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Downsizing and decluttering – what to do with all that “stuff”?

Posted By Marilynh / May 2, 2018 / 4 Comments

You’ve been in the zone, the right frame of mind. 

You’ve been ruthless, brutal and you purged. 

You have successfully conquered
the decluttering challenge!

  But now what do I do with all this stuff?!!

 

decluttering

 

 

A YEI reader, Peter, wrote:

As we get older, there are occasions where we need to downsize (e.g. death of spouse, emigration, sale of the family home, moving into a care facility, whatever).  After a lifetime, many of us may have a considerable amount of “stuff”, be it clothing, personal items, tools, diy equipment, garden furniture, bric-a-brac, furniture and appliances – you name it.  Apart from giving it all away for nothing, which many could not afford to do as charitable as that may be – how do you go about this exercise? Are there organisations, commercial or otherwise that could assist in the economically sensible disposable of a lifetime’s worth of THINGS?  Could one get some cash out of it to help with the months or years to come without disposing of all for nothing or at silly prices?  Most of us are not in touch with the actual market value of the things we have. The price we originally paid is totally irrelevant by now, but on the other hand SOME items may be worth a lot more than we think.

 

Peter’s query prompted this article:

 

Downsizing comes with loads of benefits, but it’s not without its challenges.  Downsizing generally brings a simplified life, living in a smaller space and living more with less. Downsizing in the retirement context generally means when one makes that move from the family home to a smaller, lock-up-and-go home.  Benefits include significantly reducing expenses, less stress, a minimal and stream-lined life and less chores and maintenance.  A hugely tangible benefit, but one that you apparently won’t understand, until you actually do it, is the feeling of freedom and liberation!  When you let go of the “stuff”, you start filling your life with meaningful activities.

We spend the first forty years of our lives enthusiastically accumulating belongings, and the next forty desperately trying to get rid of them!  Retirees agree that the hardest part about downsizing or decluttering is actually getting rid of belongings that you no longer need. 

 

 

decluttering 2

 

So where does one start?   Professional organisers will recommend that decluttering needs to start at least six months before you move.  When Day 1 of decluttering starts, you need to be in the zone – you need to be in the right frame of mind – ruthless, brutal and ready to purge.  Remember the Golden Rule – keep, sell, donate and throw away.   If this is too hard, consider hiring a professional organiser who can be much more objective that you. 

Let’s assume that you are at the successful end of decluttering, and have the four piles sitting in front of you.  The keep, the sell, the donate and the throw away piles.  The question now is – – what to do with all that stuff you have designated for donating and selling? 

 

decluttering 3

 

 

Valuable items – make use of an auction house

 

If you have a collection of valuable items, an auction house is one of the best avenues to sell artwork and antique furniture.    An appraiser will come to your home to assess and value the items before taking the items to auction. The South African Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA) is the official governing body for the auction industry.  SAIA advises members of the public to first confirm if an auctioneer is a SAIA member. SAIA members have a professional commitment to its clients to conduct themselves and their business in a manner that serves the public interest.   Click here for further information.

 

Unwanted goods can be turned into cash

 

Don’t think that no-one will be interested in your “stuff”.  Second-hand goods are making a comeback especially with millennials, who are very into “reduce, recycle and repurpose”. 

As mentioned earlier, it’s best to start early on your decluttering process, as the selling of items can be either a quick or lengthy process.  Please see below, where we have included a list of possible places where one can sell unwanted goods.  Please also read the safety and security tips when selling online.

 

Donate to charity

 

There are so many charities in this country, and no doubt we all have our own personal favourites.  Most non-profit organisations cannot operate without all the wonderful donations they receive from members of the public and all will greatly benefit from a donation of household items.  Knowing that you are giving to people in need may also make your decluttering easier.  Please see below, where we have included a list of possible places where one can donate.

 

Electronic waste – computers, printers, TVs, appliances

 

Electronic waste, or e-waste, as it is known, is any device which uses, or used to make use of, a power source: either electricity, battery, dynamo or solar.  Desco is a first class e-waste recycling company in SA and an established, environmentally responsible accredited recycler of e-waste.  Desco has drop-off points, mostly at shopping centres, countrywide.

Importantly, don’t forget to wipe computers and cellphones clear of data, so that you don’t become a victim of identity theft. Merely deleting files using normal system tools won’t really do the trick – you need to do a much deeper cleaning.  Speak to your computer technician or local computer shop if you are not sure how to do this. 

 

 

decluttering 5

 

Places to sell unwanted goods

 

Moving On

Moving On sells contents of homes. They sell anything and everything, second hand and used and as good as new curtains, pots, pans, cutlery, glassware, carpets, appliances, furniture, clothes, potplants, books, all the old stuff in your garage.  You name it, they sell it!  The sale usually takes place at your home, over a weekend, but alternative arrangements can be made.  Have a chat with them! 

Facebook

Consider advertising your unwanted goods on your local Facebook community page, or on a local “second hand” or “bric-a-brac” page.  Not sure how to do this?  Input relevant keywords (e.g. second hand goods – Brakpan, Diep River community) in the search bar at the top of any page on Facebook.

