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When you're packing to move homes, there are probably some items that you don't want to bring with you. Maybe they're broken, out-of-date, or no longer right for you. If you're like most people, you may even have large trash bags full of things to get rid of as moving day approaches.

You may be wondering if there are better ways to dispose of your old possessions, and in many cases, the answer is yes. Fortunately for the planet, there are alternatives to throwing stuff away when moving. Know your options before you take out the trash.

Recycle Electronics and Other Items

It's important to dispose of electronics correctly because they can harm the environment if thrown into the trash. Items such as computers, keyboards, televisions, printers, tablets, game consoles, and cable boxes all need to be recycled. Ask your local government or waste disposal service to point you toward the nearest e-waste drop-off site. Some office supply retailers also accept electronics for recycling.

Your local government may also have a recycling program that accepts appliances, furniture, and/or mattresses and sometimes utility companies offer appliance recycling, as well.

Donate to Charities

There are several national charities that accept gently used items and either sell them to raise money or give them to those in need. Look for lists of charities that accept appliances, furniture, books, clothing, cell phones, stuffed animals, athletic equipment, and other items. You can also call local shelters and crisis centers to see if they're accepting donations.

Give Things Away

Even if you can't find a charity to take an item, you might be able to give it a new home. If the item is still in fairly good shape, advertise it as a freebie on Freecycle, Craigslist, or a neighborhood message board or mailing list.

Dispose of Medications Safely

Many people have half-empty medicine bottles sitting in their bathroom cabinets. Medications can be harmful if they're misused or accidentally ingested. They can also damage the environment. Therefore, instead of tossing those bottles into a dumpster or leaving them behind when you move, visit a controlled substance disposal site and drop off your old medications so that they can be disposed of safely.

Sometimes, throwing stuff away when moving is the right choice. But before you take this step, ask yourself:

  • Could this item be recycled?
  • Could someone else use this item?
  • Could a charity benefit from this?
  • Are there any safety or health concerns?

If the answer to each of these questions is "no," then throwing the item away is appropriate.

Although it sometimes makes sense to put unwanted items in the garbage, there are often better ways to get rid of stuff you no longer need. You may find that you can donate or recycle a lot of unwanted stuff and that it doesn't have to go to a landfill.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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