We have found at our house that winter is a great time to downsize. Why? The main reason is the weather. It keeps us inside more than we would like. That make is a great time to open a closet or go down the basement and pull out a box that we may or may not remember what is in it. Or look in cupboard for items on those top shelves that we never use. Finally, looking in each room and in the basement storage area, where we might see that we have furniture that we have kept “because the kids might want it someday.” We have enough rooms, closets, cupboards and a basement to keep us busy for many winters to come.
So what do we do? We take it in very small pieces. We do one box or cupboard or closet at a time. This keeps it from being overwhelming. Sometimes going through a box is easy. It may contain travel brochures that you thought you might use sometime. Now they are: 1) out of date; and 2) the information is all on line. If it is someplace you visited, it is a good time to decide do we want to put it in a scrapbook, or is it time to let it go. Sometimes clothing can be hard to let go of because of the memories that are attached. On the other hand it can feel good to give it new life by letting someone in need have it. You can always take a picture if you want to preserve the memory.
Finding things that you can give a new useful life can be the most rewarding way of downsizing. At our house, we first ask the kids if they want something we are about to give away. We give them some leeway about when they need to take it. If it is a family heirloom, we may next ask siblings if they want something. We got rid of two boxes of dishes and odds and end this weekend by doing that. If we strike out on both of those then we look for the right place to get rid of something. Here is a list of places that we use:
- Bridging –651-631-3255 – Furniture, household items, small appliances
- Goodwill – 651-920-8121 – Furniture, household items, clothing
- Epilepsy Foundation – 651-287-2300 Furniture, Household, clothing, etc
- Joseph’s Coat – 651-291-2472 – Primarily Clothing
- Salvation Army – 1-800-728-7825 – Furniture, household items, clothing, etc…
- Disabled American Veterans of MN DAV MN 651-291-1212 Medical Equipment, Clothing and Household items
There are also a number of consignment shops around the metro area if you feel you want to try and sell your items. You can also get a deduction for donation if you document them appropriately for the IRS. Talk to your tax preparer for how to do that.
Most of all enjoy the sense of accomplishment when you are done!