I often get the call from my client’s children – What do we do now, our parents are hoarders and they are now in the nursing home? or maybe they passed away. Even when the parents are not hoarders, the task of cleaning out someone’s lifetime possessions is overwhelming and stressful.
Most of the time people prefer to have the family come in and take memorable items before anything else is decide. This can lead to family fights and feelings that are hurt for a long time. Before this happens, I always suggest that the parents make a list of who they would like the items to belong to and give a reason why. It might not be easy for your parents to give up their items now, but they can put a list together to help you in the future. Many times, children are hurt because they wanted the items and it was given to a sibling, but a little explanation from the parents can solve some of the hurt feelings.
Having family member sort through and take items could be a long process and an even longer article of the pros and cons. So I am going to skip over this problem and save it for another article. In this article let’s just say the family has already been through the house and no one wants what is left in the house. Many families decide they are going to have a rummage sale or sell things on online. That might work if you have a few extra months that you are willing to spare and you might end up doing it on your own causing more hard feelings. Other families decide right from the get-go to hire a professional to have an estate sale or an estate auction. That is great too and can bring in some extra cash for expenses.
But that is not what this article is about either. Many of my clients are getting into the trend of giving to the community, or upcycling, or recycling or whatever the new term is. The parents and the families like the idea that they can give back to the community and certain groups which meant a lot to them. Some of these places are tax deductible which is always a plus. This article is to provide some idea of where, how, what, and when to recycle or upcycle.
1. Animal shelters – some will take old chairs/furniture for dogs and cats to sleep on, detergent, bleach, shampoos, conditioners, soaps, old newspapers, bedding, towels, place mats, jarred all-meat baby food, hand sanitizer, office supplies, unused pet supplies, pet food, leashes, plastic/paper, bags, collars, heating pads, litter boxes, and brushes
2. Homeless shelter – towels, sleeping bags, mats, blankets shoes/socks, shampoo/conditioners, personal items, reading glasses, toys, plastic bags, hat, gloves, telephone books, toys, games, and clothes
3. Habitat for Humanity ReStore – furniture, appliances, cabinets, décor, tools, lights, antiques, doors, windows, fixtures, flooring, paint, building materials, and outdoor equipment
4. Senior Centers – Kleenex, disinfecting wipes, batteries, stamps, microphones, popcorn maker, small bingo prizes, radio, games, glasses, walkers, wheelchairs, and dvd players.
5. Foster care organizations – clothing, luggage, personal items, games, stuffed animals, and toys.
This is a really short list of where you can donate items. I just wanted to get you thinking outside of the box. I could be writing forever on this topic. Besides, there is always Ronald McDonald House, Goodwill, Rawhide, Disabled American Vets, and St. Vincent’s which are all great nonprofit organizations to donate to.
I want to say thanks to Mary L., one of my clients that got me started on this subject. She provided me with lots of useful information.
Also, I want to draw your attention to two great website I found online:
1. Missminimalist.com – This is a great article that list 101 places you can donate items to and describes what they do.
2. Donationtown.org – This website list different charities that will either pick up the item or provide a place to drop off the item.
I am sure that there are plenty of other organizations out there, it just takes a little looking on the internet, but fair less time than a rummage sale. As a reminder, this is not a time to get rid of your garbage, it is a time to provide items which can benefit charities and their patrons. Please always call the organization first to make sure they are still accepting those items.
Have fun upcycling, recycling, and giving back to your community!