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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Vox Pop: Converting clutter from trash to treasure

Quick way to dispose of lots of stuff? | Ask MetaFilter

Wow, talk about good timing.

I've noticed in comments on this week's clutter posts that there's a lot of interest from you all in the away part of "throw away" -- people seem to have a lot of ideas on the most interesting, charitable, creative, and environmentally-responsible routes for converting your own trash into someone else's treasure.

So far we (and that AskMe thread) have covered:

  • Recycling
  • Goodwill (and similar charities)
  • 1-800-GOT-JUNK (and similar services)
  • Craigslist (and other classified avenues)
  • eBay (and other online sales ideas)
  • Freecycle
  • Putting it on the street with a "Free" sign

What's your creative solution? Let's try to avoid names of specific businesses and charities except inasmuch as they offer a truly creative and non-obvious solution to reuse or recycling. What's the most interesting way you've cleared your crap while doing some good? Have you got any suggestions that are clever and convenient?

Ruth's picture

Julia, just donate it somewhere....

Julia, just donate it somewhere. Local social services agencies, the local library, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and local charity thrift stores are good places to call. Just call and ask if they can take it, and if they can pick it up.

I work in social services, and our lobby has a "free table" (it's expanded to include a two-level hanging rack and a shelving unit in addition to the original table) where staff and clients can leave or take stuff. This makes it hugely convenient for me to get rid of stuff, and I have some insight into the process. Things don't stay on the table for long. One of three things happens: 1. Someone takes it. This is what happens to the vast majority of stuff that gets donated. 2. It stays for a long time, and then our receptionist culls it and takes it to one of the charity thrift shops. 3. It's deemed unsuitable (used underwear, things with holes or stains, some other miscellaneous such things) and gets thrown away. I dislike number 3, but at least if something I donate gets thrown out for whatever reason, I have the satisfaction of knowing I tried to give it away, and I feel less guilty if it has to go through a second filter before it gets tossed.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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