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I guess I would qualify as a pack rat. What advice can you give me about what to keep, recycle, reuse? I have more than I can use in a lifetime. How do you decide what to keep, what to donate, what to recycle, what to send to the dump?
Get the book "Organizing from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern - great book, have bought it for my friends. - I too a fellow pack rat needed to do something. Came across this book while shopping for a Christmas gift.
Keep: Things you use a lot now or will use a lot in the future(such as out of season clothes) & things that you truly love & make you happy.
Donate: Any usable clothes, utensils, furniture, etc. that could be easily used by someone else or easily repaired to do so. Magazines & books could go to libraries or nursing homes.
Sell: Anything of real big value such as jewelry or antiques & collectibles.
Recycle: plastics, aluminum, steel, juice boxes & milk cartons, glass,newspaper & mixed papers such as junk mail, cardboard, computer paper, etc. that are not re-useable by others. Christmas trees can become mulch & many communities now recycle them. Some areas recycle computers, batteries, motor oil, tires, old wrecked cars, etc...Call your local waste management department to find out what your area does recycle.
Yard wastes & vegetable scraps can go to compost, old bread, nuts, etc., if you can't use them as leftovers, can feed wild creatures. & any other items your community recycles.
Dump: Anything else that you don't want, you can't use, recycle, or donate & is just too toxic or grungy & broken to be used by another living soul. Most anything can be used by somebody else in someway, so if you are creative, you won't have much to send to the dump! - Alekscat the frugal feline in Richmond, VA
If you have that much stuff, consider a garage sale. You can make a few bucks and get rid of some stuff at the same time. You could also take some items to a consignment shop, they sell it for you, and split the profits.
Only send to the dump things that cannot be used or recycled. If it's broken and can be recycled, then do so. If it's still good, then I'd suggest to donate it to the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, a shelter, a food bank or some other local church or charity. You will get a two fold benefit by donating it. First, you are able to help out people who really need it. second, the place you make your donation to will most likely give you a receipt for your donation, and you can write off the amount from your taxes at the end of they year. If you plan to do this, it's a good idea to take a picture of the items you donated, so that you have some proof for the IRS (in addition to the receipt), should you ever get audited. - Anthony
Pack Rat is a hard syndrome to overcome ... I know from experience!
You might want to put yourself in the right frame of mind to get started. If you have a hard time getting rid of a lot of things at one time, try one or two things a day. Over time it adds up! Try to think of a charity, or persons that would appreciate receiving the items and "bite the bullet and GIVE IT AWAY. You will feel good about knowing your "treasures" are being put to good use.
Ms. Syd Barr
I am a former pack rat. What helped me was my 12-month rule.
Basically, if I have not had to use some things in the previous 12-months, I probably never will, and I get rid of them.
Then, sell them at a garage sale, at a consignment shop, or give to charity for a tax write-off.
Hey guys, I have another suggestion for donating items such as clothing, magazines,and books. Consider donating them to Veteran Organizations. Veteran Nursing Homes are often in need of these articles. Your local V.F.W. Posts can give you more information, and in many cases can take your articles themselves as they collect items to donate to Nursing homes, etc.
There is a book called "Not for Packrats Only". The ironic part is that I got it from my aunt who died and was an incredible packrat -- so much that her sisters took months cleaning up and sorting through her things after she died. Do you want your family to go through this? I didn't, so that alone motivated me to start getting rid of anything and everything that I didn't want. The book was added inspiration. I still have a long way to go, but my house is getting lighter! The book will definitely help you decide what to do. Also, www.flylady.net is a great, free, inspirational site that will help.
Give it up! If you haven't used it, give it away. With all the floods, tornados, fires, etc. that have occurred in the last year a lot of people are left wanting the basics. Have a yard sale. It will help you have extra money to defray the rising costs of gas and food. It's also easier to keep a cleaner house with less clutter.
I have run into a brick wall trying to find a source that will take cloth to recycle. Cloth not suitable to reuse as a clothing item. For instance, clothing missing a zipper or that has holes in it. Our local recycling ctr considers cloth 'trash' and had no other options.
If you're talking about having too much recyclables to use up, try calling your local senior center, preschools and schools, scout troops, etc. We have a center for mentally challenged people that can always use free stuff. If you can supply the instructions, the clean materials, nicely compiled into boxes, any of these places may accept the stuff.
I've done this with a senior center. It involves little work on your part, and the trip to deliver, but I almost filled my trunk with stuff and they loved it.
Washed meat trays for cutting in to flower petals, yarn leftovers for making "lap blankets or potholders, nicely cut up old clothes for quilts, potholders, rag rugs, clean cardboard bundled & tied securely, newspaper comics to wrap children's gifts, both kinds of egg cartons, the list goes on & on. But remember, if you can, also include instructions for a project, and always deliver the stuff clean and nicely bundled or boxed.
Alot of times, senior centers have a small gift shop where they sell the projects they've made, and the money goes for a bus trip or something. PLUS you can use a nominal amount as a tax deduction!
Talk about a win-win-win situation! 1)reuse/recycle, 2)profitable, and 3)tax deduction!