Archive for Recycling, Donating and Re-purposing items

8 Ways to sell your stuff before your move

More and more people are downsizing before moving. They may be moving to a smaller place. They may have decided to have a more minimalist  lifestyle. They maybe moving a great distance and choose not to take their stuff with them but furnish their accommodation when they know what they need. Selling your stuff is one way to fund your move.

My guest blogger is Liz Wolf a freelance writer  who wrote this article for

You’re preparing to move and it’s time to declutter. Don’t just trash the stuff you don’t need when you can make some decent money selling it.

In fact, 77 percent of people said they’ve tried to sell belongings before a move, according to a new survey released by

While there are many ways to sell your stuff, it turns out that 78 percent of tech-savvy millennials go online to sell their items, compared with 52 percent of the general public who have ever tried to sell something online. (You can download the full survey results here.)

“I think there’s a technology gap,” said Liana George, owner of Houston area-based By George Organizing Solutions. “That’s how my daughter in college got rid of a lot of stuff, like her bed and bedding, when she moved back home. Millennials are much more digital. That’s how they think.”

Whether you’re tech-savvy or not, there are plenty of ways to unload your extra stuff for cash. Here are the most popular ways people sell their items:

Mature couple putting up sign for Yard Sale

1. Garage Sales

Garage and yard sales actually beat out all other methods with 50 percent of movers saying they’ve hosted a sale, according to SpareFoot.

Research group Statistics Brain reports that garage sales nationally generate a whopping $4.22 million in weekly revenue.

“I’m not surprised because sometimes it’s all people know,” said Donna Smallin Kuper, professional organizer and author of How to De-clutter and Make Money Now. They don’t know that there are other options that are actually much better, that will net more from their sales and be faster. People who have garage sales all complain that they only got pennies on a dollar. Well, that’s because it was a garage sale!”

“I feel garage sales are too time-consuming for small profit unless you have an entire house to get rid of,” added Ellen Limes, owner of Organized by L in Columbus, Ohio. “We do more donating just to get rid of it.”

While garage sales are a ton of work – and “shoppers” can be stingy with their dollars – you do get to pocket all of the proceeds and there are tips for a successful sale.

However, Hazel Thornton, owner of Organized for Life in Albuquerque, NM has a word of advice: “I tell clients, ‘If you do have a garage sale, promise me that whatever doesn’t sell goes straight to donation,’” she said.

2. Word of Mouth

Thirty-five percent of respondents said they have sold items just by word of mouth among friends and family.

“Start by letting your family know and ask them to tell their connections,” advised Julie Stobbe, owner of Mind Over Clutter in Ontario, Canada. “Next send the information to friends and co-workers and groups you might belong to. If you’re dealing with people you know, they’re more likely to show up and buy the item than when you’re dealing with the public.”

An ideal way to sell furniture or appliances is ask the new homebuyer or neighbors if they’re interested.

3. Craigslist

Thirty-two percent of movers have tried selling stuff on

More than 60 million people use this free site each month in the U.S. alone. Craiglist is good for selling larger items like home appliances, bicycles, furniture and yard equipment.

young women shopping through tablet on Ebay

4.  eBay

Looking to reach a bigger audience? Twenty-four percent of movers try eBay to lighten their loads.

eBay is a big e-commerce player with 25 million sellers worldwide. High-end clothing, collectibles and smaller electronics are popular items.

However, some might find eBay’s large, competitive marketplace rather intimidating. Also, eBay charges sellers for listing on the site, whether items sell or not, and takes a commission on the sale.

“Twenty-four percent is surprising, because I find that eBay is a little bit complicated, and there’s so much competition with professional sellers,” Smallin Kuper said. “There are easier ways.”

5. Facebook

Twenty-one percent try hawking their stuff on the popular social networking site. People spend a heckuva lot of time on Facebook, so why not use it to sell your belongings?

Consider offering your Facebook friends the first opportunity to buy your stuff by creating a photo album and labeling it “Online Garage/Yard Sale.”

“We have several Facebook groups just for selling in our master-planned community,” George said. “It’s easier to know somebody three blocks over has something and I can go get it… We do porch pickup where we just leave things on the porch and people put the money under the mat.”

“I sold a washer/dryer to a friend’s son and a bear rug to a friend in California,” Smallin Kuper added.

Or expand your reach and find a Facebook “Yard Sales Group” in your area.  Groups can be very large and many are private, so you must join before you can sell.

