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What Do I Do With…?

Updated: Nov 5, 2022

By Shirley M.

Image by Shirley Hirst from Pixabay

Much of what we consume doesn’t necessarily have to end up in the recycling bin or cart. Before you decide to cast-off something in your home, consider if there is a way of reusing it. You can fix it for your own use or you can resell or donate it for someone else’s use before deciding to recycle it. For example, you have a lovely pair of shoes but the heel of one of them is broken. Your little baby is all grown up and he doesn’t need the crib anymore. What about the old frying/cooking oil you have gathered? Your old electronic device or your broken cellular phone? What should you do?

Below are some links which might help you find the right place for what you don’t need anymore.


Some things might just need a little fixing to work again. Before you decide to buy more stuff so you can fix something in your home, check if you can borrow it. The Ann Arbor Library has a Library of Things where you can borrow things like a sewing machine, garden tools or a telescope.

The Manchester Library also offers a library of unusual things. You can borrow kitchen appliances, electronics, and kids’ games.–things-you-may-need-special-checkout-collection.html

I’m happy to write that the Ypsilanti Library is working on the final details of their own Library of Things which is expected to be ready for the public this summer. Expect more information about their program soon.

If you need to fix your bicycle, Common Cycle offers bike maintenance classes, free open shop hours and community tools for those who would like to fix their own bicycles. And yes, they also sell bikes and service them.

You can also rent garden and construction tools and machines at several hardware stores around town.

If you need not only tools but a place to work as well, Maker Works, in Ann Arbor, offers several different specialized ateliers, classes and tools.

You can have your shoes fixed or restored at Ann Arbor Shoe Repair in Briarwood Mall (next to Von Maur); Park Shoe Repair (; or at Fourth Ave Birkenstock (

If you check the Washtenaw County Recycling website (listed at the end of this article), you can find a list of other resources for repairing things in your home. Vacuum repair, computer repair, etc.


There are items in your home that are in very good condition and you might want to sell or swap (exchange). For those items you could use a website. To learn more about your choices of websites, read this article:

The Ann Arbor Buy No Things Facebook Group, is a network of the gift economy where people can gift, receive, share, and lend things. Things here are not for sale and money does not play a part in the exchanges.

Locally, you can sell your fashionable vintage clothes to Getup Vintage store (

Your books can go to Dawn Treader Book Shop (514 Liberty Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104).

Gently used children’s clothes and “stuff” can be sold to Once Upon A Child:

Sports equipment and gear can be sold to Play it Again Sports:

Women’s clothes can be sold to Plato’s Closet:


Public Library:

Books and DVDs can be donated to your local library. Donated books and DVDs are sold to raise money for Library Programs like lectures, book groups, children’s story time and much more. If you have many books to donate, your donation might be tax deductible.

Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop: 2280 S. Industrial Hwy., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The Ann Arbor PTO Thrift Shop raises money for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Several Public School programs are possible because of the sale of donated items.

They accept a wide range of items for donation – from clothes, shoes, and books, to furniture, electronic devices, small appliances, games, and craft items. All items donated should be clean and in good condition. For a list of acceptable items please check their site below. Donations are tax deductible.

Ann Arbor Thrift Store: 3500 Washtenaw Avenue, Suite K, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Donations and sales at this store provide short term emergency help to support individuals and families in need in the greater Ann Arbor community. It also provides assistance in the form of grants to social service agencies. They accept clothing, shoes, small household appliances, jewelry and more. Read more at:

Re-store (Habitat for Humanity): 6241 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Habitat for Humanity works to create housing for low-income families.

Donations accepted at the Re-store location range from home appliances and furniture to gardening and construction supplies. Donations are tax deductible. For a full list of accepted items check their website:

Salvation Army Store: 1621 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

The Salvation Army helps in several different ways from emergency disaster service, to hunger relief and veteran affair services.

They accept household items, clothes, shoes, appliances and more. For the whole list, check their website:

Scrap Creative Reuse Center: 4567 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48108

The Scrap Creative Reuse Center accepts crafts and art supplies. For the whole list of acceptable donations please check their website:


BYOC Co.: 255 E. Liberty Street, suite 215, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

BYOC (Bring Your Own Container) store is a Zero waste shop that sells beauty and cleaning products and offers a refill station. Emma, the owner, also collects hard to recycle items like razor blades, toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, bread bags, crayons and more. For more information read her list of accepted materials in her website. Pay attention to store times because collection boxes will not be accessible if the store is not open.

Drop-Off Location: 2950 E Ellsworth Road, Ann Arbor MI 48108

Here you can drop off large quantities of cardboard, magazines, cans, jars, along with Styrofoam, plastic bags, vegetable oil, light bulbs, textiles, electronic devices, construction debris, concrete and much more.

Check the whole list of accepted materials here:

Recovery Yard: Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

The Recovery Yard will accept larger quantities of the material which is usually accepted in your home recycling like cardboard, glass jars and plastics, but they also offer special services like document shredding, secure hard drive shredding, demolition consultation and roll-off containers (dumpsters). You can learn more at:


Home Toxics Center: 705 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Some hazardous materials cannot be recycled but should be disposed of responsibly.

Here you can dispose of toxic chemicals like acids, paints, cooking or motor oils, anti-freezes, household or car batteries, compressed gasses, fire extinguishers and much more. Get the whole list of what they accept and times they are open in their website:

For more recycling resources in Washtenaw County, please check the link below:

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