January has just ended and I bet a few of you took the start of the New Year to clear out some of the clutter from your homes. Bravo! Since the Winter weather was in full force here, we also cleaned out several things from our house, and now it’s time to get rid of these items for good. How? Let’s explore “Five Ways to Happily Get Rid of Stuff”. (Although the specific agencies cited below are local to Sudbury, MA – there are similar organizations in every town).
1) Donate. Two clients asked me this week for names of local charities that accept household and décor items – part of the reason that I chose the topic for this week’s blog. If you want to donate items here are just a couple of the charities in the Boston area that you should check out:
a. Habitat for Humanity ReStore: I’m sure that you have all heard of Habitat for Humanity, but did you know they have stores in West Roxbury, Tyngsboro, and Worcester where you can both donate and buy household items INCLUDING building materials? Yes, Habitat for Humanity will take your old cabinets, light fixtures, chandeliers, blinds (but not draperies) and all sorts of furniture and things. I became acquainted with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Worcester last year when I contacted an on-line retailer about returning an incredibly heavy marble-top table that was most definitely not true to the online photo. The company said their policy was to donate returns to Habitat for Humanity and asked that I deliver it to the Worcester ReStore, and they would credit me. Nice! If you have just undergone a renovation and have lots of tile or other building materials left over, and have no interest in keeping it piled up in your basement or garage, consider donating it a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. Here’s the link to their Worcester location: http://www.habitatmwgw.org/restore/
b. Household Goods: Formerly Household Goods Recycling of Massachusetts (HGRM), Acton MA. Household Goods provides a full range of donated furniture and household items, free of charge, to help people in need make a home. This organization was founded 24 years ago by a local couple who saw a need and filled it, beautifully and profoundly. Check out what you can donate at: https://householdgoods.org
c. Cradles to Crayons (for Kids’ Stuff): Cradles to Crayons (C2C) is a non-profit organization that provides homeless and low-income children living in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago with the essentials they require to thrive - to feel safe, warm, ready to learn, and valued (text credit to Wikipedia). I heard about Cradles to Crayons through my church in Sudbury, and it’s one of the few local organizations that take children’s clothing, strollers, and baby items. Be sure to check out what they do and don’t take at their Boston location at: https://www.cradlestocrayons.org/boston/take-action/donate-goods/items-we-accept/
Don’t you just love those “Letgo” app ads on TV? Have you seen the one a woman is letting go (in mid-air) of her sewing machine….gasp…what is she thinking???? Well, that brought my attention to the whole business and genius behind the Letgo site. One person’s trash (and taking up valuable space at that) is another’s treasure…and the internet is chock full of ways to link up buyers and sellers: Letgo, OfferUp, Dealo, Varage Sale, Trove Marketplace, Ebay, Craigslist and many, many more. But today I wanted to highlight three consignment shops in the MetroWest area of Boston that are all top-rate. They each have a high turnover rate for the furniture they sell, which is terrific for both sellers and buyers. They are also pretty discriminating at what merchandise they take in to sell, which is a good thing too.
There are so many ways to repurpose furniture, too much to go into this blog. But suffice to say that if you are thinking of getting rid of something, give a little thought to repurposing it first. A nightstand can change into a charging station, a coffee table can morph into an ottoman with an upholstered top, and a desk can serve as a console table behind a sofa. Let me help you think through the options and get the right people on the task if you aren’t up to doing it yourself (and that’s perfectly okay…)
4) Give it to Friends, Relatives or Strangers
Of course you can plain-old give your stuff away and it doesn’t have to be to a charitable cause. College students are always looking for furniture at the end of summer and will take a “lesser quality” than you might think. There are many local “Freecycle” groups and networks in Massachusetts that are dedicated to recycling stuff…Google your town and “Freecycle” as a starting point or go to Freecycle.org. Here’s their listing for towns in Massachusetts: https://www.freecycle.org/browse/US/Massachusetts
5) Trash….for some things, it’s really just time. Local hauling companies will cart your junk away, and if you have a mountain of it and a free weekend, you can rent a dumpster to be put in your own driveway. We’ve used 1-800-Got-Junk. Their prices are based on the volume of the junk that they cart away – so for all that loose stuff they are a great option: https://www.1800gotjunk.com/us_en
The bottom line is that getting rid of stuff is usually cathartic to your overall mental health and frees you up to make all those beautiful decorating changes that have been rattling around in your head. Although I put today’s “how to happily get rid of stuff” post in the Seasonal Decorating category, it’s more like Seasonal (Un)decorating. Sometimes you have to clear things out to think fresh. Groundhog day was just a few days ago and the verdict was six more weeks of winter…so while we’re stuck inside for a few more weeks, being productive and clearing out all that clutter will make you feel great.
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.