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To Donate or Recycle: That Is the Question [Infographic]

Posted on August 20, 2019

After living in the same place for years, it’s normal to have accumulated a large number of items. These things often aren’t a problem for your day-to-day life, but when it’s time to move, you’ll find that they can add huge amounts of work to the project. The easiest way to deal with them is simply not to move them. That, however, leads to the question of exactly what to do with them.


Clothing is often the most prevalent type of item in a home. Fortunately, there are several things that can be done with the things you choose not to take to your new location. And no, you shouldn’t just throw unwanted clothes in the trash — here’s how you can be sustainable and clear out your closet at the same time. 


Clothes can be recycled in a number of ways. If you’re a fan of crafts or sewing, you can split the clothes at the seams and use the fabric for something else. While this won’t give you less things to move, it will turn unworn items into raw materials for new things you make. You can also recycle old or unwanted cotton clothing as rag for cleaning or pet-proofing your home.

In some areas, you can also donate textiles for recycling. Search for “clothing recycling near me" to find the most convenient options.


Many areas have bins where you can drop in clothes for resale at thrift stores. You can also drop them directly at such stores if one is near you. Grocery store parking lots are common recycle clothes bin locations. In this case, the “recycling" is actually reselling. Check the bin to see which charity, if any, will benefit, and do your research to determine where you would prefer your clothes to go.


When people say you can recycle clothes for money, they typically mean reselling. One of the easiest ways to do this is to hand them over to a consignment shop and let them put them on display in exchange for a fee or commission. Alternatively, you can hold a moving sale and see who shows up!


If you have fairly new electronics that you don’t want to take along, you can sometimes sell them to a resale shop or recycling center for a decent amount of money. This is especially true of cell phones, which are always in demand. Donating electronics for charity is another great option.

For electronics that are too old or too cheap to have any resale value, there’s recycling. Unlike most recyclables, you can’t just drop these in your usual bin. Instead, they need to go to specialized electronics recyclers. Some towns do have special days for accepting this sort of material, but they may not coincide with your moving schedule.

Other Items

Things made of plastic, cardboard, or metal – but not mixed materials – can typically be recycled in your usual recycling bin (PDF). Toss unwanted, worn-out recyclables in the bin as you get ready to move so that you don’t have to store them yet again in your new location.

Items that are still good and new enough for other people to want are better off donated than recycled. Donate them to thrift stores for quick disposition. If items are specialized in some way, such as walkers, you may find a charity that will be especially interested in those particular things. This is more likely in urban areas, where a variety of non-governmental social service agencies are typically operating.

In summation:

  • Clothes can be recycled, donated, or sold for easy downsizing before a move
  • Electronics typically need to go to specialized recycling companies for processing
  • Electronics can also be sold to stores specializing in used items of this type
  • Other items can be recycled or donated
  • Let the condition and age of items guide you as to whether to recycle, donate, or resell

Once you’re ready to move, be sure to give us a call at Tiger Moving & Storage in New Jersey. We can help whether you want to move only a few things or everything in the house.