 6. Consignment Stores

Just 15 percent of movers try their luck with consignment stores to make some extra money. Consignment stores work well for high-end clothing, purses, home décor and furniture.

“They’re a great way to sell stuff, because people are already going there looking for those items,” Smallin Kuper said. “You split the sale with the seller, but you don’t have to do anything but show up.”

Of course, these shops are picky in what they accept.

“That’s a good thing because they know what sells,” Smallin Kuper added. “If you take it to them and they say, ‘Uhh, we really don’t want these clothes.’ Great. Now you know just donate them. You have to put your ego aside when you go to consignment stores.”

7. Amazon

Fourteen percent of movers try to sell their excess goods on

Amazon offers a large marketplace like eBay, but it’s less expensive to use . You can list on Amazon for free and then it’s $.99 cents per item sold on top of the commission for the sale if you have the basic, individual seller’s account. Books, DVDs and video games are best-selling items.

“It’s such an easy way to sell stuff especially books, but anything that Amazon sells, you can sell,” Smallin Kuper said. “…You’re listed along with other used items and if you want your item to sell fast, just drop the price a little bit and boom! You’ve just sold something and all you have to do is ship it.”

8. Free Apps

Four percent of movers report using other methods to sell their stuff. There are lot of new entrants looking to help people sell their stuff via a variety of marketplaces, mostly in the form of free smartphone apps. Some of the services include: Letgo, OfferUp, VarageSale, Close5 and Decluttr.

You can find this blog post at SpareFoot

What was your most successful way of selling your items before moving?

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at

Organizing, why not repurpose an item instead of buying something new

In my travels I have seen some great organizing ideas and products.  Most of them can be created using items you already own. Save money, have fun and create a solution to an organizing problem.

Re-purpose an  item and use it in a new way

On my trip to Vancouver I learned about this idea. Here is a silver chest.

Re-purpose an old silver chest and make it into a make-up organizer

It now holds make up.  My daughter-in-law invented this creative solution.

The brushes nicley fit where cultery used to be stored.

Stack 2 tables to create a great look 

I travelled to Iceland with my 92 year old Father.  A coffee shop had these versitile coffee tables.

Stacking coffee tables

They can be easily separated to give more tables, slide overtop of each other to leave more floor space and provide 2 different height tables at the same seating space. Imagine how you could create this look at your home with 2 tables.

Use stacking bins for laundry

When I was in Yellowknife I saw these great stacking laundry bins

Any stacking bins could be used for your laundry

They use vertical space so take up less floor space and can easily be separated to take to the laundry room.  The thing I liked is that you can put items into the bottom bin without removing the top bin.  If you have some bins around the house try using them them for your laundry.  You may need to set one across the other in an X pattern to be able to stack them.

1 in 4 garbage can

While staying in a hotel in Ontario I noticed this great recycling idea.

Each section of the garbage can holds a different type of trash

It made recycling very easy.  It was all in one place, the corners were labelled so you knew where to put your cans, paper, garbage and glass. You can easily make dividers for the garbage cans for bedrooms. It would make collecting the garbage easy, only one container, and it would be sorted ready to add to the larger containers going out to the curb.

Shoe Organizers are Versatile

When I was in Bermuda I saw one in a bookstore used to organize maps.  The pockets are large and the organizer can be hung over a door, mounted on a hanger and put in a closet or fastened to a wall.

Shoe organizers can be used to organizer lots of things, hats, mitts, first aid supplies,cleaning supplies and maps

Re-purpose a piece of furniture

Using furniture in a new way can be fun. Use old furniture as storage and save money not buying bins.  Back at home, this used to be a buffet.

Use old furniture to store items.

It holds our CD collection perfectly. I knew I would not have room to use it in the eating area but by the entertainment equipment it keeps CDs and gaming equipment neat and organized.

I went to the Canadian National Home Show, check out this blog post for more creative organizing ideas. What’ new at the home show?

Share your creative organizing solutions in the comments below.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at

Can you recycle VHS tapes?

I first published this blog in May 2015.  I have been notified that Project Get Reel has received their e-waste license and is up and running.

VHS tapes are 80% recyclable but most end up in landfills.  It is a labour intensive job to dismantle the tapes into their component parts.  “Project Get Reel is giving people an environmentally safe way to dispose of tapes while providing employment to people who may face barriers to securing a job.”  They launched this business on April 9 ,2015.  View the video on this site to learn more about recycling VHS tapes. Watch for more news about this business trying to help the environment and provide sustainable employment for residents in Ontario Canada

pile of VHS tapes

Photo by Rob Pearce

Let me know some of the great places you take your donations and recycling to.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at

Get organized and donate to textile recycling

Textile recycling is a newer idea.  The idea of  donating clothes, shoes, purses, belts blankets toys etc to thrift stores is well established in most communities.  What if those items have holes, are discoloured, very old and out of fashion you can still keep them out of the landfill though textile recycling. Canadians only divert 25% waste from landfills.

