Those of you who know me know that I recently moved-the day after my family and I returned home from spring break! So my house had to be totally packed up and ready to go before I left for my week in Scottsdale.
I attempt to be organized, but it’s not really my strongest point. I am also a major procrastinator-eight years of “stuff” was awaiting me, and I had to just jump right in!
So for the month leading up to my move, I’d been packing and purging – with NO MERCY! Everything had to go. All of the kids’ toys with missing pieces that I was sure I’d find eventually – gone. All the baby clothes that I was hanging on to for sentimental value – had to go. And how about my maternity clothing? My baby is eight years old – time to pass that along, don’tcha think?
I spend weeks categorizing everything in my home into “dump”, “donate”, and “keep” piles. Bags and bags of trash. Bags and bags of items to donate. Here are my tips on the best ways to get rid of stuff…
First, have a plan. Break the job into small pieces – I tried to do one section, or even one room, of my house at a time, just so it was manageable. I also had a list of places to take everything: books went to Half Priced Books in Highland Park, shoes went to The Bootery in downtown Highland Park, clothing and household goods were donated to the ORT store or were picked up by the Cancer Federation. I also found My Best Friend’s Closet, a newer re-sale store in downtown Highland Park, to be great for items that were still valuable but I didn’t want anymore, such as the teeny Chanel handbag that I can’t even fit my iPhone into! Also, for children’s clothing that are in good condition, go to Principessa in Ravinia.
So here are the details:
Half Priced Books - Now, I have always loved bookstores-walking into one is like opening a treasure chest- there are thousands of gems in different shapes, colors and sizes..and you can always find something new and valuable. I could spend hours in a bookstore…but this store has a twist – it sells previously read books that are brought in, and anything it cannot sell, it will donate (they recently send hundreds of books to school children in Africa and American troops in Afghanistan!), and anything that cannot be donated is literally recycled to make new paper. It’s amazing! And, when you bring in books, you actually get paid! I absolutely love the green aspect of this company and what it’s all about. By the way, Half Priced Books also takes dvds, cds, children’s books, games, and even record albums!
The Bootery - This store in downtown Highland Park has been a staple for me since my kids started wearing shoes – I love the selection of footware and accessories. But they also will take your old shoe donations, which are then refurbished and donated.
The Cancer Federation - This is the organization that sends those pink postcards in the mail – and everytime I get one I call and schedule a pick-up, whether I have donations ready to go or not – I know I can always scrape up a few things I can part with! You just leave your goods by the front door the morning of your pick up, and they take your donations away to someone who can use them – easy!
ORT Resale Shop - Donations from these resale shops go toward helping students and schools within the ORT network. The Highland Park location – right on Central Avenue – was a place I made frequent – and by frequent, I mean multiple times a day! – stops at while I was in full-on packing and purging mode. Open Monday through Saturday, you just pull up (I mastered the art of backing into their parking lot and pulling as close to the door as I could!), pop open the trunk and leave things right inside the front door. Hours are 10-5 daily, it’s incredibly convenient and they always give you a tax letter. You can pretty much leave anything there, although they won’t take cribs. Fabulous, easy and for a good cause!
My Best Friend’s Closet - a brand new, upscale re-sale boutique next to Anthropologie on Central Ave. and Gree Bay Road in Highland Park, this is the place to bring your gently used designer clothing, handbags, shoes, and even jewelry. They take your information, mark in your goods, and send you a check when your items sell.
Principessa Boutique – this is the upscale, re-sale shop for your kids’ gently used but outgrown items! They will consign children’s clothing, coats, shoes and special accessories like designer diaper bags. Check their website for the brands they accept and their guidelines for the condition of your items. They will also donate anything that does not sell after a certain amount of time.
So this is what worked for me when I was moving out…but moving in is another story entirely! I will delve into that in my next posting…stay tuned.
Stephanie Hofman, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Highland Park, IL
Rookie of the Year, 2009
“Stephanie should be YOUR Realtor!”