. Learn more at NationalComputerRecovery.com
See how easy it can be to get your unwanted stuff out of your house and keep it out of the landfill? There are so many places that will gladly take your items that are just collecting dust in your basement, attic, closets, and shelves. Come on – it’s time to clear it out! Don’t wait for spring, and don’t wait for the moving truck to arrive in your driveway. Do it now so that when it’s time to move, you will be one step closer to a stress-free process.
Do you still have questions about how to donate your items? Leave us a note below, or give us a call at (734)845-9700. We’d be happy to talk through your options with you.