Already have an account?
Get back to the

Turn Your Clutter Into Cash — 5 Easy Ways to Get Paid for Recycling Unwanted Items

From clothes to old ink cartridges, there are so many ways to clean up and save big!

Clearing out clutter from your home can be quite the chore, but that “ahhhh” feeling when you’re done makes it all worth it. But if you need extra motivation, here’s some good news: Retailers will give you cash, gift cards and other bonuses for recycling unwanted items. Talk about a win-win! Keep reading to find out five easy ways to turn your clutter into cash and more.

1. Trade in clothes for store credit

You might already know that some major clothing retailers (such as Eileen Fisher, H&M and Madewell) offer store credit when you bring in your used clothes to recycle. Well, next time you’re shopping at a smaller clothing chain or an independently owned apparel store, check if they have a recycling program that offers valuable rewards, too.

More and more are offering discounts to customers to help reduce textile waste. For example, Marine Layer soft clothing gives you $5 in store credit for each used t-shirt of any brand that you give them up to $25, four times a year. You can drop your t-shirts off at a nearby Marine Layer location or request a free mail-in kit.

You can also get rewarded for recycling bras. Subset organic cotton underwear gives you up to $20 in store credit when you mail in your old bras, socks and other undergarments using a free shipping label.

Another option: Order a “Take Back bag” from Trashie at for $20. Stuff it with unwanted clothing in any condition, then mail it back using a prepaid shipping label. In return, you’ll get $50 in “TrashieCash” that you can spend at dozens of popular stores, such as The Body Shop, Lululemon and Zappos.


2. Earn cash by recycling old shoes

If you’re like us, you’ve got unworn shoes just taking up space in your closet. Now, you can clear the clutter and get paid by giving your shoes to charities that give them to folks in need and to companies that use old shoes to make other products, such as rubber mats.

For example, will give you $7 for each pair of like-new sneakers, $2 for every pair in good condition and $1 for every pair that’s heavily worn. Just sign up for an account, request a free recycling kit that includes prepaid postage, then ship your sneakers.

Another option: Join the free VIP Rewards loyalty program at the shoe retailer DSW and you’ll earn 50 points (equivalent to $2.50) for every pair of new or gently-worn shoes you bring to one of their stores.

You can use these rewards toward your next pair of DSW shoes, and your old pair are given to the international charity Soles4Souls. Are you a fan of The North Face products? Sign up to the free XPLR Pass rewards program and you can trade in your old shoes that you bought from the retailer to receive a $10 store credit toward a new purchase.

3. Pay your bills with unwanted phones

If you’ve got electronic devices you no longer use, they don’t have to just collect dust in a drawer. Chances are, they can be traded in for up to hundreds of dollars to cover mobile phone expenses.

For example, AT&T accepts qualifying mobile phones to use toward your monthly bill, AT&T accessories or a new phone. T-Mobile gives you credit toward a new device when you trade in your old smartphones.

And Verizon lets you trade in used qualifying smartphones, smartwatches and electronic tablets to cover payments in your Verizon wireless account or to use as store credit.

Another option: Cover your grocery bill with your old devices! Trade-in programs at Target and Walmart accept used smartphones, smart speakers, tablets and other devices in return for a store e-gift card.

4. Rack up rewards for ink cartridges

Experts say that tossing printer toner cartridges in the trash is a bad idea since they contain chemicals that are toxic for the environment. Luckily, there’s an easy way to safely recycle these plastic containers while also earning rewards: Sign up for a free loyalty member account at, then bring any brand of empty cartridges that you purchased from any retailer into a nearby Office Depot OfficeMax location.

When you make a purchase of at least $10 in qualifying purchases that month, you’ll earn $2 in rewards for each cartridge you brought to recycle, up to 10 cartridges per month.

Are you a Staples customer? Sign up for a free loyalty member account at, then when you spend at least $50 online or in-store on toner, you’ll earn $2 in rewards for each cartridge you recycle online or in stores (up to 20 per month) within 180 days after your purchase.

5. Turn plastic bags into savings

Most residential recycling programs don’t accept plastic shopping bags because they clog the machinery. Fortunately, you can drop off plastic bags to be recycled at Lowe’s and Walmart.

What’s more, in states without plastic bag bans, participating stores reward you for bringing reusable shopping bags, such as Target (5 cents off per bag), Whole Foods (10 cents off per bag), Trader Joe’s (offers vary) and Kroger (offers vary).

For more money saving tips, read through below!

These Are the 8 Best Hacks for Saving Money on Beauty Products and Toiletries

8 Genius Money-Saving Tips Finance Pros Use to Uncover Cash

How To Stop Worrying About Money: Experts Share 12 Secrets To Instant Financial Peace

More Stories

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.