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Summer is just around the corner and you’re probably thinking it would be a great time to start planning the perfect yard sale. Only thing is, yard sales (especially successful ones) require a lot of time to plan, organize and execute. (Not to mention a seriously scary amount of faith in our Canadian weather on the day of the sale.)

Lucky for all of us yard sale commitment-phobes, there are many other options when it comes to sending our formerly beloved junk to new homes. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions that cover off clothes, toys, furniture and more so that you can have your spring cleaning and purging complete before summer arrives. (Just don’t blame us when your home starts looking a little bare!)

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1. CHARITY PICK-UP

Charities like the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy (Ontario only) or Clothesline, part of the Canadian Diabetes Association (Canada-wide) will pick up bags of gently used items like clothing, bedding and linens right from your doorstep. Simply schedule a pick-up (and view the complete list of accepted items) online and feel good knowing that proceeds from the resale of your donated items fund the charitable efforts of these organizations.

2. DONATING TO THRIFT STORES

Doing a quick search online for local, independent thrift stores is a great option for handing off your gently used clothing items to someone else. Or, keep it simple and look up the nearest Salvation Army Thrift Store or Drop Bin. Clothing, furniture, electronics and antiques are among the list of accepted items and proceeds from the resale of items go right back into the charity’s ongoing work in our communities.

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3. ONLINE SHOPPING SITES

Just because you don’t want the effort of hosting a yard sale doesn’t mean you don’t want to make a few bucks – are we right? Popular online shopping sites like kijiji and craigslist allow you to sell items based on category (there are categories for everything and anything) and region, at prices that you determine yourself.

4. FACEBOOK BUY AND SELL GROUPS

You can do anything on Facebook! Well, maybe not. But you can definitely sell or trade stuff. Start by searching for groups in your city (ex. Metro Halifax Buy and Sell) or if you live in a big city, you can even search by neighbourhood (ex. Liberty Village Toronto Buy and Sell). You’ll likely come across a “Closed Group” which you can add yourself to and then begin selling anything from clothes and accessories to housewares. Just like with other shopping sites, you can determine the selling price and the terms for having your items picked up or dropped off.

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5. FURNITURE DROP-OFF

As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure – and the same goes for furniture. Habitat For Humanity’s ReStore program allows people to drop off their unwanted furniture at locations across Canada for resale in their ReStores. Along with furniture and appliances, they also accept high quality building supplies and décor. Profits go towards local Habitat affiliates who, in turn, generate the funds needed for completing local builds for low-income families.

In Ontario’s Greater Toronto Area, Furniture Bank locations also accept gently used furniture, housewares, electronics and artwork that go directly to families in need at little or no cost. (Pick-ups can also be arranged, for a fee.)

6. MOM TO MOM SALES

These types of sales are always happening in major cities across Canada (because frankly, moms constantly need to sell crap to make room for new crap) and often have their biggest and best turnout at the changing of the seasons. Becoming a vendor and being at the show to sell your stuff requires slightly more effort than dropping items off at donation sites, but it’s one of the best ways to make money selling baby accessories, children’s clothes, toys and books. These sales, like those hosted by Toronto Mom to Mom, typically take place indoors and sometimes give you the option of leaving behind your unsold items at the end of the sale to be distributed to local charities. (And hey – it’s still a heck of a lot less effort than hosting a yard sale!)

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7. DONATING TO SHELTERS

While dropping off full garbage bag loads of your unwanted items works at certain thrift stores or other charities, it’s a little different when it comes to homeless shelters for families, women and youth. At Red Door Family Shelter in Toronto, for example, gently used seasonal clothes and shoes, household items and new baby items are currently being accepted while used toys are not. Your best bet is looking up local shelters online before preparing your donation, as the list of their needed items may occasionally change. Even if you can’t dump your entire collection of unwanted items, it might still be worth making a smaller donation that will go directly into the hands of people in need.

8. SELLING BACK TO STORES

Stores like Once Upon A Child allow you to sell everything kid related (think clothing, toys, baby gear, books and furniture) back to the store for a percentage of the original price. Buyers will evaluate your items on the spot and determine their value based on quality, brand and demand in the store – and you’ll walk away with some extra cash (or traded items). Locations across Canada make Once Upon A Child an easily accessible option for many.

Play It Again Sports offers the same service with on-the-spot evaluation of items brought in, but with used sports and fitness equipment. Acceptable items include gear and equipment for baseball, soccer, water sports, hockey, golf, snow sports and more. Contacting your local store will give you a better idea of items in demand (and therefore items that would be worth more money).

9. JUNK REMOVAL

So, you’ve tried your best to donate, sell and pawn your stuff off in a convenient and hassle-free manner. Only, that obnoxiously large armoire that was passed down from Aunt Hilda is still a significant eyesore in your living room. Maybe you’ve also noticed a few (okay fine, 24) boxes of random papers and knick-knacks in the garage that need to go. It might be time to contact 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and arrange to have them pick your stuff up (for a fee, depending on the nature of your junk). They’ll take anything non-hazardous that their crew members can lift – including furniture, appliances, electronics, carpets, mattresses and even hot tubs! It might be a bit of a cop-out, but it’ll get the job done when all else fails.