Updated: Oct 9, 2021
I got into a discussion on twitter recently. A follower mentioned how they had recently started on their 'rid-athon', their term, which I kind of love by the way, when someone else joined in and mentioned about the conflict between the ease of planning to declutter and then actually knowing where to donate, sell, discard or recycle the physical stuff lurking around the home.
And I got it. I understood where he was coming from.
In our increasingly busy world, our physical and mental clutter can cause us to lose sight of the simplest and clearest way forward. Brain fog can interrupt common sense and decision fatigue throughout the day can reduce our brain’s ability to make good choices.
When our environment is so cluttered, everything around us can be just noise.
My parents never really had many options for where to take their clutter once they were done with it. It was either throw it out or keep it, and because the things were just too nice, still had life in them or had sentimental value attached to them, throwing them in the trash was too cold an option. So they kept it.
Now the options are plentiful but the information age is such that we are bombarded by those options so I’ve taken the time to detail which platforms and more niche retailers I used (outside of the eBays, Facebooks, Amazons and Gumtrees of this world) to help me declutter specific things and also which new ones have come on the scene since then to take the pain away.
It was only 2017 when I decluttered the first time and in the last four years, more and more companies have emerged. That should tell you where we are as a society…
So here we go...
1. Music Magpie
The very first place I used when I was sitting in my living room surrounded by DVDs, CDs, books and computer games. One of the top three scanning apps with mainstream media supporters, it was simple to use to scan the barcodes of these items. Doubles of Napoleon Dynamite, boxsets, unused cookbooks, broken phones, forgotten textbooks and all sorts of horrible CDs got the scanning treatment and were swiftly boxed up and gone. Same day payments are also appealing.
Don’t expect any big bucks but they will buy your old discs, phones and consoles from you and probably provide free postage as well.
Music Magpie is not the only barcode scanner on the block. Ziffit is the competitor and definitely an app you may also want to check out. I felt this app was slightly more advanced and would offer a tiny bit more cash for some items. Use their free courier service or drop off locations to get that unwanted stuff out and to someone who needs it.
Ziffit has loads of positive reviews and you also get a choice to donate any earnings to charity. Plus they are currently a B Corp organisation doing business for good. Get involved.
3. We Buy Books
To compliment Ziffit and Music Magpie, I also threw the We Buy Books app into the mix which was initially used to cater for the books that the other two didn't want or couldn't find, however I also found that this app took other things too. I used all three to optimise the value I got back for my stuff. It’s the same process of using their app to scan your item’s barcode in return for a price, so if you have a bit of time on your hands, you can compare the prices and potentially split up where they go. One app may price an item higher or take the item the others don't, plus new users often get a 10-15% bump in overall sales or a cheeky £5 to refer someone else so it’s a great option to check out.
4. Vintage Cash Cow
Backed by the orangest celeb antique dealer David Dickinson MBE, Vintage Cash Cow has been endorsed by mainstream media outlets and has top reviews from people who have used their service. I don’t recall this brand being so prominent in my earlier decluttering days but it’s one that is definitely adding value to people’s lives now. My folks have dabbled.
Vintage Cash Cow focuses more on the antiquey stuff (as the name suggests) rather than the latest gadgets and tech, so if you are looking to offload things like medals, jewellery, watches, old toys, clocks, musical instruments, tableware and anything else you can stick ‘vintage’ in front of, this would be the place to go.
Don’t send them books, vinyl records, furniture or other electrical items though. They're not interested in that.
The process is simple and easy with very little risk involved. You can send off your items, for free, they will cost it up and offer you a quote to take it all off your hands. If you’re not happy with the quote and think you can get more for your stuff elsewhere, they can send it all back to you.
They also have a decent charity partnership as well so offer good support and items to charities for them to sell which continues to fund their programmes.
I used Shpock a couple of times to sell individual items like a huge painting of Spider-Man and other art that I no longer had room or use for. Basically, all my bachelor pad art went on the Shpock app and was quickly snapped up and collected by someone local to me.
Shpock is a marketplace and classifieds platform that brings millions of private buyers and sellers across the UK - London, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Leicester and Liverpool are amongst the most active areas for second hand shopping. You can buy & sell beautiful used & new things in various categories which range from electronics, fashion, items for babies as well as children and furniture for home & garden to specialised interests such as cars and property.
In 2008, Milda was moving house, but had too many clothes to take with her (we’ve been there, right?). Justas offered help and built a website to give away her clothes to friends. Soon enough, the media wanted in, too. The duo knew they were on to something – Vinted was born. One simple idea now unites a community of 45 million.
