Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What do I do with all this stuff?

Sometimes the most frustrating part of an organizing project is getting rid of all of the clutter at the end. When I do a professional organizing project for a client, I take the client's stuff with me at the end of the appointment. But if you are looking to get rid of your clutter now, here are some ideas.

Donate to thrift shops. This area boasts hundreds of thrift shops, including Goodwill, the Salvation Army, and shops in churches and hospitals. Many shops will give you a receipt for donations, so you can deduct them on your taxes, but call ahead first to check their donation hours. Although the thrift shop will give you a receipt, you will have to estimate the fair market values
yourself. The Salvation Army provides a good value estimation guide online at It is also helpful to browse the thrift shop racks to see how
they price items. Before you donate the items, I recommend writing or typing a list of donated items and estimated values. When you receive the donation receipt, staple your list to it and keep them both in your tax file. You'll be surprised how it adds up!

Donate books to the library. If you have a lot of books to give away, try your local library. You can find a list of libraries that have book sales on the Delaware County Library System's website
at Many have ongoing book sales and accept donations year-round. They don't accept everything, though--so give your old encyclopedias and National Geographics to someone else!

Recycle hazardous waste. The County of Delaware hosts hazardous waste recycling events four times a year at various locations around the county. For dates, locations, and instructions, see their
website at, or call 610-892-9627. They accept computer and portable televisions twice a year. If you need to get rid of a computer now, call your
local Goodwill store to ask if they accept computer donations. If they don't, Staples and Office Depot recycle computers for a fee.

Donate your Christmas cards to St. Jude's. Ever wonder what to do with all of those holiday cards you get every year? They're so beautiful, it's a shame just to throw them out. Well, St. Jude's
Ranch, a campus for children rescued from abuse, collects the fronts of all kinds of cards to use for craft projects. The children construct new cards using the old fronts, then sell packets of their new, hand-made cards to raise funds for the ranch. For details, see their website at, or mail to "St. Jude's Card Recycling, 100 St. Jude Street, P.O. Box 60100, Boulder City, NV 89006."

If you think some of your items may be valuable, consider calling an appraiser, an auction house, a used book store, a record/CD trader, a comic book/baseball card store, or selling them on ebay
or Craigs List. The old saying goes "time is money," and I'd like to add that "you need to spend time to make money." Selling on ebay and in live auctions are often not as lucrative as they seem. Be honest with yourself, and really consider how much time you have before launching into another