When should you recycle, upcycle, or remove old junk?


Sometimes, it feels like junk is piling up all around you and there’s nothing you can do about it. After all, you can’t just send that old-school TV to the dump, can you? It’s not like the garbage collection men are going to take it, and nobody is going to want such out of date technology. There are tons of items like this, and they accumulate over the years until you feel like there’s no more room for you among all the junk in your house.

Luckily, our experts had a great deal of advice about how to upcycle, recycle and remove unusual junk. Below are some of their most helpful suggestions. Hopefully their advice can save you a lot of headaches on your late Spring cleaning!


Your house might be full of junk, but not all of that junk is useless. Some of those seemingly useless objects could be turned into brilliant or interesting re-purposing projects. You just have to be a little bit creative! Expert Kahshanna Evans talks about her crafting:

Among my favorite upcycling projects are my decon-recon bags and dresses I make out of used t-shirts. This is a creative outlet I’ve indulged in since I could hold a pencil.”

But you aren’t limited to bags and dresses! There are all kinds of interesting and useful things that can be done with seemingly useless junk. To find your own favorite re-purposing projects, just do a little research online on sites like Pinterest. There are many fun projects just waiting for your attention!


Of course, re-purposing your old junk doesn’t help clear it out of your home. What should you do with all those space-wasters that you no longer want? If the “junk” is still in pretty good shape, chances are somebody else could find a use for it. After all, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right?

There are many different options for donating your old junk. Expert Nancy Dalton suggests,

Sometimes newer appliances can work for churches, or food banks; it’s worth checking in your immediate area. … My favorite is Second Use. … They even take old kitchen gadgets, big planters, and vintage metal milk containers.”

There are many different organizations and charity shops that thrive on donations from people like you. It’s a win-win situation: you get rid of your junk, and they get the supplies that they need. Some second hand store donations are even tax deductible!

If you’d rather stay closer to home, Grand View Builders have some suggestions:

We recommend our residents either host a yard sale (and get their neighbors in on it, too), donate items to organizations like Purple Heart or Good Will, or try reselling it.”

Some organizations like Goodwill and Salvation Army will even come to your house to pick up your junk. Just give them a call to find out what their hours are.

And if even that is too much work, you could always take a leaf out of expert Richard Sexton‘s book:

My favorite form of freecycling is just leaving it on the sidewalk…it will find a home all by itself.”

Just make sure that you don’t leave it sitting out too long, or in the rain. That could mean you have to take it to the dump, and result in both more waste and more work in the long run.


When it comes to recycling, as expert Mark Puglisi reminds us,

It seems now a days you can recycle just about everything and anything back into use. Land fills are filled with items that have recyclable value, but many homeowners don’t know where to go. Paper, aluminum cans and bottles use to be what people thought recycling was. The number of new products out there is staggering that have been reborn form old, unusable products. From cloths to cars to just about anything you can think of gets a second chance of making back into your home. With the way the economy and employment is, many people have become experts in the field of recycling.”

We’re lucky to live in an age when manufacturers are making it so much easier to be sustainable with our disposal choices.

Even though recycling is more popular than ever, it can still take some research to find the right way to do it. Kahshanna Evans explains:

“After just trumping through a pile of mail I found the NYC Department of Sanitation, Bureau of Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling pamphlet howling my name. To my surprise you actually can return CFL’s (light bulbs) to Home Depot, Ikea and Lowe’s among others according to this mailer. Wireless cell phones can be dropped off at retailers.”

There are many options for recycling. You just have to find the ones most appropriate to your situation.


Unfortunately, there are still some products that can’t be recycled. When this situation arises, Grand View Builders have some advice:

“When you’re left with your “junk,” we also suggest getting your neighbors involved. Renting a dumpster or trash hauler may be expensive for one house and you will most likely not fill it up; involving your neighbors will lower the cost of these options and can strengthen your relationship with your neighbors!”

Teaming up with the community can help motivate everybody to get rid of all that junk at the same time. Spring cleaning is good for everybody!

And if you live somewhere that doesn’t have regular trash pick-up, the dump may be your best option for all of the above, as Chris of Allclear Drain Cleaning and Plumbing explains:

“I live in a rural area without any type of trash pickup so I have to go the a county dump site in which they have a complete recycling center there, including appliance and electronics drop off points.”

When it doubt, take it to the dump and let the experts guide you on how to throw it away.