Bid or Buy

Bidorbuy is South Africa’s safe and simple online marketplace and auction site.  Bidorbuy is a perfect solution for selling with the help of sophisticated ecommerce tools and with a minimum of investment.  Bidorbuy offers great exposure as it is open for trading 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Gumtree

Gumtree helps millions of people buy and sell millions of things. They have a site that is easy to navigate, and a classified site that works on your mobile phone or desktop.  It is free to advertise unless you request priority placement. 

Cash Converters and Cash Crusaders

Cash Converters and Cash Crusaders will buy anything that works – appliances, computers, TVs, games, iPods, cameras, kitchenware, tools, sportswear and furniture – and pay you for it. The bigger stores will collect furniture, but you need to take pictures of it and e-mail them through for assessment by the manager.

 

 

decluttering 4

 

Safety and security tips when selling online

 

YEI says:

 Do your research and homework thoroughly:

  • Be smart, be savvy, be safe!
  • Don’t be paranoid, but be wary and vigilant to ensure that you are not being taken for a ride.
  • If situations make you feel uncomfortable, rather be safe and avoid the deal than lament being a victim later. 
  • Follow your gut feeling and let the other party know that you will never take any risk under any circumstances.
  • There is strength in numbers – have a family member or friend with you when you are selling something to someone you don’t know.

 

Click here to read the article:
How do I safely use online classifieds sites to sell something?

 

Gumtree says: 

 
At Gumtree, your safety is extremely important to us. Please read our tips for staying safe online before transacting on our site. If you come across any ads that seem suspicious, please bring it to our attention immediately – we’re here to help.

 

Click here to read:  Staying Safe in the Online Space

 

BidorBuy says:

We’ve got your back.  You’re covered up to 100% in the unlikely event that something goes wrong with your purchase on bidorbuy.  We will protect you if a seller does not send you the item you purchased or if the item is materially different to what was advertised.

 

charity

 

Charities who accept donations

 

Hospice shops

Hospice, the organisation that provides care to terminally ill patients and their families, usually run shops that accept donations of clothes, toys, books, magazines, furniture and homeware.
Do a Google search to find your closest hospice.

Charity SA

This is an organisation listing NGOs with charity shops that accept donations of everything from clothes and toys to appliances, furniture and bric-a-brac.
Click here to source charity shops in your province

Forgood

Forgood is an online platform that connects passionate people with needy organisations. It is a social market place where skills, goods, services and information can easily be offered and asked for.  Forgood are about matchmaking – for good.  One can also donate goods at Forgood.
Click here to read more about Forgood

 

 

In the comments section below,
do share your stories of what you did with your “stuff”,
examples of organisations who have assisted you with downsizing,
and worthwhile charities that you support

 

 

Related articles:

 

To downsize or not – that is the question!

De-clutter to save and make money

 

A professional organiser in the KZN area

 

Simplicity Services Professional Organiser

Email to a friend/colleague
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Comments

4 Comments

  • Clifford Thomson
    May 2, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    If there are any members in the Port Elizabeth area and surrounds that are downsizing, they are most welcome to contact me if they have items that they want to sell.
    My wife and i will come see you and offer you realistic prices that’s acceptable to both parties.
    I can be contacted on my email address below, or on 083 261 4825.

  • Nettie
    May 2, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    I guess the most difficult part of forced down-sizing and de-cluttering when you turn 66 is the fact that one has collections of all sort of things which have been collected over many, many years. Getting rid of prized collections such as handcrafted teddybears and antique objects are really difficult to sell and then there are the chancers out there who offer a pittance. Then there are those precious items which one has not used for many years but which one finds difficult to get rid of because of the sentimental memories involved — vinyl record collections, musical instruments, fine crockery collections, valuable books, etc.

    Yes, agreed — it is definitely a mind-set change. What many people do not realise however, is that it is also very traumatic to downsize and de-clutter, for some folks. Particularly for pensioners who live alone for years all those collections and objects become a sort of comforting cacoon around them — something one can identify with — a haven of ‘blanket security’ one might say. It is almost as if a part of one’s soul becomes detached when one has to downsize and de-clutter.

    Perhaps it is time for someone to think of psychological support for folks who find it difficult and traumatic to just ‘let go’?

  • Ginny
    May 6, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    If you don’t leave it till you are too old & perhaps frail it can be cathartic and liberating! You don’t have to let everything go so keep those specials but downsize particularly furniture and garage things. Are you seriously going to use the hammer drill which is now really too heavy? Sell it (cash crusaders or wherever) and get yourself a smaller, lightweight, cordless one that you can easily handle. I have finally downsized into a retirement village and the feeling that it is not cluttered and that I can lock the door and take that tour that has been on a ‘bucket list’ for years is a great thought. Deciding where to go, which friends to visit in a different town or province – liberating! It is scary being on your own after many years of being “us” but we only have one life and we should live it to the best of our ability. Decluttering it good for the soul so go ahead and do it!

  • E Steyn
    May 8, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    Used MovingOn and what was left went to the charity shops, very liberating.

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