Green Living

These tips on what to sell, donate and recycle will make downsizing easy

Having a clear out or looking to make some cash for your next purchase? Here’s what to sell, donate and recycle, and how to go about it


What to sell

Vintage or collectable items, designer or well-known brands, recent purchases or older pieces still in good condition are sure to sell well. Don’t forget items in a state of disrepair may also be desirable – building materials, or even an old fence, can fetch good prices.

Prep for sale

Make sure the object is clean and in the best condition possible. It’s worth doing minor fix-ups if you want to raise the price of the item. Take well-lit photographs against a plain background – or style things in an inspiring setting. Photograph multiple angles to show all sides, plus close-ups of any details or defects. Provide measurements and a description, information on era or designer, and the item’s condition.

Where to sell

Trade Me and other classifieds websites, such as AllGoods and NzBuySell, aren’t the only options for selling items. Social media is a growing tool. It’s free to buy and sell on Facebook Marketplace, while Instagram and Etsy are good for creating an aesthetic if you plan to sell regularly. Neighbourly is good for selling to your local community. Offline, some secondhand and vintage shops will sell items on your behalf or even buy them from you. And, of course, there are garage sales and flea markets for the traditionalists.


What to donate

Virtually anything can be donated as long as it’s clean and in good condition. Check with your local charity store before dropping things off to ensure they can sell your items, and always donate in-store rather than leaving something on the shop’s doorstep. If you have bigger items such as furniture, or a large number of items, many charities will collect these for you.

Prep for donation

Wrap fragile items and package objects of a similar nature together. Clean or mend things if possible – a charity can’t sell broken or dirty things and may not have the resources to fix or clean them, meaning they are liable for disposal costs.

Where to donate

As well as charity shops, schools and community groups run garage sales, or you can list something for free on a website such as Free For All, Freestuff or Neighbourly. You could also offer it to a friend or organise a swap. There are a number of apps to help you swap or donate things within the community. Olio is the one to download if you want to gift leftover food or household items.


What to recycle

From broken technology to fabric scraps and expired car seats, many items destined for landfill can actually be recycled. Materials such as fabric, tiles, bubble wrap, vinyl and even polystyrene can be used by schools, childcare centres and community organisations for art and other projects. Your local council should have information on resource centres that accept these. (In Auckland, you can contact the North Shore Resource Centre and West Auckland Resource Centre.)

Prep for recycling

Separate items into things that can be recycled, and things that have to go to landfill. Then divide again, keeping like with like. If you are going to the dump, set aside items that may be saleable – some landfills have shops which will sell wood offcuts, bicycle parts, furniture, bric a brac, tools and more.

Where to recycle

SeatSmart will accept children’s car seats, and there are a number of technology recyclers for old computers, cables and phones. Search online or ask your local council where other items can be recycled.

Words by: Fiona Ralph. Photography by: Wendy Fenwick, Kate Claridge/ Main image: Pair of Sculptural American Walnut Beside Cabinets, $3,250, from Mr Bigglesworthy.

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