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7 ways to stop your unwanted goods going into landfill

By Mikaela Wilkes Default Admin | 03 Mar 2020 08:27

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Everyone knows the holy trinity of declutter piles is keep, donate, and throwaway. But if the throwaway pile is larger than the donate one at the end of a clean out, I'm afraid you've still got work to do. 

There are a huge range of places to sell, swap, and pass on pre-loved belongings that no longer "spark joy". The tip should be the last destination for the items on your throwaway pile, not the first. 

Here are some alternatives.


Who doesn't love free money? 

The old adage about one man's trash being another's treasure holds true, and selling things you'd otherwise chuck out is easy work. Household items like couches, drawers, and dining chairs are among the top 100 searches on Trade Me, according to site spokeswoman Millie Silvester. 

"In the past seven days, we've seen 61,000 searches for couches, 48,000 hits for drawers and 40,000 searches for dining tables," she said.

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In the past seven days, Trade Me has seen 61,000 searches for couches, 48,000 hits for drawers and 40,000 searches for dining tables.

Now is also a great time to list those plastic yard chairs (and their cobwebs). Over the past week, outdoor furniture was searched 56,000 times, putting it in the top 10 most searched items on the site. 

Houseplants are the decor trend de jour, with the number of searches up 290 per cent from this time last year. The most expensive plant baby ever sold was a variegated monstera, which went for a record $4,930 in January.

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The "investment plant" sparked a bidding war that ended in a $4930 sale.


If you'd rather sell or give things away closer to home, list the items on hyperlocal social network Neighbourly and they'll only be visible to people in your suburb. 

It's more or less the digital version of leaving a tattered couch on the kerb. 

"The Free Stuff category is incredibly popular; neighbours are turning more and more to their neighbours to find value in things they no longer want or need, rather than taking them to the tip," said Sarah Moore, Neighbourly business solutions director. 

"Plus, a neighbour picking up your unwanted things means they usually walk down the driveway pretty quickly, so no need to ship across the country."

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If you'd rather sell or give things away closer to home, list the items on hyperlocal social network Neighbourly.


If the thought of listing all the individual items in your throwaway pile  is super daunting, opt for the humble garage sale. 

All you need is a patch of driveway or front yard, price stickers and some quality signage. Done right, you'll be able to offload a wide variety of items in one go.

Talk some neighbours onto your declutter bandwagon and be open to friendly bartering, but remember, the goal is to clear the decks rather than turn a profit. 

 As a general rule, you'll want to price your items for a third of what they cost in the store, or less. 

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All you need for a garage sale is a patch of driveway or front yard, price stickers and some quality signage. ISTOCK/GETTY IMAGES


Save the paperbacks from recycling with a trip to your local bookstore. Most independent book sellers will accept used books in good condition and offer some kind of payment, or a store credit for them. 

You can help save the planet, clear your shelf and pick up some new reading all in an afternoon. Not bad. 


When all the younger cousins to hand down to have been exhausted, Facebook Marketplace has a wide audience for secondhand clothes and homewares. 

Unlike Trade Me, there are no fees. However, Facebook doesn't accept liability for lost payments or deliveries, so bear that in mind when selling any valuables.

Parent groups are particularly active on Facebook, so if you need to rehome school uniforms and kids toys, this should be your first stop.

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A Karaka Bay resident peruses books the book exchange on Karaka Bay Rd. It started with a couple of books and now has shelves full of them. ROSS GIBLIN


Homeless and women's shelters will accept donations of canned and good quality fresh food, but if you're only trying to rehome a handful of old potatos, or the box of tea with an experimental flavour that none of the family liked, Olio is a better bet. 

The grassroots food sharing app launched in New Zealand last year. Once signed up, users take a photo of the food they have to spare, state a preferred pick up area, then wait for someone to request it.


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Don't throw away the dregs at the back of the cupboard, share them. Olio users take a photo of the food they have to spare, list a preferred pick up area and wait for someone to request it. OLIO

Olio co-founder Tessa Clarke said half of all food listed to the app is claimed within an hour. Within a 5km radius of Auckland's Ponsonby, items up for grabs this morning included a packet of Griffin's gingernuts, ginger, tropical juice boxes and half a carrot. 

On the flip side, try Foodprint NZ if you're in the market for a discounted, restaurant-quality feed. Each day food retailers upload their surplus eats, at half the normal price. You can order, purchase in-app and collect directly from the eateries.

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Kate Hall spent a day at the Dove Hospice distribution centre in Auckland to find out what really happens to second-hand goods after your donate them.


Last but not least is the good ol' volunteer-run charity store. 

After spending one week at Dove Hospice, eco activist Kate Hall wrote this list of helpful guidelines for making donations, including:

* Wash and repair items before donating

* Pair up shoes, earrings and things like cutlery sets

* Only donate items that are in working order

* If it's junk, recycle it or drop it at the tip: the second-hand shop is not our free landfill.

Source: Stuff

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