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Kendal at Oberlin Blog

Say Goodbye to “Junk”

Posted by Molly Kavanaugh on Apr 19, 2016 3:59:43 PM

kendal-blog-junk.jpgJunk food.

Junk mail.


Junk drawer.

Your junk.

You might not think your closets, cabinets, garage, basement, attic and the like contain “junk,” but consider the definition: old or discarded articles that are considered useless or have little value.

Got junk? Sure you do.  

This spring get rid of the useless and used stuff cramping your living space by following these 3 tips.

Take out the Trash

We’re going to discuss recycling, regifting and other fulfilling ways to say goodbye to junk, but first contact your trash collection provider and found out how much trash you can leave at the curb for no additional charge.  

Target the days leading up to trash day for going through junk drawer(s), garage and basement. Pitch broken, worn, frayed toys, pet supplies, garden equipment, dishes, etc.  Don’t agonize or over-think, just do it.

If the piles of trash are more than your curb can handle, consider renting a dumpster or contacting 1-800-GOT-JUNK. The national company advertises that it takes anything non-hazardous that two people can lift.  

While shredded paper can be recycled, the volume of confidential documents might tax the shredder and your patience.  Contact Staples, FedEx, UPS or nearby office supplies store for shredding cost and requirements.  

Find a New Use

We all know glass, cardboard and certain plastics can be recycled, but so can lots of other household items. Take:

  • Wine bottle corks and Brita filters to Whole Foods Market;
  • Packing materials to UPS and other shipping companies;
  • Batteries to many Ace or other hardware stores;
  • Faded and ripped U.S. flags to the American Legion or other veteran organizations for proper disposal.  
  • Plastic gardening pots and trays to Lowe’s or your neighborhood nursery;
  • Fabric, yarn and sewing and knitting supplies to one of these charitable organizations;
  • Ink and toner cartridges and old cell phones to office and wireless stores;
  • Computers – desktop and laptop – and accessories to Goodwill;

Many states and counties have a solid waste department that lists year-round collection centers for all sorts of materials (including toilets) and special recycling events.

Find a New Home

Maybe it’s not junk, but you no longer use or like the desk, dress and dishes. But as the saying goes, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so find that other person.

  • Habitat for Humanity Restores accept furniture, appliances and building materials;
  • Many day care and community centers and elementary schools accept crayons, colored pencils and other art supplies;
  • Lions Clubs International collects eyeglasses, sunglasses, reading glasses and frames and distributes them to people in need of glasses who cannot afford to buy them.
  • Local libraries accept books (or you can sell at Half Price Books or a used bookstore).
  • Clothes can be donated to Goodwill and other thrift stores (or find a nearby consignment shop).
  • You can sell or giveaway your items by listing on Craigslist. (Also check out the “wanted” category on Craigslist to see if your junk really is someone else’s treasure).

As you go through this process of discarding, you’ve probably come up with a bag or box of things you really like, can’t or don’t need or use anymore, but find hard to turn over to a stranger. Why not give them to a relative, friend or neighbor? Don’t wait for a birthday or holiday - giving (and getting rid of) should be year-round.

We’d love to hear your fond – and funny - recycling and regifting stories. Please share in the comments below. 


5 ways of living life with purpose white paper


Molly-K.jpgMolly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years.

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