True Stories: When downsizing and decluttering a home, how do you decide what to sell and what to donate?

Whenever we work with a new client or family, we frequently hear: “How do we know what to sell, donate, or discard?” When clients tell us to throw something away, if applicable we suggest donating instead. We believe it is our duty to prevent landfills from being overfilled with non-recyclable items, so we take great care to avoid this.

To declutter a home, we do the following:

Best Items to Donate:

Seasonal decorations: Fall/Halloween pumpkins, spring silk or rubber flowers and plants, Christmas decorations (dishes, nativity sets, and ornaments, and so much wrapping paper that could fill the state of #Indiana). Quick tip – Many donation sites will not accept Christmas items until October or after Halloween.

Books: Donations can be made to second-hand bookstores and you’ll sometimes get a dollar or two for hardback and paperback books. I recommend taking them to any #HamiltonCounty library who will sell them at their semi-annual book fair and raise funds for the library.

Vases: #Donate glass vases you’ve received for special occasions.

Linens: Your sheets, towels, and blankets can be donated to the #Indianapolis or #HendricksCounty #HumaneSociety.

Clothing: So few consignment stores accept clothing and you must ensure they’re in pristine condition, without any rips or stains. The same goes for used shoes and handbags. Items that do not sell easily or aren’t for their “audience” will be refused. It’s also common for consignment stores to require an appointment or to have you wait in line. Quick tip – Don’t forget to check the inside of the items before donating them.

Pet supplies: Cat and dog cages, carriers, bowls, leashes, and collars can be taken to the Indianapolis or Hamilton County Humane Society shelter. Aquariums and fish tanks can be taken to a fish store if they accept them.

Wrapping paper/gift bags: Consider taking these items to your local #retirementcommunity to use in their activities room.

Best Items to Sell:

  • Clothes: Designer fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, etc are the most popular but they must be in perfect condition. This includes shoes, jewelry, and handbags.
  • Furniture: Modern and mid-century modern furniture and furnishings are the most sought-after. Auction houses will sell a variety of furniture from traditional to antiques to Americana items. This also includes lamps, occasional tables, coffee tables, kitchen tables, dining room sets, and bedroom sets without mattresses.
  • Silverware: Sterling silver can be of high value if the silver price is up on the market. Silver knives are of less value because they are made with copper and other metals to make them strong enough to cut food. Silver plate trays, tea sets, and bowls are also low-value items. 
  • Crystal Glassware & China: It is expensive to buy and replace broken stemware, but selling Waterford Crystal and other brands is no longer as valuable as before. The resale price of china such as Haviland, Wedgewood, and Lenox, has also dropped tremendously due to the market being flooded with boomers and those of the Great Depression era selling their fine china due to downsizing. 
  • Collectibles: Precious Moments figurines and Hummel’s, etc now have very little monetary value. When items are mass-produced and everyone has them, their value drops down. However, there are rare exceptions.
  • Collectible dolls: Prices have dropped since the biggest collectors were the people of the Depression era generation. The original box must be in pristine condition if any value is to be returned. 

Best Items to Discard:

  • Recycle magazines, newspapers, Readers’ Digests, and encyclopedias
  • Tube TVs can be recycled at Best Buy for $30
  • Household trash
  • Household paint, aerosol cans, chemicals for yards and plants, and insect sprays
  • Dispose of old medications. Meijer’s Pharmacies in the #Indianapolis area and the #FishersPoliceDepartment have a drop box where you can safely dispose of expired, unwanted or unused medicines

Complete Relocation Solutions provides comprehensive planning, organizing, packing, downsizing, and move management services. We also help with disposing of items and unpacking. Our goal is to make the transition to a new home a stress-free experience. Call us at 317-514-9793