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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?

Alison's picture

There's at least one place...

There's at least one place here (in Australia, alas, for you US folks) that takes a whole lot of odd stuff, which they then sell to artists and school teachers. They're called That's Not Garbage, and while they did once have a website, they've recently changed hands. But ours in this state was copied from another in another state, so there may be some in the US as well.

They take clean industrial waste (like the foil offcuts they used to stamp milk bottle tops out of), bits and pieces of just about anything non-toxic, ribbons, sequins, bits of interesting paper, containers, store dummies, anything. Artists and wee schoolkiddies get inspiration and cheap materials, and we get a lovely warm feeling that we've disposed of Stuff in ways that won't use up landfill. Plus if you're a bit of a geek, it's really interesting to wander through the warehouse to see what they've got this week.

If you don't have any in the US, maybe some of you might be inclined to start one? Just a thought.

Oh, and animal shelters will always need clean bedding: blankets, fluffy things, general warm-n-softness, but not pillows because the dogs chew 'em.

Other than that, Freecycle rules. And Goodwill and its confreres.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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