When getting ready to move, you will find that there are plenty of items you do not plan on taking with you. Instead of putting all of these items on your curb to be picked up and sent to a landfill, consider these options to recycle them before moving instead. While you can conventionally recycle items, reusing or donating is another great way to keep them out of the trash. Many items, even when they aren’t in perfect condition, can still have a long lifespan and be used in either a new way or by someone else. When packing up your home and getting rid of items, consider these recycling and donating options for the following 20 items before you move.
Used appliances like washers, dryers, dishwashers, and stoves can be donated if they still work. Places like Habitat for Humanity ReStores, thrift stores, or nonprofits will gladly accept your donation of a used appliance. You may also be able to sell it for a bit of extra cash on Facebook Marketplace. If you live near a Guardian Storage, we offer free electronic recycling drop-offs at any of our Pennsylvania locations.
Continue the lifecycle of your books by sharing them with a friend, donating them to a local library, donating them to a thrift store, or placing them in a local lending library. Books are an easy item to recycle before moving. They have an almost infinite lifespan and can be gifted over and over again. If you have favorite books, think of who would enjoy reading them the most, and send them off as a surprise package to friends and loved ones. If you are a book lover and still have plenty of books leftover, make sure to pack your books properly so they arrive in great condition!
Old blankets don’t need to be thrown out; they should be recycled before moving. Many animal shelters ask for blanket donations to help pad the beds and floors of their spaces to make the animals more comfortable. You may also want to use your old blankets as extra padding when packing fragile items. Blankets are great for wrapping large electronics like televisions or can provide extra padding in boxes with dishware or other fragile items.
If you will not be taking your car to your new home, don’t just take it to the dump. If it’s in good condition, you can gift it to a friend or family member. Another option would be to donate it to the various nonprofits that would be happy to receive it. Plus, you’ll get a tax write-off for your donation!
CDs and DVDs
Don’t throw away your old CDs and DVDs. Instead, donate them to your local thrift store. If they are educational, your local library may also be interested in receiving them as a donation.
Every year, we throw away around 16 million tons of textiles. The vast majority can be saved and recycled, but currently, only about 15% is being recycled. Keep your used clothing out of landfills by giving it new life. Soft clothing like t-shirts can be used as padding when packing fragile items like glasses and plates. If your items are particularly worn out, you may be able to donate them to your local animal shelter. Or, donate your clothes to Goodwill. If they are in good condition, they will be sold in-store. If not, they will donate your unsellable clothing to textile recyclers. You can also go straight to the source and find a textile recycler in your community to drop off your clothing.
If you have dishes that you do not want to bring with you, consider giving them away or donating them to a thrift store. Ask around to see if there is anyone who could use your old dishes. College students and young adults moving into their first home are typically in need of household goods that they haven’t begun to collect yet.
Almost all electronics are recyclable. Take the extra time to find an electronic recycling program near you that can safely and securely take care of your old electronics. If you live in Pittsburgh, you can drop off your electronics at any Guardian Storage location to be recycled for free. In other cities, look into your local electronic recycling resources to get an idea of cost and exclusions.
If you plan to get rid of your bike before you move, consider donating it. In Pittsburgh, you can donate your bike to Free Ride PGH. For other states and cities, look into bike donations options in your area. Plenty of nonprofit organizations or programs may be looking for bike donations.
Exercise equipment tends to be heavy and bulky, which means it will take up a substantial amount of space in your moving truck or storage unit. Depending on whether you will be using movers and if there are stairs to your new home, it may be time to part ways with your equipment. Organizations like the Salvation Army or Pick Up Please will gladly take your used exercise gear and equipment.
Moving homes is a great excuse to get rid of old and dated furniture. Often, donating or selling your used furniture and buying replacements when you get to your new home is the best move. It substantially cuts down on moving time, costs, and space. You may even be able to rent a smaller vehicle when moving if you cut out furniture. You can either donate it to a nonprofit, sell it locally on OfferUp or Facebook Marketplace, or find a friend or family member in need of furniture. If you are in Pittsburgh, consider donating it to a nonprofit like Off the Floor Pittsburgh, which provides used furniture to disadvantaged families who lack the resources to fully furnish their homes.
Hangers can be recycled before moving! While packing your clothes, you may end up decluttering and getting rid of a large majority of your closet. Donate wire hangers in good condition to your local dry cleaner and plastic hangers to local shelters, nursing homes, or thrift stores.
When getting rid of holiday decorations, first check with any young adults you know. They’re likely starting off and probably haven’t acquired a large collection of decorations like many others have. If you don’t know of anyone who needs them, donate your decorations to a local thrift store.
If you have a child and are decluttering their craft supplies, set aside any dead markers or broken crayons. Crayola has a program that takes and recycles used markers and No Crayon Left Behind collects used crayons and gives them to children in need. For all other craft supplies, look for a creative reuse organization in your community. If none exists, see if you can donate the supplies to your local school or library. Teachers and youth programs are always in need of extra supplies and would be thrilled to receive them.
Plastic Grocery Bags
Are you the type of person who has a bag that holds all of their bags? If you’ve been holding onto plastic bags, you have a few options. Plastic grocery bags are an easy items to recycle before moving. First, you should use as many as you can to assist with your move. Pack things into them, or use them to replace packing peanuts to keep items safe and stop them from shifting during your move. Take whatever bags you have left to your local plastic film recycling drop-off location. Most grocery stores will serve as locations for recycling.
Make sure to recycle all paper before moving. When going through your paper clutter, set aside all important documents. Put these in their own separate folder to keep them safe while moving. For the rest of your documents, take the time to shred them. Contact your local animal shelter, as many use shredded paper as an economical way to provide bedding for their animals.
If you are getting rid of silverware, you can donate it to your local thrift store. They often group together donations and sell them in sets, which is great for people just starting off who don’t care about matching silverware.
Socks are the most needed, yet least donated items in homeless shelters. If your socks are in good condition, consider donating them to a local shelter. If they are not in good condition, use them as cleaning rags or bring them to a textile recycling drop-off location. Any clothing items are eligible for drop-off and should be recycled before moving if they are not in good enough condition to donate.
As you are packing and decluttering, set aside toys your child no longer plays with or has outgrown. If you have friends with children, see if they would like the toys. Otherwise, consider selling them on Facebook Marketplace or donating them to children who could use them. If you’re looking to declutter your child’s toys even further, try the toy rotation method. Toys are a very easy item to recycle before moving because there are so many people who would love to receive a used toy!