Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What Am I To Do With It All?

In reading other blogs and talking with my friends, everyone is cleaning out! We are making room for the new stuff and hoping to be more efficient and organized in the new year. This is an area of constant work for me. Another issue I have is our "throw-away" society. So while you are cleaning out, keep these ideas in mind to prevent filling our landfills.

Toys-check with a daycare, preschool, or church to see if they want them.
Clothes-pass them on to someone else, BUT ask if they want them. Our church has a clothes give-away once a year in our community. I keep a bag or box in the basement and continually throw items that no longer work for us in there.
Stained Clothes- they make great rags but we are in the rag making business at my house. Drop stained t-shirts and old towels off to an auto mechanic.
Stuffed Animals/Bicycles- I was thrilled to learn that a family in our community collects stuffed animals and another that collects bicycles and tricycles (and parts) to give children at Christmas. They collect all year and are grateful for the donations. The police station in my hometown keeps stuffed animals in the Police car. If they are called to a situation when a child is involved, they can offer a little bit of comfort to that child. Check with your local dispatch to see if they would be interested in your well cared for animals-call the office not 911 although I know it feels like an emergency!
Recycle-we have lived in several communities but our little town has the best recycling center. They take plastic, newspaper, paper (yeah-we have lots of it as I am sure you do too!), scrap metal, batteries, motor oil, cooking oil, cardboard (even toilet paper rolls!)....all of this stuff and more. It would otherwise go into our ground water. I do not want my babies drinking battery acid and I am guessing you don't either. Oh, my girlfriend was paying about $75 every 3 months for garbage pick up at her home. She began recycling and taking her garbage to the recycling center. She pays $1 a bag and usually only has one bag a week of true waste! Talk about a savings!! Check out Earth911.com for a center near you!
Plastic Bags-sure you can reuse them and please do. But if you don't, recycle those too or use them again at the store. In one community we lived, the Kroger store took 10 cents off of the bill for every bag we brought back and reused. You can recycle these as well as bread, celery, and other clean food bags.
Reuse Store- our recycling center has a reuse store. You drop your stuff off and others can come and get it for free. We found a PING golf bag in there with a working stand. We had one happy golfer! I have seen ice cream buckets and egg cartons in there-farmers will reuse the egg cartons.
Books,Videos, Magazines- most libraries have a "Friend Sale" were they sell used books, magazines, videos and other medias to profit the library. We drop a lot off there and I have seen our donations on the shelves as well.
Trinkets, Kid's Meal Toys- I rarely let our kids get those meals because of the junk that comes with them. But some schools and preschools use them as rewards. Check around at your child's school or preschool. I bet they would appreciate these treasures in disguise.
Swap- our 7 year old made a swap with a friend. He traded a Nerf gun he no longer played with for a light saber. Both boys got new toys and it did not cost either of them anything extra.
Baby items- WIC (Women Infants and Children) and Pregnancy Care Centers accept infant donations. You can drop off the free formula you get in the mail too. Call before you go to make sure they will accept your donation.
Pet items- Animal Shelters accept cleaning supplies, pet toys, old towels, pillows and blankets. They also accept expired infant formula to give to newborn kittens.
Tennis Shoes- the NIKE company recycles tennis shoes. They do not have to be NIKE, just clean and dry. There is a drop off in their store at the outlets in our area. Maybe there is one close to you as well.
Ink Jet cartridges, cell phones- they recycle! A school I taught in recycled ink jet printer cartridges. The Louisville Zoo has a drop off for cell phones. I have also see drop offs at Wal-Mart, the post office, and the 4-H office in our area for both of these items.
Blue Jeans- I saw there is a new insulation made of blue jeans---I want to find that drop off! Let me know if you find it before I do!

Hope you find something to do with EVERYTHING!


jdearing said...

Melanie - what an informative post. Last year I completed a major de-clutter project, room by room, including our basement. We recycle pretty much now. I think I'll check our area for some of your suggestions - like with tennis shoes and a reuse store.

MDearing said...

Don't forget all of those great agencies out there that will accept your donations. In our small community, we only have a Good-Will and St. Vincent De Paul. When a fire took a family's home, St. Vincent De Paul invited them in to take what they wanted. Good-Will did not offer any such services. Salvation Army is also another agency that gives.