My grandpa is a pack rat. He collects everything from books to empty cottage cheese containers to old bottlecaps. He has lived in a two bedroom apartment for more than twenty years, and he sleeps on the couch. Not because its more comfortable but because both bedrooms are full of boxes and boxes of junk. Junk is kind of a generic term in that it applies to both items of value, items of potential value, and items of little value. Everything has some value, and I think knowing that has kept my grandpa knee-deep in junk for all these years.

So, what’s the first step to getting rid of your junk? Well, it’s best to sort out what you want to get rid of into piles. Sort them 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.

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 sights that you can use to post a sale, the most popular being eBay. There you can put your junk up for auction. It is not that hard to set up an account, and it is a good way to make some money from your junk. A more direct way to sell came with the creation of It’s free, and your ad stays posted for 30 days. Newspaper advertisements are also a good option, but they aren’t normally free. You can always check out books like Using Craigslist to Earn Money at Amazon, but that may just get you more junk to toss out.

Garage sale, baby!

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 drinking beer outside. 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. Used jewelry 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 possible before throwing it away.

Look at all that free space.

There is nothing quite as satisfying as clearing away clutter in your life. For me the way my home 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 my house. Keep in mind that we as consumers are coerced into buying things we don’t need all the time. The garlic press is a fine example.

You already have a tool for that job. The knife. Just put the flat side of the knife over the garlic and press with your palm. Have you ever seen a professional on TV use a garlic press? No. Because it is totally unnecessary and inefficient. I bet you can think of a few other examples of useless junk in your home. 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.

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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