Trash Nothing – Having Much More With Less Through Reuse

We all have things in our homes we’d really like to get rid of, but throwing them away feels wasteful.  I’m going to discuss the concept of trashing nothing or freecycling and why it’s a better way to declutter without waste.

To trash nothing means to donate, reuse, and recycle rather than contribute to waste.  Also known as freecycling, it uses alternate routes of distributing items to prevent them from ending up in the garbage.  Through websites, apps, and local sites, it’s possible to barter and trade to prevent waste.  

Do you want to declutter and get rid of some stuff but don’t want to contribute to a landfill?  Or wonder if there is a better way to get rid of the things you don’t need anymore.  Anyone can benefit from the idea of trashing nothing and live a life with less waste, less clutter, and more money.

What Does Trash Nothing Mean?

Trash nothing is a simplified way of referring to donating, reusing, and recycling, also known as freecycle.  It is an environmentally conscious movement to decrease the trash on land and at sea, protect wildlife, and improve the health of Earth.  To trash nothing would be to realize our actions’ environmental impact and take steps to do something about it.

Holding a Simple Plant - Trash Nothing - Gone Minimal
Holding a Simple Plant

How Do I Trash Nothing?

So how do I trash nothing and decrease my environmental impact? 

The idea is to be mindful of our consumption and disposal habits, minimizing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills and maximizing the potential of items before discarding them. Even small actions can add up to big changes when it comes to reducing waste and living more responsibly. Here are a few options to consider.

Donate to Trash Nothing

Remember that old saying, someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure?  Consider donating those items you no longer need or just don’t use.  This will help others in need while preventing items from ending in the trash.  Someone can most likely benefit from the things you’re looking to rid yourself of.

Another way to trash nothing is to connect locally to others in your community.

Barter or Trade to Trash Nothing

Do you have some items you want to get rid of and other items you’d like to purchase?  Barter or trade your unwanted items for other goods and services from others, and both parties will benefit.  There’s no need for money when you barter or trade to trash nothing.  Added benefit — you could end up making some new friends or business partners.


Join to find like-minded people who also want to trash nothing.  It’s a nonprofit grassroots movement and all about trading and giving away items rather than throwing them away.  You can create a free membership and connect with your location and nearby towns, or create your own friend’s circle.

Holding a Minimalist Phone - Trash Nothing - Gone Minimal
Holding a Minimalist Phone

Join is a free site for trading and giving away items to your local community on the web or the app.  Trade a kitchen table for a coffee maker, a full-length mirror for some shoes, or just get rid of those old storage shelves that take up room in the office closet.  Users call the service handy, easy to use, and highly recommend it.  They’re even on social media, so connecting with others online is easier.

Connect Locally to Trash Nothing

Another way to trash nothing is to connect locally to others in your community.  Ask your neighbor across the street if they need a set of barstools for their newly remodeled kitchen.  See if your neighbors down the road want your old fire table.  With social media and homeowner’s association sites, you can post items for sale or free or reach out to others locally to ask for things you may not need anymore.

There are so many ways to freecycle, repurpose, and trash nothing — it just takes a little research and ingenuity.

Benefits of Trashing Nothing

Have you ever driven through your neighborhood on trash pick-up day and noticed other homes’ piles of trash?  There are sometimes so many bags of trash outside you have to wonder if a dozen people live in that four-bedroom home! 

A Simple Bird Sitting on a Trash Can - Trash Nothing - Gone Minimal
A Simple Bird Sitting on a Trash Can

If you live near areas where wildlife roams, trash may be ripped open and dragged across the street in some cases.  It’s disgusting and only makes things worse.  There are many benefits of trashing nothing besides preventing litter in your neighborhood.  Let’s look at a few:

  1. Less waste
  2. Cleaner neighborhood
  3. Less clutter
  4. More money saved
  5. Less damage to tires
  6. Cleaner air
  7. Cleaner streets
  8. Cleaner bodies of water
  9. Greater sense of community
  10. More collaboration
  11. Healthier planet

Trash, as described by researchers Marc Kalina of the University of KwaZulu-Natal and Elizabeth Tilley of the University of Malawi, has no value or place in society, but waste is part of our existence. Consider if everyone jumped on board and participated in trashing nothing.  The world could be a much cleaner place!

Characteristics of Trashing Nothing

When it comes to characteristics of trashing nothing, we’re not talking about the food wrappers or empty cans in the kitchen — but the stuff around your house you’ve been collecting over the years.  Some of these items, like researchers Laur Siragusa and Dmitry Arzyutov found, can be repurposed rather than trashed. 

Repurposed Planters - Trash Nothing - Gone Minimal
Repurposed Planters

This includes old tires painted and used as garden decorations or borders, leftover fabric to be used as pillow cases or recover an ottoman, and cardboard egg crates that can be used to start seeds for the garden.  There are so many ways to freecycle, repurpose, and trash nothing — it just takes a little research and ingenuity.

Give Away Things for Free to Trash Nothing

If you have a guilty conscience like me, it’s really hard just to throw things away.  So why throw things away when you can give them away for free to trash nothing?  And this can be anything!  The clothing and shoes that don’t fit or we don’t like anymore can be given to charity or the donation boxes you see in the gas station and grocery store parking lots. 

That bookshelf you don’t want in the office anymore?  I bet your neighbor or your sibling could find a great use for it.  And folding tables you haven’t used in years?  The homeowner’s association could probably use them at the community pool for meetings and parties.  It’s much easier than creating a listing on a for-sale site, taking pictures, and fielding questions online.  Save the hassle and give those things away for free!

This helpful video will show you 15 clever ways to reuse and recycle everyday objects.

Related Insights

How do you get rid of stuff for free?

It’s easy to get rid of stuff for free.  Giving items to friends and family, donating to charity, and dropping off belongings and clothing in a donation box are all free ways to get rid of your stuff.

How do I get rid of everything in my house?

If you want to get rid of everything in your house, a good way to start is with a garage or yard sale.  Whatever isn’t sold, donate to charity.  I always tell my spouse that I’m selling the house with everything in it when we move!

What should I get rid of when decluttering?

There are a few categories of things to get rid of when decluttering.  Start with the things you don’t actually use, like décor, accessories, and items in storage.  Donate clothing that doesn’t fit to clothing drives and charity.  Items in storage for six or more months can be donated or sold. 

How Real People Trash Nothing to Freecycle

I asked friends and family to describe five ways they trash nothing to freecycle. Here is a table representing the percentages of their responses and what I learned from the poll about how people trash nothing.

Ways People Freecycle
10% of people polled said they donate gently used clothing and shoes to trash nothing
7% of people polled said they sell items on social media to trash nothing
14% of people polled said they have garage sales to trash nothing
7% of people polled said they give items to friends and neighbors to trash nothing
10% of people polled said they pass items down to children to trash nothing
10% of people polled said they reuse or repurpose items to trash nothing
7% of people polled said they recycle to trash nothing
17% of people polled said they post pictures on HOA sites to trash nothing
How Real People Freecycle to Trash Nothing

Other Resources:

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve been introduced to a variety of options for freecycling and trashing nothing, you have nothing to lose!  So reach out to your family and friends, post on social media, and connect with a freecycling community to start decluttering your home.  There’s no waste when you trash nothing!  What will you donate or trade first?

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