What to do With Junk

Anyone who has owned a shed, garage, small barn, or workshop for a few years knows that they have a way of accumulating stuff.  It just happens.  Every once-in-a-while, it is good to do a deep clean and be sure you aren’t holding on to junk that makes no sense to have.

Sorting Your Shed or Garage Junk

What’s the first step to getting rid of your junk? It is the all-important sort.

Sort everything into piles according to the type of junk. Electronics, clothing, knick knacks, art, recyclables, you get the idea. Be realistic when deciding if you should get rid of something. Do you ever use it? Is there a real sentimental value attached to it? Do you even like it? If no, then put it in a pile. If something is damaged beyond repair then it should be recycled. Even charities will not accept damaged or stained items. Now that you have your heaping piles of junk, it’s time to decide how to get rid of it.sort junk garage

There’s gold in them there piles of trash!

Ever heard of the “Queen of Trash”? First she buys barges loaded with America’s trash. Then her plant in Hong Kong recycles the paper and makes corrugated boxes out of it. And finally her boxes get filled with Chinese exports and are sent back to America for us to fight over at a retailer near you. She is worth 1.5 billion dollars. And all she did was find a use for our trash.

Best Ways to Get Rid of the Junk

Find buyers for your junk.

There are a whole host of sites that you can use to post a sale, the most popular being eBay, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. The final two are probably the easiest to use, and great options if you just want to give stuff away.

Ebay can be great if you are finding gems that have some value, and that there might be a buyer for — you just need to find them.  It is ideal for small items (think pocketwatch or trumpet).  For larger items, like that old hockey net, shipping it would not make sense and Craigslist or Facebook will be better.

Garage sale, baby!

selling junk garage
What looks like junk to one person could be quite a find to another.

Garage sales are fun to go to and fun to host. Get some other people together and plan a garage sale. That way you have more junk to offer. You also get to sit around all day meeting neighbors or passersby. Traditionally garage sales are held Thursday through Sunday. There is minimal legwork involved–some signs and an ad in the local paper should do the job. Garage sales are seasonal, though, so plan accordingly. Remember, too, that you need to separate capitalism from the equation many times. The goal is to get rid of junk, not make an extra nickel on those old pair of pants.

Sell it to a shop.

Consignment shops are a wonderful way to sell used clothing and other used accessories. Find a shop near you. Give them a call and see what items they are accepting. They go by season, so they may not want shorts in December. If you have used movies or games, there are places that buy that stuff, too. Some vintage items can be sold at a pawn shop, but you won’t make much. If it’s precious metal or gems, there are specialty shops and some jewelers that will give you a better price. Do your research and find out who is giving the best price.

Give it away! Give it away! Give it away now!

Another alternative to selling it is giving it away. The Salvation Army and Goodwill are two very reputable options. They will not accept damaged or stained items. But they will accept quality items, and if you get a receipt, it is a tax-deductible donation. There are also a couple of online sites that suit this purpose– and also has a free section.

Reuse it or recycle it.

Ask people if they are in need of any of your junk. Your junk may be just what they have been looking for. If you can’t get rid of it any other way, recycle as much of it as possiblerecycle junk before throwing it away.

Also, call your city or county, or go to their website, to understand what kind of recycled stuff they will take at their collection center.  You will probably be surprised at what they will gladly take off your hands for free, as they want to keep stuff out of their landfills.  Among other things, they probably will welcome your excess automotive fluids and pesticides, because they want to be sure those items are disposed of properly.

Look at all that free space.

There is nothing quite as satisfying as clearing away clutter in your life. For me the way my shed is organized and used is a direct representation of how my life is going. When things in my life start piling up, so do things in the garage or shed.

How many spare boxes do you really need?  Why do you have 5 half-used jugs of windshield wiper fluid?  And do you really need to keep the parts for that lawnmower that you sold 2 years ago?  Get rid of them, in the most environmentally-sensitive way possible.

I bet you can think of a few other examples of useless junk in your garage. I urge you to sell it. Use the methods illustrated here. And next time you are considering purchasing something, think to yourself the following questions: Do I really need this? How much will I actually use it? Do this and you will keep more junk out of the your home and more money in your pocket. If you need to, check out books to help you set up a system. One that is very useful is 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life by Ruth Soukup.

Once you get rid of junk, your garage will seem bigger and you will feel like to just gained a larger shed.

Charitable Alternatives

The Salvation Army.

Their family stores can be found everywhere. 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Salvation Army adult rehabilitation centers.


Goodwill is a nonprofit organization. They are a national chain, so chances are you have one near you.

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