Where To Send Your Unwanted Items So They Don’t End Up In Landfill. Including Recycling Used Make Up, Prescription Glasses and Worn Bras

This is a slightly different post theme to my usual frugal hacks and freebie collections. Like a lot of us during any of the lockdowns in the last 12 months I’ve had a bit of a tidy up, rearrange and organise of my house which prompted me to write this post. A few years ago when having a huge deep clear out I came across some items which initially cost me a lot of money such as old prescription glasses, make up products, underwear etc that I didn’t want to throw out but simply didn’t need or use anymore. On a whim I began online research to find out what to do with them as opposed to sending them to landfill. Below I’ve included just a few of the schemes I came across for my items. Nowadays I tend to quickly Google items to find further solutions. Obviously local charity shops are a great option for standard donations, freecycle or Facebook Market Place are other popular choices.

Ask Your Friends and Family

This is my number one port of call when getting rid of a few bits. For example when tidying I came across some colour depositing hair products that I wouldn’t use again as I didn’t fancy red toned hair anymore. They were 3/4 full and remembered a friend within my social bubble pre-lockdown 3 mentioning colouring theirs so this was re-homed with her. Whilst asking another friend for houseplant advice I realised I had some small empty plastic plant pots and one decorative one that I’d planned to donate to charity but asked if she’d like them instead. I’ve done this in the past with so many things including items of clothing if I’ve decided not to sell them on eBay – if you do decide to sell them a post on my best tips for eBay can be found here.

H&M Textiles Recycling Scheme for worn out fabrics, clothes and textiles

In all H&M stores there are collections for bags of unwanted clothing and a system for all items donated. Some are sold for charity and really old unwearable items are recycled into loft insulation or cleaning cloths etc. I’ve filled at least 5 bags in the last 6 months with old paint stained t shirts, socks with holes in, bobbled jumpers or faded bed sheets. In exchange you will be given a £5 off your next £25 spend voucher with usually a long use by date on. I tend to gift these to friends as I buy the vast majority of my clothes second hand. I like this scheme for being really easily accessible but admit it doesn’t solve the fast fashion problem as the voucher gives an incentive to buy more fast fashion. But for me personally it’s probably saved the equivalent for 3 bin bags of textiles going to landfill with no further purchases which is better than me just chucking them in general household waste.

Clarks x Unicef For Old Shoes in any condition

Clarks have partnered with Unicef since 2008 and use any old shoes you donate by taking to their stores and putting in a collection bin (even including wornout £1 Primark flip flops and holey slippers) to help fund children’s education in poor 3rd world countries. In 2018 they saved nearly 190 tonnes of shoes going to landfill whilst providing “school in a box” kits that turn any space into a learning area for 40 children.

Donate Old Glasses Frames via The Lion’s Club or New Eyes

I’ve worn glasses since I was 4 and struggle to adjust from one pair to another meaning I only wear 1 pair at a time and had lots of old prescription frames. My local optician, like many, have a link with The Lion’s Club who send the glasses to 3rd world countries after servicing them. In some African countries the cost of an eye test is the equivalent of one month’s wages. Both charities  The Lion’s Club and New Eyes also accept hearing aids as well as glasses for children, men and women. Try your local opticians to see if you can donate the pairs in store or check online for addresses to ship items to a good cause.

Donate Old Bras to help raise money for breast cancer charities and help those less fortunate in 3rd world countries. There are lots of charities online that accept used bras, you simply pop them in the post after paying a small postage fee. Free donation options include Bravissimo stores across the UK who have collection bins that you can drop them off at “in any condition”. The charity Against Breast Cancer also have bra banks where you can donate. Their website has a handy map to find your nearest one.

Duvets, bedding and towels may be collected by local homeless shelters or animal shelters. It’s worth giving them a call to check what they can accept. I once managed to donate lots of towels to a local animal sanctuary to help keep the animals cold in the winter! If they’re really grotty take them to a local textiles recycling bank or use the H&M scheme.

Recycle printer ink cartridges and used postage stamps for charities such as the RSPB. There are lots of recycling options online for these with freepost options so it won’t cost you anything to do so.

Recycle Used Make Up. Garnier have twinned with Terracycle to provide recycling bins in selected Superdrug, Tesco, Sainsbury and Boots stores ensuring that nothing you throw in the bins ends up in landfill. I love that they’ve added these to supermarkets as it meant the scheme can still be accessed even in UK lockdowns. I always hold onto old make up even if I don’t wear it because I’ve always felt bad for just throwing it out and now I have the perfect solution. In some Boots stores there are now bins to recycle products, if you throw in 5 selected items and follow their instructions you receive £5 worth of Boots points.

The Reduce Reuse Recycle website is really helpful for tips on where to send obscure items, upcycling projects etc.