A very popular and well advertised brand, Vinted is purely focused on second hand clothing and, like other platforms, offers a super simple process of taking a picture, adding it to their database and waiting for the offers to come in. As well as sell that jacket you only wore once, you can also pick up some bargains on the occasion where you needed something new but didn’t want to pay new prices.
Preloved began in 1998 and has grown to become one of the largest classified advertising sites in the UK with hundreds of thousands of adverts in over 500 categories.
I remember using Preloved to sell some old VHS cassettes. It was a rather painless experience and they also do a section called Freeloved where you can advertise your stuff on there for people to come and take for, well, free.
Preloved does have a huge range of categories where you can list your stuff from motoring, home, gardening, property, kids stuff, furniture, clothing and jewellery. Membership can be free or paid, I chose the free option, of course. Well worth checking out due to their huge reach, you'll always find someone who is looking for that niche item.
AO are my go to retailer when it’s time to buy a new fridge or similar household appliance but did you know they also do a collection and recycling service?
This is where some people get stuck, with the big bulky items that are too big to move, difficult to fix and sometimes a real pain in the neck to dispose of in a safe and ethical way.
From just £20, you can save yourself a trip to the tip and let AO take care of it instead. Plus, you’ll be doing your bit for the environment too as they take your old appliance to their state of the art recycling centre and break it apart and sort it into their constituent metals, plastics and insulation foam. Also the gasses in fridges need to be disposed of appropriately so AO will do that too and wherever possible, machines are repaired and refurbished for resale.
So if you’re needing your cooker, fridge, washing machine, dishwasher or TV removed, it might be worth shelling out a little bit for the professionals to take it and give you peace of mind.
Have you been keeping hold of old laptops and PCs just because you're not sure about how to safely dispose of them? Worried that you don't know enough about computers to fully 'wipe' them of your personal data and passwords? Well help may be here, in the form of these guys.
My HP laptop gave up the ghost a few months back and it would no longer work unless it was plugged in all the time. It took about 45 minutes to fully boot up! Not fun when Chelsea kick off in 5 minutes! It was time to let go and these guys made it super easy. 4 Straight forward questions, next day free pick up and they also paid me for it. Sweet deal.
Dependant on the age of the laptop, you may get an offer, you may not but even with items not being financially worth anything to you anymore, they can still come and collect it for free and recycle it for you.
Plus you get a certificate to say that all personal data has been wiped from the system. Trustpilot give CIYG a big thumbs up.
Pssst - you may also get an extra few quid on your old laptop sale with them if you go through this link. You're welcome.
My go to charity for furniture that didn't fit in a new place or just got superseded by something else.
I’ve used the BHF a few times and even bought a couple of bedside tables. One of my best mates lost his dad to a heart condition and knowing that my old stuff will get a new lease of life in someone else's home at the same time as the charity making money, well that's a no brainer for me.
BHF will generally come and collect your old furniture, electrical items or home-ware for free as long as they are still in a relatively decent condition. Plus if you sign up to stay in touch with them, they will let you know how much your item re-sold for, which is what we did with an old sofa, a footstool and a table, which sold for a combined £210. Those funds subsequently went on to fund continued efforts to research cures and treatments to heart and circulatory diseases.
Depop is the fashion marketplace app where the next generation come to discover unique items with a global community buying, selling and connecting to make fashion more inclusive, diverse and less wasteful.
I’ve never used Depop but I know people that have been impressed by their platform and slick processes. They will take 10% of any sale price but that's kind of a given with most online marketplaces. This may also be the place to buy funky individual items from local creatives too.
Wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dresses, shoes, veils, you name it. Anything related to weddings, this could be your place. This could also be a great place to save some money on a wedding that you could be planning too.
These guys will charge £3 per listing and then probably a bit more depending on how long the listing is on their platform for but you get to keep all the proceeds.
Considering wedding clothing isn't cheap, this could be a significant bespoke platform to start getting your old wedding gear to pay you back.
The Buy Nothing Project is a social movement and global network of community-based groups, founded in the United States in 2013, that encourages giving (or recycling) of consumer goods and services in preference to conventional commerce. The stated aim of the Buy Nothing Project is to "set the scarcity model of our cash economy aside in favour of creatively and collaboratively sharing the abundance around us" It began as a Facebook campaign and has built up local groups in the US and other countries, claiming over 4,000 volunteers.
Buy nothing rules seem pretty simple - post anything you’d like to give away, lend or share amongst your neighbours and ask for anything you’d like for free or borrow.
For those of you in Australia, the equivalent platform is called Rosella Street.
Having a garden now, I may need to access a lawn mower but I really don’t want to buy one so this could be super useful in a borrowing type economy.
“A third of the food we produce globally is thrown away, and in the UK households are responsible for over half of all food waste. The average family throws away £700 worth of food each year. That adds up to £12.5 billion… £12.5 billion that is going straight to landfill!”
