Quick way to dispose of lots of stuff?
May 27, 2007 9:52 AM   Subscribe

What's a good, simple way to donate or dispose of a lot of household items?

I'm trying to declutter my life a bit, and I've got a fair amount of old household goods (furniture, electronics, etc.) that I'd like to get rid of in the quickest, simplest way possible. Ideally, I'd give it all to some place like Goodwill that would put it to good use, but it seems that the Goodwill in my area (northeast NJ) doesn't want furniture. The other obvious ideas (as suggested by this question and others) would be Craigslist and/or a yard sale, but I'm hoping there's some simpler option than either of them, as time is fairly scarce these days. I'd even consider paying to have it all hauled away if it comes to that, but I'm hoping there's some sort of charity or public interest-oriented organization that would want this sort of stuff.

Any ideas or suggestions would be very welcome.
posted by Zonker to Home & Garden (17 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Look for a non-Goodwill charity. Here in little old Billings, Montana, the Montana Rescue Mission finances much of their homeless program by running 3 thrift stores. They will bring a truck and pick up your stuff without the donor lifting a finger. Perhaps there is something similar there?
posted by The Deej at 9:59 AM on May 27, 2007

Depending on where you live, the Salvation Army or a vets organization like Volunteers of America or Purple Heart will come in a truck and haul it away. They take almost everything, which they then either sell in thrift stores or sell in bundles to someone else. They use the proceeds for good works.
posted by clarkstonian at 10:01 AM on May 27, 2007

Put it all out on the sidewalk with a sign saying "FREE."

I can't think of an easier option than that, really.
posted by drstein at 10:10 AM on May 27, 2007

Freecycle isn't ideal if you're pressed for time, but if you post a list and say 'you can pick it up at X time, email for the location', that might be doable.
posted by holgate at 10:12 AM on May 27, 2007

Lupus Foundation of America takes a lot of items (but no furniture, at least not in the DC area). I like to use them because they use online scheduling, no one has to be home when they come, and they'll just leave a tax receipt on the door. (However, I'm not sure if the process is similar in other parts of the country.)
posted by candyland at 10:15 AM on May 27, 2007

Do you have a Freecycle group nearby? You can specify in your post that preference will be given to charities and/or someone who can take the lot, etc. It can be a pain wading through the responses and arranging pick-up and dealing with no-shows, though.

On preview, just more info on what holgate said.
posted by dilettante at 10:23 AM on May 27, 2007

I second Freecycle.
posted by BeaverTerror at 10:29 AM on May 27, 2007

Why not merge drstein and holgate's ideas, and put it all in front of your house with a free sign, take a photo of everything, and post it on Freecycle and Craigslist with your address, and a note that you're unable to answer questions, but that people are welcome to stop by and help themselves to your wares?
posted by fogster at 10:33 AM on May 27, 2007

Being that it is 'garage sale season', the classified section of your local newspaper(s) may feature entries from local organizations looking for donations (and offering pickup is becoming more popular). If you have receive a local government channel in your tv programming, there may be advertisements there as well for similar services...
posted by hostilemonkeys at 10:34 AM on May 27, 2007

I've seen freecycle and craigslist posts stating a location and time that items would be put outside for anyone to take. That would save you having to look at the replies.
posted by yohko at 10:35 AM on May 27, 2007

As a Freecycle community moderator, I'd like to note that many Freecycle groups frown on first come, first served postings. One of the standard moderator messages says,

"DO NOT submit free-for-all posts (such as "It's on the porch, whoever gets here first can have it.') Posting in that manner encourages hundreds of people to head that direction, and 99% of those people will walk away disappointed and empty-handed, after having expended a great deal of time and gasoline for nothing. Please pick out a few items, post them and set up a specific time for folks to pick the items up. That approach may seem like more work but if people are making unneeded trips for nothing it will sour them towards you and towards Freecycle in general and that's not good for anyone. Ultimately, these posts will be edited by a moderator or returned to you for editing."

Here are some other alternatives, based on your profile that shows you are in New York City:

- Call the Salvation Army to arrange a pick-up.

- NYCWasteLe$$ provides a lot of information on where to donate or sell stuff.
posted by jeri at 11:25 AM on May 27, 2007 [2 favorites]

I think you need to consult a professional junk remover. If you try to deal with this junk problem yourself, you are at risk of a serious cognitive dissonance problem. I am a junk seller, but I am not your junk seller, and this is not junk handling advice.

Put it all out on the sidewalk with a sign saying "FREE."

I can't think of an easier option than that, really.

Seriously, I'd favour this approach myself. However, you will have initial hauling to do, you will have tidying up to do (as people pick the stuff over), and some things will get broken.

I think putting items out a few at a time will minimize the problems.
posted by Chuckles at 11:37 AM on May 27, 2007 [1 favorite]

Put it all out on the sidewalk with a sign saying "FREE."

I did that with an old sleeper sofa. Didn't work. I finally put a sign on it that said, "FOR SALE - $20. INQUIRE WITHIN". It was gone the next day.
posted by Doohickie at 1:59 PM on May 27, 2007 [3 favorites]

We have had good success using the Vietnam Veterans of America. Looking at their website, they do pickups in New Jersey. They'll take just about anything, and you can schedule a pickup online - they show up at the scheduled time, and will leave you a tax deduction form.
posted by librarianamy at 8:19 PM on May 27, 2007

Is furniture picked up weekly by the trash collectors near you? If it were me, I'd check the weather, haul it to the curb, advertise on freecycle the same night, and clearly state when it will be picked up by trash collectors. That way it's Taken Care Of (quickly/simply/definitely), one way or another.
posted by ick at 8:28 PM on May 27, 2007

I have been through HELL trying to get several large appliances removed in NYC--no place that buys used appliances, no ebay reseller would, no charity would take them and the first super in my building was such a prick that there was no way I would let him take them. Junkpros agreed to take them, but my building requires an insurance certificate filled out a certain way and I had difficulty getting their receptionist to understand this at first, so I have had a delay.
posted by brujita at 11:12 PM on May 27, 2007

Picking up on Doohickie's comment, I've heard from other people that Freecycle / 'JUST TAKE IT' signs can be less useful than asking for a nominal fee, because people wanting something for nothing can be paradoxically pickier than those getting a bargain.
posted by holgate at 8:34 AM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

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