How To Save Money On Clothes Beyond Just Buying Second Hand

If you’ve read earlier posts of mine you’ll know I’m a huge advocate for buying second hand. It’s a brilliant way to save money, it enables me to afford brands otherwise out of my price range and it’s significantly better for the planet. If purchased from charity shops your new clothes are also supporting great causes. However; this isn’t the only way I save money on clothes so decided to put together a post to share these tips with you.

Make Your Wardrobe Circular…

I’m fortunate to have been the same clothes size for about 8 years now meaning I have gradually accumulated quite a lot of clothes. During this time my tastes have changed so my wardrobe tends to be somewhat circular in that I sell things that I no longer love or wear and then use this money to put towards buying new replacements if and when they’re needed.

Embrace A Capsule Wardrobe

By this I mean I’m conscious that if I buy something I need to have an outfit to wear it with. I need to have matching combinations as well as trusty staples such as a good fitting pair of jeans, quality little black dress etc. I always try to have well made basics like coloured vest tops and plain t shirts in the summer and long sleeved tops in the winter as these are great to build outfits around in a way that doesn’t have to be boring. In the past I used to get carried away with patterns and prints which would then sit in the wardrobe for months as they didn’t go with anything. I now don’t make that mistake at all and my clothes are all worn more often as a result.

Get Wear Out Of Your Clothes

Why have 100 items you barely wear for whatever reason when you could have significantly less that are firm favourites and worn far more often? When I first started selling my clothes I was really brutal and pulled out anything which wasn’t worn that much because it wasn’t as comfortable as I wanted etc. This change made me far happier with my clothes.

Buy Ex High Street

I don’t buy my jeans preloved as I find it so hard to get ones that fit and I do literally wear mine until they disintegrate. I buy ex high street jeans on eBay where sellers cut out the tags from factory faults or over runs. I’ve done this about 3 times so far in the last 4 years and never had a problem with any of the pairs I’ve got. They’ve typically been half the RRP of the River Island style I trust to fit me.

Buy Few But Buy Well

I’m all for buying less but buying better quality so things will last. Often buying the cheapest available option isn’t the best way to save money in the long run.

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How To Save Money on Sterling Silver, Gold and Semi Precious Expensive Looking Jewellery

I’ve written a previous post on buying investment pieces and items that I do spend more money on, always buying the best quality I can reasonably justify such as leather handbags and shoes as I find they save me lots of money in the long run. As I have fairly sensitive skin and have never liked large showy accessories jewellery also falls in this category for me.

I’ve been buying sterling silver jewellery for over 10 years and still wear the very first few items I bought. The pieces weren’t expensive to begin with but better quality than lots of cheap jewellery I see on the high street. I got fed up of mild skin irritations, fingers turning green and the lowest quality of metal I can wear as earrings is sterling silver so I made the switch for all my jewellery to be 925 silver or hypoallergenic. Read on for some tips on how I buy long lasting semi-precious jewellery without breaking the bank.

Accessorize Sales For 925 Silver and “Gold”

My first silver necklace was from Accessorize 10 years ago, I paid £9 for it and it’s still going strong all these years later even after me sleeping and showering in it countless times. I have a lot of 925 rings and a few necklaces from this shop and always take advantage of their 70% off sales. I never pay full price. They now have a few items of gold plated sterling silver too. use Swarovski crystals and some semi precious gemstones so items look far more expensive than prices you can pick them up for. In July I bought this ring with an RRP of £17 for £4.20. It was in the sale, then I signed up to their loyalty club and got a voucher for a further 20% off. I find their 925 range to be really good quality and its easy to pick up items very cheaply on clearance.

Other Shops For 925 Silver, “Gold” and “Rose Gold”

I own one silver ring from Sainsbury which I paid for half using my Nectar points so it cost me around £5. I’ve had it 1 year and worn it virtually every day since buying it with no issues and I wear it in the shower and when sleeping. I’ve previously bought bracelets around the £10 mark from Debenhams Simply Silver range as they also have rose gold and gold plated delicate items. Again I’ve found these wear really after having them for several years, rarely taking them off and they’re often heavily discounted in the sales. I’ve bought 925 earrings from Claire’s Accessories before back when it was really hard to find silver items on the high street and I wasn’t hugely impressed with the quality finding a few items broke quickly. I’m aware of Lovisa having quite a wide range of 925 items but have yet to purchase anything from there as I only tend to buy jewellery now for special occasions or if there’s a very specific item I want.

Buy Second Hand

I’ve bought a few silver rings in the past from car boot sales after checking they were stamped with hallmarks. The red multi stone ring shown below came from a car boot sale for £10.

