THE BIG CONUNDRUM – Learning to Let Go
We had cleared, eradicated, and eliminated the excess before our big move to California. But our new home might as well have been an igloo compared to the size of our previous Ohio residence. We somehow still needed to throw away, recycle, and sell more of our junk.
My biggest dilemma was getting rid of items that held sentimental value. I wavered. Should I hold onto things that were long defunct and out of style? It was amazing what my mind rationalized to justify keeping/not keeping certain items:
A Walkman - This conjured up memories of my kids playing their teen bop tunes, dropping the gizmo many times over and reducing it to a duck-taped gadget shellacked with nail polish and frog stickers. I would maybe have this item bronzed and given to one of my girls on their wedding day. Kidding! I'd give it to them when they had their first baby.
Fanny packs – You never know when a fanny pack might save the day from a near fashion fail.
Overalls – Somewhere, someone is planning an overall-wearing, knee-slapping, hoe down - and I want to be ready.
Maternity bras – Despite the fact that my girls are grown-up and in high school, these could be used as dusting rags, or slingshots (with handy pockets for ammunition).
VHS Cassette Tapes – Even though we don't own a VHS Player anymore, these movies could become handy dandy bookends.
Dr. Martens and Trench coats – I simply couldn't muster up any excuses to keep these.
So, there you have it. This was my dilemma in a nutshell. By the way, nutshells can be used for a variety of practical purposes. But, even packrats like me have to learn how to let go.
THE BIG PURGE
We knew we needed to get a recycling bin for our green waste and trash – but where could we take our electronic waste, bigger recyclables, and piles of junk?
Donate - A win-win is to donate your unwanted, gently used electronics to someone in need, or to a charity. Before selling any electronics, delete and backup all personal data. Do not throw them away in the trash.
Recycle -And for those items that are obsolete, broken and kaput – check into the following recycling options:
E-Waste - Electronic Equipment (E-Waste) includes: computers, monitors, TVs, cell phones & other household electronics. Drop offs are between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 3110 Busch Rd. in Pleasanton. Fees apply. Also, a free E-Waste event is held every spring. Check online for this date announcement.
Recycling Buy Back –The Pleasanton Recycling Buy Back Center accepts materials you haul to the facility yourself, and gives you cash back for specific items. A list of accepted materials can be found on the City of Pleasanton's recycling website. For more information, contact Pleasanton Garbage Service at (925) 846-2042.
Recycling Wizard is a handy online tool to determine (1) Where you can recycle (2) Where you can buy Green products (3) What can be recycled curbside, and (4) How to report a waste/recycling problem. For more information visit: www.Stopwaste.org or call (877) 786-7927.
Hazardous Waste Drop Off in Livermore takes products such as: paint, oils, pesticides, household toxics, propane tanks, fluorescent lamps and bulbs, batteries, medicines, and pool chemicals.
There are some things that cannot be dropped off at HWDO: electronics, asbestos, explosives, radioactive materials, and some compressed gases. Check with the Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste facility for more information, visit: Household-Hazwaste.org or (800) 606-6606.
For a stronger understanding of recycling how-tos, view Pleasanton Garbage Service's online brochure for pictured details of how to sort your scraps.
THE BIG SELL
In lieu of holding a garage sale – which is a lot of planning, prepping and headache – sell your items online. These online sites truly are remarkable and convenient tools to have at our fingertips. Yes, there are horror stories, but as long as you are smart and discrete and private with your initial posting, it's a safe bet you'll be able to sell your unwanted junk without getting kidnapped and held for ransom.
Beware: Online scammers are definitely a threat when you are dealing with online selling. If someone is asking to buy the item and say they will send you a cashiers check so you can ship the item to them – it's a SCAM. If someone says they have to send a money order because they are handicapped, living overseas, or unable to access their bank account because they have come down with an unexpected case of tuberculosis - it's a SCAM.
Craigslist.org - When all else fails and you can't sell off your junk, sometimes putting it on Craigslist for a fair price or even for FREE will help you get rid of unwanted items. To avoid scams, follow these simple rules:
1.Try to only deal locally and where you can meet in person. And when you do meet this person in person – bring another person!
2. Never give out financial information (social security #s, bank account, credit card, etc.).
3. Never wire funds.
4. Don't accept cashiers checks or money orders, since banks will hold you liable if the fake funds are discovered weeks later.
5. Craigslist is 'hands-off' any and all transactions on its site. The company is not liable for any sales gone awry. In essence, it's a buyer/seller beware-and-be-smart environment.
6. Do not submit to credit or background checks.
Gazelle.com: Selling your electronic devices to Gazelle is as easy as 1, 2, 3. First answer a few questions about your gadget, print out your packing slip, and ship. After Gazelle receives the package, a check, Amazon credit or PayPal credit will be applied sent.
Usell.com: Skip the vendor. Ship the product for free. A large range of electronics, are accepted, including cameras and MP3 players.
Stores such as: Costco, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, and Radio Shack will also buy back electronics in return for a gift card to their store.
There are other sites to sell your e-goods, including: eBay, UBid, eBid, and many more. The choice is yours. When it comes to selling off your surplus – the online world is your oyster in one, giant seashell. Oh, do not get me started on how many uses there are for a seashell.