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Blog: Organize This!
When enough is enough, don't just trash your stuff

When I work with clients who have had enough of their clutter, we unearth many things that are still useful, but no longer useful to them. When items lay around long enough to become a nuisance, many people just trash them. Did you know that Americans throw away an average of 4.6 pounds of trash per person per day? In her book, The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard provides these and other eye-opening statistics on the waste that we perpetrate every day when we trash our stuff. Luckily there are many options for what to do with stuff that is no longer useful to you. Here's is a list of suggestions for where to donate or sell different items and some ideas to have things fixed, repaired, or given new life. Let's break it down:
Donate it:
-Habitat ReStore for Habitat for Humanity: Donate anything to build a home: doors, windows, light fixtures, small and large appliances, etc. They now accept books.
-Goodwill, Hope Rescue Mission, Salvation Army, local churches or synagogues: clothing and accessories, kitchen items, home furnishings and decor, collectibles, furniture.
-Career Centers, Women's Shelters, and Homeless Shelters (check websites for 'wish lists'): clothing for office work, toiletries, make-up, children's books, blankets and sheets
-Animal Shelters: old bath towels and bedding, dog cages, pet taxis, dog and cat food, leashes and collars
-Freecycle.com: free local on-line ads to unload what you don't need at no charge to the receiver. Get what you need for free by going to the website and searching for your item. 
-Local Libraries: donate books, audio books and DVDs.
Sell it:
-Used Book Stores: sell or receive store credit for books, audio books and DVDs.
-Consignment and Resale Shops: shop owners will choose what clothing and accessories they take, get cash or store credit for your items, some stores accept children's clothing, toys and equipment
-Auction houses: some auctioneers will arrange on-site tag sales, have a lot of items (especially furniture) taken away at one time, receive cash upon pick-up or wait until sold.
-CraigsList.com: free local on-line ads, cash only
-eBay.com: locate a trading assistant to sell for you or take a class and sell it yourself.
-Local Newspapers: classified ads still work.
-Reputable jewelers: sell old gold, sterling silver, platinum jewelry, coins and watches. Some jewelers give credit to purchase new items.
Fix/Repair/Refurbish it:
-Upholsterers: have stools and chairs recovered; have cushions made for window seats and old church pews.
-Tailors: have clothing altered or tailored. Have a favorite dress, wedding dress, or sweater made into a throw pillow. Mend clothing that isn't ready for the trash.
-Frame Shops: have art, certificates, and child's art framed. Have cross stitched pieces framed.
-Carpenter: have antique furniture refinished. Have antiques remade and repurposed.
Finally, if you donate your items to a nonprofit agency don't forget to get a receipt. You may be eligible to deduct your donations. Consult a tax accountant or www.irs.gov for details. It does take some effort to take care of your unused items, but you'll feel good about leaving it out of the landfills. Contact me if you need more information.
Clutter Quote: "He who knows that enough is enough will always have enough." Lao Tzu, founder of Taoism

posted on: 12/17/2011 2:30:00 PM by Vali Heist
category: General Organizing Tips

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Organize This!

by Vali Heist

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About Vali:

Vali Heist is a Certified Professional Organizer, the owner of The Clutter Crew for homeowners, and a Certified GO System Trainer for businesses. She is the author of "Organize This! Practical Tips, Green Ideas, and Ruminations about your CRAP. CRAP stands for Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure! She writes a monthly column for the Reading Eagle called "Organize This!". Vali's bachelor's degree is in Business Administration from Shippensburg University and her Master's Degree is in Higher Education from Kutztown University. Vali has an extensive background of 24 years in Higher Education including training, administration, project management, writing, and editorial production. Her passion has always been organization and how it relates to the simplification of work and personal life in order to enjoy both to the fullest. Her ultimate goal is to continue finding simple, easy to implement ideas that work in the real world and pass them on to her clients.

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