By Mary Holmes
Whether you have finally decided that you need to peer down your possessions or you are moving to a smaller home, where to begin and what to do with items you no longer need or want can be roadblocks to starting the process. Here we will discuss ways to find good homes for all your belongings. One of our goals at Integrated Move Management is to bring as little to the dump as possible. For obvious reasons, we don’t want to contribute more than is absolutely necessary to a landfill. Also, items you no longer need can quite often have a second happy life in someone else’s care. Lastly, most dumps charge money per bag, per item or per pound – this can get costly. Once you have decided what you would like to keep in your home or move to a new home, here are steps to follow for the remaining items:
You can gift items to family members or friends. Most people start here because they want their loved ones to have first choice. Also, in this way, you will know where your items end up and that they are well cared for. A couple things to be aware of here. First, you may think your child should want the big dining room set, but they decline because it is not their style or it is too big for their living space. It is best that you be prepared for situations like this so you are not disappointed. Second, it may happen that more than one of your children want the same items. If you don’t feel comfortable dictating who gets what, there are creative ways you can handle this situation to alleviate hard feelings.
There are many ways to make money from belongings you are saying goodbye to. If you have valuables such as art, antiques, silver, or collections – calling in a dealer to get an appraisal and offer is a good place to start. You may want to get more than one appraisal prior to making a decision. If you have a house full of items of moderate value, a tag sale could work well. This is similar to a yard sale, but involves your whole house. For specific items, consignment stores may be a possibility. They are generally looking for items that they know will sell in a reasonable timeframe. You will generally net 40% to 60% of what your items sells for. Another possibility is bringing in an Auctioneer, who will generally pay you upfront and pick up items they feel they can use in a future auction. Lastly, selling items on line can work well, e.g. Ebay, Craigslist, local yard sales, Let It Go, Etzy, etc.
And think beyond Goodwill or Salvation Army here. Although these are both excellent organizations and will take a wide variety of items, there are also many local organizations that would benefit from your donations. Some examples: local school or non-profit for art or office supplies; organizations that provide home items and clothing for refugees or victims of tragedies, such as a home fire (some of these organizations will take things other can’t take, e.g. mattresses, baby or medical equipment); thrift stores that use proceeds to support those neighbors in need (Habitat for Humanity and Catholic Charities both operate stores for this purpose – but you also may have something in your area that is more local). A key to keep in mind is that some of these organizations will pick up your items, others will not.
Paper, plastic, glass and metal can all be recycled and most towns have programs that are free. Here is a link from EcoMaine which can help you determine if an item can be recycled: http://www.ecomaine.org/recycling-and-waste-disposal/single-sort-guide/.
Although this is a last resort, you will inevitably end up having to take a trip to the dump. Our advice here: get to know your dump. Find out how they charge, if they have a swap area, if they have days when you can drop off old electronics for free, etc.