What to do with unwanted items during your move

A little planning and organization to decide what you should and shouldn't take with you on your move can have a big impact on your packing!

Box filled with old papers, documents, postcards, files

“Whether you’re downsizing or moving to a home with more space, inevitably there will be items that you’ll uncover during the packing process that will have you asking, “what should I do with this?”

Moving is the perfect opportunity to do an assessment of what household items you want to bring with you – and those that you can do without. You won’t be able to save everything from the landfill, but with a little effort, you can find places to donate or properly dispose of items, lessening your impact on the environment. And with less stuff to move, you’ll also reduce your unpacking time when you finally get to your new home.

What to do with items you want to donate during a move

  • Clothes and gently used household items – Goodwill and Salvation Army have many locations throughout the United States that will accept donations of gently used clothes and household items.
  • Unopened makeup and beauty products – Do a search for local women’s shelters in your area. Many will accept unused and unopened beauty and personal hygiene products.
  • Gently used furniture – Organizations like Habitat for Humanity ReStore will accept a variety of gently used furniture, and many will even come to your home to pick it up. Find the closest Habitat ReStore location and more information on donation guidelines here. Don’t have a ReStore near you? Look for organizations that support housing resources in your area that might accept furniture donations.

What to do with old electronics and hazardous materials before you move

  • Electronics – There’s no reason to bring old cameras, TVs and cell phones that are no longer working with you to your new home. But throwing those items into the trash can emit toxic chemicals into the environment. Organizations such as Goodwill accept certain electronics for e-cycling, not to mention certain retailers like Best Buy and Staples.
  • Hazardous materials – Household chemicals such as old paint, antifreeze, swimming pool chemicals and household cleaning supplies cannot be transported on our trucks. And if you don’t want to bring them with you to your new home, you shouldn’t pour them down the drain or throw them in the trash as they can contaminate ground water. Earth911 has a searchable database where you can research where and how to dispose of your hazardous materials properly.

Don’t throw away non-perishable food items

  • Unwanted, non-perishable food – A move also is the perfect time to clean out your pantry. That can of black beans that you bought six months ago but never used? That probably doesn’t need to come with you to your new house. But it doesn’t mean you have to throw it in the trash. Local food pantries and organizations like Move for Hunger can accept unopened non-perishable food items you don’t want to pack into boxes.

A little planning and organization can make a big dent in what you need to pack and take with you to your new home!”