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Great Ways to Get Rid of Your Old Stuff While Helping Other People

Great Ways to Get Rid of Your Old Stuff While Helping Other People


    Spring cleaning is the perfect time to declutter. But if you’re like me, it just doesn’t feel right just to toss out something that’s still perfectly usable, even though it may no longer be useful to you.

    You can always garage sale your stuff or try to sell it online for a buck or two. But here are some less conventional methods that, while they won’t earn you any money, will give you a great feeling of having done something good for someone you don’t even know.

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    Miscellaneous Items

    Freecycle: Post your unwanted items on a local message board to see if anyone’s interested in them. I’ve seen everything from pianos to pets to frozen pizza on my local Freecycle, and I’ve also seen how incredibly grateful people are for the things you’d just throw away. Maybe a local dog shelter could use your worn blankets to line kennel crates. Maybe a kindergarten teacher would love your empty coffee cans for an art project. It can’t hurt to offer.

    Tips: Be prepared when you post an item to get a flood of responses. I usually just go with the first person who responds when I’m deciding who gets my item, but you can also read through the messages to see who has the most compelling story. Also be prepared for a fair amount of no-shows; that’s one of the unfortunate downsides of dealing with a forum like Freecycle or Craigslist. Make sure to save all the responses you get so you can work your way down the list if the first person you promise an item to falls through.

     

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    Clothes

    In addition to Goodwill and The Salvation Army, here are two sites with a focus specifically on helping out job seekers.

    The Women’s Alliance: If you have gently used women’s business clothes and accessories, you can provide a low-income woman with a great opportunity. Everyone knows that making a good impression is key when you’re interviewing, but what if you don’t have the money for interview clothes? Your old work wear can help a women enter her job search on the right footing.

    Career Gear: Just like the above, but for men.

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    Cell Phones

    Shelter Alliance: Mail your old cell phones to Shelter Alliance using the prepaid postage labels you can print right from their site. They recycle the phones and put the proceeds (up to $30/phone) towards their fund for shelters that help victims of domestic abuse.

    Cell Phones for Soldiers: Like the above, except the proceeds from recycling your phone are used to purchase prepaid calling cards and other communication tools for members of the U.S. Military.

    Gift Cards

    Gift Card Donor: The cool thing about this site is that it lets you specify which charity the sale of your gift card will benefit. You can include your name with your donation or donate anonymously.

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    Video Games

    Donate Games: Donate Games repurposes used video games and gear and uses the proceeds to help children with rare diseases. They fund research, grant wishes, and provide hospitalized kids with brand new video games to help them get through their stay. Sure, you can probably make a pretty penny by selling this particular kind of stuff, but you have to admit that this is a really awesome cause.

    Sports Equipment

    Sports Gift: Donate your gently used sports equipment to impoverished and disadvantaged children. Sports Gift also accepts new items and provides instructions for starting your own community drive to help raise donations.

    Instruments

    The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation: Obviously items like pianos and organs aren’t shippable, but any other gently used instrument you (or your child) no longer plays can be donated to school music programs that don’t have the funds to buy their own instruments.

    What new uses have you found for your old stuff? What great avenues have you found for getting rid of things you no longer need? Share them in the comments below.

    (Photo credit: Donate Key via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on August 15, 2018

    30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

    30 Fun Things You Can Do This Summer Without Spending Much

    Summertime can be a real strain on your wallet. The sun is out, there are people to see, places to be; it’s no wonder you might be short of funds during these sunny months. Not everything has to cost you an arm and a leg.

    Take some time to go through this list of 20 cheap summer activities and make some realistic goals to complete as many as you can.

    Video Summary

    1. Visit a strawberry festival

    Summer is prime time for tasting strawberries. More often than not, an area that grows strawberries will have a strawberry festival. Indulge yourself in strawberry pies, jams, cakes and more!

    2. Have a picnic

    Take your partner or your family to the local park and enjoy a relaxing picnic. Designate each person to bring one food item of their choice to add to the fun.

    3. Camp in your back yard

      The summer heat can sometimes make it hard to sleep. Why not enjoy the heat outside in the yard? Pitch a tent or gaze into the night sky.

      4. Take long walks

      Discover something new where you live. Take the afternoon off from your chores and go for a long walk. You may be surprised by what you discover.

