The Mindful Merchant

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The Spring Purge April 16, 2010

Filed under: charities,eco-friendly,Ontario,recycling,save money — MindfulMerchant @ 9:48 am

"In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." – Margaret Atwood


Hellooo spring! Goodbye snow shovels, winter coats & boots…and tuque head. Warmer temperatures and sunshine have energized me.  I am starting to think about spring cleaning. Ugh.


cleaningtools8[1] We are not hoarders and yet somehow this year our little storage room has become a dumping ground.  There are boxes we moved from Toronto five years ago and never unpacked. Hockey, ski and other sports equipment our kids have outgrown that we keep for friends and family to use. When company comes and I’m running around doing the frantic clean I usually find myself holding a paper mache volcano or a 4 ft replica of the Eiffel Tower. What to do…what to do….ahh toss it in the storage room! Today I opened the door, and the vacuum and a ski fell out on my foot.  Enough.  Time to  de-clutter and simplify in an earth friendly way…


There is an exciting program called the Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES) to help Ontarians dispose of unwanted electronic devices and divert electronic waste from landfills. Plug in your postal code and the type of material or item and find the closest OES approved, no-for-profit collection depots. They also recover valuable resources like precious and base metals. An example of this was that the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic medals contained recycled metal from recycled electronic waste.


olympic-medals-2010 According to the OES nearly 78% of Ontarian households have at least 1 electronic device they aren’t using or isn’t working. Some of the 44 acceptable items include audio and video players, cameras, cell phones, computers, copiers, monitors, pagers, printers, radios, speakers, telephones, answering machine and televisions. We have a boom box from the 80’s buried in that storage and it needs to go to OES heaven.



Perhaps your stuff is too valuable to toss and you would like to recoup some money. Online classifieds are one option like Kijiji or Craigslist. This year my neighbours are thinking spring clean too and plan a street garage sale in May. (If you are interested in raising funds for your favourite charity, you might consider donating the profits.) Other options include donating unwanted items to the Salvation Army (Sally Ann), Goodwill or Canadian Diabetes Clothesline.  The Canadian Diabetes will come to pick up your donations too.

If you are planning a renovation, think about contacting  Habitat for Humanity, Restores. They accept kitchen, bathrooms cabinets, tubs, sinks and different building materials in excellent condition.  For a small fee they will come and remove them too.


Another neat idea I have been reading about is bartering. Websites like Freecycle, Swapstyle and Swaptree are a few examples.  You can get rid of things you no longer need/use or want in exchange for something you really want in return.   I  do not plan to barter our storage room stuff…but it sounds interesting.


Well…that is pretty much all of my spring clean get-rid-of-junk ideas.  Do you have suggestions or a favourite organization for recycling/donating unwanted items?  This weekend  I am we are going to tackle the storage room and put some of the ideas to use. 


Happy Spring!





8 Responses to “The Spring Purge”

  1. Hope Says:

    Spring cleaning. Ick. I just “regular cleaned” my house this morning and that was exhausting. But yes…the clutter of winter is keeping me a little less free and ‘springy’ than I’d like.

    But (insert whine here) I don’t WANT to!

  2. Finola Says:

    We are getting ready to start a big purge. In fact it started today! Hubby was going to list our washer and dryer on freecycle, but when he checked to see how best to write his ad, and the first one he saw was someone in our neighbourhood looking for a washer. We then realized we knew someone else who didn’t have a dryer, so voila, the two have new homes.

    We also have a POD full of stuff from our basement that we didn’t have time to sort through before starting our basement reno. Now we can’t decide whether to have a garage sale, wait for the neighbourhood garage sale in June, or start listing stuff on Kijiju etc.

    Either way we want to get rid of so much, and would like it to not go in the garbage as much as possible! Is there such thing as a POD sale?

    • I have never heard of a POD sale…but you could start a new trend. 🙂 List it and call it a “mystery” POD…buyer gets a whole POD of surprises. lol

  3. Urban Girl Says:

    Great post! I too always have a mountain of paper I need to tame. Definitely the season of garage sales is upon us – I love all the big neighborhood ones from the Glebe to Old Ottawa South to New Edinburgh. I keep meaning to get rid of old paint which different stores accept as part of the Take it Back City of Ottawa program. And of course it’s great to give old books to a charity who can sell them to raise funds – I know that the Company of Fools theatre company( ) is requesting donations right now!

    Happy Spring Cleaning!

  4. Ah, the springtime purge.
    I went through our garage last week and got rid of a few old toys and things that were taking up major space. I didn’t bother with Used Ottawa or anything like that. I just hauled everything out to the curb. It was all gone within 10 minutes or so. (And it wasn’t even great stuff.)

    I usually like to do this the night before garbage day too. Speaking of which, when is the next City of Ottawa Trash/Treasure day??

    p.s. Love love love the Re-store!

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