Monday, April 20, 2009

Downsizing Dilemmas - Garbage and Recycling

I'm back folks - took a little break there. Back to those downsizing issues...

With almost every client I work, we end up purging out a significant amount of material that can not be re-purposed, is not suitable for sale or donation and therefore ends up in either the garbage or recycling. When clearing out a space, even just to reorganize to make the space function better, clients are often surprised how much debris has collected over the years which ends up no more valuable than the garbage bin.

If you are looking at a downsizing project, I recommend that you start your project armed with information about how to get rid of what may end up being a very large pile of garbage or recycling. Some of the material can go to your regular garbage pick up or disposal although most jurisdictions now carry volume limits on the service. Check into your service provider, public or commercial to find a) volume limits b) size limits or c) alternate places where you can take the material yourself. Most of these places will have a tipping charge. In the jurisdiction where I live, this charge is $10 per 100 kg or part thereof.

If you know there is going to be huge amount of material to garbage you may want to look into a junk removal company such as 1-800-GOT JUNK. In addition, you will need to have a "staging" area where the goods heading to garbage can be put while you continue to clear out your space.

"Even precious treasures left long enough, become garbage".
One of my favourite client quotes.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Downsizing Dilemmas - Books

If you or someone you know is involved in downsizing their home, or even a spring clear-out project, then you or they are familiar with the problems of finding homes for the things you once loved or used and which you are now ready to pass on. Some of these items truly belong in the garbage. As one client once said to me "Even good treasures left long enough become garbage." This next series of posts will address organizing for downsizing, particularly finding new homes or places to sell previously cherished and potentially valuable items.

Today's items are books. In one client's home we uncovered a storage room with many, many boxes of books. Some were over 100 years old. Some were mouldy. Some were signed by the authors.

Here are three websites to which I was directed to try and find the value in some of these books:

While it is sometimes hard to part with things we once loved and used, separation can be easier if we know the item is going to a good home. If time and simplicity are issues for you, consider finding a local book reseller or book dealer in your area. If all else fails, you will at least have found someone with compassion for your love of the written word.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Kids Grow - Clothes Collections Don't Need To

It's officially spring. If you live in the northern hemisphere, like me, your days are getting longer and warmer. If you live in the southern hemisphere (a big shout out to our African readers) your days are getting shorter and cooler. Whichever the case, the seasons are changing and so are our kids' clothing needs.

Have you noticed how children grow? We feed them, hydrate them, make sure they get to sleep on time, provide them with lots of hugs and kisses and presto - they grow. Have you ever noticed how the clothes don't grow with the children?

Very small children grow out of their clothes so quickly, you may find yourself clearing out the too small garments monthly for awhile. Soon it moves to every few months and then settles out at about every half year. There isn't a better time to do a major clear out than spring and fall.

Be ruthless, just like in your own closet. If your children don't like the clothes, won't wear them you might as well get them out of the way (the clothes that is) as they just become clutter. Here in Ontario there are several clothing resellers where "gently used" clothes and live a second or third life and provide you with some money for the next size required. If giving them away is your choice, find the benefactor that meets your needs and purge away.

If the clothes are to be stored for younger children be aware that children's tastes are different. I don't recommend what I did - and have become wiser for the experience. I stored my gender neutral daughter's clothes for her 6 year younger brother. I would have been better off selling them when she was done with them. The fabric ages and in 6 years the elastics were perished. Then there was to issue of style and taste!

Get the kids involved in reviewing the clothes so that they understand basic sorting, decision making and organizing strategies. You can make it a game, put a reward incentive at the end and get them to pick the benefactor of the too small items. They may not thank you today - but they will thank you for those skills later in life.