Pairing down your belongings can be a huge endeavor, which is why this downsizing guide will come in handy. If you’re like most retirees you’re thinking about it. And you probably have a house full of possessions that no longer play a roll in your daily life. So now may be the right time to start clearing them out.
Unfortunately, you may find that fewer places than ever will take a carload of items from your home. As electronics, books, and furniture become harder to donate, you may need to sort and distribute items to more specific organizations.
So where can you take these hard to donate items?
Downsizing Guide: Hard to Get Rid of Items
Books have become harder to donate in the age of e-readers and online resources. Try taking your unwanted books to the following:
- Local libraries – Many local libraries still accept donations. If they don’t plan to place the books on their own shelves, they may sell them to raise funds during book sales. Either way, your donation benefits both the library and your local community.
- Little Free Library – Have you noticed small structures resembling over-sized birdhouses popping up in your community? These are free book-sharing boxes. They are aimed at building community and inspiring one another. Just place your unwanted books inside for someone else to enjoy.
Electronic devices are often hard to re-home, even if they’re still in great condition. These items become obsolete in a short time when a new version hits the market. But that doesn’t mean someone else won’t want it. Here are some ways to pass your electronics on:
- Best Buy – This company is making an effort to decrease the amount of electronic waste ending up in landfills. Their recycling program accepts items of all sorts- from cell phones to refrigerators. Many of these items can be recycled in-store for free or for a small fee.
- Amazon – This online retailer’s unique trade-in program offers options for shipping your used electronics in return for a credit to be used for a future Amazon purchase.
- ecoATM – These kiosks make it easy to turn your old phone into cash. Simply find a nearby kiosk on the website, follow the steps online for preparing your device for recycling and take it to the kiosk. You’ll find them conveniently located in local retailers and grocery stores.
Families used to pass furniture down for many generations. Unfortunately, especially for baby boomers, many of their children prefer simpler lives with less stuff. They aren’t accepting those cherished heirlooms. Don’t let this deter you from downsizing, consider the following:
- Facebook Marketplace. If you have a Facebook account, you may have noticed that there is now an entire component dedicated to selling items. Here, you can list your items, and communicate transaction options like pick up or delivery.
- Auction Companies. Organizations like Everything but the House will help you auction your items with their online bidding platform. They take care of the photographing and listing for you. Keep in mind that you’ll be paying them a commission through the sale of your items.
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore – An organization that accepts donations of furniture and household items for resale. This helps families in your local community outfit their homes affordably.
- New Life Furniture Bank – This Cincinnati charitable organization assists families in need by matching them with furniture donations. They work hard to give these families quality pieces by inspecting and cleaning items before delivering them to their homes.
- St. Vincent De Paul – This charitable organization takes donations of all sorts– including your clothing. You can make a tax-deductible donation at one of the many locations. Even more helpful, associates will help you in unloading your car so your donation is simple.
- Matthew 25 Ministries – This organization in Cincinnati is focused on taking care of those with the greatest need. Not only do they make efforts in the local area and throughout the United States, but also support efforts worldwide. Find out more here.
- Get Creative – Have pieces in great shape but from another era? Contact a local theater group or school district to see if they’d be interested in adding them to their costume department.
Downsizing Guide: Avoid Future Clutter
Most of us don’t want to continually downsize our items. We also don’t want to see future unwanted items end up in a landfill. But to avoid both of these we need to change our habits.
1. Borrow Rather than Buy
As you attempt to clean out your closets and get rid of things you aren’t using anymore, do your best to avoid making unnecessary purchases in the future. Need an item for a project, gathering or trip. Try borrowing from family and friends. Especially if the item won’t have a lasting place in your life.
2. Shop Yard Sales
Buy an already loved item. Chances are that if you find it at a yard sale, you’ve saved it from the landfill! And you’ll have saved money as well.
3. Delay Purchases
Everyone should give this a try before making a new purchase. Before you make a purchase, especially a pricey one, delay it for 30 days. When the 30 days is up, ask yourself if you still need or even want the item. You may surprise yourself.
Many of us get caught up in frivolous purchases, and giving ourselves time to think (or forget!) about it makes it clear we didn’t need it in the first place.
For more tools for living well and aging, visit our Resource Page.
Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.