When I was a child in the 1970s, a simple way of getting rid on unwanted items was to wait for the ‘rag-and-bone man’ to call by. I have a distant memory of a man calling “Rag a’ Bone!” as he arrived via pony and cart to collect unwanted metal and other items. He also handed out pink balloons to the children! I was surprised to discover the above image, which is from 1985 and shows that the ‘rag and bone’ trade with horse and cart persisted for some time.
Fast forward almost 50 years and life looks very different. When it comes to ‘refuse, re-use, reduce and re-cycle,’ the message appears to have hit home. But I’m also beginning to notice some new ways to share more and waste less. Here’s my round-up of what’s avaialble online:
Freecycle’s been around for a long time – 17 years now. It now boasts over 9 million members worldwide and is the place if you have something you simply want to give away. It’s a curious website from a user-experience point of view; it looks quite old-fashioned now .
I used Freecycle recently when lockdown restrictions were lifted and managed to gift two half tins of engine oil and a tub of never-opened fence paint (you see, minimalists still find more to declutter!).
Olio, however, is new to me. I found it via an Instagram advert and decided to follow the link to check it out. Primarily aimed at reducing food waste, I took a look at what those in my ‘neighbourhood’ were offering for free. To my surprise, I found a range of perfectly good foodstuffs, albeit I realised that most of these were outside of my immediate area. Still, this has potential. I also took a look at “Non-Food” only to find that someone in my home town was giving away some Costco “Hair Regrowth Treatment for Men”…. So, maybe Olio has potential even if it’s not yet taken off fully in this part of the world.
My lovely sister has been selling unwanted home items on Facebook Marketplace, which is another place to go to offer items you’re happy to sell or give away. Likewise, a lot of local community groups on Facebook offer a chance to gift unwanted items (sometimes, people are extremely generous and kind).
I wrote a while back that I’d had enough of eBay, but I picked up an alternative for selling unwanted clothes recently. Have you come across Vinted yet? With Vinted, it’s free to list clothes, shoes and accessories, – and it’s easy to do. The app is intuitive and simple, so I decided to have a go. I listed two items: a jacket and a dress. Very soon, I was able to improve the visibilty of these items with some free ‘bumps’ that would enable Vinted to bump my items up the listings. However, neither sold, so I’m planning to pass these on to Emily from the Recycled Closet.
The Recycled Closet is an Instagram account, run by a Emily Grainger-Smith, who lists preloved clothing items then donates 50% of the proceeds to charity. This is a great side hustle, which follows my mantra of ‘making secondhand second nature’.
All of this makes me realise that there are so many accessible and straightforward ways to move your unwanted clutter along, many of which allow you to do good whilst you’re at it. What’s your favourite platform and why?
For me, I’m off to the Recycling Centre this weekend – it’s time to let go again.
If you feel you need a little motivation or support to get uncluttered, then look no further than the autumn series of Uncluttered, which is enrolling now. I was a participant on this course in 2016 and still belong to the Facebook group from that cohort. Over 30,000 people have taken part in this online course that helps participants declutter their homes gently, room by room. And if you sign up using my code FF25, you’ll get 25% off.
Wishing you an uncluttered autumn.
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