Baby bottles. Bikes. Shoe boxes. Playing cards. These are just a few of the items that I’ve been asked to find new homes for in the past few weeks as folks declutter and get organized.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the questions. I love helping people clear out, gain peace and send things on to new homes. But here’s the thing…most people I know are busy. Aren’t you? You and I have jobs and families, and we’re really good at a lot of other things, but managing the flow of consumer goods through the retail pipeline isn’t one of them.
To find a new home for playing cards, and then the next thing and the next and the next, you and I would spend a LOT of time and energy finding the best person who could use that one item because, frankly, that’s not our expertise.
Instead of thinking of Goodwill or Salvation Army or your local thrift or consignment stores as the last resort, think of them as the experts in material goods on the secondary markets. That’s where people go to find second-hand goods and treasures. Thrift stores are the experts in handling, valuing, displaying and finding buyers for secondhand goods.
[bctt tweet=” Thrift stores are the expert in handling, valuing, displaying, and finding buyers for secondhand goods. #organize #declutter” username=”DarlaDeMorrow”]
In Australia, they don’t call them thrift stores as we do here in the US. In the US, most people hear “thrift store” and equate it to junk or cheap. But in Australia they call them OpShops. The internet tells me that is short for opportunity+shop. That’s a much better way to think of it. Our stuff going on to new opportunities to the people who will value it next.
How much good could your clutter be doing while it is rotting in your basement, attic or garage? If you pass them on to thrift stores, rummage sales, Freecycle or Buy Nothing groups, someone else is getting the use or value of them. It pretty common in our business to see people with a closet full of warm winter jackets, sometimes more than they can wear in a month, and know that those jackets are falling apart on the hanger, when they could be keeping someone else warm. By the way…keep as many of your jackets as you want! But if you are on a path to simplicity, this might ring true for you.
But keeping things in your house past their usefulness is waste of another kind. It makes your house harder to enjoy. It contributes to mold, dust, and rodent infestation.
Get everything that still has value out to thrift as soon as you are ready. Just because it doesn’t have value for you, doesn’t mean it can’t be valuable to someone. Household decor, clothes, even electronics. Get it out into the world so it can be claimed or recycled. If you keep it in your house, it’ll never have that chance to be useful to someone else.
[bctt tweet=”Get everything that still has value out to thrift as soon as you are ready. Just because it doesn’t have value for you, doesn’t mean it can’t be valuable to someone. #Organize #declutter” username=”DarlaDeMorrow”]
Here’s something else you might not know. Many thrift organizations are so good at handling goods, that they pass on what they can’t use to other organizations who can. For instance, Goodwill has made money from recycled textiles for years, so even your worn towels and stained sheets could end up doing good through recycling, but only if you pass them on.
Over the years, I’ve compiles a downloadable Donate and Recycle directory that you can download for free here. You might find some things you thought were useless are actually accepted by an organization you never knew about.
Don’t just keep doing the same old thing.
Do something different.
Stop decluttering by avoiding clutter in the first place.
Stop holding onto things until you can find the perfect place to send it.
Trust the process.