Necklace and centre ring: Accessories clearance sales,
Cubic zirconia trinity ring: Sainsbury (half paid with Nectar points)
Red / clear ring £10 from a car boot sale

“Gold” Earrings & Faux Opals

Most of my earrings look like small gold studs and I’ve had them over 5 years but they are in fact gold anodised titanium barbells from body jewellery sites like JoBananas and Serenity Jewellery. I’ve had 1 tiny gold stud with a green gem in one of my piercings for 5 1/2 years, the plating hasn’t worn away, the gem is still in tact, it looks as good as the day I bought it. The full stud cost me under £5 which with over 5 years of wear I think is brilliant value for money. The gems individually are £1.75 which is all I’d have to pay if I decided I wanted another colour as it would attach to the existing stud I have.

Lots of titanium body jewellery now comes in gold and rose gold plating with faux opals which look beautiful and are far cheaper than the real thing. I’ve again been wearing some of these constantly for between 3-5 years and they look as good as the day I bought them. I’ve never paid more than £12 for one gold titanium anodised hoop or stud despite the jewellery looking far more expensive. As all the ones I’ve purchased have lasted so well it’s very rare that I buy new replacements, especially as I find the screw closures more secure than butterfly studs and they’re more comfortable to wear. I choose titanium as I have particularly sensitive skin but if you don’t anodised surgical steel is an even cheaper option. A quick Google shows me that 3mm 9ct gold ball studs cost upwards of £20. Buying anodised titanium studs like I wear can cost under £6 yet look virtually identical when worn.

I’ve accumulated quite a collection buying sale items or making the most of promotions over the years and things lasting so well. I think I’ve had 2 rings break from Accessorize after heavy wear over a 6+ year period when I paid under £3 each for them. Otherwise all are going strong so this has never put me off buying from them. I love my jewellery collection as it holds such sentimental value as I started only buying items for big occasions like birthdays, holiday’s abroad or receiving items as gifts.

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How To Shop Pre Loved: Tips For Thrifting, Charity Shopping & Buying Second Hand.

There definitely seems to be a generation shift in attitude towards buying second hand which I think is fantastic. I’ve seen many savvy blogs and Instagram accounts I follow run by people who embrace buying preloved saying its something their parents or grandparents would never consider. My parents are much the same, however my Nan whom I sadly lost recently, was the biggest charity shop lover I knew and she got me hooked at a young age. I can safely say that if it weren’t for her I probably would never have set foot in a charity shop let alone consider buying preloved online leading to my wardrobe being 1/3rd second hand since I made to decision to turn my back on fast fashion as much as possible.

If you can embrace second hand shopping there are some incredible savings to be made. Being unable to always find what I wanted in charity shops or thrift stores led me to buying preloved clothes on eBay enabling me to own £85 dresses for £9. Buying second hand is now my go-to way to shop and it has been for nearly 2 years. It isn’t dirty or scruffy at all as some people think. I’ve thrifted Ted Baker, Emma Bridgewater and Cath Kidston items all in great condition for absolute fractions of their RRPs. I still get compliments on my wardrobe and frankly, people will never know your item was worn by someone before you unless you tell them. Buying second hand has the bonus that it’s better for the planet, your wallet and charity shops are obviously raising money for good causes. Preloved purchases mean I now own brands previously out of my price range.

Advice For Charity Shopping

Embrace The Random. Charity shops are a like TK Maxx but of the preloved variety meaning you never know what you might find. Don’t go in expecting to see certain things, just have a browse and prepare to be surprised.

Check Every Section. I always skim round the clothing, homeware and book sections just to see if anything grabs my attention as when you succeed in grabbing a brilliant thrifty find it is so rewarding. One of my best charity shop finds was an Emma Bridgewater cup and saucer set which looked new. I paid £1.75 for it and they retail new around £25.

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£1.75 Emma Bridgewater cup and saucer from a charity shop

Look Out For Gifts. In the last week in my local charity shop I’ve seen a brand new boxed Yankee Candle set so don’t always assume everything is second hand, I’ve picked up some great “new” gifts for people in the past in charity shops very cheaply.

Browse Beyond Your Typical Size Range for example if you’re typically a 10-12 I’d say browse from an 8-14 as you’ll find a wide range of brands all with varying sizes as well as vintage pieces whose sizing doesn’t quite correlate to sizing nowadays. As changing rooms are now out I often take a tape measure with me to quick check the waist of a skirt etc to see if it matches ones I have at home that fit so my buys are less of a gamble.

Basic Homeware always features in charity shops. They’re a great way to kit out a kitchen on a budget. You can often find entire full crockery sets really well priced. If you’re a new student leaving home for the first time looking to get kitchenware or a budget I’d definitely recommend trying local charity shops before trekking to IKEA or Wilko.

