A couple of Saturdays ago, you will remember, I asked for people to send in requests for blog posts for me to write about. Everyone who wrote in had wonderful ideas of which I have made a list and will most certainly address each and every one of them in the near future.
I received the following request from Nicole which I felt needed addressing sooner rather than later. Although I can’t comment on the intricacies of her specific area of residence, which is somewhere in France by the way, I can give you all some general ideas that would then have to be translated into actual possibilities in your specific areas. It is much easier for you to do the ground work and to investigate the local possibilities but perhaps my suggestions will give you a starting point.
Here is Nicole’s comment…
“As for me, decluttering is time consuming, so from time to time I just throw things away instead of selling or giving them. I am not well organised, and in France we are not used to garage sales, we have what we call “vide -greniers” for a whole village, so I may have to wait quite a while for it to take place. I’ve just moved and I do not know the local second-hand shops.
Any idea to hep me ?”
Firstly for those who don’t speak French vide-greniers = empty-attics. I kind of like the sound of that. Anyway back to the problem at hand. Below I have put together a list of ideas for ways to find responsible homes for your stuff. Basic ways that with a little imagination could be translated to an opportunity in just about any country in the Western World.
- Freecycle.org (there a 116 results for places in France alone)
- Put items out on the street. This is simple ~ make a sign with the word free on (in your own language of course) attach it to the item and put it out on the street. Be a responsible citizen and bring it back in in the evening, if it hasn’t already gone, so it doesn’t look like trash or get ruined by the weather. Put small items in a box.
- Instigate a Free Box for your apartment block or in the foyer of a public housing building. Same concept as the idea above only indoors. Communal give away if you like. If there is no notice board leave give away /sell signs near the apartment mail boxes.
- Thrift store and secondhand stores. This one is self explanatory and are usually found easily on the internet, your local phonebook or perhaps by asking local citizens.
- Sell through ebay or similar or advertise locally through newspapers, local notice boards in shopping malls or your apartment block, or other internet outlet.
- Have a yard/garage sale ~ even if this isn’t normal for your area, it wasn’t normal anywhere once so why not start a trend. Just set up a table in front of your house or apartment block and see what happens. You may need to check local bylaws to make sure you aren’t breaking any rules. We wouldn’t want you to get arrested.
- Set up a giveaway, sell or swap facebook page between your friends, family and neighbours.
- Ask a long time local where there is an community charity nearby that could use your stuff.
- Ask other locals if their are charity bins in the area.
- Google or other search engine is a great way to find local opportunities to get rid of your stuff. Just Search for “donate (the item you are donating eg. books) and your town/city.
- Check out your local government web site, they usually have a section on donating, recycling and local flea markets.
- Also check out my Recycling /Donating Guide
I personally believe that no matter what I have if it is still in good condition there is someone out there that can use it. Throwing perfectly good things away is just not something I feel right about doing. I imagine I had a good time acquiring much of the things I an now decluttering, in many cases irresponsibly no doubt, so the least I can do is spend the time to find a new home for it once I am done with it. In fact I enjoy the challenge for the most part and feel quite a degree of achievement when I find homes for particularly difficult items. So use your imagination and do what you can to rehouse your stuff.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter something you keep because it seems so useful yet you don’t really have a use for it.
Today’s Declutter Item
Here is an example of something it took me a while to find a home for. When my immersion blender died of old age I agonised for months over which one to replace it with and finally settled on a Kenwood. Unfortunately clever marketing made it so in order to get the accessories I wanted I was forced to buy the model that had far more accessories than I needed. I advertised these extra accessories on ebay three times making the starting bid lower and lower every time until I finally hooked someone. I could have Freecycled them but that would have only guaranteed that they would be taken but not necessarily by someone who had a genuine use for them. I figured if they had to be paid for they would more likely find the right home.
Something I Am Grateful For Today
The many outlets I have discovered over the last two years that make passing my useful stuff on easily.
“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy.” Brother David Steindl-Rast