Got unwanted stuff? Re-home or repair it!

Everybody’s got stuff they don’t want or can’t use (or both). Some of it is perfectly good, and maybe even worth a few dollars. Some of it is flawed or missing parts. Some stuff is broken and just needs to be fixed (and you’ll get around to it someday. Really, you will.)

Charitable organizations are great for donating middle-of-the-road stuff in decent shape, and chances are you’ve done some of that already. But it’s really not OK to donate items that are in questionable or incomplete condition.

And although it is commendable, it’s hard to bring yourself to donate nice items that may have some monetary value.

And so this stuff hangs around the house collecting dust, waiting for you to either fix it or find it a new home.

One solution is as close as your computer keyboard. Newburyport has a suite of well-established online recycling communities that are dedicated to “re-homing” unwanted stuff.

Each is unique, with its own strong points. You’ll need to become a member in order to post your items. Don’t be hesitant to try out a group. They’re very friendly, and chances are you’ll find lots of friends and neighbors who are members already.

Ready to give it a try? Take a look at these groups, join one (or more), and start re-homing your unwanted stuff!

Freecycle is the original online recycling community. As its name implies, it is dedicated only to things offered for free. Used, new and unique items show up daily. This is the best platform for listing imperfect or incomplete items. To join Freecycle, visit, click on “Join this group,” and follow the prompts.

Newburyport Virtual Yard Sale (“NBPT Virtual Yard Sale: Sell, Trade, Borrow, Give” on Facebook) is a versatile community for all sorts of transactions. You can even publicize your own yard sale.

Newburyport Nextdoor is an informative all-around resource for local goings on by neighborhood. The “For Sale and Free” category is a high-visibility platform for your offers, and keeps transactions close to home. To join, visit, enter your street and e-mail addresses, and click “Find your neighborhood.”

Newburyport Curb Alert (“Newburyport Curb Alert!” on Facebook) adds a new twist to leaving your unwanted things out on the curb with a “Free” sign. Post a description with your address when you put your stuff out curbside. The extra online publicity will give your stash a boost, especially if you live on a quiet side street.

A couple of tips for writing your posts: Be honest and impartial in your descriptions, and remember that an item needn’t be in perfect condition to be of value to someone else. Newburyport is full of tinkerers, crafters and do-it-yourselfers that are always on the lookout for new projects.

“One person’s trash is another one’s treasure” is the rule! All the sites have options for attaching photos of your items. Pictures always give an extra push, so include them whenever you can.

Now that you’ve got your re-homing efforts underway, what about that dusty stuff that’s still in need of repair?

Enter the Newburyport Repair Café, back by popular demand for the fourth time on Saturday, Sept. 28. What is a Repair Café? Imagine having access to a big roomful of talented repair people — sewing experts, electronics whizzes and bike mechanics, to name just a few — and you’ve been invited to bring a broken item from home to be fixed for free.

That’s the Repair Café in a nutshell. It’s a 100% all-natural, hands-on, feel-good experience. The repairers have a remarkable 75% success rate, and the energy and good vibes are contagious. Learn more at

Whether online or hands on, Newburyport’s recycling communities all have the same purpose: To keep usable (and potentially usable) items in circulation as long as possible. Remember the original 3 R’s of sustainability: reduce, reuse, recycle? We’ve just added two more: repair and re-home! See you on Freecycle and at the Café.

Save the date: Newburyport Repair Café on Saturday, Sept. 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Newburyport SeniorCommunity Center, 331 High St. Free and open to all. Last items must be in by 1:30 p.m. Details at

For additional information on all aspects of recycling in Newburyport: (click on “Recycling, Energy & Sustainability Department”) or call the recycling office at 978-499-0413.

Nancy Roeder is a member of the Toward Zero Waste Newburyport Committee. Her family’s household trash averages less than 2 pounds a week.

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