Out with the old: How to get rid of your unwanted items

I don’t really know what has come over me the last few months, but I have been on a bit of a decluttering rampage. It’s been over two years since I graduated uni and Dan was still a little concerned he was going to end up moving in with a professional hoarder who likes to keep the boxes her lipsticks came in. So safe to say, I had a lot of stuff. A lot of clutter. And one day I just decided to have a proper, proper sort out. Not just a quickie, a pull-your-room-apart kind of sort out which saw me chucking away tearing up pictures of my ex-boyfriend, FINALLY putting that makeup packaging in recycling and getting rid of all the tat from Christmases past. 

Of course, there is the matter of what you should do with all your old belongings once they are in the bye bye pile. I was talking to Gemma the other week about what I did with all my stuff after my colossal sort out to which she asked, “When are you going to write a blog post about this?” 

So, here’s the blog post. And here’s what to do with all your old stuff after you find yourself on a sorting rampage like I did. 

Sell, Donate, Recycle, Chuck

You will have almost definitely heard of this general rule by now. Once you’ve put everything in a big to-go pile, it’s time to divide it into piles. Here’s how I usually sort mine:  

  • Sell – Anything that is new with tags, unused or in great condition. 
  • Donate – Any books, home items or clothing you don’t want to sell but that are in good enough condition for a charity shop to use. Other items can also be donated to other charities (keep reading to find out more!) 
  • Recycle – Books, broken clothes, photos, cardboard boxes, glass etc… Basically, be environmentally friendly and check your local recycling plant for what you can get rid of. Many places now have clothes recycling bins. 
  • Chuck – Anything that’s completely useless, unsellable and can’t be recycled. Make sure you dispose of batteries and electrical equipment properly!  

Selling Successfully 

I ended up making £500 selling my old stuff. It’s a bit of a faff, but if you can be bothered, it’s a great way to put cash in your pocket. I sold my items in three places: eBay, Depop and Mercari. eBay is not my favourite platform to sell on due to the fees, and it’s not as good as it used to be. However, it’s the best place to sell high-value goods like designer bags. Depop and Mercari are mobile apps which are really convenient for putting clothes and accessories up for sale! Depop charges 10% fees on all sales, but Mercari is totally free and I actually prefer it as people actually paid what I asked for! If you sign up to Mercari, use my code SARNTT and you will get £5 to spend on the app, woo!

Here’s some top tips for selling: 

  1. Post four good quality photos showing the item being worn or modelled. Make sure you take pictures from all angles and if there are any defects! 
  2. Write a detailed description describing the quality, what the item is like, the fabric and if it’s a bag make sure to include measurements. 
  3. Set a fair price. If you’re selling designer items, research how much similar items sell for. If you can, find the year, collection and the model of the item. I sold everything on Depop/Mercari for under £25 and it soon adds up! 

If you have old mobile phones, you can make some cash on them too. Recent models are worth the most. I used Sell My Mobile to compare prices and then just went for the best price – I sold two old Samsungs and got £125 for them! 

Donating Items 

If your items can’t be sold, think about donating them to a charity shop. Make sure they are in a good, saleable condition. If they aren’t, the charity shop has to get rid of them themselves and that is at cost to them, so don’t just chuck random stuff in a bag. If you are local to Milton Keynes, Willen Hospice and Age UK always welcome donations, particularly furniture and books. Make sure you check websites to check what items they accept! 

It’s not just clothes you can donate, here’s some ideas of what you can do with your items. 

  • Coats, hats, scarves, gloves and blankets can be donated to local homeless shelters. If you’re local to Milton Keynes, check out Helping the Homeless MK and ask about dropping off donations. 
  • Old glasses can be dropped off at Specsavers. They send the frames out to third world countries and put new lenses in them. Some charity shops can also take old glasses. 
  • Old towels and blankets can be donated to your local animal shelter. Hula is one of the biggest near Milton Keynes and are always in need of donations. If you have old pet beds, bowls and other items they will also take these. 
  • Unused or slightly used makeup can be donated to Give and Makeup, which is a non-profit organisation providing everyday essentials women and children in need. They also take underwear (as new as possible) and other essentials like sanitary and personal care items. Find out what else you can donate. 
  • Books and DVDs can be donated to charity shops, but if they are in great condition, local libraries will often accept them. 
  • Toys can go to charity shops, but see if there is a local children’s hospice or centre that would benefit from them. They usually take plastic only as it’s more hygeinic. 

On a final note, try to think outside the box when it comes to getting rid of old items. We are going to host a ‘Swap Shop’ at work in the New Year where we can ‘shop’ each other’s wardrobes and contribute money to charity. I have also set up a Library Shelf so people can bring in unwanted books for other people to borrow and read. It’s definitely worth the effort to declutter in a more sustainable way and to get some extra life out of your old stuff. 

How do you get rid of your unwanted items? Any tips to share?

Photos by Kaye Ford at Bogota Coffee Co.


I'm Sophie, a 20-something food & travel blogger from Milton Keynes helping you discover great eats and adventures in MK, Bucks and beyond.

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