Check For High End Fashion Labels. Don’t shop just for the label but it is worth baring in mind. For example you’re getting better quality for less if you spot a Hobbs, Zara or Ted Baker label as opposed to Primark or BooHoo. One of my favourite dresses is a classic little black shift in great condition from Ted Baker and it set me back £16 in a charity shop in London. An LBD is such a great wardrobe staple that I was happy to pay that price, especially as I’d never be able to justify buying a dress from this brand new. A quick Google helped me find a brand new Ted dress similar to mine with an RRP of £169. Another long term favourite is a vintage M&S, St Michael, red tailored shift dress that set me back £9 and is the perfect dress for any “I don’t know what to wear” occasion. I don’t mind paying a bit more for quality labels but am less fussed about paying charity shop prices for high street items that are almost as cheap new.

My £16 Ted Baker LBD

Visit Charity Shops In Posh Areas. In the past I’ve found Karen Millen, Massimo Dutti, Seasalt and Ralph Lauren all under one roof for between £10-20. Whilst the prices tend to be higher than your average thrift shop you’re scoring a designer item so it’s to be expected and still a bargain compared to the RRP.

Give Clothes A Thorough Once Over. Its always worth checking if items have all their buttons, zips work, lining fabric is ok, there are no marks or holes etc.

Books. I’m a huge reader and estimate that of all the books I own only 3 were bought new and the rest were picked up preloved. I’ve found some charity shops which sell paperbacks as cheap as 50p or 3 for £1. If you’re keen to read series like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Fifty Shades, Me Before You or others that have been hugely popular in recent years don’t bother buying them new as a good 50% + of charity shops seem to have copies!

I tend to give any preloved items a wash once home which seems sensible given the current climate.

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What To Do When Having A Clear Out To Avoid Items Ending Up In Landfill & Make Some Extra Cash

Like a lot of us during lockdown I’ve had a bit of a tidy up, rearrange and organise of my house which prompted me to write this post of how to easily and safely get rid of generic items without them ending up in landfill. Please note this post will be the very basic edition of this, I have lots of tips for more niche, bespoke items but am unsure what services are available given the global pandemic so I’ve only included options that can be covid-safe.

Selling Online

I’ve previously written a post including my best selling on eBay advice which can be found here.

Ask Your Friends and Family

This is my number one port of call when getting rid of a huge range of things that I can’t see myself turning a profit for selling them. For example when tidying I recently came across colour depositing hair products that I wouldn’t use again as I didn’t fancy red / pink toned hair anymore. They were 3/4 full and remembered a friend within my social bubble had mentioned colouring theirs so I offered and passed them along to her. Whilst asking another friend for houseplant advice I realised I had some small empty plastic plant pots and one decorative one that I’d planned to donate to charity but asked if she’d like them instead. We’re trading the pots for a tiny plant cutting so both win from this. I’ve done this in the past with so many things including beauty freebies I’ve claimed and realised I won’t use, bottles of lightly used nail varnish or items of clothing if I’ve decided not to sell them on eBay – if you do decide to sell them a post on my best tips for eBay can be found here. Book swaps can be really handy if you’re after new reading material without spending any money. Sometimes giving unwanted items to friends and friendly can result in trades which can be a plus beyond just clearing some space in your home.

Local Charity Shops and Freecycle

Worth checking in advance which ones are accepting donations as I’m sure many have been flooded with goods after being closed for so long. Anything either given to these shops or advertised on their website you obviously won’t receive any money for but they’ll either help out good causes or locals whilst saving your items being dumped so it’s still a bonus.

Gumtree and Facebook Market Place

Both can be really handy for local selling of items, particularly bigger things like furniture. Sellers can easily leave items on front lawns when viewers or collectors come to keep with social distancing. The Paypal app is so easy and speedy that it’s possible to do cashless transactions too. That or posting the money through the letter box works to keep with social distancing.

H&M Textiles Recycling Scheme For Worn Out Fabrics, Clothes and Textiles

In all H&M stores there are collections for bags of unwanted clothing and a system for all items donated. Some are sold for charity and really old unwearable items are recycled into loft insulation or cleaning cloths etc. I’ve filled at least 5 bags in the last 6 months with old paint stained t shirts, socks with holes in, bobbled jumpers or faded bed sheets. In exchange you will be given a £5 off your next £25 spend voucher with usually a long use by date on. I gift these to friends after vowing in 2018 to buy as many of my clothes preloved as possible. I like this scheme for being really easily accessible but I know it doesn’t solve the fast fashion problem as the voucher gives an incentive to buy more cheap clothing. But on a personal level it’s saved the equivalent for 3 bin bags of textiles going to landfill with no further purchases from me which is better than nothing.

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