Reuse tips

If you’re getting rid of an item in good shape, the most environmentally friendly way to get rid of it is to find a reuse option. Sell it, give it away, donate it or repair it.

Sell it

Items that are high quality, relatively new, vintage or collectible may have good resale value.  

Options for selling items include:

  • Online: Check out sites like eBay, Craigslist and social media sites.
  • Garage or yard sale: Host your own or partner up with a neighbor or community group.
  • Consignment or second-hand stores. Check the Choose to Reuse online guide for reuse retailers.

Used items often found for sale include electronics, appliances, clothing, furniture, household goods and decorations, books, toys, sports equipment and more.

Give it away

It can be easy to find someone to take your used stuff.

Options for giving items away include:

  • Family, friends and neighbors.
    • Swaps: Host or participate in a swap. These can be especially effective for things that people only keep for a limited time, like clothing, toys and books.
    • Put item next to your trash bin the day before pick up: Odds are someone will pick it up before the waste hauler gets there.
    • Online: Try sites like Freecycle, Craigslist, Nextdoor and other social media sites.

Donate it

Donating your items can be an easy way to get rid of them while also contributing to local charitable organizations.

Tips for donating items:

  • Check the Choose to Reuse guide for reuse retailers that accept donations.
  • Call first for materials accepted, drop-off/pick-up guidelines, locations and hours.
  • Most organizations make dropping off items easy, but sites will vary. Some organizations will pick items up from your home.

Repair it

Many household items that seem broken can be fixed relatively easily.

Good candidates for repair include small electronics, fans, lamps, furniture, clothing, bikes and other household goods.

Options for repairing items include:

  • Fix-It Clinics: Hennepin County offers free monthly Fix-It Clinics where residents can get household items fixed and learn valuable repair skills.
  • Online tutorials: Search online for specific tutorials or check out iFixit.
  • Repair shops and contractors. Search for one that specializes in repairing your item.

More repair and DIY tips:

  • Often, one of the first steps in repairing an item is overcoming the fear of taking it apart. Remember, the item is already broken, so there’s no harm in trying to fix it. Be methodical in your disassembly and take pictures to help you put it back together. If you run into a dead end with your repair, search for help online or bring it to someone with more expertise for assistance.
  • Common ways to fix broken items include cleaning, rewiring, mending and replacing broken parts.
  • Many items stop working due to one broken part that is relatively inexpensive to replace, and you may be surprised by the variety of replacement parts you can find online or at a local hardware store.