It’s no wonder that trash picking is a hobby for some.  On any given trash day, it’s no surprise to find very usable items sitting on the sidewalk.  Furniture, Knick Knacks, Bikes, Housewares, Clothes and Toys.  It saddens me that so many of these items are in good condition – and would make someone very happy.  It seems so wasteful to see these items head for the dump.  I want to rescue them all, but sadly I do not have the time nor space.  People are becoming more conscious of recycling plastics and cardboard, papaers and aluminum, so what not take a minute to upcycle some of the usable items in your home that you are no lonegr in need of?  With the Pinterest boom, more and more people are taking creativity to new levels, in many cases while recycling fun finds from home,  thift stores or even the trash!

When I became a stay-at-home Mom almost 10 years ago, I started researching what I could do with items I no longer needed.  It seemed as if my kids were outgrowing their clothes and toys faster than I could keep up with them.  I found that not only are there plaenty of places to donate them, but there also aslo many quick and easy ways to make a few dollars selling them.  Here’s where to start:


Twice a year I gather all of my children’s gently used clothes and toys and sort through them.  Items in gently used condition are placed on hangers, sorted by size and tagged.  I like to price my clothes to sell.  Non brand name items I usually let go between $1 and $5.  Brand name clothes I try to ask about 1/3 of the price I paid.  I use the same guide for toys, baby gear, etc – approimately 1/3 of what I paid (unless I am pricing it to go). I found that when my children were younger, I would do the sorting when they were not around so that they would not go through fits of seperation from theoir beloved outgrown toys.  Not that they are getting older, I have them help – and let them keep the money from items we selll to buy a new game, save for a bigger item or spend on a special treat.  They actually look forward to this now – believe it or not!

Yard Sales

Although I love to shop them, I am not the biggest fan of organzing them. Many of my friends, however, are very successful in selling their items at yard sales.  It’s best to praticipate in a group yard sale when ever possible to maximize the crowds and ability to sell.  Our local Moms Club has been sponsoring one yearly and is a great idea if you can organze one at the same time with other neighbors, your school, church or favorite oragnization.


Let’s face it –  people everywhere love shopping online – and love getting a good deal while doing it.  Take your children’s used clothes and put them into a lot with a low starting bid – then watch the price soar.  Ebay offers many “free” days to list so if you happen to be over your 50 free listings a month, take advantage of the free list days to upload all of your items.  Once you get the hang of seeling on Ebay, the profit alone will keep you motivated (and you may even find yourself searching the house for more things to sell)!


Craiglist has become wildly popular place to sell items locally.  It’s free to list your items, which makes it more appealing to the seller.  It’s especially great for listing larger items that would be difficult and expemnsive to ship.  If you choose to sell via Craigslist, just be sure to exercise caution with metting people to exchange items or allowing strangers to your home to pick up.  Also try to stay away from checks and aceept cash  for your transactions whenever possible.


Chances are if you are looking for an item you’d rather not pay full price for, chances are great that someone local may be looking to get rid of that very item. Join your local Freecycle group in your area at .  Freecycle is a place where people offer items that they are no longer in need of to other persons in the network who may be able to put them to good use.  The service is completely free of charge and is a great way to keep usable objects out of landfills.

Toy or Clothing Swap Party

Consider turning your next playgroup or Moms Night Out into a clothing, book/magazine or toy swap.  Everyone receives a ticket for each item they bring and they are then able to pick the same number of items to take home.  Everyone is a winner – and often you are able to get some really great items to take home and enjoy.  This also works well with Halloween costumes and holiday attire. 


There are others less fortunate out there who would love items for their families.  When you donate, many places will also give you a donation slip for tax purposes if you request one.  Some places that often will gladly take gently used items include:

  • Goodwill, Salvation Army, Purple Heart, American Family Services
  • Local Daycare Centers and Preschools
  • Hospitals, Children’s Hospice centers
  • Local Children’s Charities
  • Women’s Centers and Shelters

As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  The next time you clean house and are looking to purrge, stop for a moment and ask yourself if someone else could benefit from your items.  Taking an extra minute or two to sort and donate or resell usable items not only is helping the enviornment but bringing joy to the person who receives it.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself lost in a few memories as you sort – that’s the best part of not seeing them hedaing to the the dump.  Rather, they will be on their way to a better home where they can be loved – again.

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