As I began to write, I realized that one subject that keeps cropping up in my articles is decluttering. Not to bore you too much but an event that occurred several weeks ago made me think of this again.
Our local Rotary clubs held a fundraiser that we called Rotary Round Up, with the motto, “Tag It, Don’t Bag It”, as we asked for donations. This event was a large tag sale plus a live auction. In the beginning, we worried that there would not be enough donations to fill up our large space or have anything worth holding an auction for. By the end, we were turning people away as our space was packed with stuff and we had 90 auction items.
So what does that have to do with anything? Decluttering, of course. We were all going through our homes looking for items we might not need, want or use anymore that would be good tag sale items. I kept a stack of things in my attic, ready for the big event. This helped me to take a good hard look around my house and office and ask myself what I really needed to keep or not. Such a great way, and an easy way, to unload stuff, and for a good cause too.
Keep this thought in mind and pay attention to organizations in your area that might be holding this type of event. Take advantage of the opportunity to clean out and clear out for a good cause. No one having a fundraiser? There are plenty of other places that you can donate to. Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, Salvation Army, even your local homeless shelter. Check out websites such as FreeCycle.org or maybe you have a Front Porch Forum locally that helps neighbors communicate. Think outside the box.
One of my points in mentioning this is that the dump is not always your only option. You know the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure?” So true. Just walking through our tag sale room, it was clear that this statement was indeed, very true. There were great deals on furniture, bikes, tools, even a diving board. A large bird cage, books, glassware, knick knacks, a maroon toilet seat still in the box. Ok, I donated that, long story, but it sold! Interesting enough, antique dealers were the first ones there and they snatched up quite a bit. They recognized a good deal and were buying things you wouldn’t think anyone would ever want.
Then there was the auction. Wow. People were bidding on all sorts of things. One of the items was for a dozen or so of old military hats. Some looked like they were from WWII and had what I think was Russian lettering. There were antique yokes, something that looked like it could be useful still today if you happened to need to carry a couple of heavy buckets somewhere.
There was an antique tool used to catch frogs that I thought would make a great garden tool. I told the guy who bought it not to be killing any frogs with that thing. He just chuckled. Hmmmm.
I saw something called a trash pump that I believe was a glorified wet vac. Someone bought a contraption that allows you to put a couple of rifles on it and shoot clay pigeons. They called it a clay pigeon launcher. Unbelievable.
How about a box of cow horns? I think they were from cows or bulls or whichever animal grows those. My grandfather used to have one that he would blow into and make some wild sound. Not sure who or what he was calling with it. Wish I still had that.
Where am I going with all this? When clearing out your house in anticipation of selling, don’t second-guess odd or old items. If you find yourself having to clean out an estate, please don’t just get a big dumpster and start tossing. Ask your Realtor about local companies that might do the job for you and who recycle as much of the items as possible. Even half empty bottles of detergent and such can be donated to organizations. Do you have a local food pantry? Don’t forget them too.
Much like the Spring, Autumn can be the perfect time to clean and clear out your home, getting ready to hunker down for the winter months. What better way than to donate your treasures to a good cause. I’ve already started eyeing my closets and attic in anticipation of our next Rotary tag sale. Just hope there’s another one of those frog catcher things next year.
Written by – Kathy Sollien, Principal Broker