Spring Cleaning: 10 Places to Dump Your Junk

Whether you live in a four-season state or a tropical country such as mine, April’s the perfect month to tidy your house and get rid of the clutter that’s potentially turning you into a candidate of Hoarders or Clean House.

Every year, I toss out at least a sack full of old stuff that I feel may be of use to other people. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” as the old saying goes. Thanks to the trend of eco-geekiness, spring-cleaning has become more sophisticated than just dumping everything in the bin in one go.

Here are 10 ways to get rid of your junk and still feel good about the environment. Captain Planet would be proud.

1. Junk: Old towels and rags
Dump it where: Animal shelters. Aside from feeding and caring for rescued animals, there’s an immense amount of cleaning that needs to be done at animal shelters. Old towels and rags line the dog pans and kitty beds at night. Drop off your clean old towels, rags, and foot rugs at your nearest animal shelter.
Kate’s local picks: Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA)

2. Junk: Recyclables
Dump it where: Homeless and underprivileged fundraisers. When I was younger, I collected a sack full of empty soda cans and water bottles to sell it to the recycling shop for extra cash. When I got there, I saw a long line of homeless and underprivileged folk doing the same thing. It pulled my heartstrings when I found out that a sack of empty cans will only get you chump change, but they were willing to wait for hours in line just to get the money. From that day on, I began segregating the recyclables in our house and setting it aside for some of my underprivileged neighbors that drop by my house regularly to pick them up to sell to the junk shop.
Kate’s local picks: My own mixed neighborhood in Cavite City

Glorietta Mall wants your plastic bags.

Glorietta Mall wants your plastic bags.

3. Junk: Plastic bags
Dump it where: Don’t! I reuse plastic bags as garbage can linings, dog poop scoopers, and many other ways before throwing them out. There are also malls and grocery stores that ask for your plastic bags, so if you really need to get rid of them, toss them there.
Kate’s local picks: Glorietta Malls in Makati. They have bins where you can dump old plastic bags, which they will recycle for you.

4. Junk: Old electronic accessories and gadgets
Dump it where: Malls and electronic shops. Many brands are joining the green bandwagon by asking their consumers to return empty product containers, boxes, old gadgets, batteries and broken accessories to the store. It’s safer than throwing old leaky batteries into your backyard bin.
Kate’s local picks: Mac stores, because most of my gadgets are from Apple. I’ve sent them my old batteries and plugs that no longer work. Glorietta Malls in Makati also have bins for dumping old batteries, cellphones, and other gadgets.

Dump your old batteries and gadgets here.

Dump your old batteries and gadgets here.

5. Junk: Old clothes and blankets
Dump it where: Charities. Whether they’ll resell them in thrift shops for funds or give them to underprivileged families that need them, your clothes will go a long way.
Kate’s local picks: Ateneo de Manila University, my Alma Mater, and Segunda Mana, a project of Caritas Manila

6. Junk: Old books
Dump it where: Book drives, public libraries, and other charitable institutions that will distribute your books to underprivileged children and students.
Kate’s local picks: Releaf Project and Kariton Classroom

Photo from PAWS

Photo from PAWS

7. Junk: Old newspapers and boxes
Dump it where: Animal shelters. I know most people would rather send them to recycling centers, but as an animal rights activist, I know that shelters are in dire need of old newspapers to line hundreds of cages and animal beds daily.
Kate’s local picks: Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) and Compassion and Responsibility for Animals (CARA)

8. Junk: Old equipment and furniture
Dump it where: Charity houses, orphanages, or thrift stores. If they are still in good shape or condition, go ahead and send your old furniture to charity. Some charities are willing to pick up old furniture from donors’ houses. If not, get ready to shell out gas money and manpower.
Kate’s local picks: Virlanie Foundation

9. Junk: Printer cartridges
Dump it where: Don’t! You can make money by selling your empty printer cartridges and toners. Just find the best junk shops and third party stores than are willing to buy what you have for a good deal.

Old jars have infinite possibilities. Photo by melodiustenor of Freerangestock.com.

10. Junk: Old jars and containers
Dump it where: Junk artists’ studios and schools. You’d be surprised to see how artists turn ordinary jars into works of art that even you would be willing to purchase. See if any of your artist friends or art teachers will need them, or better yet, buy them from you per bulk.

How do you recycle your junk?

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