What to Do With Your Big Unwanted Items

washerIt’s autumn, which means it’s the perfect time to start cleaning out your house in preparation for the holidays. Before you try to cram your closets full of gifts, you need to rid them of the unused and unwanted junk taking up space, and before you can entertain dozens of friends and family members, you need to replace your old, broken down appliances and replace them with their shiny, new versions.

While many objects easily disappear in yard sales or consignment stores, it can be confusing and difficult to find someone to take your heavier stuff. At the beginning of autumn, before you get swept up by the holiday spirit, find out how to rid your house of your biggest space-takers.

Big Furniture

There are plenty of good reasons to replace your old furniture: Maybe the couch you inherited from your in-laws doesn’t fit with the rest of your living room decor, or your kid has outgrown his bed in the middle of his teenage growth spurt. No matter the reason, your old furniture has to go before you can bring in anything modern and new.

If you think your old furniture is still rather high quality, you can try listing your furniture in wanted ads in your local newspapers or online. While you could get a monetary return on your old investment, selling your furniture is by no means an exact science, and you could be waiting weeks or even months before you find an interested buyer.

Alternatively, if your furniture is still good and you have a big heart, you can see if any local charities will take your items. Local charities take furniture for a variety of reasons, like helping the homeless get back on their feet or welcoming refugees to America with a comfortable home, and many of them will come to your house to pick up your items.

Big Appliances

Your old washer and dryer might have been installed 30 years ago when the house was built, and they probably don’t get your clothes nearly as clean as they should; similarly, your dishwasher rumbles and leaks, and you usually have to scrub the dishes before and after the rinse cycle anyway. Upgrading appliances comes with plenty of benefits: better energy savings, better water usage, better space economization. However, once again, you can’t bring in the shiny new appliances until you find a place for your old ones.

Appliances tend to have different rules than furniture. Because the functionality and safety of furniture is rather evident, most buyers and charities can assess the items’ value on-site, which means almost anyone will take them off your hands. Most individual buyers aren’t looking for 30-year-old appliances that don’t work well; they don’t have the time or know-how to get them into working condition, and they’d rather spend their money on something newer, just like you.

Not every charity is equipped to take in appliances. However, Habitat for Humanity and other charity services that build and furnish houses from scratch for needy families around the world are always looking for appliances with any level of functionality — plus they have devoted workers who can get the appliances running in tip-top shape for their new owners.

Big Vehicles

handsWhile they won’t clutter your kitchen or living room during holiday parties, your old cars and boats take up valuable real estate in your garage or driveway, and they can be major eyesores in the front yard. Many people have the cars and boats they use — newer, more efficient models — and the cars and boats they used to use — junkers. This year, you can give up the ghost and get rid of your useless vehicles once and for all.

You can try, but unless your car or boat is a collector’s dream or in outstanding condition for its age, you probably won’t be able to find a buyer. Instead of wasting your time and energy in the selling process, get more than your vehicle is worth by donating it. Car donation organizations are excellent causes that will take vehicles in any state and resell them to fund various charities. Because your vehicle is such a big item, you will receive a tax benefit for your donation which could amount to significantly more than you could hope for from a buyer.

Big Houses

Moving houses can be completely necessary or simply whimsical, but no matter the reason, you probably don’t need to retain your old house while you’re paying for a new one. While the Great Recession is finally ending and the real estate market is starting to recover, it can still be difficult to get out from under your house. If you’ve had your house listed for weeks or months without a bite, it may be time to start considering other options.

Believe it or not, you can actually donate your house to charity. As with cars or boats, specialized charities take in houses to refurbish them for a variety of reasons. Some organizations flip the house for a profit to help any number of worthy causes, and some make the house livable to benefit homeless or struggling families. Also as with vehicles, you’ll receive a sizable tax break because of your generous donation, and the process is rather quick and painless — unlike the real estate market.

Fall cleaning is wonderful opportunity to rid yourself of the huge sources of clutter in your life. Selling may be an option for some of your large items, but if you have a big heart and appreciate your community, giving your items to charity could benefit more than just you.

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