The Organizing Elephant in the Room

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We have to talk about the elephant in the room. I’m not sure what your “elephant” is, but something is holding you back from having the home you really want, and that something is probably large, heavy, and perhaps expensive once upon a time. I’m here to help you decide what to do with the organizing elephant in the room.

ping pong table gets in the way of organizing

The Organizing Elephant in the Room

A lovely couple that I worked with over the last year to relocate to California have sent me pictures of their new home. They had a lot of elephants when we started.

the twelve foot red rug (that no longer complimented their favorite furniture)

the dark two-piece China cabinet

the pair of oversized nightstands

the ping-pong table in the basement and the extra chairs in the attic

and of course, the baby grand pianopiano before moving


Spoiler alert…this couple did fine in the end. But we had many conversations along the way about whether they planned to pay to pack, move, and unpack these things, even though they didn’t love them, didn’t even want them, and were fairly sure they wouldn’t fit in their new home.

They, like so many of us, had to shift their thinking and wind up some action to get rid of these things.

piano removed from home

Why Consider Getting Rid of the Elephant in the Room

When faced with a move, you have to consider the cost to pack, move, and unpack things you no longer want. It’s easy to just pack it all up, but it’s tragic to get to the new house and have to dispose of things after you’ve paid for them…again.

There will be things that you want, of course. There will also be things you need. But make sure that the things you neither want nor need don’t end up on the moving truck just because you didn’t make other arrangements.

The Value of the Elephant in the Room

You may be able to sell your elephant for a tidy sum, but more often than not, disposing of it on the front end is really just a better option than paying to move something you don’t want. In other words, whatever you make from selling it is gravy.

When it comes to custom curtains, you may be able to donate or consign them, but no matter how much you paid, they are almost certainly worthless today. Custom curtains are highly personalized, specifically sized for your windows, and do not do well on the secondary market.

How to Get Rid of the Elephant in the Room

Start making phone calls. Someone will buy your elephant, but it might take time, several calls, and perhaps a local moving crew. You may also need a handyman, electrician, or other trades to help you safely remove the elephant in the room. And you might have to wait for the right season.

If you have a neighbor or relative who has previously expressed an interest, offer it to them first, but with a deadline.

Contact general consignment and second hand stores, auctioneers, and specialty sellers in things like instruments, coins, and books.

before organizing and staging:

huge red rug overtaking the room

after organizing and staging:

light and bright after home staging


Take flattering pictures of your things and email them to potential buyers or brokers. Make sure these are flattering pictures, with no clutter in the background. Think of these as the pictures you would post on a dating website if you were trying to hook up your elephant with a new sweetheart.

I’ve written before about online sales sites for all sorts of things. There are new sites popping up all the time for things like furniture. Sites like Kayio and Chairloom can be great options, but be sure they operate in your area and are taking the style that you are selling.

Large TVs and large batches of electronics must be disposed of properly according to state and local laws. I recall a client recently who had to make special arrangements to dispose of x-ray equipment that had come out of her dental office. We were able to contact the state and get some help with that. It takes some time to solve these puzzles of how to dispose of some things.

The last resort is to use a disposal or trash hauling service. It may feel expensive or wasteful in the abstract, but once you make some calls and get the information, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it is to move things along. These services provide what you probably can’t…a crew of people capable of safely lifting heavy loads. Using a hauling service is better than being stuck with your elephant on moving day, or worse, having to dispose of it after you’ve paid to move it to another house.

The Elephant Shouldn’t Call the Shots

Your home is your home, and when it’s time to redecorate or move, don’t get stuck in default mode just because your old things are heavy, large, or were expensive at one time.

No matter when you found us, catch up with all of this month’s organizing articles here.