Saturday, October 7, 2017

"Some Of Our Unwanted Stuff May Have Value For Others, But Some Is Just Junk"

We may have decided that we have too much stuff and that we should get rid of some of it. For many of us, however, this is a very tall order that is much easier thought about than actually completed. Just figuring out where to start can be a challenge.

Maybe we did a little bit or sorting, cleaning, and cleansing back in the spring. Maybe we did a little bit more or those rainy days over the summer when it seemed like a good way to pass the time. Clearly, getting rid of unwanted or items that are no longer useful or needed is something that can enhance our quality of life, and we aren't limited to just a few days or weeks in the springtime. This can be an ongoing, positive effort in our lives and a pervasive attitude that we carry with us throughout the year - always asking ourselves if there are items anywhere, taking up space, that have outlived their usefulness and should have another home someplace.

There are many approaches to organizing a home - doing it a room at a time; starting with one cabinet, closet, or dresser and keeping just those items that belong there and removing those that don't to be dealt with later in the process; going through like items as a group no matter where they currently are found in the home - linens, glassware, tools, cookware, books, sporting goods, and the like; or starting with the main storage areas first - closets, basement, garage, spare bedrooms, and attic.
Once items that are being kept are determined, they need to be organized and stored in closets, drawers, on shelves, placed in boxes or containers, or put elsewhere where they can be easily found again when they are needed but not out in the open where they can get in the way or collect dust.

As for the items that are broken, not wanted, or possibly have value for someone else but not us, we need to decide if they have any remaining value that someone else would appreciate. Would someone pay for them on a site like eBay or Craigslist? Would a local charity appreciate having them for their thrift store? Are they just trash that needs to be discarded or recycled?

If we have been holding onto items that clearly are broken - because we thought we might get around to repairing them sometime or it was just easier than tossing them right away - we should immediately discard them. This is not the time to devote a lot of mental energy into trying to determine how or if they can be repaired or what it might take for them to be useful again. Some items just wear out or break. Some technology items are designed to become obsolete within a few years. Glassware that is broken doesn't need to be kept even if it can be glued back together again. It won't be the same.

Some items may have been purchased to start or add to a collection. While they had some value to us as we were collecting them, the real question is how much value anyone else may find in something that was personal to us. If there are others interested in our collection, how do we find them and what would they be willing to pay to have it? It may turn out that the time for such a collection has passed, that they aren't really saleable, and they should just be discarded.

For those castoffs that we think we can pass off to a charity thrift store for them to fix, clean, and then sell them to make a few dollars from them, we should pause to consider how much time and money would they need to spend to make that happen (likely more than they would ever get in return by selling them) and is there much of a demand for these items even if they are in new or nearly new condition?

If the items are not desired by us any longer - for whatever ever reason - and we don't feel that anyone else would pay money for them, why kid ourselves into thinking they have value? Some items are just junk and we need to recognize that fact.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.