When we sold our most recent flat, OLIO popped up as an app that ticked all the boxes for us. We didn't want to transport plants, cans of food or half emptied pasta or rice packets on our travels with us. We also did not want to throw them out so the compromise appeared in the shape of OLIO and I've been a super fan since, even connecting with its founders and following their mission.
OLIO connects neighbours with each other and with local businesses so surplus food can be shared, not thrown away. This could be food nearing its sell-by date in local stores, spare home-grown vegetables, bread from your baker, or the groceries in your fridge when you go away.
OLIO now also allows people to sell their homemade goodies and are starting to branch out into other household items as well. My advice is to get on this app sharpish and get involved in the food sharing community.
Vestiaire Collective is a leading global app for desirable pre-loved fashion. It is dedicated to transforming the fashion industry for a more sustainable future by promoting the circular fashion movement as an alternative to over-production and over-consumption and the wasteful practices of the fashion industry.
I stumbled across this platform recently whilst researching and it definitely has a more top end designer vibe to it, which is a niche of its own I guess. For those of you who have designer bags, shoes, art, watches and other fancy things that were once super pricey, this could be the place for you.
It provides its fashion activist community with inspiration, tools and features to lead the change as they sell and buy unique pre-loved pieces from each other's wardrobes. The platform is unique thanks to its highly engaged activist community and its rare, desirable inventory of 3 million items that includes 550,000 new listings every month.
Another player in the second hand luxury brands space. You’ll get up to 80% of the sale price but get access to a large community and marketplace.
This is a women's only platform so no men's or children's items can be sold here.
Emmaus supports more than 850 formerly homeless people and provides them with support, a home for as long as they need it and meaningful work and training through social enterprises.
Rather than taking your stuff to a local landfill, you could find your battered table will be perfectly upcycled at one of their centres. Find your local Emmaus and see if they will come and collect your stuff for donation.
TRAID is a charity working to stop clothes from being thrown away. They turn clothes waste into funds and resources to reduce the environmental and social impacts of our clothes.
It is a circular and sustainable approach to the problems of clothes waste tackling disposal, production and consumption by increasing clothes reuse across the UK reducing waste, carbon emissions and consumption, funding international development projects to improve conditions and working practices in the textile industry and educating people of all ages about the impacts of textiles on the environment and people’s lives.
I have done a couple of car boot sales in my time, often hungover from the night before (they tend to be early Sunday mornings). Hayley and I rocked up to one so hung over we got there last and she just sat in the corner behind the table nursing a bacon roll and a cup of tea. I got well into the haggling, sold about three quarters of the stuff I had. Made about £100 in the end but by the time you pay out for a table, petrol, tea and a roll plus the odd walk around looking at everyone else's junk it dwindled away a bit.
Carboot Junction is probably the best platform to see where the nearest car boot (and now attic, garage and table top sales) is to you so if you wanted a more in person experience, maybe on a lovely sunny morning outside in a field somewhere, then this could be up your street. In my experience, there are a lot of people very interested in these and there will tend to be a huge queue outside waiting to be first to peruse what goodies are on your table.
20. Local Councils
Your local council will have a whole recycling programme and will likely offer to come and collect larger items like mattresses for a small fee, but it’s totally worth it rather than having that clog up your home or looking unsightly unless of course you are using it as a wrestling mat in the back garden to practice your suplexes on.
Now, if you have an abundance of vinyl kicking around that no longer gets played, this may be the marketplace for you.
My Dad and I have used Discogs for years and there can be gold in your 7 and 12 inch treasures. Discogs is made by music lovers for music lovers. Collectors are aplenty on here and are looking for merch to add to their ever growing library or stock to sell in their store. Unlike the other platforms on this list, you have to do a lot of work, it can be fiddly, but when you look at the possible rewards, it's worth your time. You can also get lost in the monthly top charts for sales and rare versions of certain albums. Interesting stuff!
It's not the most intuitive platform out there but its the only one of its kind. Once you get used to it, you can get really involved. No scanning here, just old fashioned punching numbers into a database. Find the unique reference on your record, everyone has one, detail the condition it's in and you'll get an immediate market value. It's then up to you what you choose to do with it. Keep, sell, donate or try a job lot option elsewhere.
If you have vinyls, CDs, tapes or other music merch you'd like to let go of, you could be on to a winner here. Obviously the rarer, the better.
So there you have it, hopefully those options should cater for most, if not all, of any unwanted or unloved stuff still cluttered up in your home. Have you used any others that you'd like to share?
Good luck with your journey into less.
Some of these brands have affiliate links on, so you can possibly get preferential rewards if you go through them. I also get a little something at no cost to you.
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