Are you buying or selling a home? If not, does your house just seem to feel like it’s bulging at the seams? As someone who has lived in the same small house for 20+ years, my house has managed to hold and accumulate A LOT of “stuff”. Unless you are someone who manages to be diligent about clearing things out on a regular basis, you know what I’m talking about. Four children with toys, sports, activities, lessons… A small home-based business that sprung from a small addiction to gardening… A husband with a sentimental attachment to sports memorabilia… A passion for cooking, with gadgets and cookbooks galore… It just happens over time. You look around and wonder where all this “stuff” came from and why you still have some of it.
Well regardless of the reason that you might be considering clearing some of the clutter, do your heart (and your friendly, neighborhood home inspector) some good and get started on it! This is a popular time of year to donate. We all want to give back, but many don’t realize it doesn’t have to be time or money – those commodities that are so hard to come by. Maybe a few boxes of unused items tucked in the corner of your attic or basement will mean a world of difference to someone else.
It was fantastic when the kids were small. At this time of year I would look around and determine that there was no chance that Santa could bring another single thing without it blowing the house open at the seams. It was this that prompted me to start an annual family tradition of donation. Every year, prior to Christmas, everyone would go through their rooms and collect all the clothes and toys that were no longer in use. ~ Trust me, there was some soul searching involved in the beginning with the toys (and a few tears). By starting early enough it would give the kids a chance to make good decisions on their own by putting things aside and if they realized they hadn’t played with or thought about them as it got closer to donation time, they were able to part with them. No-one was ever forced to hand off something that they wanted to keep, but I will say that my youngest definitely had the hardest time parting with her things. Learn from my mistake. When your child thinks that they are ready to let something go but they aren’t sure, DO NOT use your shed as a holding spot for the interim decision time! (Doll houses and doll clothes make for wonderful mouse houses too!)
This tradition of donation not only made room for more things to come into the house, but also provided the kids with a great sense of giving. As they got older and there were fewer toys, we continued to find ways to give. Buying a “can of nothing” to leave on the windowsill to fill with loose change and buying meal boxes at the grocery store to donate to help the hungry, “adopting” a family for holiday gift giving, donating jackets to veterans, donating toiletries and new toys/gifts to homeless shelters… There are so many ways we can help people in need.
Our inspectors often find homes that have been immaculately cleared to sell, but often find homes bursting at the seams as well. It stands to reason that when people are faced with the daunting task of having to pack all their worldly belongings, they may come to realize that they don’t really need all of them.
Whether you are selling your home or looking around realizing that it is time to enjoy the simplicity of a little more space, consider donating. You will have the benefit of a cleaner, more clutter-free home and will have happiness in your heart knowing that you did something nice to help others. There may be a tax benefit from your donation (remember to ask for a receipt); however, the recipients of your donations will benefit the most. And if you happen to be selling your home, your friendly neighborhood NH home inspector will love you for clearing out your clutter prior to his visit so that he can more effectively inspect. It’s a win for everyone!
A quick Google of donation sites in NH will provide you with many options if you don’t mind dropping your donations off. However, I recently enjoyed the ease of piling heaps of goods (clothing, furniture, home goods, games, athletic equipment…) at the end of my driveway and a donation center came to pick everything up. It was amazing! Do you want to make sure you are giving to a charity that will give the most back to the community? Visit https://give.org (a division of the Better Business Bureau) for more information.
Time to continue my mission to reclaim more space ~ giving some long-forgotten things back to my children, giving them some of my things as well and starting a new donation pile!