Saturday, June 18, 2011

This post isn't about couponing, it's about finding space and money . . .

Okay, this post isn't really about couponing and matching sales.  But it is about frugality.  I am talking about those books sitting on the shelf, taking up space.  That unused home school curriculum that is waiting for the next child.  The pair of jeans or little dress that is waiting for the last few pounds you are hoping to lose.  The baby outfits and carseats in storage.  Sure, it's frugal to hang on to stuff if it is going to be used in the next few years, but if not, then seriously consider ridding yourself of that unused clutter.  More than unused curriculum, but also unused clothing and children's items.  Some things are worth saving, but not much.

For example, there is over 10 years between my youngest son and his older brother.  Why hang on to clothing for 10 years?  Unless it is really something special, 10 years is a long time to hang on to clothing.  If it contains elastic, most likely the elastic will be gone.  Any stains that seemed to be washed out miraculously reappear after years in storage.  There are several options for ridding ourselves of unused clothing.  1)  Take it and donate it to Goodwill.   This is a great option and a tax savings since you can deduct the value of the donation.  Salvation Army is another place.  2)   Take it to a consignment shop.  This option will actually net you some cash.  Check in your area and be sure only to take the cleanest stuff in the best condition.  Most consignment store either consign the articles or pay you directly.  Some will also give you more for your stuff if you take store credit, which means you can purchase items from the store.  3)  Pass along items to friends or family who can use them.  Hey, we all need help in this economy!  4)  Recycle stuff in bad shape for rags.  Many places, especially rescue centers for horses, dogs, etc, need rags and will be happy to take old towels and t-shirts to cut up for rags. 

For curriculum and books, again you have a few options.  1)  Sell on resale sites - - Catholic Swap is one yahoo group (books must not have anti-Catholic bias in them).  You can also resale on alibris and amazon.  2)  Donate them - - we have a used book store here that accepts donations.  Some will pay (like Wonderbook) and some will not, but will offer a receipt so that you can deduct your donation from taxes.  You may also be able to donate books to your library for their book sale.  3)  Give them to other people who may be able to use them.  Check with nursing homes for books that would be good for older people.  You could also host a swap with other home schooling families and swap out your used curriculum for things you may need.

Toys are always hard to part with, both for children and even parents.  Nostalgia often plays a big part in deciding what to keep.  Children are often willing to purge when they know they can earn money from selling toys at a yard sale.  (A good way to get rid of many things beyond just toys.)  Some toys, especially those in good condition, may be accepted at consignment stores (the ones that sell baby and children's items may also take toys).  Just make sure the toy is in good condition, not broken, and has most of its accessories with it.  Toys can also be donated to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.  Some ambulance companies will take stuffed toys in good, clean condition (and not too large) for use on their ambulances.  And, I know of a preschool that would take McDonald type giveaways to use as prizes in their prize box, so be sure to check there too.  They may also take other toys in good condition for the children to play with.

Lastly, those baby items.  Some are really worth hanging on to, while others should be parted with.  Let me give you an example:  I hung on to the infant seat with my last daughter.  It was in okay shape and wasn't involved in an accident.  The cloth cover was worn, but I found something to cover it with, and since they are not in them for very long, I figured it was okay.  Wrhat I didn't know is that my seat (seeing as it was also used for her older brother) was expired!  Infant and children's car seats come with an expiration date, usually six years from date of manufacture.  Now lest you think that this is a way to generate income for the car seat industry, the reason behind it is that all plastic degrade over time.  So, older car seats can actually pose a danger to the children they are supposed to protect.  All baby products should be checked for recall notices and recent safety notices prior to donation or sale.  The latest thing to be banned for sale are cribs with drop sides.  Those baby items that are in good condition can be resold at consignment shops.  Again many will offer cash or store credit, which is great if you need larger sizes on shoes or clothing. 

One of the things I hope to do this summer is to purge our home of those things that either don't get used, played with or worn.  Hopefully this will simplify our lives a bit easier. 

God Bless!

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