You might be in the middle of home remodeling or just sprucing things up a bit. If so, it usually means out with the old and in with the new. When it comes to your window treatments, you might be looking at your aging blinds and wondering what to do with them.
Before sending your old blinds straight to the rubbish bin, only to have them dumped in a landfill, consider your options first. It might take some time and a little effort, but you can do the following with the blinds instead:
1. Donate your old blinds.
2. Recycle your old blinds.
3. Repurpose your old blinds.
4. Sell your old blinds.
1. Donate Your Old Blinds
The first thing you can do with old blinds is to donate them to a registered charity or someone who can use them. You can donate any blinds, from Venetian metal blinds to Roman shades, as long as they are in good condition.
Step 1: Assess Whether the Blinds Are Suitable for Donation
First, consider why you want to donate your blinds and assess their condition.
For example, suppose you are redecorating and updating your window treatments, yet your old blinds are still in excellent condition, then you can probably donate them. But if you are parting with the blinds because they are broken, tattered, or faded, chances are nobody else will accept them either, and you should discard them.
Many organizations you might consider donating to have guidelines related to the quality of the items. It is worth researching to confirm that your old blinds will be a valuable contribution. For example, charities like Habitat for Humanity ReStore only accept blinds that have never been used and are still in their original packaging. Other charities only accept blinds not older than a few years.
Step 2: Find a Local Recipient
To save on transport, the best way to find a recipient for your old blinds is to look in your area, be it a friend, family member, or someone in your community in need. You can also donate used blinds to one of the charities in your state.
If you don’t already know someone who will be able to benefit from your blinds, you can advertise them on a platform like Freecycle. Freecycle is a private, nonprofit organization that allows you to donate and receive free, reusable items from people in your hometown. Another alternative is to post fliers at high-traffic locations in your area (e.g., colleges, shops, etc.) or advertise in the local newspaper.
If you prefer to donate your used blinds elsewhere, you can deliver them to any church, women’s shelter, or charity. Most of these organizations accept goods of any kind.
If you don’t know any local charities, the Charity Navigator’s database is a helpful site to get you started. It will help you find a legitimate charity by enabling you to do a search within your area and per other specifications. The Charity Navigator website also offers additional helpful information, like the tax benefits of donating, questions to ask charities before donating items, and how to avoid charity scams.
Here are a few charities that accept used window treatments, like old blinds, and offer a pickup service to collect your goods:
Goodwill organizations will sell your used blinds in one of their thrift stores or online. It is best to donate the blinds by delivering them to one of the many personnel-run donation centers across the country.
You can also use the Goodwill bins in your area, but this is not always recommended. Your donations often end up supporting for-profit organizations. To ensure the container is a legitimate Goodwill charity drop-off point, it must display the following information clearly:
- Mission statement
- Purpose and percentage of sales used to fund the Goodwill mission
- Contact details
- The Goodwill logo
If you cannot deliver the blinds to a center in person, you can contact your nearest Goodwill store to find out if they do pickups. All contact details and store locator information are available on their website.
The Salvation Army (USA)
You can donate your old blinds to the Salvation Army by finding your nearest drop-off location, scheduling a free pickup, or delivering it to one of their thrift stores. Once you access their website’s donation page, you must enter your zip code under one of the drop-off/collection options. Once done, the necessary information will be displayed for you to proceed.
The Salvation Army’s website also has a handy Donation Value Guide that will help you determine the tax-deductible value of your donated blinds. Currently, it does not explicitly list ‘blinds’, but you can use the ‘drapes’ and ‘curtains’ listed as a guide to estimate the value.
Website: The Salvation Army
Blinds To Go®
Blinds To Go® is not a charity per se, but they are a blinds company in partnership with a charity called World Vision. You could bring any old blinds to Blinds To Go® even if you did not purchase them through their company. They will then either recycle the blinds or donate them to World Vision on your behalf.
Blinds To Go® has over 100 drop-off locations across Canada and the East coast, including:
- New York
Website: Blinds To Go
AMVETS National Service Foundation
AMVETS is a charity that supports U.S war veterans and accepts monetary and non-cash donations, including home furnishings and window treatments. Apart from the main AMVETS website, there are several other partner sites that you can visit to search for an AMVETS thrift store near you. These stores serve as drop-off locations, or you can schedule a pickup.
A note to consider is that many AMVETS websites state that donated items should not be older than five years. It is thus worth checking with them in advance if you are unsure whether your old blinds will pass the quality check.
