Spring is almost here (finally!), which means it’s time for spring cleaning and for my annual Twin Cities Spring Cleaning Guide!
This is a list of Twin Cities area resources to help you get rid of yard waste, papers, clothing and any other type of household items you no longer need.
It’s been a crazy winter – I don’t think I’ve seen so much snow in my yard! But even if we have a little bit more winter-y weather, now is a great time to start going through your home and organizing little by little so that it’s all done (at least on the inside) by the time the warmer weather actually begins!
CLEAN UP YOUR YARD
YARD WASTE COLLECTION SITES
Each county offers free yard waste collection sites or assistance for its residents. At these sites you can often pick up free compost for your garden (while it lasts). They may also offer junk collection days where you drop off items like tires or electronics and even hazardous waste for a discount. Check out your local county website for locations and times:
RECYCLE YOUR STUFF AND SHRED YOUR PAPERS
Many cities offer clean-up days that include free shredding for residents. Here is a list of events (all are for residents only unless otherwise specified – check before you go):
- Andover – Second Saturday of each month from 9:00am – 1:00pm. Andover Recycling Center, 1785 Crosstown Blvd. JR’s Advanced Recycling (651-454-9215) collects appliances, electronics, fluorescent bulbs, mattresses and box springs for recycling with a charge.
- Blaine – Third Saturday of each month from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Green Lights Recycling, 1525 99th Lane NE. (Open to all including non-Blaine residents.)
- Brooklyn Park – Saturday, April 27th from 8:00am – 3:00pm. Held at Brooklyn Park Operations and Maintenance campus at 8300 Noble Avenue North.
- Hastings – Saturday, April 27th from 9:00am – 1:00pm. Cal Ruedy Public Works Building, 1225 Progress Drive, Hastings, Minnesota 55033.
- Maplewood – Saturday, May 11th from 8:00am – 1:00pm. Aldrich Arena (1850 White Bear Avenue).
- New Brighton – Saturday, May 18th and Saturday, September 21st from 7:30am – 2:00pm. 700 5th St NW, New Brighton MN 55112
- Plymouth – Saturday, May 4th. Plymouth Maintenance Facility, 14900 23rd Ave. N. (Check website for details.)
- Roseville – Saturday, April 27th from 9:00am – Noon at Dale Street Soccer Field Parking Lot, 2555 Dale Street, Roseville, MN 55113 (Roseville residents only). Free Shredding on Saturday, May 18th at Roseville City Hall, 2660 Civic Center Drive, Roseville, MN 55113 (Roseville residents only).
- West St. Paul – Free Shredding Event on Saturday, April 21st from 9:00am – Noon. West St. Paul Sports Complex, 1650 Oakdale Ave., West St. Paul.
Or check with your county as some offer various events:
Banks and Credit Unions often offer free shredding for their members including:
MORE FREE PAPER SHREDDING EVENTS
Pioneer Secure Shred in Minneapolis offers FREE shredding of up to 25 boxes of paper (banker’s box sized) on the first Friday of every month from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Shredding will begin again May 3rd, 2019. You just unload and go! Limit up to 25 boxes. 155 Irving Av. N., Minneapolis, 612-381-2199.
Shred Right offers many free shredding events throughout the Twin Cities and beyond.
At most Shred Right events, you can bring up to 2 banker’s boxes of documents or floppy discs for FREE secure shredding. Check with each location for limitations. (Note: This list is subject to change. Check Shred Right’s website for the latest information.)
STOP JUNK MAIL
I almost titled this “Stop Unwanted Mail” but I realize that I probably can’t help you stop all the icky bills from coming – ha. But you CAN stop some of the junk mail and other stuff you don’t need or want.
Go to DMAchoice.org to get your address off of junk mail lists.
And visit ecocycle.org for more tips for stopping the flow of junk mail to your home!
REPAIR YOUR ITEMS
Not sure whether to keep or get rid of something? Would you keep it if you could just fix it?
There are many FREE fix-it clinics throughout the metro, where you can get household items fixed for free (and learn some repair skills too – be prepared to do the work with assistance). Events are offered regularly by each county (typically monthly):
SELL YOUR ITEMS
Once Upon a Child is the largest kids resale franchise in North America. They buy and sell gently used kids clothing, toys and baby gear and pay you on the spot. (I’ve sold items here – you can leave the items with them while you shop or come back later. They didn’t want most of my items [I mostly had used baby toys], but gave me about $7 for a few. I used it to buy more kids stuff!)