Textile Waste Diversion and the Clothesline program are 2 companies that will gladly accept clean, dry ,odorless, clothing, shoes, boots, leather belts, purses, outwear, linens, drapery, soft toys. sleeping bags, yarn, pillows, hats, etc any thing made of textiles.


graphic from

These 2 programs have bins for easy drop off.   Not only do they divert waste from landfills but they also put money back into the economy through their fundraising programs.

This problem is not limited to Canada.  In the USA it’s estimated each person wastes 32kg of clothing annually, with only 15% of this ending up in a recycling center. The rest is landfilled or incinerated, causing lasting damage to the environment.

With an increasing growth rate in Britain they also have low rates of waste diversion.  The article The Introduction to all things Recycling  by Monk and company explains the environmental benefits of recycling, the importance of recycling and the environmental impact of textile waste.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at

Recycling and Donating

Organizing Challenges Unraveled – Recycling and Donating

OES Ontario Electronic Stewardship

If you are looking for locations to recycle your computers, TV, printers, fax machines, etc., this website will help you find a location near you.

Highlight Consumer/Retailers then click on Recycle your electronic

Go to the bottom of the page and type in the name of your city in Ontario and it will give you a list of locations


If you have books you would like to donate, libraries and used bookstores may take them.  There is a new organization that is able to put books into prisons.  It is call Books to Bars.  It is dedicated to promoting literacy, creativity and functionality in correctional facilities.


Clothing can be donated to women’s shelter as well as Salvation Army, Value Village, New Horizons Store on James St, Hamilton ON. There is a children’s store that is called Once Apon a Child and a teen and young adult store called Plato located at Guelph Line and Upper Middle Road, Burlington ON.  They are not consignment stores.  You bring in your clothes and they buy it (what they want) on the spot and give you the money right away.

Building Supplies

Habitat for Humanity Restores will take building supplies.  Call ahead to see if they need the items that you wish to donate.

Antique Stores

Some antique stores will take window frames, furniture etc.  I have an artist that is looking for  antique items to use in her craft business.  Contact

Decore on a Dime

This store is located in Hamilton, ON and will take some stylish home furnishings on consignment.

Orange Drop

Check out this website to learn locations to drop off your corrosive, flammable, explosive and toxic items.

Single Use Batteries

Rechargeable batteries can be dropped off with your electronics but they will not take single use batteries.  Try contacting your local stores to see if they are a collection depot for single use batteries.



Please go to  and click on the links page for more ideas about recycling and donating good used items.  If you have and questions or other great recycling and donating ideas click on the contact page, I’d love to hear from you.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at

Some Donations go to Charity and Some Don’t

CBC has a great article about how companies help charities and are able to make a profit for their business.  Click the link to learn more about the business of donations.

What is your favourite place to donate to?

For the DIY – Re-purposing Unused Items

New Life for A Bike

When you are sorting through your items,  unused items may need to go to the garbage, recycling or can be re-purposed.  Finding a new life for your things might save your money.

  1. A peg board can make a great place to hang jewellery or medals. Paint it the same colour as the wall.  If you prefer decorate it and make it a piece of artwork to hold you items.

    Use a peg board to hang jewellery or medals

    Use a peg board to hang jewellery or medals

  2. A magazine holder can be used on a shelf, standing up or laying down to hold paper products in your kitchen, wax paper, baggies, parchment paper, plastic wrap etc.
  3. Muffin tins can be used to hold paint

    Muffin tins can hold paint for those touch up jobs around the house.

    Muffin tins can hold paint for those touch up jobs around the house.

  4. Egg cartons are good for jewellery or small craft items, beads, “googly eyes”, stickers, glitter. It also makes a good desk drawer organizer for tacks, paper clips, binder clips, keys, etc
  5. Plastic containers from fruit, vegetables, take-out food, baby wipes can be used to hold markers, pencil crayons and pens
  6. Dressers make great entryway storage places.  Paint or decorate it to match your entryway and then use the drawers to store, keys, sunglasses, sunscreen, scarves, mitts, hat, baseball caps etc.

