for your home
Taking a fresh look at your old stuff
By Andrea Downing Peck
Is your home a collection of overflowing
closets and barely recognizable countertops?
Do you hang on to things that “might be valuable one day” or are “too good to throw out”?
If so, you are not alone. Clutter to one
degree or another affects everyone’s life.
Fortunately, there are ways to overcome
three of the biggest obstacles to de-cluttering:
finding the time, knowing where to donate
your goods and determining whether an item
is worth hanging on to.
Finding the time
Because deciding whether long-held
objects should stay or go can be time-consuming, Darnita Payden, a life-management
specialist in Washington, D.C., says you can
speed the process by asking yourself five
• When was the item last used?
• When might you use it?
• Does the object enhance or hinder
• has it affected the quality of the life
you are living or want to live?
• Is it replaceable?
Payden, a Costco member, recommends
focusing on smaller, manageable parts when
de-cluttering a room so success is tangible.
For example, rather than tackling an entire
bedroom, start with only the dresser or bed.
Donating and repurposing
Thanks to the Internet, finding organizations that can use your unwanted items is not
The Costco Connection
Costco members will find a variety of organizational items in the warehouse and on
Costco.com, including shelving, storage containers and bins of all sizes, racks and more.
California Closets, available at the kiosks, can
help you keep your things organized.
FEBRUARY 2011 The Costco Connection 43
difficult. While Goodwill and salvation Army
continue to accept a broad spectrum of goods,
other organizations can find new uses for
items ranging from prom dresses to crayons.
here are several unique options for
• Dress for success accepts interview-appropriate women’s clothing and shoes for
disadvantaged women. To find a location
near you, go to
• use eBay Giving Works, givingworks.
ebay.com, to sell unwanted items and donate
up to 100 percent of the sale price to a nonprofit organization in your area or nationwide. eBay refunds seller fees equal to the
percentage of the profits donated.
• The Glass slipper Project,
slipperproject.org, collects almost-new formal
dresses and accessories and gives them to
Chicago high school students in need.
• Depending on which state you live in,
the military order of the Purple heart,
www.purpleheart.org, will schedule pickup of
donated cars, rVs, clothing and household
goods. Proceeds from sales of donated goods
support veterans programs.
• Cell Phones for soldiers, www.cellphones
forsoldiers.com, provides prepaid shipping
labels when accepting donations of old cell
phones. Proceeds from recycling phones are
used to buy calling cards for deployed soldiers.
• unwanted crayons can be shipped to
the Crayon recycling Program,
Before donating goods to a charity, shawn