Buy, Sell, Trade, Donate?

Buy, Sell, Trade, Donate?

For individuals who are downsizing or planning a move, we often see the same types of home goods that families tend to want to let go of. But some items are easier to remove than others. Some things are good for resale while others might be better to donate. And some items won’t budge unless a hauler is hired. Here is a list of some the more difficult things to downsize before a move:


  1. Pianos. Locally, we like to try Graves Piano for potential resell. Check out their page for guidelines before contacting them. Also, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore may accept pianos if you are willing to ship it to them. Again, you will want to contact your local HFH to make sure your piano will be accepted.
  2. Treadmills and Bowflex machines. Most donation centers will not take them, but often a neighbor will. We recommend placing on your front side walk OR posting to a local buy, sell, trade site.
  3. Pool Tables. If the new homeowner isn’t willing to take it, you could be left with a heavy chore. We like Best Billiards for potential resale.
  4. Mattresses. All the charities say they need them–but they are looking for ones in excellent condition.
  5. Desks. Charities are not accepting large office-style desks.
  6. China sets and dinette sets. The supply is much larger than the demand. As our lifestyles evolve, the desire for fancy dinnerware is falling to the wayside. Though they may not sell well, dinnerware is still a great donation item.
  7. Non-flat screen TVs. Hard to find anyone who will take these anymore. Best Buy will recycle these for free if smaller than 32in. Most charities will not accept them.

Items most likely to sell or consign:

  1. kitchen tables
  2. dressers
  3. leather couches
  4. decorative mirrors
  5. occasional chairs
  6. vintage household items
  7. patio sets
  8. tools

Items especially needed for donation:

  1. beds and bedroom sets
  2. shoes
  3. coats
  4. kitchenware
  5. tables and end tables
  6. small and large appliances in good working condition

Online selling has come a long way from Craigslist and eBay. Try your local Facebook Buy-Sell-Trade sites. Also clients have reported good luck with these apps: Letgo  letgo  and OfferUp  offerup.

We’d love to hear your buy, sell, trade story!

To Pack or Not To Pack

To Pack or Not To Pack

We have helped hundreds of families move into their homes: unpack, put things away, make a house feel like home.

Inevitably there are those boxes that remain which make the homeowner grimace and wonder, “Why did we pack that and bring it here?” These items are often distracting and make it difficult to “finish” a room or a job. And we notice it is often demotivating for our clients. We frequently see these types of contents get stashed back in the box to be dealt with later.

If a move is in your future, here is our list of Wait, Don’t Pack That!

  1. The full contents of any given junk drawer in the house. Do yourself a favor and weed through these areas before your packing begins. The same is true for incidentals that are half used (and not likely to be used again) and stashed away in drawers. For example, a half used stash of tissues, the one shoe insert that hasn’t had a match in years, used finger nail files, random game pieces, etc. In general, we recommend taking a good pass through your drawers in all areas of the home.
  2. Clothing and toys that children have outgrown. Nothing clutters up a room faster while unpacking than unneeded children’s items.
  3. Mail from your previous address. This could be old mail or more current mail. It doesn’t matter. By the time you get it unpacked, it won’t be current anymore. Recycle any mail that does not need your attention.
  4. Magazines that you have been saving. These rarely pack well, and no one ever knows where to put them out of the box. Recycle these; you will likely get more.
  5. Liquids that have a top open. Oils, water, chemicals, they all find a way of leaking out once the seal has opened. One of the worst spills I’ve seen was a bottle of blue mouthwash that emptied into towels. The box smelled minty, but the towels were ruined.
  6. Expired food. Because it is expired food.
  7. Bedding and linens that no longer belong to anything.
  8. Papers and books quickly impact the volume and weight of your moving truck. If your moving company charges by weight, we strongly suggest donating unwanted books and eliminating old papers before packing them.

In general, the pre-move is a great time to evaluate your inventory. Do you still want Grandma’s napkin collection, or school papers from preschool? This is a great time to evaluate what you are storing–and if it is worth the effort to make the trek to your next residence. Think about unpacking it on the other end–does it have a legitimate home on the other side? Hopefully these simple guidelines will help lighten your load and make your unpack more productive.

Note to Self: No More Paper Notes

Note to Self: No More Paper Notes

I always tell my clients, “a note to self now, is a growing pile of something that needs attention later.” Many clients who struggle with paper management keep loads of paper with randomly written notes. This is practiced without acknowledging the lack of time or desire to later decipher between which note matters. In reality, very little of it actually matters if it can’t be easily found. True action items have to be dealt with more readily, and in today’s world–without scrap paper. Here are a few tips we hope will help keep you mindful of when to take a note, and when to replace the habit with a different behavior to reduce your paper piles and that overwhelming feeling of “what is this, and why did I write this down?”

