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Recycling Ideas for Furniture, Books, and Other Unwanted Household Items

Recycling ideas for furniture and other common household items, via SustainableBabySteps.com

Why throw away unwanted items in the home instead of using a few recycling ideas? Society no longer tolerates waste, even if waste and want abound in equal measure. The environmentally-friendly, socially responsible way to clear clutter from the home is to make sure that it is used again wherever possible. Listed below are some of the most common types of household items that can be sold, recycled or even "upcycled".


Every time you throw a book in the trash a bibliophile dies. Stop being a murderer. Websites such as eBay and Amazon Marketplace provide people with an opportunity to sell old books online, making a small return on books that would otherwise have collected dust for years before being dumped in the bin.

Rare or unusual books, or any work of fiction or non-fiction that appeals to collectors, should be sold for more cash, perhaps through a specialist dealer. If old books are not likely to generate enough cash to justify selling them, libraries and schools might be happy to take them for free.

And if none of those work, try turning old hardbacks into art journals, using the pages for creative gift wrap, turning it into crafts or decoupage, using it for kindling or shredded pet bedding, or composting them.


There are more than one recycling ideas for old furniture. An old dining room chair might have acquired a wobbly leg over the years or perhaps the springs of a sofa have had enough of entertaining coach potatoes every night. Whatever the reason, old furniture at some point or another becomes destined for the tip.

Households can avoid throwing away unwanted furniture by recycling items through organizations, such as the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN), Goodwill or local shelters. FRN claims to divert 90,000 tonnes of waste from landfill whilst helping some 700,000 low-income families.

FRN also estimates that around 30 per cent of the 10 million or so items of furniture thrown out by Britons each year can be repaired and reused. Antique furniture can also be sold for profit whilst old cabinets, shelves and tables can be upcycled to produce new, more usable furniture.

And last but not least, why not take it (and a few bags of food) to a nearby "tent city" where the local homeless population might be able to put it to use.

Games, Music and Movies

Among recycling ideas that do not always occur to people who want to remove clutter from their homes is that it is possible and perfectly acceptable to sell DVDs online along with old games and music CDs. The market for used CDs and DVDs is surprisingly large, so it is certainly not inconceivable to think that a person with a dozen or so rare or highly sought after albums could pocket a tidy sum by auctioning CDs on eBay. If the hassle of listing items and dealing with bidders seems too much for sellers, direct services can be used to make a little extra cash from old games, music and films.

Shoes and Clothing

A favourite pair of jeans can only last so long. Old shoes can only survive so many steps. Coats and jackets change with each season. Whilst wearing items of clothing within a thread of their life may be common practice again due to worsening economic conditions, many people choose to throw out old clothes before they become heavily worn. There is no need to do this, however, as plenty of charities will gratefully receive donations of clothing, not least Oxfam, charitybags.org.uk and the Red Cross.

Baby Gear

Baby clothes and toys become keepsakes for parents as toddlers grow up, but not all items of baby gear need to be kept, especially not safety gates, cots, prams, pushchairs and car seats. Donating second-hand baby gear to charity is just one of the recycling ideas that can help thousands of parents who are struggling to cope in the current economic climate. Parents can donate old baby equipment to the Red Cross, Barnardos and other such charities.

These recycling ideas were shared on behalf of Musicmagpie.

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