A local guide to deciding what to do with the inevitable pile of unneeded items that has amassed from a good clean-out binge.
So, you’ve done it. You’ve organized your kitchen and purged your closet, and in the process probably came across quite a lot of things you don’t want or need. All these things are probably in a large pile now and need to leave your house — somehow. But how do you decide what to do with everything? You may think of trying to sell some of it, maybe donate some, or even give up and throw everything away. It can be a very daunting job, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and consider your local options for taking care of it all.
First of all, can you sell it?
There are an almost unlimited number of ways to sell items that you don’t need but are still worth something, including selling them yourself locally or online — on eBay, for example. Those can be very good options, but it involves a lot of hassle — and sometimes fraud, or, in the case of selling locally, potential personal risk. Consigning locally can be a simpler and easier experience.
First of all, what if it’s potentially valuable or antique?
“First of all,” advised Tom Benjamin of Fox Den Antiques in Warrenton, “is to not throw anything away.” Especially if you’re going through items that have been passed down from previous generations, don’t automatically assume that they’re junk. “Especially the smaller items, people tend to throw those away first, but they can sometimes be more valuable than bigger things like furniture.” There can be hidden gems within piles or boxes of older documents; for instance, magazines, baseball cards, and newspapers. Also, don’t discount vintage items that are not antique; items from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s can be very collectible even if they are not aesthetically pleasing to our modern tastes.
The best way, of course, to determine if something’s worth anything, is to hire an appraiser. However, they can be expensive. If that’s not possible, or you don’t think the item is worth enough to justify the expense, you can always research it online yourself. This will take some time, but may be worth it in the end. Benjamin recommends simply starting out on eBay looking at the value of similar items. The key, however, is not to look at the asking price for an item (the sellers can ask any price, even if it’s not accurate), but search the sold listings to see how much similar items actually sold for. After all, something is only worth what buyers are willing to pay. Then find a trusted, local antique or vintage shop to help you get your item in front of customers’ eyes.
Fox Den Antiques
355 Shirley Avenue, Warrenton
What about good, quality, currently in style clothing that you just don’t want? Of course there is Poshmark, but boutique consigning locally can also be a good option. “It’s a fantastic idea all the way around, for many reasons,” says Sandra Packwood, owner of Do You Dejavu in Warrenton. “It’s environmentally friendly, and everything gets recycled. You can consign items to make a little money, or shop and get great deals on clothing at fantastic prices.”
Every consignment store has a different way of doing business, she explains, so do your research. Look for a shop where your items will be showcased to the right market demographic. The condition of the item is crucial; it must be clean, functioning, and odor-free. The more presentable your item is, the more likely it will sell, she recommends.
Consignments are usually handled by appointment and the shops will only accept seasonal items, so clean out early and plan ahead: you won’t be able to consign a winter coat in May, advises Packwood. Consignment stores handle a large volume of items with a high turnover, so keep an eye on your dates. Check the store’s policies ahead of time; some won’t accept off label brand clothing (Walmart, Old Navy, etc.). Some will not accept items over a certain age, or may have an item maximum (so plan ahead, you won’t be able to unload the contents of your closet in one appointment.)
Do You Dejavu
43 Main Street, Warrenton
A boutique consignment shop for women’s and men’s clothing and accessories.
The White Elephant
484 Blackwell Court, Warrenton
Clothing, household items, furniture
If you can’t sell it, donating it to a good cause is the logical next option.
There are two types of organizations that accept donations: nonprofit thrift stores, where your donations are sold in their shop and the proceeds used for charitable purposes, and freestores, where the items you donate go directly to people who need them. Most donations are tax deductible.
Therefore, the types of things they need differ. The shops need saleable items, so anything torn, marked, worn, badly scratched or just plain junky they can’t use.
The freestores may take some items that the thrift stores won’t, since they go directly to the people who need them at no charge. For instance, the shops won’t take a scratched but still serviceable table, but the freestores may. The shops won’t take older, out of style winter coats, but the freestores might, for those who need them.
Salvation Army Family Thrift Store
62 Waterloo St., Warrenton
Clothing, housewares. Proceeds used to humanitarian purposes.
Food Bank thrift store
249 East Shirley Avenue, Warrenton
Clothing, housewares. Proceeds provide monetary support for the Fauquier Community Food Bank.
Restore: Fauquier Habitat for Humanity
6174 Frost Avenue, Warrenton
Leftover building materials and appliances. Proceeds support Fauquier Habitat for Humanity.
The Book Cellar
2 Courthouse Square, Warrenton
Books, CDs. Proceeds support the programs and services of Friends of the Fauquier Library.
606 Falmouth St. Suite A, Warrenton
A community freestore-all are welcome and everything is free. Clothing, shoes, baby items
Community Touch Noah’s Ark
10499 Jericho Road, Bealeton
A freestore for qualifying low-income individuals in need of assistance. Clothing, housewares, small and large appliances.
And, sometimes, you just have to admit that some things you think can be useful (if you just screw this leg back on the old table…) but there are no takers, just need to be trashed. Dispose of them responsibly.
Just need your junk GONE? Paying for a removal service is sometimes worth it.