"Where Did All This Come From, And Where Can It Go?"

Get started to get rid of stuff.

        The snow piles have receded from in front of the barn doors, the back shed is again accessible, and for the first time in awhile, you’ve ventured into the attic.  Your immediate reaction when entering these storage spaces for the first time in months?  “Is that really all my stuff? Why am I keeping all of this?”

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            Yes, many of us seem to be collectors of things, whether we do it consciously or not.  When we evaluate our “collections,” particularly after an absence of time, our thoughts turn to ways to divest ourselves of these unneeded, unwanted items.  But disposing of these things can turn into a complicated matter itself.

            “Downsizing” has become a favorite term of many in recent years.  Simply put, it means moving on all those items we once thought important to hold onto, but now are just impediments to a more enjoyable life.  Easier said than done, downsizing is one of those processes that require careful planning, and execution.

Getting Started

            When you take a look at everything you wish to move on, it is easy to become quickly overwhelmed.  Much like the thousand mile journey that begins with one step, tackling one item, or one room at a time is a good way to begin.

            It makes most sense to assign items to one of three categories; things to sell, things to donate or give away, and things to throw out.  Of course, that brings up more questions.  Am I throwing away things someone will want?  If I’m selling something, what is it worth?  If I want to donate something, will they want it?  Those questions bring us to our next consideration in downsizing.

Getting Help

            Objective help to assist in the downsizing process is a great idea.   Whether a friend, family member or professional that helps individuals disperse their heirlooms, having an advisor is important.  We often have too close a connection with our belongings, giving us an unreal expectation of their value, and desirability.   It is good to have an objective voice saying, “You’ll be lucky to get $20 for that,” or “Put that in the free pile, no one will pay for it.”

Getting Stuff Out Of Your House

            Once you’ve decided what to get rid of, the real trick is moving those items on to a new home.  If you’ve decided you’d like to realize some money from your more desirable items, there are several options, but keep in mind all require time and effort. 

        You can rely on the traditional yard sale, provided you are prepared to drag things out to the yard and garage, arrange and price them, advertise the sale, deal with (hopefully) throngs of visitors to your home, and are ready for inclement weather.   Despite those drawbacks, having a yard sale can be great fun.

            Another option is selling items on a local Internet yard sale site.  There are several area sites found on Facebook, where one can post photos and descriptions of the items they wish to sell.  (Of course, there is the Market on the DailyUV, too.)  A close alternative to these sites is placing items for sale on one (or more) of the list serve sites found in the area.  Many people have good luck selling via these routes, but there are some pitfalls.  Sometimes the first responder to your post will declare, “I’ll take it,” then not show up, or back out of the deal after you’ve told other prospective buyers the item is sold.  A hint; until someone shows up with money in hand, and carries it away, don’t consider the item sold.  Also, stay away from holding items for folks, or making lists of who responded first, second, third, and so forth.  The old saying, “Money talks …” is the best way to proceed.

            Giving away items is usually an easy alternative.  You could take items to an area not-for-profit donation center, such as the Listen Stores, or the SEVCA Good Buy Store.  One time church sales, such as the one held at St. Paul’s in White River Junction, are also options.  Some of these will also pick up you items, but keep in mind, just because it is a donation does not mean they will automatically take it.  Donated items need to be desirable, and in reasonably good condition.

            Using the previously mentioned Internet and list serve sites also works well for freebies.  Put your giveaways by the end of the drive, post a free notice on the local list serve, and you will likely have good luck.   Just keep in mind your neighbor may not appreciate the old blue toilet hanging out near their property line for a week, until you haul it to the dump.

            For some items, such as that blue toilet, the disposal route is the only way to go.  If you can haul things to your local dump/recycling center, great.  If not, there are services in our area that will pick up items for disposal and recycling, for a fee.



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