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The New Year is a time of getting your new things into use and getting rid of your older, disused things. We are awfully good at getting new stuff but not so hot at letting go of old stuff. So in this post we’ll look at how to get rid of stuff.
The obvious choice
Now. the obvious place to get rid of stuff is the dump. You may access the dump by putting your disused things in a can you can wheel to the curb, or in a bag you leave by the road. Some of us are in charge of getting our stuff to the dump, landfill, or transfer station, using our own vehicles. But the end result is that the disused stuff becomes part of the landfill somewhere.
The advantages are several. First, it doesn’t take any real thought. It’s trash and it goes to the dump. Simple and effective.
Second, it’s convenient. Using whatever system you have to send stuff to the dump, you just include your newly-discarded items and you’re done. No having to make appointments, drag your stuff around to other places, or be home for pickup at certain times.
Third, it may be already paid for so why not use it? This argument works where you don’t have a fee for general trash; if it’s part of your taxation, then it pays to throw more.
Of course, disadvantages also exist. As you can see above, an important factor comes from whether you have extra fees beyond taxes that discourage you from throwing out too much. Where I live, we have to buy specially-marked 30-gallon bags in which to put our trash, and only those bags can be put in the compactor at the transfer station. It’s called pay-as-you-throw.
Another big disadvantage is that your disused thing might still be useful to someone. For example, what do you do with old, beat-up bedding and towels? Or an operational toaster oven? And what to do with books? Read on.
Good stuff to a new home.
Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to get rid of stuff that is perfectly good, just not for us any more. The outsized clothing when we lose weight, for example, or a new toaster oven to be more versatile than the pop-up toaster on the counter.
Clothing is actually rather easy to rehome. You can put it in a consignment store and see if you can score a few bucks for it. A good consignment store will be selective of what they take in and when, so that they aren’t full of off-season items that won’t sell. If your items don’t sell within a certain period, they may be given away. But if you work with the store on in-season clothing of good quality, you could come away with some extra money.
Some people sell clothing in yard sales, along with dust collectors, disused household stuff and outgrown toys.
You could also give the clothing away. Think about donating to a thrift store or a non-profit organization. That way, your good things can get re-homed and do someone else some good, and the profits go to do others some good too.
Finally, if you’re part of an extended family, you can rehome kids’ clothing by sending it to family members with the right sizes and genders. Then they can take what they want and pass their hand-me-downs on to the next group, and so on. Clothing that isn’t taken can go to the collection box at the shopping center.
What do you do with the stand mixer that just isn’t strong enough to knead bread? (That’s most of them if you want to make a habit of it. Just sayin’.) Or a spare toaster? A superfluous set of casual dishes? Old but good curtains?
You may find a consignment store that takes such things, especially in areas where people have summer homes. They like having everything at the “camp” but don’t want to pay top dollar for new. Likewise, some thrift stores like them.
What about online sales? Take some pictures and put your items on Craigslist. There you can sell extra motorcycles, used appliances, specialty items such as weaving looms and woodworking equipment. Just be careful of con men, whether buying or selling. We recently scored an extra set of wheels for a new-to-us truck online.
You may find that churches keep a certain amount of survival items, such as bedding, basic cooking equipment and furniture available for emergencies such as disastrous house fires or needy families showing up. The nonprofits that take clothing may also take household goods as contributions for resale.
One place you might not expect is the dump. In summer-home-dotted country towns you’ll find some dumps have areas or even buildings in which you can leave that extra end table or small appliance in working order. Someone will snag it and give it a second life.
Antiques and heirlooms
For many people, it’s hardest to get rid of stuff like this. So many associations cling to the items that it’s hard to imagine anyone else having your things. But increasingly the younger generations aren’t using fancy china and silver, linen tablecloths, and doilies, to name a few items.
It all depends on what your antique is, really. If it’s furniture, heirloom textiles, art, fancy dishes or such, have an antique dealer look at it. However, if your antique runs to the Gravely mowers side of things, you’ll need to have a knowledgeable person in that field appraise it. But do have these things appraised if you have them.
For china and sterling flatware you should check out local estate salespeople or jewelers that handle such things. Online businesses such as Replacements LTD can appraise and buy silverware, crystal and china as well. Replacements has you inventory your stash, then they can give you some idea of what your things are worth to them. If you like that ballpark figure you can ship your things to them and they send a check. The shipping can get expensive, though.
Stuff isn’t always easy to get out of your house, but it can be done. Make an adventure of it; have fun with it. If you have as much stuff as I do you can’t be in a hurry to move it out. A friend of mine just found a home for a horse collar after years of trying. So if you have just one thing to get rid of, start now!
What kinds of things are you trying to get out of the house?