I’d love to be able to tell you that I’m on day 30 of my 100 Day Declutter and that it was all going swimmingly.
Truth is by Day 7 I’d already given up. While it was a nice idea – and I’d prepared a huge list of things to declutter in advance – the reality of doing a little every day just didn’t work for me.
I’m always one to look for silver linings. I didn’t achieve what I set out to do, but in the process I did put together a list of great ways to turn your trash into someone else’s treasure.
- Work Clothes: Dress for Success help women get back into the workforce so they can be financially independent. They accept good quality business clothing, shoes, handbags and jewellery that would be suitable for someone to wear to a job interview. They have branches in Northland, Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Wellington and Christchurch and lots of convenient drop off points.
- All Types of Clothing: The Clothing Collective is a second hand clothes store with a social conscience. They have a “no waste’ policy which means they recycle and upcycle everything they get, and 50% of their profits go straight to the Mental Health Foundation. They are Auckland based, but will accept parcels sent from anywhere in New Zealand.
- Kids Winter Clothes and Shoes: Jumpers, Jackets & Shoes is an initiative that gets families from high decile schools to donate good quality winter clothing to kids in lower decile schools. The clothes are sent directly to the school for distribution to kids who need them the most. They don’t yet have a website, but if you are interested in getting your school to either donate or receive clothing, get in touch with them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Wedding Dresses: Angel Gowns take donated wedding and bridesmaid dresses and turn them into burial gowns for stillborn and premature babies. While they aren’t taking any more donations at the moment, I’m hanging on to my gown until they are ready for more.
- Evening Wear and Bridesmaids Dresses: The Cinderella Project is an initiative that helps highschool girls who can’t afford to go to their school ball. Girls are given donated gowns, shoes, accessories, hair and makeup. They have branches in Auckland and now Wellington.
- Toiletries and Beauty Products: if you have a drawer full of unwanted and unopened toiletries that you’ve been given as gifts or samples, or a collection of hotel toiletries that have found their way home but never been used, you can donate these to the Life Centre Trust. They’ll package these up into packs for people in hospital or who have just been released from prison. Drop off is in Mt Eden, Auckland.
- Furniture and Homeware: If you have any large pieces of furniture that are clean and in good condition then there are a few different places you can donate these to. The Auckland City Mission is one of the few that gives items to families in need with only excess items going into their store for sale. There are plenty of other organisations that have stores that sell goods to raise money for the work they do including Habitat for Humanity, The Hospice, Red Cross and The Salvation Army. St Vincent de Paul also offer a great service to families in need – read the comments below to find out more or find one of their stores near you.
- Curtains: if you are replacing your curtains and your old ones are in reusable condition, you can donate them to a Curtain Bank. They will fix and reline them if necessary before giving them to a family in need – making their home easier and cheaper to heat. There are seven curtain banks across New Zealand.
- Baby Gear: While most of us have a friend or family member to pass all our baby gear on to, if you are the last in the line and would like your pre-loved baby clothes, toys and equipment to go to a family in need and you live in either Auckland or Hamilton, then get in touch with Littlemore.
- Mobile Phones: if you’ve recently upgraded your mobile phone and don’t have a home for your old one then send it to Starship Hospital. They’ll either refurbish it and on-sell it or dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way. It seems an insignificant thing, but this initiative has already raised over $2m. They also take accessories (such as chargers). They have a freepost address or you can drop it in to any Vodafone, Spark or 2Degrees store.
- Computer gear: Computer Recycling is a drive in, drop off centre for all computer gear. They refurbish or recycle ensuring that only 5% of what they receive goes into landfill. They’ll also do free pickups in the Auckland area for if you have more than 10 items to collect (great for businesses).
- Scrap Metal, Whiteware and Appliances: Tamaki Sports Academy is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff for youth who have dropped out of the mainstream school system but have some sporting talent. The kids are offered mentoring, training and work experience which comes in the form of a free scrap metal collection service – they’ll collect computers, whiteware, roofing iron, metal piping, venetian blinds, batteries, cars and car panels, metal shelving, filing cabinets, machinery, lawnmowers, engines and more. The money raised pays for correspondence school enrolments as well as memberships of sports clubs and gyms, and provision of sports equipment.
- Inorganic Collections: while these don’t happen very often, if you can time your decluttering to coincide with an inorganic collection then this is a great way of getting rid of all the broken bits and bobs and aren’t of any real use to anybody else. There are rules around what the council will and won’t take away, but during your inorganic collection week you will find your suburb being patrolled by people who will take away just about anything you might have that is able to be reused or recycled.
- Freecycling: There are a few online sites where you can list just about anything you might have to offer. Be warned though that this is not a way to get rid of junk – people on these sites are pretty selective about what they will and won’t take. Some New Zealand based sites are:
- DonateNZ is a website that matches those that have items to donate with the charities and community groups that need them. There is also a wishes page that you can keep an eye on to see if any organisations out there need something you might have.
- Freecycle is another site where you can list items you have to give away, or search for things you need that others might be giving away. You’ll need to search and join a group that is in your area of the world.
- Ask Share Give is an NZ based site where you can create listings for items you have to give away.
If you know of any other ways to turn trash into treasure, or have other decluttering tips, let me know in the comments below. Happy giving!