Simplifying A-Z: J – Junk

Posted by SimplifyMe on February 2, 2016 in Organizing |

J – Junk

As the saying goes, “One man’s junk, is another man’s treasure”. I think that was said by Sanford and Son. Clients often worry about getting rid of things because they don’t want to throw away something they’ve spent money on. I hate to throw away useful things! This is why I like to donate as much as I can to worthy organizations such as Goodwill. I tell my clients that even though they can’t use something, someone else may be able to use it. You may not need or want the Elvis clock your great aunt Trudy gave you for your birthday 3 years ago, but someone may find it at Goodwill and feel like they’ve hit the jackpot!

Everyone thinks their things are worth a lot of money, and therefore hate to get rid of them. But when is junk, really just junk? I say. It’s when the cost of keeping something outweighs the cost of letting it go, or trying to sell it. The cost of an item is not just monetary, things cost us energy (in upkeep), time (in trying to sell them) and emotional distress (in keeping too much). In past blogs I’ve discussed the idea that our stuff takes a toll on our emotional health and can often make us feel overwhelmed and unfocused. Likewise, we can get so bogged down with maintaining our junk that we forget that it’s there to serve us, not the other way around. Clients often tell me they have things they think are ‘worth something’, and are eager to sell them. It’s difficult telling someone that no one is going to pay big bucks for their old toaster or college textbooks from 1978. People also always want to sell clothing and ask me about consignment shops. I’m not a fan of consignment, since they only take items in pristine (and dry cleaned) condition, that are currently in style. Most people seem to want to consign old, worn out clothing from their teen years. Unfortunately, I often have to burst the get-rich-quick bubble by saying most people’s junk is just that, junk. I tell clients that the time and money (if you hire someone) you will spend trying to sell something is worth more than the item. More often than not, the tax write-off you will get from donating it is a much better and less stressful option. If you do choose to take the time to sell your things, a few good spots are Craigslist (for local items), Ebay (for collectors items), Thread Up (for clothing), Rebagg (for purses).

So what if your junk doesn’t fit into a box you can throw into the back of your car and drop off at the donation center? I tell my clients that I will take away and donate everything that fits in my car at the end of each work session. I’ve had clients take me up on that, literally, so that that I leave their home with only enough room for me to fit into the driver’s seat. For those that have bravely tackled a garage-full of junk, there is help in the form of junk haulers. This is an amazing business, which complements the work that we, organizers, do. For a nominal fee, they come to your home with a big truck and muscled employees to remove everything you want gone. The best part is, that they don’t just take all of it to the city dump. Companies like Junk King, make sure everything they haul away is dealt with responsibly. They do everything from recycling old refrigerators to donating your bedroom set. Companies like Gone For Good even have a store where they give you a discount on your haul-away of they can resell some of your old items. Then there’s Clutter Trucker, who specializes in hoarding situations and mandatory clean-outs.

What’s the point? I’m glad you asked! Whether you think of your stuff as junk or treasure, if you don’t need or want it, don’t hold onto it!

Your Junk may be useless to you, but useful to someone else – Donate it!
Is your junk ‘worth something’? – Sell it!
If your junk is overwhelming your space and you – Have it hauled away!



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