Last month, I did a talk on Clutter Control at the Otisfield Widow’s Group. We talked about how to prepare for downsizing, how to evaluate objects, and the proper New England mind-set to get rid of stuff. (The item might still be good, but it’s not good for YOU. Pass it on via donation or sale. Why are you holding on to perfectly good stuff when you don’t need it and aren’t using it?  Open your hands and share!)

We talked about keeping representatives (one tea cup that Grammie painted, not the entire tea service in a box under the bed) and wanting the memory, not necessarily the item. We visited the perils of keeping other people’s stuff.

get rid of stuffFinally, we talked about distribution of unwanted items. How to get rid of stuff! There are lots of ways to sell items, from yard sales to Ebay, Craig’s List or the various community sales groups on platforms like Facebook. Consider taking a table at a local flea market with some friends. You can take better items to consignment stores, create a lot to send to auction, or sell outright to an antique dealer. You can donate your family’s historical items to the appropriate town’s historical society. (I donated a boxful of property deeds from the 1880’s to Caribou last year on behalf of my Bishop and Estes ancestors.)

Evaluation: get a ball park idea of value

It’s helpful to have a ballpark idea of what the items are worth. (Often not as much as you think!) Dealers will sometimes offer quick appraisals. Daniel Buck (of Antiques Road Show fame) will be offering appraisals at the Oct. 3, 2019 Successful Aging Expo in Freeport. Sometimes you can look items up on Ebay or other on-line sites to see how other people are pricing it. (Check the “sold” listings to see what consumers are willing to pay.) You can hire downsizers to help you evaluate objects and set up a yard sale or estate sale. And finally, you can donate items to Salvation Army, Goodwill, your local community service thrift shop, or a Church sale. The objective is to take action and move forward with your clutter plan. Take a look at this article for more hints.