The Arc is a charitable organization that supports those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their website offers visitors ten different ways to donate, from cash and non-cash donations to giving stock and cryptocurrency.
Most of The Arc’s chapters will take physical donations, like old blinds, but you must contact your local store to confirm and arrange a pickup. On their website, simply navigate to the area to donate physical items. Find your nearest chapter by entering your home state, and the relevant contact information will appear.
Website: The Arc
Furniture Bank Network
The Furniture Bank Network is a bunch of furniture banks that aim to put furniture, electronics, small appliances, and houseware back into communities rather than landfills. They operate in 34 states in the U.S., and you can find the contact details for your local furniture bank in the directory on their website.
Most, but not all, Furniture Bank Network representatives offer free pickup of your donation, so it is worth contacting them to confirm the availability of this service.
Website: Furniture Bank Network
A pickup program that supports local, state, and national programs for the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA), is Pickup Please. Their website offers a step-by-step guide on how you can donate to them, including scheduling a pickup and how to prepare and label your donated items.
The Pickup Please service offers donors convenience. For example, you don’t have to stay home to wait for their pickup. You simply put your old blinds in a box marked “VVA Donation Pickup” and leave it outside your house. Pickup Please will also email your tax deduction document, making it quicker and easier for you to complete.
Website: Pickup Please
Step 3: Prepare and Deliver the Blinds
Once you have chosen a charity to accept your old blinds, making sure they look presentable is in everyone’s best interest. Remove the blinds from your home or place of work with care, keeping all the hardware together to help the new owner install it easily. Finally, properly clean and disinfect every blind and test it to ensure it is in good working order.
Depending on your chosen charity’s drop-off or pickup specifications, it would be helpful to pack up the blinds securely so that it does not damage while in transport. Once delivered or collected, remember to request a donation receipt which you will need to claim on your taxes.
2. Recycle Your Old Blinds
Another way to part with your old blinds is to recycle them. This is an excellent option if you would rather have your blinds processed and made into new products since it alleviates some environmental burdens.
Step 1: Assess Whether the Blinds Are Suitable for Recycling
Not all blinds and shades can be recycled. The material they are made of and the treatment of the material will impact its ability to be recycled.
Recycling centers are also very particular about the type of blinds they accept. For example, most (if not all) recycling centers will accept metal or plastic blinds. However, some might not take wood blinds. Therefore, contacting your local recycling center or scrap metal yard is essential to confirm that they will accept your old blinds.
Type of blinds you can recycle:
- Metal blinds
- Plastic blinds, including vinyl/PVC (confirm with your local recycling center)
- Real, unfinished wood blinds (i.e., not painted, treated, or varnished)
Type of blinds you cannot recycle:
- Wood blinds that have been treated, painted, or varnished, and faux wood blinds
- Cellular blinds (the mix of metal, wood, and 100% polyester fabric makes them unrecyclable)
- Bamboo blinds (they are usually treated, and the fibers can damage recycling machines)
- Fabric blinds
Step 2: Find a Local Recycling Center
Not all recycling centers process all recyclable materials. You will thus have to search for a local recycling plant according to the type of blinds you have. Earth 911 is a website with a database to search for any kind of recycling center near you. If you cannot find a suitable recycling center, you can try narrowing your search to more specific directories. Here are a few to consider:
Metal Recycling Plants
If you have metal blinds, you can access the ISRI database to search for a metal recycling plant near you. The website allows you to search for recycling plants by commodity and area. You only need to select the specific metal your blinds are made of from the dropdown list and enter your location. The site will then present the contact details of all the metal recycling plants in your vicinity.
Plastic Recycling Plants
To recycle plastic blinds (e.g., PVC or vinyl), you can visit the ENF directory, which lists 190 plastic recycling centers. Simply click on the center’s name for the relevant contact information.
You can also access the Vinyl Institutes Directory if you have old vinyl blinds. The directory lists over 100 recycling plants in the United States. The search option is based on your location and the type of items you wish to recycle, showing you the physical address of a suitable recycling plant.
Organic Recycling Plants
Wood blinds are trickier to recycle since most come with a hazardous treatment, paint, or varnish. Assuming you are sure your old blinds are made from natural, unfinished wood, it is worth contacting the nearest organic recycling plants in the ENF directory to confirm whether they will accept your old blinds.
If you are still unsure whether your blinds can be recycled or if you do not find a suitable recycling plant near you, you can contact Blinds To Go®. As mentioned before, this blinds company will assess its material and recycle it accordingly. If it is not ideal for recycling, they will donate it on your behalf.
