My last post talked about the challenges involved in downsizing. The first and biggest challenge facing anyone downsizing is what to do with all your stuff. The whole point of downsizing is to move to a smaller house or condo. It follows that with less space you also need less stuff. I’m working on this myself at the moment and am happy to say we have lots of resources in Iowa City and Coralville that will help us reduce the amount of stuff in our homes before we move to the next phase in the downsizing process.
As a refresher from my last post. We have 5 options in the “stuff reduction process.” Keep it. Sell it. Donate it. Recycle it. Toss it. Right now, whenever I have some spare time, I’m going through my house room for room and drawer for drawer, looking at every item and asking myself if I like it or need it enough to sort it, pack it, unpack it, clean it and find a new home for it after the move. You won’t be surprised that once you start asking those questions you’re a lot quicker to put things on the discard pile!
Downsizing – Where to Sell & Donate Your Stuff
Fortunately, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so the sell or donate options are the most popular scenarios for the discard pile. We have many consignment stores in Iowa City and Coralville. We also have a City Wide Garage Sale in Coralville, typically the first Saturday in May that is a great option. Iowa City has a Rummage on the Ramp event every year at the end of July in an effort to keep reusable items out of the landfill and in circulation at the lease changeover time of the year. Both Iowa City and Coralville are big on green initiatives and the value of reducing, reusing and recycling. It’s worth visiting their websites for more information.
There are lots of consignment stores in Iowa City and Coralville. My short list includes the ones I know have a good reputation. I emailed a past client who relocated out of state and who I knew was an “insider” on the consignment stores in Iowa City for furniture and household items. She still misses the consignment stores on this little list!
The obvious one is Stuff Etc. They have stores in both Iowa City and Coralville. The Coralville store is close to Walmart and Kohls. Stuff in Iowa City is on Hwy 6 on the south east side.
My personal favorite for selling large items of furniture or appliances is still Craigslist. There’s a lot of spam there these days, but still in my eyes it beats loading up my car and taking my bulky items to a consignment store or even to a donation center. This time of the year with the students starting the fall semester at the UI it’s a great time to list too. I sold a couple of pieces of furniture this week in just a day on Craigslist.
I don’t really think I need to spend a lot of time telling you where to donate your items. Goodwill is pretty much a household name and we have stores and donation centers in both Iowa City and Coralville.
Downsizing – Recycling Your Stuff
If you’re anything like me, you’ll find that most of the items in your home can be sold or donated. However, there will be items that need to be recycled. In my case these are usually electronics – Old cell phones, VCR’s etc. Technology moves so fast these days that many items are obsolete in just a few years. Luckily these days both Staples and Best Buy take electronic recycling, even if you didn’t buy it there. You’ll need to check their websites for items excluded.
Environmentally safe electronic waste recycling is also available at the East Side Recycling center, through ReStore and the Iowa City Landfill, which is on the west side. You’ll find more details about that on the City of Iowa City Website
That covers some of the options available locally when it comes to selling, donating or recycling your stuff. As I mentioned above, both Iowa City and Coralville focus on green initiatives. Check out their websites or call for more information on their reducing, reusing and recycling programs.
The “stuff reduction process” takes time. Downsizing your home doesn’t happen overnight. We get pretty attached to our stuff and keep on buying bigger houses to accommodate it. Now is the time to reverse the process. Think of all that extra time you’ll have when you don’t have to clean the furniture in the rooms you don’t use anyway!
Ultimately of course, if you’re downsizing, at some point you’ll be putting your current house on the market. While you’re going room to room sorting your stuff, it’s also a good time to look and see if the room itself needs any maintenance. Taking care of those maintenance items, or planning a few small updates will be a great way to start getting your home ready for sale. I’ll save more about that for my next post when I look at the next step in the downsizing process.