Whether you’re planning to move away or just want to clean out your home a bit, you’re gonna ask yourself that one question: What am I supposed to do with all that stuff that I don’t need anymore? It’s always good to sort things out and structure your belongings a bit but you can’t just fill up a cardboard box with the all of it and let it rot in your room. Well, you could, but seriously, who would want that? That’s why I recommend you some places where you can get rid of clothes, books, decoration items, other random stuff and even furniture when you really wanna go big!
I guess a flea market is the most obvious option to give away your unused but still useful stuff. I already put together some tips about How to sell Things on a Flea Market, so I won’t go into depth here. Just check out in advance about what kind of things you can sell on the flea market so that you can maybe combine books and clothes on your stall. You wouldn’t believe how many flea markets like to keep those things nicely seperated.
These two pictures have not been taken by me, but by my great friend Luisa. <3
I don’t know if this concept is also a big deal abroad but for Berlin, I already participated in a couple of clothes-exchange-events. It’s pretty simple: you bring clothes, shoes, scarves etc. that you don’t wear anymore and in exchange you can have a look through the clothes that others brought and take a few things home with you. The great thing is that it doesn’t work on a get-one-take-one-basis but you can also bring a bag full of clothes and take just one dress or you find more than you bring. Just be thoughtful of others and don’t take half of the clothes offered home. Most of the times, you also have some stands nearby with information about sustainable fashion which is also pretty interesting. So far I’ve been to two different clothes-exchange-events, one was in my university (Freie Universität Berlin) and another was “Klamöttchen wechsel dich”, organised by the Bund Deutscher Pfadfinder_innen. They also combined it with a language exchange, some food on a donation basis for a good cause and some lectures and activites.
A For-Free-Shop is a great thing and works super simple. You bring stuff that you don’t need anymore but could still be useful for others and you take whatever you need. Works similar to clothes-exchange-events, just that it’s a permanent shop and you don’t have to bring things in order to take things home with you. You don’t need to have a certain income to go there or a prove of anything. Nobody cares about that. You can look through all those things even if you can afford to buy new clothes. Its purpose is to support the for-free-culture. I know of several For-Free-Shops in Berlin but I’ve seen this concept all over Germany in a smaller scale, for example when you have book shelves where you can take away or bring books to. However, I recommend you to call the For-Free-Shops in advance to make sure they really need the stuff you’re bringing. They sometimes have too many clothes or shoes and cannot store any more, so when that’s the case you can choose another one of the options I suggest here.
Requirements Lists and City Missions
I didn’t know it was so easy to help people in need before I discovered the Requirements Lists. Basically, organisations or homes for homeless people, refugees, poor people and so on tell you what they need, either donations of material things or “donation of time”, which means you dedicated some time to play with the children or help cooking or things like that. So if you see they need T-Shirts and you just sorted some out – why don’t you bring it there? You get rid of your unused stuff and share it with people who really need it. A win-win-situation. They sometimes also need furniture or craft material and games for kids, so don’t just throw away what you don’t need because other people may be really happy about it.
When I gave my things to the Bahnhofsmission, I thought to myself I’d just go there, leave my things there and go home. I didn’t expect one of the employees to show us around and to explain exactly what they’re doing there. He shared insights and stories with us that were funny, sad, astonishing and moving. It’s great that they act so transparently and invite people to get to know it better. I was really glad we went there ’cause here you can see directly where your stuff is needed and where it’s going. It’s less impersonal and less anonymous than just a container in the streets.
- Help for Refugees in Berlin
- Help for Children and Young People in Need
- Various Projects
- Bahnhofsmission (City Mission)
Facebook Groups and Online Markets
So far I can just tell you about Berlin (or at least German) Facebook Groups and Online Markets as I never sold or gave away things abroad but I’m sure you’ll find those groups and web pages almost everywhere in the world. If you have things to give away for free, there’s the Free Your Stuff Berlin group (and I also know about Heidelberg and Madrid who have that). You just post a picture of what you have to give and people text you to pick it up. I already used it and most of the times it worked fine! In the Berlin group there are sometimes also people posting pictures of furniture or other stuff they spotted in streets or they offer a piece of selfmade cake to give for free.
As for selling, I guess almost everyone in Germany knows eBay Kleinanzeigen where you post pictures and set a price and people can contact you when they’re interested in it. The same goes for the Facebook group Sell Your Stuff. Nothing extremely innovative but still worth mentioning. You’ll find a lot more of those groups when browsing the internet or Facebook!
Me personally, I moved away from Germany to Mexico a week ago. I still have some cardboard boxes in my old flat’s cellar but I only took one backpack and one suitcase with me. While packing, I realised that you don’t need all that stuff that you have lying around the room and when I come back to Berlin, I’m gonna clean out my cardboard boxes again. The best feeling was to give away my furniture because I felt more and more free with every piece of furniture I gave away. I must admit though, that it hurt a bit to give away my bed as I really love comfy, cosy beds filled with pillows and blankets. I’m gonna get over it though 😉