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Title: The Reuse Directory – Helping “Hoarders” Like Me Since 1998

by Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Communications Specialist, Baltimore County Department of Public Works

Do you keep unwanted but reusable items around the house because you can’t find a way to reuse or recycle them, and sending them to the landfill is wasteful? Do you ever think to yourself, “But I might need that someday,” when considering what to do with something you haven’t used in years? Have you ever tried to downsize your household inventory, only to find yourself traipsing down memory lane, too sentimental to get rid of even the most commonplace items, like that waffle maker you received as a wedding gift and used only twice?

If so, we have a thing or two in common. At home in a crawlspace, I've been storing a lot of items I no longer use, such as:

  • The old desktop computer I used to write countless college papers;
  • A collapsible rowing machine, a fitness ball and a set of small weights from numerous attempts to get into shape;
  • Four huge boxes of clothing (because, you never know, they may come back in style, and I just might fit back into those jeans someday);
  • A bag of cheap stuffed animals I’ve won at carnivals (because I’m such a grown-up);
  • Plus two home entertainment systems, cell phones, crutches, linens, a coffee table and two rugs – all items I've replaced with newer versions.

But all of that changes this weekend. I am emptying the crawlspace and will begin donating, selling or recycling everything in it.

Sounds like a tedious task, right? Once I’ve finished clearing out the space and sorting everything in it, who will want my old electronics, clothes, housewares and equipment? It seems I’ll have to do a lot of homework to find someone willing to accept my materials.

Actually, it won’t be difficult at all thanks to the Baltimore County 2017 Reuse Directory. The Reuse Directory lists organizations throughout greater Baltimore that accept various items and materials for reuse. Many of these are nonprofit organizations that provide donated resources to people in need, but the directory also lists businesses that buy specific items and even some companies that recycle materials the County doesn’t accept at its materials recovery facility. Some of the organizations listed will even pick up your unwanted stuff!

Why should you make your unwanted items available for reuse instead of throwing them away? As noted in the directory, reuse:

  • Lowers disposal costs.
  • Conserves space in the landfill.
  • Helps other people and organizations.
  • Saves money, energy and natural resources.
  • Reduces air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

The 2017 Reuse Directory (PDF) includes links to the participating organizations’ websites. You can search the directory on your computer or in your mobile web browser. Printed copies of the directory are available at a Baltimore County library or senior center near you.

Whether you are looking to make some extra room in your house or you're replacing old items with new ones, consult the Baltimore County Reuse Directory to find organizations that will give or sell your unwanted items to someone who can use them!


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Revised September 11, 2017