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Teacher Appreciation Week

It's coming up May 5-9! Here are a few simple ideas to celebrate the teachers in your life.

10 Ways to Get Rid of Your Stuff (and a garage sale isn't one of them!)

by Melissa Chapman

Spring is in the air and if you're like us, spring cleaning is on your mind. But does the thought of a garage sale (and all the tagging items and lugging things to the sidewalk) make you want to give up even before you go through your clutter? If so, try our 10 novel ways to get rid of your stuff today:

Begin Decluttering Here

1. Craigslist has become a household word for getting rid of household things. But if you go to the trouble of putting your items on Craigslist, make sure they get moved out! A few tips for increasing your chances of a sale (and staying safe, too).

  • Always post an item with a corresponding  picture. A visual gives buyers a fuzzy feeling because they know what to expect. And you can bet there are items similar to yours that DO have pictures!
  • Include as much detailed information as possible about the item. Don't be shy-include dimensions, sizes, wear and tear. This will prevent a long email exchange with potential buyers.
  • Post your ad on a Thursday or Friday. This increases the likelihood of a purchase and pick-up over the weekend.
  • Don’t ever invite a stranger to your house when you are the only adult home. Have a friend or family member with you when showing any of your items.

2. Freecycle is a great way to get rid of stuff without having a yard sale. You post things you want give away and people come get it. Ahhh, doesn't that sound nice? With the goal to encourage people to give things away versus throwing things away, it is very easy to post items and coordinate pick up. A lot of broken stuff gets claimed-old tools, TVs, lawnmowers, bikes-with a "your trash is someone's treasure" exchange philosophy.

Donate Games

3. Wondering what to do with that 1990s version of Mario Kart (and the piles of board games gathering dust on your shelves)? Donate Games accepts used games and then posts them for sale. What's even better than you getting rid of these neglected toys is that the money raised goes to fund medical research.  

Donate Sport Equipment

4. You no longer want that outgrown baseball mitt or old tennis racket, but there are countless kids who do. Now, through Sports Gift, your old sports equipment can find it's way to needy kids in the United States and abroad.

Donate or Swap Clothes

5. You've been holding onto those old suits of yours thanks to an inner voice saying, "these were expensive" and/or "one day I might need to wear these." But really, even if you go back into the corporate world or need a coordinated "professional" ensemble, take a look at the shoulder pads (or flare of the pant leg or size of the waistband!) and run, don't walk to The Womens Alliance. At this online organization, you'll find a directory of local organizations that accept clothing for disadvantaged, job seeking women.

6. Think: Netflix meets consignment. thredUP is a peer-to-peer online clothing swap service that lets you swap clothes you no longer wear for items that you will. Tell thredUP what you have, indicate what you’re looking for next (brands, sizes, colors) and thredUP will match member preferences and facilitate a swap. Its green, frugal, hassle free, AND you get to Up-cycle your wardrobe and refresh your closet. And they’ve also got a special section just for the kids.

Hold a De-Clutter Event with Friends and Neighbors

7. Fashion designer Jennyvi Dizon needed a very organized non-cluttered space to work in so she invited some friends over and told them to pick out whatever they wanted. It's almost like a clothing swap, except she told them not to bring anything. She says, "I didn't want any more stuff and thought it would defeat the purpose of staying organized."

You can easily do this with your neighbors. You don't need to invite all your neighbors, just the ones you feel comfortable letting in your home and hanging out with. Who knows, this could be a monthly get together at a different house each time. You can call it Garage Sale Hopping.

Create a Gift Closet

8. Re-gifting is en vogue, thanks to the recession. According to frugalista Mary Hance, author of 99 Things to Save Money in Your Household Budget, if you want to organize your house for the spring, consider dedicating one of your closets to all those items worthy of regifting. Voila, you have an all-purpose gift store.

Last Chance Ideas You Never Thought of

9. Donate your final items to a school or local humane society. Talk with the art teachers at your local elementary, middle and high schools. It's amazing how art teachers can use fabric scraps (including cutting up worn-out clothing), broken electronics (they use the innards for art projects), and more. Art teachers can use gears, springs and other equipment parts to make 3-D sculptures while a shop program could use wood scraps. And your local humane society is always in need of items like old blankets, towels and balls.

10. Repurpose! In her book Stop Throwing Money Away, Jamie Novak offers these great ideas for repurposing your old stuff that you might otherwise try to sell in a traditional garage sale.

  • Old CD’s can be repurposed into: bike reflector, driveway guide when mounted on posts, reflector on tree to mark your driveway and/or keep deer out of garden.
  • Old CD case can be repurposed into: a recipe holder, photo cube (glue gun them together), an organizer for your necklaces to keep them from getting tangled.
  • Old lunchboxes can be repurposed into: a first aid kit for the car, kids' travel toys, kids' homework box, a manicure kit or a movie, game or CD holder for the home or car.

Photo courtesy of MelvinSchlubman

Save these websites to a Cozi list for when you're ready to purge:

  • Craigslist: http://www.craigslist.org
  • Freecycle: http://www.freecycle.org/
  • Donate Games: http://donategames.org
  • Sports Gift: http://sportsgift.org/
  • The Womens Alliance: http://thewomensalliance.org
  • Thred Up: http://thredup.com/

See more shopping and to do lists in the Cozi List Library.

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