Don't Throw Away Your Stuff: Here Are 5 Things to Do Instead

Most of us have stuff lying around our house that either does not work properly or is no longer useful to us.

We are thinking of tossing it, but just cannot bring ourselves to do it, because there might be some value in it and we do not want to be wasteful. If you want to live frugally, do not throw away anything before you ask yourself these five questions.

1. Is it returnable?

Sometimes we buy things and after a couple of months, they stop working, or we find out that they do not suit us. Even if time has passed, always check if it is not too late to return them, because you might find that the items are still within the return window.

A number of stores have a 90-day return policy, and you can get a refund if you have a receipt. Even if you do not, sometimes you can exchange the product.

Warranty on items

Moreover, many items, particularly appliances, and electronics, come with one and two-year manufacturer warranties. You can contact the manufacturer, explain the problem with the item, and they will let you know if it warrants them repairing or replacing the item at no charge to you.

2. Is it repairable?

Can the item be fixed? Do you have the ability to fix it yourself or learn how to fix it yourself? How much would that cost? How much would it cost to have someone else fix it for you? Finally, is the cost of repairing it low enough compared to the cost of just replacing the item altogether?

My rule of thumb is to repair and keep instead of tossing and replacing, but only when it is the most time and cost-effective option.

3. Is it resellable?

We have things like old laptops, appliances, and cars that do not work as well as they used to or at all. Once you have gone through the first two questions and determined that it would not be worth it for you to pay for it to be updated or repaired, think if it might be worth something to someone else.

There are people, organizations, and companies who are willing to buy your old stuff and refurbish it or use it for parts. Your old version of something will be new to someone else because they do not have any version of what you have at all.

Can you resell an item?

You can sell your used items at local flea markets, on eBay, or on Facebook Marketplace. You can even participate in a trade program like Amazon's, where you can receive an Amazon gift card in exchange for a variety of used items like cell phones, Amazon devices, and video games.

The gift card amount is dependent upon the trade-in value of the item and would be credited to your Amazon account. If you shop on Amazon as I do, that is a good deal: you can just use the money or the value that you get from selling it or trading it to help offset the cost of replacing the item.

Lastly, I have a great frugal tip for you. Did you know that in many areas, electric companies will give you money for your old refrigerator or freezer?

When we replaced our refrigerator that worked but had parts falling off of it, we just called our local electric company, and not only did they come and pick it up, but they also paid us $75 for it. Check with your electric company and see if they are offering a similar program in your area.

4. Is it receivable?

Sometimes your item is in decent condition, but you just do not want to go through the process of listing items for sale and shipping them to customers or attending flea markets and selling your stuff for a profit. Then, perhaps, would someone else be glad to receive it?

You can give your things to people you know, people you work with, people in your neighborhood. When my kids grow out of their clothes, I always bag them up and give them to people I know that have kids younger than mine. In turn, over the years, I have received countless clothing items, collections of children's books, and car seats from other people after their children grew out of them.

You can be a blessing to someone else with a variety of things that were once a blessing to you instead of throwing them away.

Donating old items to thrift stores

If you do not know anyone personally whom you can give those things, you can find thrift stores, social service organizations, and churches that take donations to make them available to the community.

5. Is it repurposable?

If the answer to all other questions is no, the last test is repurposing, which is my favorite way to avoid waste and spend less money. You will have to come to terms with spending money on a replacement for your item, but you might be able to save money by turning it into something else that you need or want. 

You can repurpose all kinds of things, from small home decor items and old socks to large pieces of furniture. You can take things apart, change the look, add things to it, and make it useful in a completely new way that still meets a need that you may have.

Don't throw away

If you are unsure about whether to get rid of something you have sitting in your house, these five simple questions are a great way to decide.

If you have any other frugal living tips or ideas on what to do with belongings that do not serve you anymore, you are very welcome to leave a comment below and share your ideas.

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