Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 73° Today's Paper


Features

Somebody is going to want this Stones album, right?

1/1
Swipe or click to see more

TRISHA KRAUSS VIA NEW YORK TIMES

You may find that donating or recycling your unwanted possessions is harder than it might seem.

NEW YORK >> Clean out your closets and cupboards, and invariably you are confronted with a pile of possessions in need of a new home. They have to go somewhere, ideally somewhere special, because otherwise you have to face the uncomfortable truth that all this stuff is headed for a landfill.

Perhaps, as part of your urge to purge, you try to foist these rejected items on unwitting loved ones. But you know what? Your friends, relatives and neighbors do not want that little black dress you’ve owned for more than a decade but have worn only twice. They don’t want your tattered copy of “Ulysses.” Or your vinyl records, even the David Bowie ones.

Strangers on Craigslist probably don’t want these things, either.

“People just think a Pink Floyd album is going to be worth money someday,” but it’s not, said Zach Cohen, owner of the Junkluggers franchise in New York, which hauls about 250 truckloads of unwanted possessions every month. “Vinyls are not worth money — no matter who it is, somebody is selling it on eBay for $2.”

So you move on to your next option: charity. You toss the broken blender into a bag with that little black dress, your worn-out sheets and a dozen other random items, and haul everything down to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. But charities are not merely empty vessels eager to take your junk. They have standards, and would appreciate it if donors put a little thought into what they passed along, and how they did it. Those standards vary, and you have to do a bit of homework about who accepts what.

Dos and don’ts

Some dos and don’ts should be obvious, though. A manager at the nonprofit Housing Works Hell’s Kitchen Thrift Shop recently found a sharp knife tossed into a suitcase full of clothing, presumably by someone unaware that humans physically sort through the stuff that gets donated. Don’t do that, people. Don’t throw your knives in with your dress shirts.

Housing Works is busy this season, with donations up more than 15 percent now that New Yorkers (along with the rest of America) are in the midst of a Marie Kondo-inspired decluttering blitz.

Junkluggers’ January haul was up about 25 percent in New York from the same time in 2018. The company, which Zach Cohen’s brother, Josh, started in Connecticut in 2004, has franchises in 16 states.

“Most people think, ‘OK, my clothing is stained, it’s garbage,’ ” Cohen said. But it doesn’t have to be thrown out. There are “a ton of textile companies” that will take clothing, rugs, “anything that is made out of fabric, and reuse it and recycle it.”

Getting rid of belongings we once cherished, or bought impulsively, or received as gifts, can be an emotional burden. That’s partly why we still have so many of them.

Maybe you bought that little black dress with your mom right after you graduated from college. But now it doesn’t fit and your party days are behind you anyway. Letting it go means saying goodbye to the past, too.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines. Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.