Called “The Queen of Clean” New York’s Barbara Reich, simplifies de-cluttering projects for others by having categories they can use.
- Give – Pass family heirlooms to your kids as holiday or birthday gifts, except for things that have significantly increased by value, such as art work or a vintage sports car. Leave it to an heir in your will so a receiver doesn’t have to pay capital gains taxes.
- Sell – Beyond garage sales, there are consignment shops and the Internet. Fairly new electronics like cellphones bring money on uSell and Gazelle. A used book store can determine the value of your books.
- Liquidate – A liquidator will run an estate sale. Julie Hall of the American Society of Estate Liquidators suggests interviewing several. Hall is the author of The Boomer Burden: Dealing With Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff. Ask for references, fees (an average of 35 percent) and a copy of the contract.
- Trash it – Before renting a dumpster, call a junk hauler or local bulk-trash pick up service and drag your trash bags to the curb. Don’t include electronics, which contain heavy metals. Some recycling sites charge a few dollars for handling old computers and such, but at least they aren’t damaging the landfill.
Keeping your home de-cluttered
- Get a label maker – Label storage drawers so you and your family know what’s in them.
- Use trash bags – Collect items you’ll donate. Then be sure to do it.
- File folders – Keep categories broad. Narrow categories make filing hard.
- Get nice storage boxes – Use for items you want to access. They can be stacked, labeled and displayed.