Every spring my street puts on a block-long yard sale. It’s a day-long event and often the entire neighbourhood can be found sitting outside in raincoats, shivering as we sell $2 books and household junk. I’ve found some great stuff walking through the driveways—computer speakers, a ratchet set—and yet, for every useful item, there are dozens of broken, seemingly useless objects being sold. Who wants a computer hinged with a “Doesn’t Work—$10” sign? Believe me, I’ve seen this.
Now I say “seemingly useless” because while these broken items might not sell to Joe Consumer, they are sometimes useful to non-profit organizations and other community-minded groups. So rather than simply throwing out old stuff, or wasting away an entire day for a $40 profit at your garage sale, consider donating your stuff. Now that it’s all organized, this should be easy enough to arrange. Here are a few options.
Depending on where you live, there are likely dozens of resell stores and drop-off centres for used—but still useful—building materials such as windows, doors, paint, tools, you name it. Habitat For Humanity, for example, sells donated materials through their ReStores and uses the proceeds to fund Habitat projects, while at the same time reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfills. If you’re looking for a ReStore near you, you can find options in Canada, as well as the U.S.
Computers and electronics
There’s nothing worse than seeing an old computer monitor sitting on the curb getting soaked by the rain. As PCs have dropped in price, many of us are upgrading our clunky desktops with tiny laptops. In fact, some municipalities have made it illegal to throw away computer parts without paying for a disposal fee. So while you won’t get much for a massive monitor, you can still donate it to a school, shelter or retailer that will fix it up and sell the “renovated” machine at a discount, often donating part of the funds to charity.
Furniture and Household items
Almost every community has a Goodwill or Salvation Army drop-off centre for used couches, chairs, carpeting, dishes and toys—things that wouldn’t necessarily sell in your neighbourhood yard sale but would be useful to less-fortunate or simply frugal people (hello, students). We’ve got the links at the top, but you know your own Sally Ann.