Children’s Orchard is a resale store that opened up last year in Maple Grove and they will pay you cash on the spot for your kids’ clothes, toys and other items.
Just Between Friends Children’s Consignment Sales are held in different cities throughout the country including the Twin Cities. Sign up as a consignor and sell your stuff at an upcoming sale.
From Yours to Mine are kids consignment sales that happen twice a year in the Twin Cities.
Munchkin Markets are kids consignment sales that happen in multiple locations during the year in the Twin Cities.
Clothes Mentor buys and sells used women’s clothing, shoes, handbags and accessories. This is the place to sell higher-end, brand name items. They have 9 locations in the Twin Cities area. (Read about my experience with a personal shopper there.)
Turn Style buys and sells used women’s and men’s clothing as well as home furnishings. They have 12 locations in the Twin Cities area, including a new Clearance store in Coon Rapids.
NuLook Consignment carries women’s, men’s, children’s and maternity clothing and accessories. Items must be 3 years old or newer. You must make an appointment for consignment.
Plato’s Closet buys and sells the latest looks in brand name gently used clothing and accessories for teen and twenty something guys and girls (think Gap, Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, etc.). They have 11 locations in Minnesota.
Device Pitstop buys, sells and repairs electronics including smartphones, laptops, drones, video game systems and more. (I’ve had several very positive experiences at Device Pitstop of Maple Grove – the team there is great!!)
Half Price Books will pay you cash for your books, music, movies, games, game consoles, e-readers, and you can spend this cash in the store or take it home with you. “We pay the most for recent bestsellers and collectibles, but we’re also interested in good books, music and movies of all kinds. The primary factors we consider when buying used merchandise of any kind are: 1.) condition 2.) supply and demand.” (I sold a boxful of books at Half Price Books for $2. Not much, but I wanted to get rid of them.)
Craigslist is a free service to buy and sell anything locally. I’ve sold, given away or bought furniture, clothing, sporting goods and appliances on craigslist.
DONATE YOUR ITEMS
To get full tax-deductible value out of your donated items, my tax preparer recommended itemizing or photographing your donations and attaching to the receipt provided at the donation center.
HOME BUILDING SUPPLIES
Habitat for Humanity ReStores in New Brighton and Minneapolis (2 locations) accept just about any type of building supplies, from working appliances to bricks to countertops. Donations are tax deductible and 100% of proceeds support Habitat’s mission. Plus, you’ll be keeping good, reusable materials in use and out of landfills. Donations are accepted from everyone including individuals, building supply stores, contractors, demolition crews and various businesses.
Also note that:
- Habitat for Humanity ReStores offer a FREE pickup service for donations
- When you donate, you will receive a donation receipt for tax purposes
- View their full list of items they accept and items they can’t accept
- Proceeds from sales at the ReStore help sponsor the building of homes in our local community!
BABY ITEMS AND CAR SEATS
Birthright helps pregnant women in need. They accept maternity and baby clothes.
Tandem (formerly Tapestry Family Resource Center) in Minneapolis accepts gently used clothing, toys and equipment.
Autos for Arc accepts car donations at any Arc’s Value Village location or you can arrange for a free vehicle pickup.
Cars for Courage Kenny accepts donations of cars and other motor vehicles at various drop-off locations. Proceeds benefit Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute and its clients.
Newgate School turns your car and truck donations into tuition-free auto body and auto mechanical training for low income young adults.
Operation Glass Slipper collects gently used prom dresses, shoes and accessories and distributes them to Twin Cities high school students who can’t afford new dresses. Visit their website for a list of drop-off locations.
The Paperbag Princess is a nonprofit in South St. Paul that collects and then distributes, free or at a deep discount, gently used formal gowns and suits to students for their formal events. They are open by appointment.
Dress for Success Twin Cities is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women located in the Twin Cities area. Their clients need suits, blazers, blouses, pants/skirts, purses, closed-toe shoes and scarves. Clothing must be in nearly new condition and must be current. If possible, please donate dry-cleaned clothing that is ready for our clients to wear. Clothing donations are currently accepted by appointment at the Dress for Success Wardrobe Studio, 1549 University Avenue, Suite 100, St. Paul, MN 55104. Please call 651-646-6000 to schedule your appointment.
