And maybe make a bit of money in the process.
March 2nd is National Old Stuff Day. Granted, it doesn’t sound like the most appealing awareness day – and what constitutes ‘old stuff’ is really open to interpretation – but it’s a great opportunity to have a clear out ahead of spring. Because if there’s one thing we have a lot of in this country, it’s stuff.
And we don’t mean items you use every day, like your phone or the kettle, or even things you use more infrequently, such as DVDs or your hiking boots. We mean all the bits and pieces strewn around attics and sheds, packed away in boxes under beds and shoved in corners, never used and gathering dust. Stuff.
Not only is all this stuff taking up valuable real estate in your home, it represents a much wider problem for the planet. According to a study entitled ‘Environmental Impact Assessment of Household Consumption’, what people consume is responsible for up to 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And when those things are shunted to the back of a cupboard and forgotten about, that’s a big waste of resources.
But as they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Check out these ideas for offloading your old stuff in an eco-friendly way – you might even make a bit of pocket money, too!
- The car boot sale
Ah, the great British institution of the car boot sale. Pitch up in a field in the middle of nowhere, fling open the boot of your car and be instantly inundated with bargain hunters, lurking around like vultures and getting in your way before you’ve even unpacked the trestle table.
Car boots can be a lot of fun if you go in with the right attitude. You’re not going to make a million bucks, but you will get a bit of friendly chit chat, a modest amount of cash and a day of fresh air. Most importantly, someone else will be pleased with their new purchase and you’ll be going home in a much lighter car!
- Flog it
Everyone is familiar with eBay, which is a good place to start if you think you have something that might be worth a few bob. Failing that, give Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace a go – these ones are especially good for bags of baby clothes, car stuff and furniture, because it has a more local element.
Then there are places such as Music Magpie and Zapper, which both take CDs, DVDs, books and games – you can find out how much your stuff is worth by simply scanning the barcodes with your smartphone – or pop along to your local CEX store for cash or credit on other items. You could also try selling through Amazon Market Place to eliminate some of the fees associated with eBay. It even offers a service called ‘Fulfilment by Amazon’, where you simply sling your goods its way and it flogs them for you.
Broken furniture, busted electrical items and other kaput bits and pieces might not do their job anymore, but they still hold value in terms of materials. So before you throw that metal plant hanger or footstool in the bin, consider taking it to your local recycling facility. Ditto all the other broken stuff you’ve got hanging about – even plastic playing pieces from lost board games! Such facilities are well laid out, easily navigated and play a major role in preventing useful items ending up in landfill.
- Share and share alike
Just because you have no use for that bought-on-impulse electrical drill doesn’t mean someone nearby won’t. The rise of the collaborative consumption movement means that across the UK there are growing networks of folk looking to share their stuff out of the goodness of their own hearts. Check out StreetBank or BorroClub to see if you can help your neighbours out. Or, if you’re set on getting something out of the deal, look at sites such as www.swapz.co.uk.
- Charity begins at home
Can’t be bothered with car boots and bar codes and uploads? Then at least make the effort to donate your stuff to charity. Clothes in decent condition, books, games, ornaments and kitchenware are big hitters in charity shops – so even if you can’t make any cash out of these items you can help a good cause to do so. Find your local charity shop here.
We would love to hear your comments and stories about the issues raised in this article:
- Comment below or on our Facebook page
This information is provided for guidance only. Please see the full disclaimer in our terms and conditions.