Free your home from the clutter trap
Van Gorder of the Better Business Bureau
Wise Giving Alliance (
ity) suggests asking whether the organization
has requirements on the condition of the
items it accepts and can provide a tax receipt.
he cautions anyone donating a vehicle to sign
over the title to the charity accepting the gift.
ContInuED FRoM pAgE 43
If you cannot let go of an item for fear it
will skyrocket in value, antiques and collectibles expert harry rinker offers sobering
news about the depressed state of the market.
“There’s always been change in the
antiques and collectibles field, but never a
change like we’ve gone through in the last 10
years,” says rinker, who believes there no longer are blue-chip antiques and collectibles
that always will go up in value.
rinker also sees no upside financially in
giving shelf space to fad collectibles such as
Coca-Cola polar bears, Wade cottages, 9/11
memorabilia or Princess Di souvenirs.
rinker, whose book Sell, Keep, or Toss?
(house of Collectibles, 2007) outlines strategies
for downsizing, recommends hiring an
appraiser to do a walk-through appraisal before
you decide what to do with a houseful of stuff.
For $25 to $150 per hour, an appraiser can value
household goods and collectibles and provide a
sales plan with options ranging from yard sales
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER and Costco
member Peter Walsh says it is possible to
free your home from the clutter trap.
“It’s important on a regular basis to
walk through your home and make some
hard choices to ensure the stuff you own fits
reasonably in the space you have,” Walsh
states. “It’s never about the space you have.
It’s about the volume of stuff you have.”
Walsh, whose series Enough Already!
with Peter Walsh will air in January on the
Oprah Winfrey Network, offers a three-step
process for keeping clutter in check:
• Complete the cycle. If you use it, put
and Craigslist.org to specialty auctions.
Costco member Aaron LaPedis, whose
book The Garage Sale Millionaire shares his collecting expertise, has a more optimistic view.
he argues that coin collections, for example,
“are never clutter” since they are worth face
value at a minimum. he also puts a premium
on rare comic books and baseball cards.
his number-one tip is “don’t throw away
anything unless you are 100 percent sure you
know the value.” If an item currently is valued
at half its historic highs, he advises waiting
another year before selling. eBay is a good
bellwether of current and past values, he adds.
“If it has true value, this is the toughest
it away. If you dirty it, wash it, etc. When a
family thinks this way, there no longer is a
trail of clutter left throughout the house.
• Do the “trash bag tango.” Have family members spend 10 minutes a day wandering room to room with two trash
bags—one for garbage and one for items
no longer used that will be donated or sold.
• Stop bringing anything new into
your house—no new clothes, toys or yard
sale bargains—until you create within your
home the mood and atmosphere you want.
“Small steps consistently applied will
yield huge results,” Walsh says.—ADP
time,” LaPedis notes. “you aren’t going to
make as much money selling it now as in the
future. The economy is getting better, and that
will help the collectibles market get better too.”
Finally, Payden offers her own pearl of
“Don’t be offended when your valuable is
not somebody else’s valuable,” she says.
“There are some things that shouldn’t be
recycled or donated. some things just need to
leave your house.” C
Andrea Downing Peck, a journalist from
Bainbridge Island, Washington, writes about
lifestyle, finance and military-family issues.