How To Give Away Not Throw Away

Posted by: Nellie Laskow

What item brings you the most happiness? Picture it in your mind.

Did someone special give it to you or did you purchase it? I’m guessing it was given to you. Was it a new gift? A hand-me-down? A family heirloom? Today I want to talk about things we own and how to give away them instead of throwing them away.

As a little sister, I have spent most of my life with hand-me-downs, from clothes to furniture to kitchen appliances. My boyfriend cringes when I come home with a chair that I found on the street (thank you Brooklyn curb economy!) But with a background in Environmental Science, I always felt a pang in my heart when I saw perfectly usable items on their way to a landfill. I felt it my personal duty to say ‘yes’ to the hand-me-downs and save the street gems.

But as I looked around our apartment I realized that instead of valuing the few good things I really loved, I was acquiring masses of objects that weren’t enhancing my life. In fact, they were cluttering the things I loved out of view.

I realized the answer isn’t sending those items back to the curb but rather passing them along. Preventing the items from entering a landfill while still providing items that are useful to people who want or need them became my ultimate goal. In many cases, donations support local community and social programs and you could potentially use them as a tax write off.



8 Ways to Give Away instead of Throw Away:

1. Offer small items you don’t want to friends, coworkers, family and neighbors (avoid the shipping cost and personal time required to sell your things online)

2. Giveaway bigger items on Craiglist or Freecycle by using the ‘free’ section.

3. Sell old clothes to places like Beacons Closet or ThreadUp.

4. Books you won’t read again can be donated to local libraries, sold to used books stores for credit or given to a friend (one of my favorite things to bring someone as a surprise).

5. Schedule a pick up from Goodwill or Salvation Army (but don’t use them as your dumpster, be sure to give them items that are useable).

6. Amazon will buy your old electronics for money to spend in their marketplace.

7. Places like Chairloom can take your outdated furniture and reupholster it to feel new (you caught me - this isn’t giving away but you should know it!)

8. I also love the simple pay-it-forward of homemade gifts like giving cuttings of a succulent, some sourdough starter or a Kombucha scoby.

How to ultimately avoid having to give away or throw away? Shop with intention (we’ll get into that later on The Fold). It’s hard but it gets easier over time as you learn more about what you truly love. Knowing how things are made and their quality can also help influence your choices.

Seek brands that align with your values and aren’t highly trend-driven, especially for the home where the products live much longer in your space.

I’d love to hear how you giveaway or what items you cherish. Leave a comment below!

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