Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In the News!

Spring-Cleaning Redux: Unload Extra Stuff with Mendota Heights-Area Charities, Sales and Sites
Part two of this three-part series tackles what to do with your unwanted items after spring cleaning.

This series is meant to psych you up, spur some action and help you come to terms with your new, clean space.
Once you’ve gained the motivation to part with your items, you have to decide what exactly it is that you’d like to do with them.

The Money Hungry:

If you’re feeling the need to get paid for your efforts (or just need some money to buy new stuff) you can choose to get rid of individual or lot items on Craigslist, eBay or Amazon. While it’s free to post items on Craiglist, there are fees for selling items on eBay and Amazon. However, for antiques or big-ticket items, a posting on those sites is likely to yield a larger audience.

If you’re in need of a major purge, holding a garage or yard sale can be just the ticket. According to a survey of over 3,000 people conducted by yardsalesearch.com, over 75 percent of people walk away with more than $100 after from their sales.
Nancy Kane, of Mendota Heights, is more experienced in secondhand sales than most. She’s been in charge of the twice-yearly rummage sale for St. Paul’s Methodist Church for 30 years. According to Kane, the best-selling items at their sales are vases, dishes, books, children’s toys and items that look like they might be antique (for the treasure hunters among us). At the spring rummage sale last weekend, the line of people ready to purchase stretched around the building before the doors had even opened.

The most successful garage sales all have traits in common. They’re held during prime season: April through September. At the St. Paul’s Methodist Church rummage sale, Kane guessed that the good turnout was impacted by the early date. Right now shoppers are still excited at the prospect of secondhand goodies, whereas in the fall, folks can get a little garage sale-weary after seeing the orange signs all spring and summer. Garage sales should start early in the day, beginning at six or seven in the morning. Afternoon sales should be accompanied by “everything must go!” discounts. Finally, all successful sales are preceded by successful advertising. Craiglist, yardsalesearch.com and your local Patch event calendar are all easy places to reach your target audience.

The Karma Hungry:

If you’re not concerned with the potential financial capital from your spring cleaning, perhaps you’d benefit from the good karma acquired from donating your items to those in need.

“If it’s just sitting and not being used, someone could use it. Think about it that way. Especially in our society with the number of people who don’t have jobs, there are a lot of people in need,” said Kane.

Items can be dropped off at local charities, such as Neighbors, Inc. in South St. Paul. Other charities, such as the Courage Center, Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota and The Salvation Army can arrange for curbside pickup of your donated items, saving you energy and time.

Freecycle allows you to post individual items for people nearby to claim and pick up. You aren’t allowed to put a price tag on these items, but can easily find an appreciative new owner for old things.*

The Leftovers:

Items that no longer work, are not worth donating or are just trash must be disposed of. As you sort out which items should be thrown, recycled or brought to the Dakota County Recycling Zone in Eagan, Environmental Specialist Renee Burman has a couple of recommendations to ensure that you’re properly chucking your unwanted items. “For those people not sure what belongs in the trash and what can be recycled or reused, the county offers a great online resource—the Recycling and Disposal Guide. It’s easy to find—just go to the Dakota County website, and search Recycling and Disposal Guide.

For those without access to the internet, they can call their city or Dakota County at 952-891-7000 with their recycling questions, according to Burman.

*The original version of this story included The Twin Cities Free Market as a resource, however, residents from Dakota County may not post items on this site.

This article is courtesy of http://www.mendotaheights.patch.com/, and author Nix Wurdak

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