Green Moves – a guide to donating and selling your unwanted items

Did you know that Switzerland is one of the top producers of waste per capita of any developed country?  One contributing factor is likely to be the frequent movement of people in and out of the country.  If you are preparing to move, or you simply have too much ‘stuff’, rather than taking your items to the local recycling center, where they will most probably be destroyed, why not consider giving them a new lease of life by donating them to one of the many charitable stores in the area.

Here are some options to consider…….


Donating your unwanted items:


Please note that each charity has different store hours and accepts different items depending on their current inventory and their area of focus. If you have many items, a few of these charities do offer a pick up service.  But remember not to wait until the last minute if you are moving in the summer, as many of these charities can become overwhelmed by donations and run out of  space during the peak moving months.

  • Salvation Army in Nyon – will take just about anything in good condition.  They also have stores in other locations where you can drop-off your unwanted items, and have a pick-up service if you have large furniture. For more info, visit their website or call  022 361 3337.
  • Bric-à-brac in Nyon and in Gland – will take furniture, household items and childrens’ toys, but no clothes.  They also have a pick-up service. More info – email
  • Caritas – La Boutique in Nyon – will take mainly clothing, linens and children’s toys.  Caritas also has a big sorting centre in Plan-Les-Ouates which will take anything in good condition. They have a pick up service. For more info email
  • SOS Famille la Côte in Begnins (no website –  079 308 72 06, Route de Gland 1, 1268 Begnins/VD) will take children’s items, including clothing and toys.
  • Croix-Rouge, Centre d’intégration Culturelle in Geneva – will gladly take all your unwanted books for their used book store.
  • Vêt’Shop – Réception de la Croix-Rouge genevoise – Red Cross clothes depot in Geneva. Items are either donated to the needy or sold in one of their shops.
  • Emmaus in Geneva – will take just about anything in good condition. They have a pick up service depending on your location. For more information contact or call 022 301 5757.

Lastly, please consider following the Facebook page ‘Giving a little something…(Geneva, Vaud and beyond)’, where a school mom puts out requests for items needed to help support refugee families.

Books are also collected once a year for the annual La Chat Kermesse book sale, which is a significant revenue contributor to the Kermesse.  Funds are donated to the Kermesse Grant Fund.  Drop off times for books will be posted in the school’s newsletter the week prior to the Kermesse.

And when you are done with your move, think about donating your boxes to another family that might be moving.  

Selling your unwanted items (online and offline):

If you prefer to sell your items, you have many online options. 

Selling online
  • You can list your items for free.  It is strongly recommended that you offer the option of mailing within Switzerland to increase your target audience for smaller items.  You can find information on postal fees on the La Poste website.
  • Similar to Ebay, as it takes a small percentage of your sales, but you have a larger reach on the German speaking side of Switzerland.
  • If you are feeling adventurous, you can try selling on the Italian canton’s main second hand website. English books tend to sell well here, if you offer to ship them.  You can post your listing in English. 
  • The Swiss Ebay site is not as popular as in some other countries and is best for items that are easy to ship. You do, however, have the potential to reach an international market.
  • Le Bon Coin: In France, the main second hand market is on this website. The service is free and has a wide reach in France.
  • Facebook Marketplace:  Don’t forget the new Facebook feature called Marketplace which is great for selling within your neighborhood. 

If you prefer instead to go offline instead, you also have several options:

  • Trocs: These are local charity-run neighborhood sales where you need to bring your items, labelled with a tag indicating your family name and price, and they are sold for you by the charitable organization for a fee. You need to go back and collect your money and your unsold items. Usually only items marked at low prices sell well. Trocs are often advertised on neighborhood posters or commune websites and held twice a year, in the fall and in the spring. In the areas close to La Chat, you have bi-annual trocs in Crans-près-Céligny for toys, Chavannes de Bogis for children’s items, Coppet for clothing and children toys, and, in September, for women’s clothing in Founex.  You can find information on all these trocs (and others) on either the commune’s website or on Facebook. 
  • Vide-Greniers: This is a sale where you sell your items on a stand (somewhat like a boot sale or garage sale) and sometimes you need to pay a fee to rent a spot or a table.  The fees for a table vary but usually run at about 20 CHF.  It is strongly recommended that all your items are clearly labelled with a price tag.  One of the more popular ones close to the school is the one in Coppet.  Tables are reserved for Terre-Sainte residents and can be reserved for 20-25 CHF, depending on the location.  There are also vide-greniers in Gex and Divonne.  There is also a more comprehensive list of vide-greniers in Switzerland and France. Please note that “brocantes” are usually reserved for professional antique dealers.
  • Consignment shops:  There are plenty of consignment shops in the area, especially in Geneva. Some are specialised in children’s items and others are for adults. Each has their own fee structure.   Some will pay you upfront for your items while others will sell the item before sharing the profits with you.  They usually only accept designer labels, however some of the children ones are open to all items in good condition.
  • Auction houses:  If you have luxury items, artwork, jewelry or antiques, you can consider one of several auction houses in Geneva.  They take a seller’s fee which varies but is around 20%.  You can send pictures of your items for free to see if they will accept them for one of their auctions. 

So please remember to reduce, reuse and recycle.  One person’s unwanted items are someone else’s treasures.

By:  Karen Eugeni

2 thoughts on “Green Moves – a guide to donating and selling your unwanted items

  1. Thank you for this excellent overview of how to get rid of stuff. In many cases, these are also great suggestions for how to acquire stuff! Perhaps in the future an article could be devoted specifically to this issue – reducing our consumption, which is how we can all make the greatest contribution to sustainability.

    Liked by 1 person

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