Whether you’ve just recently moved house, have had your joy sparked thanks to Marie Kondo, or are simply having trouble moving around a completely overcrowded, overpacked garage, all of us have more than our fair share of excess stuff to pare down.
But how exactly should you go about that? What kind of things can find a second home or find a second life thanks to recycling, and what is inevitably destined for the trash? Luckily for you, we know the answer. Keep reading for a quick rundown of a few items that should be recycled, thrown away, or donated for someone else to treasure.
What to Recycle
Technology – for better or worse – is an intrinsic part of our lives now. Laptops, tablets, smartphones, televisions, smart home hubs, gaming systems, and more are definitely here to stay. That is, at least until they’ve managed to break, malfunction, or are due for an upgrade. They then almost always end up disregarded and shoved into a box somewhere.
Guilty of this yourself? Instead of letting them take up unnecessary space, always try to recycle them. Nowadays, many supermarkets and shops will have electronics recycling boxes where you can drop them off, but if you haven’t been able to track one down, the nearest Best Buy, RadioShack, or similar store should be able to help you out.
Fridge on the fritz yet again or fed up with an ancient window unit that’s just not cutting it anymore? It’s tempting to throw them out when you buy a replacement, but don’t do it! Refrigerants are harmful to our planet, and other appliances thrown in landfills can also be environmental nightmares in their own right. Make an effort to have them safely removed. So, reach out to your waste management company or municipality and follow their guidelines for recycling.
Cars are essential for getting us from point A to point B, but they certainly come with their downsides. All the old, worn-down tires that accompany them are some of the worst, taking valuable space in our landfills and posing significant ecological challenges. The good news, though, is that they can be recycled. If you have a few in your shop that are bald or damaged, check with a local tire shop for disposal help. They should be able to take them in or, at minimum, point you in the right direction.
Paper, Glass, and Plastic
Nobody ever feels as big a packrat as when they realize how many old papers, glass, and plastic have been pushed to the side. It’s truly amazing how much of this stuff builds up over the years. It happens to the best of us, but it’s doing no one good sitting in cupboards and filing cabinets.
Better out of the house than in, and Eco-Cycle is one of the best places to assist with that. With tons of drop-off bins, an informative recycling guide, and all manner of information about local sustainability events and zero waste, they should be a go-to resource for any eco-conscious Boulder resident.
What to Donate
Those of us who are book lovers are always resistant to give up anything from our literary reserves. But at a certain point, going through the collection and choosing a few books you can part with is a good practice. Not only does it help that stack in the corner look mildly less precarious, but it also helps ensure you’re actually reading things rather than sitting on titles for months. Still hate giving anything up? Donate them to your local library, family members, or GoodWill. You’ll feel better knowing they’re to go to a good home.
Out of everything folks look to get rid of when cleaning house, old clothing and shoes are probably the most frequent. After all, clothing becoming raggedy and thin with use isn’t the only reason they need out of our closets. Fluctuations in weight, style, and season can also render shirts, pants, and dresses unwearable – all totally understandable reasons to figuratively throw them in the bin.
Just don’t do this literally, though. Instead, donate gently used clothing to organizations like the Salvation Army. This will keep them out of our already overflowing landfills and will allow them to make someone else very happy.
Now that you’ve cleared out your closet (or the infamous “chair” we all seem to have), you’re going to be left with a whole mess of empty hangers. That’s perfect if you’re planning to go on a bit of a shopping spree to fill the space. But what if you want to keep that mountain of clothes more manageable from here on out? Our suggestion is to give them away rather than toss them in the garbage bin. Resale shops, donation centers, and small retail businesses can always make good use of them!
What to Throw Away
Getting sick or getting hurt is, unfortunately, a part of life. Both are bound to happen to us at least every now and again, and that means most of us will be prescribed medication at some point. Although not a problem in itself, this often means our medicine cabinets are packed full of stuff long after their usefulness has run out.
An easy solution is to go through your medication on a semi-regular basis and toss out anything old and unnecessary. Take care in disposal, however. Some medicines are okay to flush down the toilet, but not all. When in doubt, do a little research or ask your doctor for advice.
Dried Out Paint
Painting is one of the easiest ways to foster your creativity or give your house a much-needed facelift. But it also happens to be one of the quickest ways to clutter up a house or garage since we always seem to buy way more than we need. Over time, these paints will dry out, not even allowing us really save them up for a rainy day. Holding onto them then isn’t super practical, so you’re best off checking with your municipality and following regulations for tossing them out.
As a general rule, when you can recycle, repurpose, or donate something, you should. However, there are simply some things that are too far gone for any of these. Old, rusty tools, seriously broken furniture, torn up clothes or shoes, stained up mattresses, toys missing pieces, scratched up video games, CDs, or movies – each of these items certainly fall under this banner.
When you come across any of these and don’t want them taking up any more space, don’t feel too bad for throwing them straight in the garbage bin. Try to make sure you actually have room for them in the trash, though. Some trash companies will only take so many bags per week and might necessitate dumpster rental.