Step 3: Prepare and Deliver the Blinds
Ensure that you dismantle your blinds before you have them collected or deliver them to the relevant recycling center. That means removing all the lift cords, ladder cords, and other components from the headrail. You should only be left with the slats that need to be recycled. If necessary, give them a quick wipe-down with a wet cloth to ensure they are clean.
3. Repurpose Your Old Blinds
Repurposing is an excellent method to keep your old blinds but still use them. Repurposing your old blinds is very similar to recycling them. You can give them a new purpose instead of taking them to a recycling plant to be processed. This method gives you a chance to get creative. It is also an excellent opportunity for kids to get involved in DIY arts and crafts.
Step 1: Repurpose the Blinds
All blinds can be repurposed, regardless of their material. Here are a few general ideas for things that you can create using the slats of most old blinds:
- Make labels for bins and boxes.
- Give a mirror a sunburst edge with metal, plastic, or wooden slats. Here’s how.
- Cut aluminum, vinyl, or fabric slats to the preferred size and add a string or a ribbon to make bookmarks.
- Make a planter slat wall with wood or plastic blind slats. Here’s how.
- Use the blind slats as garden dividers.
- Use metal, plastic, or wood blind slats to create a decorative outdoor trellis. Here’s how.
- If you are busy painting walls, use the blind slats to cut in.
- Use flexible blind slats, like vinyl or aluminum, to spread glue when doing other DIY projects.
- Use sturdy blind slats as drawer dividers.
- Make various holiday decorations.
Some projects are more suitable for specific materials. Here are some ideas on how you can repurpose your old blinds, depending on the material they are made of:
Metal blinds, like aluminum, are a strong yet flexible material that is easy to maintain. The slats of a metal blind are perfect for doing the following:
- Scrape crumbs from the table or clean a countertop after working with bread dough.
- Use the slats to retrieve items from hard-to-reach places.
Plastic blinds (faux wood and vinyl/PVC) can be very malleable or sturdy depending on their gauge (i.e., thickness). It is a valuable material that can be used as follow:
- Make a fitting for a chandelier or lamp.
- Use them around a garden’s edge.
- Weave it to make a basket (using a thinner, flexible vinyl).
Wooden blinds are solid and versatile and can be repurposed in many ways. Here’s how to get creative with wooden slats:
- Clad furniture to give it a new look. Here’s how.
- Make striking frames for your photographs.
- Create big, rustic letters that you can use as wall art.
- Cut the slats smaller and use them to level furniture.
- Create an accent wall. Here’s how.
- Make children’s props, like a road barrier and other obstacles for pretend play ‘on the road.’
Bamboo blinds are cheap, malleable, and can easily be treated or painted. Repurpose your old bamboo blinds by trying the following:
- Cut the bamboo blinds to the size you want and paint images or patterns on the surface to create a work of art – perfect for hanging on your wall.
- Cut them to size to be used as placemats.
- Use them as beach- or picnic mats.
- Use the blinds to make lampshades.
Fabric blinds are great for repurposing since they cannot be recycled. Rather than throwing it away, you should try your hand at the following projects:
- Update your bed’s headboard by weaving old linen blinds over the board and stapling it into place.
- Cut the blinds into large enough sizes to be used as rags.
- Cut and weave the fabric slats to make placemats.
Cellular and honeycomb blinds are a little trickier to repurpose, given their shape. However, you can still do the following to provide them with new life:
- You can use the blinds to make a Japanese fan.
- Use the blinds to make various party and holiday decorations, like decorative banners, holiday garlands, or door wreaths.
Step 2: Reuse, Donate or Sell Your Creations
Once you have successfully repurposed your old blinds, it is up to you whether you reuse them or donate them to someone (some of these projects make a great gift!). If it is unique enough, you can sell them – you might even find a hidden passion that could turn into a side business.
However, if you choose to move forward with the repurposed blinds, you can rest assured that it now has more use than it would have had if it ended up in a junkyard somewhere.
4. Sell Your Old Blinds
One last option you have with your old blinds is to sell them. Most people might consider this option if the blinds were expensive, to begin with, and of exceptionally high quality. Depending on the blinds you have and the platform(s) you use from which to sell them, they might go very quickly, or it might take weeks or even months for them to sell. So, be aware that there might be a waiting period.
Step 1: Assess Whether the Blinds Are Suitable for Selling
If you consider selling old blinds or shades, they must still be in proper working condition and look the part. If need be, give them a good clean before you put them up for sale. It will only be a waste of your time and efforts if you try to sell used blinds that are damaged or frayed.