      5. Break a world record

      Breaking a world record doesn’t have to be time-consuming. You could even break one on your lunch hour. Give it a go!

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      6. Go on a bike ride

      The number of bike paths on roads in big cities has increased dramatically over the years. Take advantage, and enjoy the summer breeze.

      7. Join a gym class

        The gym is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but why not go with a friend a join a class? Spinning, yoga and step classes are always more fun with friends, and a lot of gyms allow you to pay-as-you-go.

        8. Find a new hobby

        The summer is the perfect time to find a new hobby. Serotonin (our body’s natural “happy” hormone) is produced by the sunshine and will be at a yearly high, which is great for when we want to tackle something new.

        9. Join a sports team

        Not all sports teams are competitive and require huge amounts of your time. Join in the fun with like-minded people, get fit, stay healthy and make some friends along the way.

        10. Make a slip ‘n slide

          Gather your friends, some plastic sheeting, a hose, washing up liquid if desired, and make a huge slip ‘n slide just like these guys. Granted, yours won’t be as big, but you get the idea… it’s fun!

          11. Make a treasure hunt for your kids

          Today’s digital world sees our children more often than not playing inside than outside. Why not create a sense of adventure by making a treasure hunt? Only rule? It has to be outside.

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          12. Visit a free festival

          Towns and cities are awash with free festivals, with themes from film to science. Scout your local area and discover something new.

          13. Visit the zoo

            Let’s face it: we love animals. While browsing news websites and social media networks you’re bound to come across a few pictures of cats. Take a trip to your local zoo for a better experience.

            14. Take a road trip

            Enjoy the open road with a few friends and take a road trip somewhere–anywhere. Just go out and enjoy the sunshine!

            15. Play ultimate frisbee in the park

              Frisbee is always great fun down the park, but why not turn it into more of a competitive sport by playing ultimate frisbee?

              16. Make your own ice cream

              Ice cream is a very versatile dessert. Make a sandwich, enjoy a cone, or simply just enjoy a bowl full. Better yet, making your own ice cream allows you to create any flavor you want.

              17. Invite your neighbors over for a BBQ

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                When was the last time you invited your neighbors over? Do you even know them? Now’s your chance. Just ask each person to bring a food item so costs don’t mount up for you.

                18. Get a summer job

                For many students, summer is the time for relaxation and fun. But who said earning money and being productive isn’t fun? You only get out what you put into a situation.

                19. Attend a charity event

                Attending a charity event is a great way to raise funds and awareness for a cause, meet new people, and generally have a good time. Search for your local charity event today.

                20. Visit a national park

                National parks are a great way to explore nature and learn something new. You could even volunteer and make a difference in helping restore natural habitats.

                21. Visit your local comedy club

                  Local comedy clubs are extremely underrated. They are cheap to attend and no doubt you’ll have a barrel of laughs.

                  22. Make your own hammock

                    Hammocks are very relaxing, are perfect for summer afternoons and are surprisingly easy to make.

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                    23. Read in your new hammock

                    Now you have your very own hammock, the only thing left to do is enjoy it. Grab your favorite book and read to your heart’s content.

                    24. Watch a movie outside

                    Movies are great. Relaxing outside in the evening is great. Put them together and you’ve got a perfect combination. In D.C, Maryland and Virginia this summer, for example, you can enjoy a huge number of movies outside.

                    25. Take a hike

                      Hikes are a great way to keep fit and see more of Mother Nature. There are countless trails available for you to explore. Why not try some this summer?

                      26. Learn how to fly a kite

                      As a child, you probably had a kite and haven’t touched it since. Why not dust it off and attempt to fly it? It’s tricky, but well worth the challenge.

                      27. Work out at the park

                      American cities are full of parks with ample space for a work out session. No doubt you’ll be happier to work out in the sun rather than a crowded gym.

                      28. Take your dog to the beach

                        One of the many joys of owning a dog is taking him or her for long walks during the summertime. This joy is enhanced when visiting the beach, for both you and your dog.

                        29. Make a summer smoothie

                        Healthy, delicious and perfect for the summer. Not only that, there are countless recipes ready for you to try.

                        30. Attend a free yoga session at the beach

                        No experience needed and all skill levels are welcome. Take yourself and a buddy down to the beach and try some yoga. You’ve got nothing to lose!

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