November 28, 2011 in Features

Do Your Part: Organize clutter before you trash it

Terri Bennett McClatchy Newspapers
 

Down to Earth

For more on local green living, see www.downtoearthnw.com.

Got clutter? Are you like me and determined to make some room before the holidays hit?

Do your part as you sort, organize and get rid of all that stuff you no longer want or need. Instead of sending it straight to the landfill, you can do some good with all of it and you might even make a few bucks in the process.

Got toys?

I’ll start with the stuff that takes up the most space and will drive most any parent out of their mind – all those toys!

The list goes on and on from stuffed animals to tea sets to baby dolls and hot wheels. Many times, our kids get tired of their toys well before they are worn out.

Don’t dump them in the trash; donate them so other kids can have a special holiday. Places like Goodwill would love to take your toys this time of year. So would certain children’s school programs and the Salvation Army.

It is difficult to make money on used toys but consider selling some of the bigger toys such as tricycles and dollhouses to consignment shops specifically geared toward kids. I’ve also had success selling items on Craigslist.org.

Got gadgets?

Are cellphones, tablets or gaming devices on your shopping list this year? Don’t let the old gadgets go to waste just because a newer version is on the market. Selling these devices is a good (and oh-so-easy) way to earn some money with items you no longer use.

NextWorth is one online site that will buy back your gadgets for top dollar. They’re even offering a 10 percent bonus for all iPods this season.

Even major companies such as Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy are participating in electronic trade-in programs this year where you can get gift cards in return for your items. Check out DoYourPart.com/Columns for an extensive list of gadget buy-back sites.

Got clothes?

Are your closets jam-packed with clothes that you and your family no longer wear? Don’t let them take up valuable space when they could go to someone who wants or needs them.

Many well cared-for clothes hold a lot of value and can be sold in consignment shops or online sites such as eBay. Of course, you can also donate them to a local charity and claim a tax deduction for the value of your goods.

No matter what you have, there are ways to do your part with all of it. It could be helping a family in need, keeping valuable materials out of our landfills, or earning a few dollars while giving used electronics a second life.

Now that’s the perfect holiday gift for you and our planet!

Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, author, and founder of DoYourPart, everyday green living ideas that are better for you and the planet. Send questions to terri@doyourpart.com.


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