Critter Corner: What if Nobody Wants My Stuff?

Dear Angel,

I am thinking about moving to a senior living community sometime in the near future. So, now is the time to start figuring out what to do with the houseful of furniture, artwork, china, crystal, jewelry, and sentimental collections I won’t have space to take along. Last Christmas, I asked my children and grandchildren to tell me which things they want the most. It turns out they don’t really want any of it. What do you think I should do?

Thanks,
Donna Twantit

Dear Donna,

More and more seniors are finding that the old practice of handing down “family heirlooms” isn’t as treasured as it used to be. So, what do you do if your adult children or grandchildren have no interest in your stuff?

Once you’ve determined which items you want to hold on to, it’s time to find a suitable place for the rest. Here are three different ways to do that once you’ve asked again and are sure that your children or grandchildren don’t want your stuff:

Sell – You can use eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist; smartphone apps such as LetGo, 5miles, and Mercari; and consignment shops — all options for selling unwanted items (not to mention the good old-fashioned yard sale). It’s wise to check with a reputable professional, such an auction house (like Quinn’s Auctions in Falls Church) that deals with antiques, high-end art and jewelery, before selling higher-end items. If you want to let someone else handle the whole process, hiring a firm to hold an auction and/or estate sale may be the best choice.

Donate – Why pay for a storage unit or stuff boxes in an attic or basement? Donating items means they’ll go to someone who can use and appreciate them right now. (Plus, that good deed can turn into a tax deduction.) Local charities/organizations that take a variety of household items include Goodwill, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, Value Village, and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. You can also try shelters, nonprofit groups, senior centers, or church or hospital thrift shops.

Recycle/Freecycle – Some things can’t be sold or donated, but there are options other than the garbage. For larger items such as mattresses, furniture, electronics, or appliances, consider Freecycle and the ReUseIt Network. They help keep unwanted possessions out of landfills by connecting donors with those in need. The Buy Nothing Project facilitates local giving between neighbors. You can also list donations in the “free stuff” category on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace or Next Door.

For a list of senior-serving professionals, some of whom can assist you with purging your items, please see our trusted referrals.

Hope this is helpful and that you enjoy your new residence!

Purrs,
Angel

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About Renee Eder

Renee Eder is the Director of Public Relations for the Farr Law Firm, and gives the voice to the Critters of Critter Corner. Renee’s poodle, Penny, is an official comfort dog who she and her children bring to visit with seniors who are in the early stages of dementia at a local senior home once a month.

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