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Can't sell your junk? Give it away

Not all clutter is created equal.

If you've spent the weekend cleaning, want to get rid of some extra stuff and don't want to bother with selling it, you've got a couple of options. If the items still have some life left in them, they can be valuable to a charity. But if the stuff is broken and unusable, it's time to call the junkman.

A few solutions:

The Salvation Army: The organization takes just about anything that's in good working condition.

"A lot of people think we take items and give them to people in need," says Melissa Temme, public relations director for the organization's national headquarters. "Most often, we sell them in the thrift store. And all those proceeds go to a very specific service: drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers."

Good items: Furniture, dress clothes, T-shirts, jeans, shoes (in very good condition), books, costume jewelry and everything from small household appliances to larger items like cars.

"If you have an item you think is OK, but are unsure, you can contact your local thrift store and they can let you know if they have the capability to repair items," says Temme. The local store can clue you in on what specific things they really need. To find a store in your area or arrange a pickup, visit: www.satruck.org.

Goodwill Industries: "We will take pretty much anything that is gently used," says Christine Nyirjesy Bragale, spokeswoman for the organization's national headquarters. "The rule of thumb we tell people: If the item is something you would give to a relative or a friend, then it's fit to donate."

Good items: Clothing, toys, books and household items. Some locations take larger items like lawn mowers, boats and cars, but check before you donate. Items are sold in the organization's thrift shops and the money is used for job training programs.

"So when you're donating to Goodwill, you're helping someone find a job," says Nyirjesy Bragale. Wash or dry clean clothing before donation, and test out appliances and games to make sure they work and have all the parts. Skip: anything broken or recalled.

Some sites will pick up donations. For more information, visit: www.goodwill.org or call (800) 664-6577.

Junk dealer: If an item is truly junk and can't be rehabilitated, fixed or put to good use, it can be a smart move to pay someone to haul it away.

One alternative: For a minimum fee of $75, (800) GOTJUNK (468-5865) will send two guys and a truck to haul away your not-so-valuables. "Customers pay based on volume, based on how much stuff we're removing and taking away," says Katie Dunsworth, spokeswoman for the company. The average customer pays about $289 and fills about half a dump truck, she says.

What you buy: convenience. You don't have to package, box or haul anything. Just point it out and their people take it away.

Typical items: furniture, appliances, old electronics, satellite dishes, water damaged goods and even construction debris.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy
-- Posted: May 1, 2006
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