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What is the Best Way to Get Rid of a Lot of Stuff?

Updated on December 3, 2012

My friend phoned me this morning, in a panic, “My house is so messy, I’m thinking of renting a dumpster and filling it, I need to get rid of a lot of stuff fast, what do you think?”

I persuaded her that a dumpster was maybe not the best idea, so I’m going to list ways you can get rid of a lot of stuff very fast.


Most stuff that you don’t want any more doesn’t have value for you, but may have value for someone else. Although a dumpster may be the quickest way to get rid of a lot of stuff, it would be a shame to put things in a landfill that someone else can use. I would only really advise using this method if you are selling your house and having an open house the next day.

Garage Sale

A garage sale is a wonderful way to get rid of lots of stuff very quickly, and you get money back in return. But don’t do it unless you really want to, they are a lot more work than people think they will be. For more information about garage sales, please read my garage sale hub


Freecycle is wonderful because people actually come to your house and take your stuff away. It requires a little effort in that you have to list what you have on the freecycle list and then email back and forth to get rid of the stuff, but you can freecycle large quantities of items as people will take a mixed box and then re-freecycle what they don’t want. I leave stuff on my porch and expect pick up within 24 hours, or I offer it to someone else. I’ve written a hub about how to freecycle

Thrift Store

You can load up your car with stuff and drive to your nearest thrift store and leave it there. Phone the store first to find out when they accept donations. Frequently the store is open 9 to 5, but they only accept donations from 10 to 4, or they only accept donations on certain days of the week. The disadvantage with thrift stores is that you have to give them better quality items, items that have a resale value. If things are broken or damaged it’s better to freecycle them.

Give away

I use this method a lot. I live on a busy corner where there’s a lot of foot traffic. I place stuff outside my house, usually on a Saturday with a big sign saying FREE, it rarely stays there longer than 24 hours. This works really well for large items such as sofas and computer desks. But it doesn’t work well if you live at the end of a court.

What did my friend do?

She really didn’t want to run a garage sale, she’d never used freecycle before, so eventually I told her to leave everything on my porch and I’d freecycle it for her. She filled her minivan, left her stuff on my porch and then came back with another minivan load. It was too much to even freecycle. It was Friday and I was busy the next day, so I decided I would have a garage sale that day.

My Garage Sale

There was a lot of stuff, but not enough to have a big garage sale. I put an advert on Craigslist and local yahoo groups.  I live near a school so I made the garage sale for 1 hour, from 3pm until 4pm. In the advert I wrote “everything free after 4pm”. I parked my car near the local school and stuck pieces of paper on the side of the car saying there was a garage sale at my house from 3pm to 4pm and with my address. I made $40, the people who came and bought returned after 4pm and took lots more. After the sale I posted another ad to the free section on Craigslist, advertised what I had left with my address and left it on the driveway. There were a couple of bags left which went to a thrift store the following week.

My stuff

I used the opportunity to get rid of some stuff from my own home. I told my daughter that anything she could find in the house that was saleable, she could add to the garage sale and keep the money. Of course I checked that I was happy with everything she was offering for sale.  I gave her the incentive to get some stuff out of my house. She found 100 items and made $10 and she was very happy.

Too much stuff

You have to see too much stuff as not being a blessing and getting rid of it a good thing. In one day my friend got rid of a lot of stuff (she gave it to me) and then I got rid of it. The ideal is not to need to do this, but sometimes you have to do something this drastic to regain control over your own home again. I’m sure my friend is sleeping well tonight.


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