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
- Hold a conventional weekend Garage Sale or Yard Sale.
- Involve your neighbours and make it a Street Sale.
- 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.
- 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.
- Post items on E-Bay and donate the proceeds.
- Create a "Buy and Sell" bulletin board at work.
- 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.
- Donate saleable goods to a church or school to help them meet their fundraising goal.
- Advertise furniture, household equipment and used textbooks for sale to university and college students wishing to save money.
- 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
Pack and Go
Now that winter is winding down, many families are planning a spring get away. The key to a relaxing get away is to pack effectively. A personal packing list simplifies the packing process.
- Buy sturdy, lightweight suitcases on wheels, ones that nest together for easy storage.
- Invest in luggage straps to securely strap smaller luggage onto bigger rolling pieces.
- Pack only what you can comfortably carry and lift by yourself.
- There is lots of walking through airports, so wear your most comfortable shoes (remember that you'll have to take them off to go through security).
- Dress in layers for comfort on the plane.
- Plastic compression bags are the best new invention for compact packing. Vacuum pack or roll wrinkle-proof items like underwear, bathing suits, bulky sweaters or socks. Coming home, use the bags to compress dirty laundry to make room to pack souvenirs.
- Pack a roomy, waterproof tote or backpack for necessary carry on items, ID, tickets and mini sized cosmetics. You can use it again as a beach bag or when sightseeing.
- Carry personal prescriptions with you at all times. Include motion sickness remedies available in pills, patch or a magnetic bracelet.
- Remember that you can only carry on a total of 100 ml. of liquids, stored in a see through zip lock baggie. Obtain current international luggage restrictions regarding carrying fluids at www.tc.gc.ca . Also check with your airline for their specific baggage weight regulations and charges since the rules frequently change.
- Have a friend or family member drive you to the airport so you can leave winter wear in the car until you return from the sun. No sense lugging the extra weight of bulky coats.
SAFETY & SECURITY
- Label identification tags using a work address and cell phone number in case luggage is misplaced. (For security reasons never use your home address.)
- On bus tours and cruises luggage is often left unsupervised, so invest in good quality locks.
- Will a safe be available in your room? This may determine whether you travel with real or costume jewellery.
- Don't take a bulky wallet, instead pare down to the essentials: license, health card, ATM and charge cards.
- Code your cell phone with an ICE number (In Case of Emergency contact)
- Pack a flashlight or nightlight to navigate in dark, unfamiliar places
- Check if your destination or cruise ship has a dress code in effect requiring dress jackets and ties for men. When sightseeing find out if there are clothing restrictions, i.e. shorts may not be appropriate in some locations and women may have to cover their heads to enter a church. Be prepared with a pashmina that can double as a scarf or evening shawl.
- Begin with the "Classic Packing Rule of Nine"
- 3 bottoms (skirts, slacks or shorts)
- 4 tops (shirt, blouse, T-shirt, shell or tank top)
- 2 jackets (one weatherproof windbreaker and a jacket, blazer or cardigan)
- Mix and match outfits starting with coordinating classic colours: black, navy, white, and then add bright contrasts. Accessorize to glamorize using belts, scarves, or shawls for a burst of colour. A dressy cardigan with a bit of glitter can dress up any outfit for evening.
- Plan double duty items - an oversize shirt can double as a bathing suit cover or a housecoat.
- Pack one pair of dressy, low heeled sandals
- Pack flip flops instead of slippers and tuck them into your backpack for comfortable sightseeing when your feet tire of walking shoes.
Professional Organizer Karen Sencich is owner of Havoc to Harmony. www.havoctoharmony.com