Like so many of you, I own a lot of stuff. I’d like to get rid of some of it, but the noise in my brain keeps saying stuff like I might need it someday, I need to dispose of it responsibly, it’s worth a lot of money, or it’s too much trouble to get rid of it. If I were to listen to it all, I don’t think I’d ever get things done. I’m convinced this is how hoarders are made.
This is relevant because while cleaning up after a party a short time ago, I discovered some things I’d completely forgotten about. Here’s some of the stuff I have but don’t need anymore: a pasta-maker, four space heaters, an extra set of drums, a piano, a broken bike, his and her roller blades and a granny cart.
I also have a dusty pile of laptops. Mr. Min has been collecting them for the past 10 years, so really, it’s all on him. He’s the computer expert, so everyone in the family goes to him when they want to shop for new laptops and iPads. Since he’s also Mr. Generous, he ends up paying for them, too. It’s a vicious cycle, because when the laptops break down, they rotate back to our place to get patched up or thrown into the pile.
Until now. I Googled “how to recycle your old computers” and discovered Apple’s Recycling Program. It’s been around forever, but I only found out about it now, okay? But it’s awesome. You input your model number, describe the item’s condition and if you’re lucky, a magical number pops up with a dollar sign in front of it.
Now, I grant you this money comes in the form of Apple gift cards, but who doesn’t want a new iPod, iPad or MacBook Pro? So there -- it counts as actual money. They also accept stuff from other brands and mail you free packaging, a step that makes things easy-peasy for lazy people like me.
Now, let’s just stop for a second. I could make a lot more money by selling these items on Ebay, Bonanza or Craigslist. The thought stings, but I don’t trust myself to make the time to do it. I also don’t want to be held hostage by paralyzing thoughts that make me freeze up and do nothing, or waste my time thinking about coulda, woulda, shoulda. If that happens, I’d probably end up putting it off for another three years, leaving me with a house full of useless crap. Meanwhile, the monetary value of those laptops, and everything else I own, would slowly spiral down to zero.
When I purge my home of all the stuff, I like to do a little research, but not too much. I’ve found that what really helps me through this emotionally draining process is knowing that there’s lots of green initiatives out there. They make the act of recycling not only easier, but guilt-free and sometimes monetarily rewarding. It makes me feel really good to participate, so I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned. Once I tell you all about it, I bet you’d LOVE to do it too.
I usually end up breaking my reading tablets after a year or two of hard usage. Once it happens, I’ll call Amazon to get a 20% discount for recycling my old Kindle. Then, to make things even more green and super convenient, they’ll go ahead and mail you the new reading tablet, so that you can re-use the packaging to send the old one back to them.
My hair dryer recently sputtered, and fell apart just as I was getting ready for work. I had to go to the office with wet hair, and it was the worst! Fortunately for me, Folica.com has this deal where you can recycle your old hair dryer or flat iron and receive $40 off any hair tool priced at $79.99 or more. It’s such a great deal, and so timely, too!
The local farmer’s market accepts fabric for recycling, but I’m too lazy to go there on one of my precious Saturdays. Instead, I can mail my worn-out legwear to No Nonsense. The downside is that I have to pay for shipping. But guess what? I did it, it didn’t cost that much and it feels so good to finally empty out my hosiery drawer.
Wire clothes hangers
My local dry cleaner accepts my used hangers, even the broken ones. It’s so easy to do it whenever I visit the cleaners. If you’d like to do the same, it’s a good idea to call ahead and ask. And just so you know, some states will actually fine you for adding wire hangers to your residential trash, so it’s much better to dispose of them this way.
I’m throwing this in here because I know you love your beauty products. There’s an ongoing deal from M.A.C. cosmetics that offers a free tube of lipstick if you trade in 6 empty M.A.C. containers. You can mail them in or bring them to a M.A.C. store or retail counter.
Is it my fault that online shopping offers some of the best deals? I order from Sephora, Zappos and Amazon regularly. And when I get those boxes filled with packing peanuts and plastic air bags, I know exactly what to do. My local shipping business takes them, and so do a lot of UPS stores. On the off chance that you have trouble finding one, go to loosefillpackaging.com for your closest drop-off center.
Now that the weather’s warmer, I plan on going to a lot of weddings. At each one, I’ll get a chance to snag the table arrangement. I love getting fresh flowers, but once they die, I’m left holding the vase. I don’t like letting them pile up, so I’ll usually turn around and sell them to my neighborhood florist. She gives me $5 per vase, but I’d totally give them to her for free. If you’d like to do the same, call ahead and ask, since not all florists will do it. I guess some are more squeamish than others.
You probably know that your local supermarket, Walmart or Target accepts plastic bags for recycling. What you may not know is that they also take Ziploc bags, dry cleaning bags, bread bags and the plastic film that covers your toilet paper and water bottles. To learn more or to find locations, try this link.
Now, it’s your turn. You’re smart and savvy, so I know you have lots of genius ideas for recycling all of the things. Please share your tips in the comments, especially if it means earning some extra cash.