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Recycling your household goods
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Getting rid of other gear
Many of us grow tired or grow out of clothes that still have plenty of wear in them. Instead of throwing them into the trash or the rag pile, consider these options:

Throw a clothes-swap, or a used-clothing party. Bring your castoffs and ask your friends to do the same. Everyone piles the clothes together and then people pick the clothes they'd like. Anything left over can be donated to charity.

Charities such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army accept clothing donations. They also take other household goods, provided they are still in working order. Items they gratefully take include air conditioners, mattresses, coffee pots, blenders and stereos. As with computers, donated household appliances must be in working order.

Nonprofits often sell used goods including clothes, books and appliances to raise funds. Some even can find a use for your goods. For example, a shelter for women of domestic violence may need cell phones or work clothes for their patrons. Your best best is to call local charities to ascertain their needs.

If you need cash, consider selling your castoffs, particularly clothes. When selling clothes, keep in mind the seasons. Shops are less interested in summer clothes in the fall. They want winter clothes in good repair. Check your local Yellow Pages for stores that sell used clothes.

Generally you'll either sell your clothes outright for cash or stores will accept clothes on a consignment basis. That is, they will sell your clothes for you. If the clothes sell, the store takes a commission and you get a check. A general rule of thumb is you'll make more on consignment, but that requires more work on your part. You'll need to check back periodically with the store to see if your goods have sold and figure out how to price your used khakis or other apparel. It's less of a hassle to sell your clothes outright to a store, but it will pay you less than a consignment shop.

The same rules hold true for selling used household appliances. Those in good working order sell for more than items that are just being sold for parts. Look in your local Yellow Pages for shops that buy used furniture, appliances or other items. Keep in mind that newer items or antiques sell better than just plain olditems.

Rethink, retool, reuse
Much of recycling is simply a matter of taking time to rethink how things can be reused. For example, you can turn empty jars into containers for leftover food. Or, use the jars as candleholders. Reuse boxes for wrapping presents or to store items.

Books can be donated to charities for book sales. Libraries often have used book stores to raise extra cash. You can also sell used books that are in good condition to local used bookstores. Magazines can be donated to gyms, doctor's offices, schools (for use in art projects) and even libraries.

One person's junk is another's prized possession. So instead of throwing away your obsolete items, do some good and maybe even raise some cash, by donating or selling the stuff you no longer need.'s corrections policy-- Posted: Sept. 19, 2005
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