Clutter Into Cash Program

Corporations and employees are constantly bombarded with requests for donations during this busy time of year as every major charity gears up for their annual fundraising events. In addition to their involvement with their charity of choice, corporate Canada is doing a terrific job rallying employee support around world wide relief efforts. But what about small companies, entrepreneurs and individuals that may feel that their charitable cash reserves have already been stretched to the limit? They need a simple, easy-to-implement volunteer program for making a valuable contribution.

Professional organizing consultant, Karen Sencich, owner of Havoc to Harmony, has joined forces with various Canadian fundraisers to launch a nation-wide initiative designed to motivate families to turn household clutter into cash.

Her idea is to tap into an often-overlooked source of additional cash: selling unwanted household goods. Too many of us have basements and garages full of underutilized sports equipment, computers, electronic equipment, toys and books. Canadians are urged to sort through their possessions to identify usable items that could be sold to raise donations using a simple 10 step approach.

10 Steps to Raise Donations Selling Household Goods

  1. Hold a conventional weekend Garage Sale or Yard Sale.
  2. Involve your neighbours and make it a Street Sale.
  3. Consider an ongoing Garage Sale-a-thon - put everything in the garage and open for business over a period of several weekends until everything is gone.
  4. Host a "Stop, Shop and Swap" event: charge a donation as admission for friends to drop by with unwanted clothing, accessories or cosmetics they wish to swap for products provided by other invited guests.
  5. Post items on E-Bay and donate the proceeds.
  6. Create a "Buy and Sell" bulletin board at work.
  7. E-mail friends and family and ask for donations in exchange for recycled family memorabilia or cherished heirlooms such as a baby cradle or rocking horse.
  8. Donate saleable goods to a church or school to help them meet their fundraising goal.
  9. Advertise furniture, household equipment and used textbooks for sale to university and college students wishing to save money.
  10. Seniors planning to downsize will find a huge market for resale furniture.

Wondering how to get started?

First of all, set aside time with your family to go through your home together looking for items you no longer want or need. Try to price things as you identify them or alternately, group them into broad price categories i.e. items for $1, $5 or $10 and up.

Sort through and evaluate the use of household possessions, toys and clothes. Eliminate things no one is using. To determine whether an item is truly worthy of the space it occupies ask these questions. When did you last use it? Does it fit? Is it in style? Does it suit your décor? Does it still work? Do you have all the pieces? If you don't love it, pass it on to someone else who might really need it.

As you sort and pare down, collect any important documents or memorabilia to be safely stored away. Don't get distracted dealing with piles of paper! Similarly, don't get caught up in emotional attachments to items. Try taking a photo of anything that has great sentimental value but little use such as a cherished teddy bear.

You'll experience less stress and waste less time looking for lost items as you enjoy the freedom of your reclaimed space. More importantly, you'll have a satisfying sense of achieving something for a worthy cause.

Sharing the assets you have hidden away will provide fellow Canadians with affordable alternatives to buying new products. Our affluent, consumer driven society dumps vast quantities of discarded, but still useful, possessions into landfills each year. Donating makes much more sense than dumping!

Act now to turn your clutter into cash so you can enjoy the good weather at your garage sale!

Turn your clutter into cash! Donate now.


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Tackle it Now Tip

Hints for Handling Your Gift List

How do you handle your holiday wish lists? Sometimes the simplest hints are the best. For years I have been using the same easy to implement method.

  • I purchase the tiniest address book I can find and assign one page for each person on my guest list.
  • I record their sizes, colour and style preferences.
  • I include family members, friends, hairdresser and all service providers.
  • I keep the list inside my wallet so it can quickly and easily be updated.
  • Information for stocking gifts is also recorded.
  • I can frequently review what I have purchased to keep my budget on track.
  • As I wrap gifts I check them off!
  • If certain gifts need to be hidden I record where they were put.
  • I also list ideas and purchases of hostess gifts to keep on hand.

There are many benefits to this system. It is lightweight and portable, but most importantly since I keep the lists year after year, it helps me to prevent repeating gift ideas. Who wants to get a sweater or tie year after year?

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