Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Wow! You're a Big Family!" Controlling the Chaos Tidbit #7-Dealing with Crap

Crap-we've all got it.  It's looking into your bathroom storage closet and realize you have somehow bought 10 boxes of Band Aids and now are able to cover over 1, 000 owies should you ever have the need.  It's the poor lonely clothes that have been abandoned to the darkest corners of your closet because they don't fit, are ugly, or are missing a button and you're too lazy to fix it.  It's the jeans that are pajamas that you received as a birthday gift but you know you will never ever use despite dear Aunt Ethel's assertion that they are so comfy and fashion forward.  I do try to keep our crap collection to a minimum.  Because with 6 of us, there is no shortage of crap.

When talking about crap, there are 3 basic groups into which I sort items I no longer want or need:  throw away, donate, or sell.  The throw pile is pretty easy.  Anything broken gets thrown.  (And often cheap junk like trinkets from carnivals or the doctor's office get thrown too.)  However, actually throwing items away with children around is not so easy.  It involve trickery.  And subterfuge.  (And lots of sneaking things out when they aren't looking and then strategically placing more garbage on top of those things so no one realizes you threw it away.)  Don't judge me.  If you have small children, you have probably one or two broken Happy Meal toys that have met the awful fate of being buried alive under the coffee grounds.  You are maybe just not admitting it.

For donate, I generally have boxes or bags just for items I want to donate.  The first two are for boxes of hand me downs that I intend to pass on to my friends who have children just a bit younger than mine.  The third box is for a women's shelter.  The third is a box for Flip Flop Fleet which collects shoes, underwear, and bras for Haiti.    The fourth box is for our local thrift store.  To make this work, I do have to kind of have a plan beforehand and have an idea of what are acceptable donations for each place.

My last pile is for items I would like to sell.  This includes the dreaded words "garage sale."  Garage sales are a lot of work.  (Sometimes more work than what is profitable but that's another story.)  I try to cut down on my garage sale headache by staying on top of the garage sale pile throughout the year.  Here's how-whenever I have an item I want to put in the garage sale pile, before I put it in garage sale box, I put the price on a sticker and attach it to the item.  That method ensures that the bulk of my pricing is done months and months before the actual garage sale.  (Another quick tip is to not price books and stuffed animals or other small kids toys; just throw them in a box at the garage sale and have all books or all stuffed animals or small toys worth 50 cents or a quarter.  Anything like that I don't pre price; I just through it in the garage sale box and deal with it on garage sale day.)  I also have a few other options for selling items.  We use a local consignment store for most of our clothing.  They take both kids' clothes and adult, so anything I would like to consign I put in a box to take to the consignment store about once a month.  I usually average $15 a month at the consignment store.  With the baby, I've also gotten onto quite a few for sale by owner type sites on Facebook where people are selling all sorts of stuff locally like kids' clothing, baby gear, and furniture.  I've bought items from these sites and I have used these sites to sell items too.

Throw, donate, or sell-those are the piles.  Lest you think my house is crapfree, come visit.  You're welcome to see my crap that usually fills the counter that I've claimed as office space.  Just don't look in the garbage. Under the paper towels, leftover spaghetti, and half eaten apple,  you just might hear an armless Barbie begging to be rescued

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