I don’t want it; do I sell, donate, trash or recycle? | Special Sections


Do you have a tendency to accumulate…you know…stuff? I have borderline pack rat tendencies. At my age, that equates to a lot of stuff gathered over several decades.

For me, out of sight means out of mind. As an empty nester, the kids’ empty rooms allow me to stash a lot of stuff — that’s A LOT — out of sight. And then, it leaves my mind

But we’re also at the stage of life when we’re thinking that maybe we need to get rid of some of this stuff in preparation to downsize when the time comes. So I’ve started working on all the things collected over time.

I tried this a few years ago, getting rid of a lot of my books — 13 boxes to be exact. The biggest thing I realized: I don’t miss any of them. Oh, I kept some, probably more than I should have. But it’s nice to see the wood grain of the shelves, interspersed with a few books and some mementos.

There are scads and scads of websites telling you how to sort through your stuff and decide what to keep, what to re-home and what to throw in the trash. But I thought it might be handy to know where, once you sort your goodies, to find places to take them.

sell it yourself

It makes sense to sell something that was either costly or has value to it. Maybe you’ve decided to sell a large object: a TV, a boat, a valuable antique. But how?

If it’s a specialty item, know your market. Where do collectors of porcelain cats go to buy more? Maybe the place you originally purchased the item will buy it back.

There are many online places to sell: eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace or online garage sales. Be aware that there is probably a commission to pay the host site and some may even charge a fee. Plus you’d be responsible for packaging the item and getting it to some delivery service. Do your research, ask the questions and be smart about protecting yourself.

Closer to home, don’t forget Tioga Publishing’s shoppers and newspapers. Every week, the papers contain ads for vehicles, farm utensils, puppies and more. You buy the advertising space by the word with a set price for the first set number of words, whether you use one or the maximum number allowed. Write down what you want to say in the ad before you call or stop in. You want to include all the information that would attract buyers — why did you make this purchase? You don’t have to list the price. Some people do; some don’t. But one thing that people sometimes forget is how readers should contact you, so remember to include your phone number.

If you’d like to place an ad, you can call 814-274-8044 or stop in at our Coudersport office at 6 West Second Street.

If you have a lot of stuff, consider holding a rummage or garage or yard sale. Partner with some friends, especially if a friend has a better location than you. More stuff in the yard means you are more likely to attract buyers to stop and linger. The more they linger, the better the odds that they’ll find something they just have to have.

Organization is key, so that buyers have to look a little, but don’t have to take hours to do so. The thrill of the search is not to be denied.

Many communities hold town-wide yard sales. Find out when yours will be held and schedule your sale for the same time. That’s a time when you know buyers will be out in large groups in the community.

Wellsboro’s Community Wide Yard Sale is April 15 and16. The Wellsboro/Mansfield Gazette is developing a map where advertisers can have their sale location marked, along with a description of items that can attract buyers. There’s a special pricing feature, so be sure to call our office at 570-724-2287 or stop in at 25 East Avenue, Wellsboro, to learn more.

Have someone sell it for you

Sometimes a professional will be able to secure a better price than you can. Or maybe you can sell it on your own, but it’s complicated and a job you don’t want to take one. One example of this is firearms or maybe vehicles.

Call a specialty business to find out if they can help you with this and the process and fees or commissions that would apply. I’ve seen used saddles at the feed store, gently used furniture and there may be online options to help.

I don't want it;  do I sell, donate, trash or recycle?

Donate it

Is there someone in your family in need of something? Do you have a niece or nephew who is setting up an apartment? Could they use some furniture or kitchen equipment?

When I started housekeeping, my mother or grandmother accompanied me on visits to my relatives’ homes and they gifted me with kitchen utensils, pots and pans, chairs and tables, even a bed. Sometimes it wasn’t the brand new or needed some minor repair, but it worked for a while until I could replace it as finances permitted. I didn’t take it as pity, but more a heartfelt gesture of support.

Then there’s clothing. At some time or another, there’s always someone in need of clothing. Formal dresses can be rehomed to high school students for prom. Victims of disasters can also benefit from your generosity.

Donate to a church or non-profit. Could an animal shelter use those old towels or dog bed? Is your church holding a sale? Can you clean out your closets and dressers, bookshelves and kitchen cabinets and get a good feeling at the same time?

Know what you need to know. Some charities may have restrictions on when or how much you can drop off. Other people may prefer one non-profit over another depending on administrative salaries or the population receiving assistance. Pick your favorite and make sure the proceeds from the sale of your stuff benefits who you want it to benefit.

When my daughter was younger, she received a rabbit cage, slightly used, that had been donated by a 4-H family whose child had graduated out of the program. All she had to do was write a paragraph or two about how the cage would support her project, and a thank you note after.

You may be able to do something similar with stuff your children had that they no longer use..

Recycle it

Some stuff can be recycled or upcycled. Maybe you have a dresser that showing its age, although it’s still sturdy. Let your inner artist come out. The world is filled with shows that focus on this area. Some upcycles require little more than cleaning and buffing out the nicks, while others are truly transformative. Industrial and agricultural pieces are currently very popular to reimagine in a new role.

Then there’s metal and salvage yards. Sometimes you just seem to accumulate a lot of it. You can recycle it and get a little money in return.

Give your local salvage yard a call to learn how. Sometimes you can drop it off or maybe you prefer they come and pick it up. You might not get a big check, but you should be able to find some way to enjoy the extra cash.

Trash it

Some times, though, you need to let it go. If your item is rusted or rotted through, unsafe, non-repairable or just plain makes you shudder in horror, it’s time to let it go to that great landfill in the sky.

Honestly, no one wants older underwear. Not even as a joke. Socks are also a miss. too; there’s too much possibility of foot fungus.

I watch “Antiques Roadshow,” so I know that some items showing the effects of use, time and everyday wear and tear still have value. But the trick is knowing the difference. Ask an expert for advice. If they say trash it, you probably should believe them.

Depending on what you want to throw away, there are restrictions. Solid waste collectors have limits on electronics, paints and chemicals. It’s another case where you need to do your research to learn what you can do now that you no longer want this particular item, and take into consideration should you ever need a new one.


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