The Over-50 Resource
Decluttering and Downsizing
Clothes Horse? Neigh More!
To help me part with “still good” clothes, I asked myself four things:
• Does it fit me?
• Is it becoming on me?
• Is it fashionable?
• How often do I wear it?
Even if I answered yes to the first three questions, but didn’t wear the item very often, out it
went! Since clothing can pose an ongoing problem, I make it a rule now not to bring in a new
item unless I have gotten rid of an old one. One exception would be a fancy dress for a
wedding or special event, because I currently do not have one in my wardrobe.
Household Items and Heirlooms
For household or inherited family items, I first set aside the items I no longer wanted or
needed and made a list for my son and his wife to see if they would like anything. If they said
no, I got rid of the item. I always offered family heirlooms to them first, but I realize that they
also have limited space and may not feel any emotional attachment whatsoever.
Once I set aside the dispensable items, I developed a three-phase plan to unload them: sell,
First I tried to sell anything that might have value. You can scan Ebay first to see if it’s
worthwhile to put your antiques and collectibles up for auction. Another outlet is your local
antique store. Mine bought unused inherited china and hand-crocheted and embroidered
linens, and some will take your items to sell on consignment. If you have the space, holding a
garage or yard sale would be the next option for selling clothing and household items.
Next, I offered clothing to friends and then donated whatever they didn’t want to charities
such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill Industries. Books I donated to the local library, but that
meant dragging them to the location.
Finally, for the items that charities couldn’t use (like a broken computer printer) and those I
just couldn’t deliver (like an old sofa bed), there was FreeCycle, an online recycling forum with
local groups all over the United States. Once you join your local FreeCycle group, you post
anything you want to get rid of along with your general location. People who want something
will e-mail you, and they are responsible for pickup (it is free, after all). I have been very
successful giving away a great number of things that were not in pristine condition.
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