  1. Randomly written notes are not good for tracking things that require immediate action. Instead we suggest using a calendar (paper or electronic) to list your daily/weekly action items. If you use a list tool like one available in your phone, then be sure to delete it each day when you prepare a list for the next day.
  2. Do not write down phone numbers and addresses or keep business cards. If you have email or a cell phone, you have access to a Contact database which eliminates the need for kept paper. In addition, any legitimate business will have their phone number listed on their web site. Business cards need not linger around. Also if you own a scanner, many programs will let you scan the card directly into the database.
  3. Recognize when you are taking a Reference Note that requires no immediate action from other types of notes. Say for example, you wanted to write down an author’s name that you heard while talking to a friend. Now where are you going to keep this that makes sense in your home? Reference items are space stealers and are rarely found again to use. We suggest adopting an electronic note system like Evernote or the one built into your phone to keep things for reference of minor relevance. To avoid electronic piles, it is important to create reference categories such as: Reading List/Recipes/Favorite Wines, etc., and then date new entries under each category. I personally like to use my time in waiting rooms to clean up any old electronic notes I no longer care about.
  4. Do not keep cards and envelopes to remind you to write thank you notes. Upon receipt of a card, make sure the name and address is in your contact list. Recycle the envelope. Enjoy the card. Create a separate action item in your calendar or to-do list titled: “Thank You’s {date}” and list the names of those to recognize. Paper be gone!
  5. Resist the urge to keep mailed advertisements as reminders to call or research a service. Instead, send these directly to your recycle bin and make an electronic “Call” or “Research” list. It is important to put dates on these entries as months can go by before ever taking action.
  6. The dreaded grocery list need not be etched on paper. Notice I say List, singularly. If you use an electronic tool for this, be sure to delete each old list and replace with the most current one to stay up to date. You should really have only one functional grocery list at a time. Or check to see if your favorite grocer has an app that will allow you to create the list within their database. This will help you match discounts and coupons to the items on the list.

You might be asking if it is ever good to write anything down–and the answer is YES! It is good to write down passwords, account numbers, and personal identification information in the event that electricity is interrupted or databases are compromised. But these items should be kept together in ONE place.

We hope you feel inspired to challenge yourself–drop an old habit and pick up a new one; and leave all that paper behind. For more information about organization, visit us at



4 Basic Steps to School Day Planning for Kids

4 Basic Steps to School Day Planning for Kids

We all remember the dreams we had as kids where we were anxious over things we forgot to bring to school or perhaps dreamt we showed up to class in our pajamas. These dreams are often a result of not feeling prepared. Planning ahead is an important skill to teach our kids–and perhaps the first opportunity to teach them to anticipate and plan their day is to include them in staging the things they need for each school day–the night before. Kids can be shown how to routinely consider these four categories each evening to begin to learn the art of preparation: clothing, homework and school supplies, lunches, sports or extracurricular gear. And here is how!

First, the school outfit. You can assign a drawer or a shelf or a spot on the dresser where kids can lay out all the items they will wear the next day. This includes socks, undergarments, and shoes, but also any special accessories like hats, scarves, hair accessories. And to make it fun, you can label this assigned area with the correct day of the week with interchangeable labels of your child’s liking.

Next we should get the book bag prepared. Each day the book bag should be emptied to remove contents not needed. Use a folder system inside that bag that allows your kids to transport things easily. For example, have a folder labeled “Completed Homework” to make sure homework from that evening is transported back to school. You can also have a folder labeled “Assigned Homework” so papers from school can be easily found once home. And a third folder can be labeled “Parents and Teachers” so info that is being sent home or to the classroom (which seems like more and more these days) doesn’t get lost at the bottom of the bag. If your child doesn’t have a locker or assigned desk, consider having a checklist of additional items that can be good to have in their pack, like: extra pens and pencils, extra notebook paper, tissues, hand sanitizer, lunch money, house keys, bike lock, etc.

If your child, packs a lunch, consider having them help or own this task. Getting them involved in what they eat, helps improve interest in the food they are eating. It also gives your child the opportunity to learn about which foods are healthy choices to include. If it is a toss up between packing a lunch and buying lunch at your house, make sure to have the school menu in a place like the pantry so kids can review and decide which lunch they will prefer that day.

And for extracurricular activities, I would first recommend a calendar within your child’s view that let’s them see what days they are practicing/performing etc. The gear preparation is much like the prep for clothes. Make sure uniform and gear are laid out or in their gear bag ready to go the night before in the designated staging place.

Practice makes perfect. You will see that your child gets better at this over time. And they will begin to connect the value of thinking ahead with the reward of being prepared with less anxiety over forgotten things. And you should all enjoy the benefit of easing into your mornings!

Happy school days!

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