The Gift that Gives

The satisfaction of a decluttered home is a gift in itself, but what’s the best thing to do with all the items that you no longer need, but are too good for throwing away?

Well, instead of simply sending your rubbish to the tip, why not get creative and give new life to old items by passing them on to a new home. There are plenty of ways that you can use your unwanted belongings to help other people.


A huge number of charity organisations are pleased to take second-hand items. Their aim is to resell unwanted clothes, kitchenware, furniture, linens and sporting equipment, so create a special pile for anything that has some life left in it. Be judicious though. If the item is too tired to be sold, it’s the charities that end up bearing the cost of disposal, biting into the funds they’re trying to raise for others.

Don’t forget that pick up of large or bulky items can also be arranged, so don’t overlook old tables and chairs. Unfortunately, for safety reasons charities are no longer able to collect electrical items.

Organisations such as St Vincent De Paul and The Salvation Army are always looking for second hand clothing, furniture and books. Simply drop your items off to a Vinnies Centre or Salvos store near you.

If you’d like some additional inspiration, a helpful website to check out is, run by The National Association of Charitable Recycling Organisations.

NACRO represents charitable recycling organisations throughout Australia, so you find the listing for the type of item you’re planning to hand over and the website tells you the address of the best-placed local charity to receive it.

Reverse Garbage may be another solution if you are looking to get rid of large amounts of anything reusable. The concept is simple: they take items like leather, card, vinyl records, books, wood, bikes, industrial discards, and off-cuts to pass them on to artists, theatres, schools and hobbyists. Check out their site at for a full list of what’s accepted.

Toys are one of the hardest things to let go of when decluttering, because of the memories attached to them. However, to make it easier, think of the joy your child’s toy could bring in its second life if it’s lovingly restored by the Toy Restoration Centre. All toys are donated to disadvantaged children. You can call them in Sydney on 02 9528 4024.

Finally, for instant local recycling solutions and useful information about waste removal facilities and services near you, pop your postcode into the Planet Ark website (


Although charities are no longer in a position to take electrical items, many councils now offer quarterly electrical recycling services where they take ‘e-waste’ such as old toasters and computers. These items can also be dropped off at your local council rather than being left on the street. The council’s aim is to repair these items and recycle them back into the community to keep them out of landfill. To help out, grab some masking tape and a pen to clearly mark if your item is working or not.


If you think your items aren’t quite right for a charity shop – perhaps you’re clearing out some of your paintings from your art room – but you want to raise some funds for a good cause, consider selling them through the auction website eBay is user-friendly and items are categorised so they are easy to find. All you have to do is write a clear description of the item, including measurements, and upload a photograph. When selling larger items such as furniture, arrange to have a friend with you on the pickup day.

Online classified listings such as are also growing in popularity as a way of passing along unwanted items to a new home. People can locate things by area, plus it’s free to list your items.

With just a little planning you’ll soon be basking in the warm glow of a clutter-free home and the good karma that comes with knowing you’ve helped someone else.