One of my goals in January was to clean out the basement and get rid of the baby items, clothes and maternity stuff that I have been hanging on to for… UM a little too long. Since I have gotten rid of only about 10% or less of the baby stuff that I have acquired in 4 years, I knew this was going to be a BIG project. I knew this stuff was going to go to multiple places including consignment, donations, give to friends and also save for an ambitious quilt project.
Create a Plan:
- Know what charity, consignment sale, or yard sale in advance (Not sure? Read this: The Big Baby Hoard Clean-Out: Donate or Sell?)
- Start somewhere – Toys, Clothes, Big Items
- Designate a place that you can sort through your items – Choose wisely because if it takes longer than expected you don’t want to have to step over the items to get from room to room OR have to move it from one place to another and then back again…
- Create zones based on your specific plan (donate, trash, consign, give to friend, etc.)
- Start sorting
- I opted for the cash up front consignment store first because I really don’t want to have to deal with any items that didn’t sell. I called a local shop and asked them some questions. I also asked if I could send them a detailed list with pictures of my stuff for their review. (more on that below)
- How does your consignment shop work?
- What items are you looking for?
- What items won’t you take?
- What days and times do you accept items?
- I started by sorting through the big stuff on my garage floor, created a list in Evernote and snapped pictures within the app along the way. I took pictures as I went through the items because I wanted to send my list to the consignment store before I loaded everything in the car to have it come right back home with me. If they have too much of something, they won’t take it so I was trying to save myself some work. But did it work?
- I chose my garage to sort all the stuff but the basement would have worked fine too
- I created 4 zones, donate, trash, consignment and giveaway (this was to friends and our daycare center)
- Sent the email list to the consignment store to see what I could take there
- Breaking up the project into smaller pieces vs. trying to tackle the entire project at once (This is BIG!)
- Sorting the items based on where they were going
- Calling ahead to see what items they are accepting
- Didn’t have to load and unload too many items
What didn’t work?
- Evernote – Not a good option for taking pictures and easily sharing them in a viewable format. I may use this as an option for my own purposes if I need to create a list of items with picures but it didn’t work for sharing. It may work to track donated items for the year?
- Consignment store cash up front option – only yielded $25 for 6 big items that were either new or in really great condition. I may just streamline my plan in the future and eliminate the consignment category. (The Big Baby Hoard Clean-Out: Donate or Sell?)
The consignment store said I could send them the email list but they could not access the value of the items this way. They could just tell me if they didn’t want an item that I had on the list. I checked my email throughout the morning and NOTHING. I contacted the shop and they hadn’t received the list. I verified the email address that I used and sent another copy. I couldn’t figure out what was going wrong and then I realized that the email was probably too large. I looked at my copy via my email (vs. Evernote) and it was terrible. The images were so large and there was no way to easily resize them to review this list. I went back into Evernote and broke my list of about 12 items into 2 smaller lists and resent. Voila, it worked.. kinda! The email transmitted but the owner had a very hard time reviewing the list because of the size of the images. She roughly told me what she could use, I loaded it up and headed up to the shop.
I left behind the stroller, the car seat, 2 bases and pack-n-play because I knew they couldn’t use those items. Once I got there, they did their own review of the items and I ended up bringing back 3 items, 2 of the items were items I didn’t include on the original list and I didn’t ask about them either. Another item they considered to not work properly so that came back too. It was an activity table that would make a muffled & clicking noise when certain buttons were hit. Not exactly broken but also not operating 100% correctly.
So, in the end I think the clean-up went fairly well. I got rid of about 75% of the big baby items that I had sorted through that day. My husband took a car full of stuff to a women’s shelter and I took a box of items to my daycare center that same week. I did track my donated items using my smartphone. That will turn into another blog post down the road. I still have a few items that I need to find a home for. All in all, I think the project was a success.
Blog series: 2014 Get Organized Challenge