Lesson 10: online downsizing course
Are you in the process of decluttering and downsizing your home, but struggling to find a new home for some of your belongings? Maybe they’re not valuable enough to sell, but they’re still in good condition and you don’t want to throw them away. Or perhaps they’re not suitable for donation to your local op shop. This is where tip shops form an important piece of the puzzle.
What are tip shops and how do they work?
Tip shops are shops attached to landfill or waste management stations and are usually run by local councils or private companies. The items for sale come from the public and are often things that people have donated instead of donating the items to an op shop, dumping them at the tip, or items that have been diverted from landfill by the workers there.
When you visit a tip shop, you’ll find a wide range of items for sale, including furniture, electronics, books, clothes, kitchenware, and much more. The prices are often very affordable, and some fairly esoteric items show up there.
What types of items do tip shops take?
Tip shops accept a vast range of items, including:
- Furniture, such as sofas, chairs, and tables
- White goods, including fridges, freezers, and washing machines
- Electrical items, such as TVs, DVD players, and microwaves
- Building materials, such as timber, bricks, and roofing iron
- Garden supplies, including pots, plants, and tools
- Clothing, shoes, and accessories
- Books, DVDs, and CDs
There are some things that tip shops won’t take. In Canberra, it’s hit or miss whether they will accept wire coat hangers and often they won’t accept large furniture items that are past their prime or won’t sell well enough to justify the space taken up in their warehouse..
How do tip shops compare to op shops for donations?
Op shops are often the go-to choice for donating unwanted items, but they’re not always the best option. Op shops have a comparatively narrow range of items that they sell.
When deciding whether to donate to the tip shop or op shop, it’s useful to visualise whether you see something being sold in your local op shop or not. When in doubt, it’s perhaps best to err on the side of donating to the tip shop.
Tip shops are specifically designed to take unwanted items. By donating to a tip shop, you get the best chance that your items will be given a second chance and won’t end up in landfill.
If a tip shop won’t take an item, chances are that no-one will.
Canberra’s tip shop
If you’re in Canberra, The Green Shed is our very well patronised tip shop.
This not-for-profit organisation has two locations at Mitchell and Mugga Lane, as well as two retail outlets in the city.
People are sometimes worried that The Green Shed is privately owned, rather than being run by a charity, but each month a portion of funds do go to local charities and community groups. The Green Shed is also committed to providing employment opportunities for people with disabilities, so by shopping there, you’re supporting a good cause in that way also.
Transportation is the only issue
Though many councils offer bulk waste pickup, this is not always convenient and often it is quicker and easier to take items to the tip shop yourself. If you have the transport to do so.
Often our clients are limited by the size of their vehicle or by time or stamina constraints.
If you’re not using a decluttering service like ours who have our own transportation options, I recommend finding a “Man with a Van” type of service to take the items to the tip shops for you.
This gets the items out of your home and garage, so you can focus on the rest of your downsizing process.
An important piece of the puzzle
When triaging surplus items from client houses we will often rehome unwanted possessions in the following order:
- Op shop items (where convenient to do do)
- Tip shop items (where the client consents to do so)
Our primary goal is to make sure items don’t end up in landfill.
I have no reservations about donating items to tip shops and feel lucky that we have the option to do so.