AT&T Wireless stores, Best Buy, Sprint stores, Staples, Target and Verizon Wireless stores all offer free cell phone recycling.
Check with your church or local schools which often collect cell phones as fundraisers.
Best Buy (nationwide) accepts and recycles computers and other technology items for free. You can even trade in old items for a gift card.
Minnesota Computer for Schools extends the life of useful equipment by refurbishing it and selling it to schools for a highly discounted price.
PCs for People refurbishes used computers for low-income people and nonprofits. They have locations in St. Paul and Mankato.
Tech Dump offers free computer recycling (some electronics accepted for a fee). Locations in St. Paul, Golden Valley and Bloomington.
Bridging is a local organization that accepts donations of furniture items and household goods for those in need. They work with people transitioning out of homelessness to provide them with basic furniture & household goods. All donations are tax deductible, and they take some things that thrift stores won’t. They have locations in Roseville and Bloomington.
Plastic bags (of any kind) can be recycled at many grocery stores including Cub, Target, Walmart, Byerly’s and many more. Look for collection bins at the front of the store.
These stores accept donations and will give you a tax-deductible receipt. Some will also give you a coupon for your next purchase (usually with an expiration date).
Savers – There are 5 Savers thrift stores in the Twin Cities area. Every time you donate reusable clothing and household items either to nonprofits or directly to Savers at one of their stores via a Community Donation Center, they pay the nonprofits. Sign up for their free rewards program. (Donate and receive a coupon for 20-30% off your next purchase.)
Unique Thrift Store – There are 3 Unique and Valu Thrift stores in the Twin Cities area. Unique and Valu Thrift Stores are committed to giving back to the community through partnerships with several local charities.
Goodwill – There are over 30 Goodwill stores in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. Goodwill uses your donated goods to support programs that help prepare people for work.
Arc’s Value Village – There are 4 Arc’s Value Village thrift stores in the Twin Cities. Whenever you shop or donate at Arc’s Value Village, you’re helping children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. All proceeds go to support Arc Greater Twin Cities’ programs and services.
Salvation Army – There are 9 Salvation Army Family Stores plus many drop boxes in the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. By shopping or giving at the Twin Cities area Salvation Army stores, you are helping to fund a life-saving rehabilitation program. To learn about the program, visit the Adult Rehabilitation Center website. Proceeds from stores in Greater Minnesota and North Dakota are used to support basic needs programs.
PRISM Shop for Change Thrift Shop – 1220 Zane Ave N, Golden Valley, MN 55422. At Shop for Change you’ll find high-quality, uniquely affordable items for the entire family: clothing and shoes of all sizes, accessories, and small housewares like glasses, dishes, frames, home décor, craft supplies, and seasonal items. 100% of sales support their services. Every time you donate or shop you are helping to provide healthy food, proper clothing, and housing stability to the 5,500 people who seek PRISM’s help each year.
Twin Cities Free Market connects potential givers and takers of any type of item. The Free Market program was the first web based residential exchange program that specifically targeted the exchange of reusable and durable household goods. You have to register (for free) to give away or search for items, and you can’t charge anything for items you’re getting rid of.
Freecycle also connects potential givers and takers of any type of item. It’s similar to Twin Cities Free Market in that you have to register (for free), but is a network of groups around the world.
Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse website is a great resource for everything you need to sell, donate, repair, rent or share items.
RethinkRecycling.com is a great guide to waste and recycling in the Twin Cities.
Want another recycling resource? Earth911.org is a great website where you can search for places to recycle any item near you.
Ramsey County has six free drop box locations for residents to drop off medicines. They accept prescription, over-the-counter and pet medicines. Needles and syringes are NOT accepted at these locations (except full epi-pens), BUT they are accepted FREE year-round at Ramsey County’s hazardous waste collection site at 5 Empire Dr, Saint Paul (ramseyatoz.com) or call 651-633-EASY (3279).
Hennepin County has 16 free drop box locations for residents to drop off medicines, and many drop boxes at independent pharmacies. Same as Ramsey County, except check their website for where to drop off needles and syringes.
Live in another County? Check your county’s website for locations available to you.
Most HealthPartners pharmacies have a collection program for medicines. Visit their website for details and locations.
Not sure where to donate your items? Call United Way at 211 for help.
For another list of resources for donating and managing your stuff around the Twin Cities area, visit Time to Organize’s website and click on their resources page. (Time to Organize is a business that offers organizing assistance for Twin Cities residents.)