    Use a dresser in your entryway to provide more storage

    Use a dresser in your entryway to provide more storage

  7. Icing containers.  If you buy icing in the grocery store they are great containers for storing pens and pencils on your desk.  Once the label is removed it is a beautiful white container.
  8. Cleaning Caddy can be used to hold art supplies.  Use the icing containers to hold crayons, rulers, pencils, stamps, glitter glue.  Add scissors, glue, tape stapler and you can take your art supplies anywhere.

    Use a cleaning caddy to hold art supplies

    Use a cleaning caddy to hold art supplies

  9. Laundry hampers can be used to store extra pillows or blankets.  It is a great way to keep them neat, clean and out of the way until they are needed for company, watching TV, laying by the fireplace.
  10. Picture frames can be turned into chalk boards, white board or magnetic boards by painting the cardboard or wood insert  with specialized paint.  It comes in lots of colours.

Leave a comment and let me know what best thing you have repurposed and its new use.

To Pinterest or Not to Pinterest

Pinterest logo

A great site for visual learners

Pinterest can be a great resource.  It has ideas on how to organize everything and anything.  It has DIY solutions in all price ranges and skill levels.    Pinterest is good resource for visual learners, you see the design on your screen.

So why don’t I like it? The problem that arises for me, as a Trained Professional Organizer, occurs when clients see something on Pinterest and ask me to create that system for them.  Just because it is on Pinterest doesn’t mean it is the right solution for you.  It is the right solution for the person who posted it.

Evaluate the idea and think about how you do things before you copy it.  Just because you like the way it looks or because it is trending doesn’t mean it will work for the way you think and do things.  Deciding how to organize your books, jewelry etc needs to be done in a way that you can find what you need, when you need it and in a timely manner.

Organizing your books by colour looks great on the wall but will you be able to find a book you need.  If you did it with  a small number of books or only pick 2 or 3 colours of books you could adapt the idea  and make it work.

Books sorted by colour

Books sorted by colour create an interesting design for your wall

If you organize your jewelry hanging it from the horizontal bar of a hanger using binder clips to attach the jewelry if may be a good solution if you don’t have a lot of jewelry.  If you hang all your jewelry and then slide the hangers on a rod to look for a certain piece of jewelry the jewelry might become tangled as they sway when the hangers are moved. How would you attach your rings? You might end up this your jewelry stored in many different locations and not be able to find what you want.

Jewelery ooohund on a hanger using binder clips

If you have a small amount of jewelery and a space on your wall to place your hanger this might work for you.

A recipe may look great.  Is it something you can make in a big batch and freeze so you can get 2 meals for the time you are spending in the kitchen?  Are the ingredients something you have in your cupboard or will you need to make an extra trip to the store?

Enjoy using Pinterest but use it wisely to help you save time, money and effort.

What Should I do with Clothing I no Longer Need?

Clothes that are old and out of style are hard to donate so when you no longer want to have it in your closet make a plan so they can be loved by someone else.

1. If you have children sort their clothes at the start of each season and put the clothes that no longer fit in a box or bag.  You may find it easier to put clothes that now longer fit into the donation box or bag right after they come out of the dryer.  Make a connection with a family that has children a year or two younger than your children and give them the box of clothes at the beginning of each season.  This helps both families to know what clothes they have and what they need to buy and you don’t need to figure out where to donate them because they go to the same family every season.

2. There are many consignment stores that sell clothing.  You can find them on line.  Each store will have their own niche market.  Contact

Clothing can be sold through consignment stores

Clothing can be sold through consignment stores

them to see if they want high end clothing, teenage clothes, etc.

3. If you have unusual pieces of clothing like a nurses cape, old fashioned outfits or accessories take them to  your local little theatre group.  They may be able to use them in their productions.  It would help the theatre company to say money on their costumes.

Vintage and unusual items can be donated to theatres

Vintage and unusual items can be donated to theatres

4. Sometimes communities have special clothing drives.  You may find that formal wear can be donated to groups collecting clothing for proms.  In the late fall there maybe winter coat and boot drive for homeless street people.  Running shoes can be donated at some running stores and they donate them to organizations that send the shoes overseas.

5. Clothing can be donated to women’s and men’s shelters as well as thrift stores in your community.

Tool Lending Library

Get your tools here, donate your tools here

We have toy lending libraries. kitchen lending libraries and , now a tool lending library.  People can donate tools to the library that they no longer use.  It gives people access to tools that they might not otherwise be able to afford to purchase or don’t need to buy because they use these tools infrequently.

Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area