The holiday celebrations are upon us, and we are busy getting ready to receive a house-full of family and guests. To make room, we have been putting things away – only to discover in many cases that we have way more stuff already tucked away into closets, drawers, basements. garages, attics, cases, and other storage locations in our homes. We create a new year’s resolution to purge ourselves of some of these excess items. How are we going to put all of our decorations away in a couple of weeks when there doesn’t seem to be the room to do so?
The idea is not to be negative about all of the stuff we have amassed or to get down on ourselves for having so much stuff. It might be neatly organized but still a lot, or it might be jumbled together. We want to reduce the amount of stuff we have to make our homes safer and more livable. We need to have fewer items that can be located when they are needed without the hassle of sorting through piles of unimportant or unneeded items to find what we want.
This leads us to our resolution – to begin paring back on what we keep. It likely won’t be an overnight process because we have to pick up and look at each item, although there are some items (broken, obsolete, or things we know we won’t wear or use anymore) that can go in the toss or giveaway pile right now.
If our purpose is to find good homes for serviceable items that we just don’t need or no longer want, and we don’t want to try to sell them or really don’t need the little amount of money that might be generated, we need to consider donating the items. “We” means us personally as well as our clients that we advise.
If we do decide that we want to sell a few of the items, or we want to place a donation value on something for tax purposes, we need to consider the current value versus what we paid for the items or what we think they are worth. Something that cost $200 new might only be worth a few dollars – if that – today because of the color, style, or age of it, We need to be realistic about pricing items. That is another reason many people just skip this option and go straight to the discard or donation.
Remember that charities are non-profit organizations and the reason they maintain thrift stores are to generate money for their organizations and programs. If we give them our junk – and it literally is just that – they will just have to throw it out after taking the time to inspect it and then having it take up room in their trash when we could have saved them the time, manpower, and effort by making that determination ourselves.
Drive by a thrift store sometime and look behind their donation center. There are dumpsters filled with discards that never should have been given to them in the first place. If it’s junk to us, it likely is to them also. If they can’t sell it, it is worthless to them. Also, they don’t have the manpower or materials to fix or repair broken items such as furniture or to mend clothing. We really do them a disservice in giving them our junk.
If an item that we are considering donating to an organization for them to sell is not desirable enough, attractive enough, or appealing enough for us to want to acquire it (even though we clearly wouldn’t want to because that is why we are getting rid of it), then it belongs in the trash. Sometimes even “free” is too high of a price for some items.