Friday, October 2, 2009

Resource Update

The De-Clutter Club met again last night. We had a lot of new faces; thank you all for joining us – I hope to see you again at another meeting. The next meeting will be November 5, 2009. If you have a topic you would like to discuss, you can email me before the meeting and I will make sure we discuss the topic, or you can just bring your questions to the meeting to ask the group.

Last night, for the benefit of the new members, we went over some of the helpful resources that we have shared at past meetings. We had a brief discussion about Freecycle and the publicity it has gotten recently in the local press. One member shared her success with using the online service. Freecycle is a regionally based not-for-profit recycling network where people list items they have that they would like to give away (rather than throw away) to someone who has use of the item who would be willing to pick it up and take it away. The website is You can also use the network to find things that you might have a use for, but most of the de-cluttering experts tell you to try to avoid looking at the items available if your goal is to rid your life of stuff. Giving and not getting is perfectly acceptable with Freecycle. We also discussed the consignment shops in the area.

The same member who has had success with Freecycle has also given items to Greene Street Consignment Shop in Princeton and they have been able to sell the majority of the items in a short amount of time. Greene Street also has stores in Lambertville, Bryn Mawr and Philadelphia. If you are thinking of using this service, visit their website for locations, hours, rules and terms. They say that no one makes it easier to sell, but they do seem to have a lot of restrictions, which is probably why the stores seem to turn over merchandise quite quickly - they don't accept junk. They only take adult men’s and women’s clothing in a range of standard sizes and they are particular about labels and, of course, condition. They have a 10 item minimum and recommend that you bring more than 10 items in case they reject an item or two. They only require an appointment for women’s plus sizes and that is only in the Bryn Mawr store. Like most consignment organizations, they take a steep commission on what they are able to sell; you get a receipt for the items when they are dropped off and you are sent a 40% commission check at the end of the consignment period (60 days) for what they are able to sell. There is no annual fee if you agree to take back the items that don’t sell within a reasonable time. According to what I have heard from others who have sold through consignment stores, they will often try to cheat you by saying that they were only able to sell a few of the items you gave them and that they donated or discarded the rest, giving you commission only on a small number of items, when they may in fact have sold all of your items. Without the promise that you can have what doesn’t sell back, you have no way to prove what sold and what didn’t. Then again, once it is out of the house, you may not care as long as you get a few dollars to make the memory of how much the items originally cost not seem so painful.

If you want to save yourself the hassle, donating to rummage sales, like the large annual sale that the Princeton Hospital holds is far easier but they too are somewhat particular and won’t take items they think they would not be able to sell.

Responding to the group’s consensus that dealing with all of the paper clutter in life was the most pressing problem, the last discussion we had was about online banking. Some security concerns were raised, so I will attempt to do some research on the subject and report to everyone in my next blog. I will also repeat the resources you can use to eliminate the junk mail and catalogs coming to your mailbox in the first place.

One last reminder is for the Middlesex County Mobile Paper Shred Events. The next time the shredder truck will be in the area will be tomorrow, October 3, in the Borough Hall Parking Lot in Helmetta, at 60 Main Street at 9:00 a.m. It is advised that you arrive early since they leave as soon as the truck is full. The truck will be at the Senior Center parking lot in Piscataway on October 10 and at the Municipal Building parking lot in South Amboy on October 24. A schedule of all of the dates for 2009 with directions to the individual locations can be viewed (or printed) at the Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste Management website at:

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