Step 2: Find a Platform on Which to Sell Used Blinds
You can sell your old blinds by putting an ad in the classified section of your local newspaper or selling them through your local consignment or antique shop. However, selling your old blinds online is more effective. You will reach far more potential buyers and sell it sooner and with minimal effort.
Here are some of the most reputable online selling platforms on which to advertise your old blinds:
eBay is probably one of the most well-known platforms for selling new or used goods. You have the option to sell your old blinds at auction or at a fixed rate. An auction might not always get you the price you want, but it is a much faster way to part with your item. However, if you are set on a specific price tag, you can opt for the fixed-rate advertisement.
eBay’s website has some valuable guidelines for creating a great listing. For example, you can write a standout title, take good-quality photographs of your item, and set the right price. Start by setting up an account, then create and manage your listing until it has been sold.
Platform service fee: 13%
One of the most visited marketplace websites in the U.S is Craigslist. It works like the traditional newspaper ad section – only online. You can list your old blinds for free; the process only takes a few minutes.
To advertise your old blinds on Craigslist, go to the website, select your home state, and post to classifieds. You will then choose to sell your item, enter all the required posting information, and upload a photo.
Platform service fee: 0%
Suppose you are like millions of other people and have a Facebook account. In that case, you can easily advertise your old blinds on Facebook Marketplace. No fees are involved in posting an ad, and you can easily reach a wide range of people within your local community or your state.
Choose to create a listing on Facebook Marketplace and follow the easy steps. You can create a listing from a computer or using your mobile phone. A great feature is adding up to ten images of your old blinds to the listing and setting your location.
Platform service fee: 0%
Website: Facebook Marketplace
OfferUp is an online marketplace that you can access by downloading the app on your phone and opening an account. Listing your old blinds will come at no cost on OfferUp, but other charges like shipping or service fees may apply once you sell your blinds.
Besides shipping the item, you also have the option to meet a buyer in person, which can be arranged through the app. Another exciting feature of OfferUp is that buyers can offer a counter price for your items, which you can either accept or decline.
Platform service fee: 12.9% or a minimum of $1.99
Bonanza is an excellent platform for selling old blinds. The best feature is its integration with Google, meaning you will get a lot of traffic to your listing. It is especially effective if you consider going bigger and selling goods as a sideline business. On their website, you just select the tab that lets you start for free. Then, you proceed to open an account and set up your listing.
There are no listing fees on Bonanza, but they will charge you a service fee based on the value of the item you sell. For example, if your old blinds sell for less than $500, you will pay 3.5%. For goods valued at more than $500, you pay 3.5% + 1.5% of the amount exceeding $500.
Platform service fee: Minimum of 3.5%
Bookoo is a great family-friendly option if you prefer to only connect with potential buyers in your hometown. You can download the Bookoo app or visit their website to open an account. Once confirmed, you can list as many items on their platform as you wish – for free.
It keeps your business local, so there will be no shipping involved in any transaction. As soon as a community member wants to buy your old blinds, a local pickup can be arranged between you and the relevant buyer. As much as this feature is an upside, unfortunately, it means you won’t be able to reach a vast audience. Still, it is suitable for networking and meeting other locals.
Platform service fee: 0%
If your old blinds are in good condition, you can consider selling them on Aptdeco. Aptdeco is a platform that sells goods related to your home, like lighting, décor, furniture, rugs, and outdoor and garden items.
On the website, all blinds are listed under the category ‘curtains’, so it might be helpful to browse and see what is already on offer to prepare your listing. The best thing about Aptdeco is that they will touch up every listing (e.g., enhance photos or add information) to make your item sell faster.
Platform service fee: 23%
The online marketplace, eBid, is like eBay. It also has the option of auctioning your item. Yet, the low service fee is an attractive feature that distinguishes it from its more famous rival.
To start selling, simply access the eBid website and begin by selecting the category that applies to the old blinds you want to sell (i.e., home and garden). You will be directed to open an account and start putting your free listing together.
Platform service fee: 3%
Step 3: Keep or Donate the Proceeds
Once you have sold your old blinds, it is natural to want to keep the money you made from them. You might want the proceeds to go towards a new pair of blinds or to treat yourself to something special.
However, it is worth considering donating the proceeds to a charity where they will use the much-needed funds for whatever needs they have to fulfill their mission.
By selling your old blinds, you also see the item’s value and can thus claim the exact amount back from the IRS.