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Disposing of a Parent's Household - Part 2

Second part, answer to last week's column on "Disposing of a Parent's Household
It is almost always overwhelming to see a house filled with items and know that you are the one that must figure out what to do with each item. The time factor is significant and often we do not want to spend any more time at this then necessary. Therefore, the temptation is to get a big dumpster and put everything in a landfill. Before you take the easy way out consider the impact. 

Instead take some of the following steps: 
Gift Treasures 

• Family members and friends often will cherish a memento of a loved one.  I have been to three funerals where collections were gifted to attendees, one had bells, the other paper weights, and a third crocheted items.  That was a marvelous way to honor the memory of the departed and redistribute treasures. 
• Start with siblings, grandchildren, and relatives. Take pictures and do some group texting of items available after direct heirs have had their pick. You may be able to clear out more than you think with this crowd. College students need just about everything or teens about to leave the nest. This group could help clear out a kitchen and some furniture.   
• Hold a rummage sale. People love estate sales, and you will sale some of the items that way. There are groups that do it for you or you can do it yourself. 


• Search out churches or not-for-profits that will pick up items and redistribute them directly to those in need. Some of them even come to the house to pick up the items 
• There are always the organizations that have drop off locations for just about anything of use. Load up your vehicle with the remains. 


Make a list of what you have and spread that list around to people you work with, friends, or neighbors. You might be surprised at how much you can get rid of that way. 

One of the largest piles to distribute and recycle is clothing.  Again, think reuse.  Who might wear clothing that an 85-year-old had, look for a nursing home in a disadvantaged area.   

Consider how fabric can be reused in another form.  Some people make rag rugs out of old t-shirts and sheets, which is just one idea.  There are hundreds of other ways to reuse fabric, from dusting rags, to potholders, decorative pillows, bibs, napkins, etc.  An online search will reveal many opportunities. 

Ask your neighbors or friends if they are looking for anything, even businesses if they need items, that a house might have.  For instance, tableware for their lunchroom, a vacuum, or a garden hose.  Some people are happy to reuse items. 


• Plan to recycle - Before you start filling a dumpster determine what can be recycled.  
• Every community or County has a recycling program these days and they are not all the same. A quick search on the internet will identify what your parent’s town accepts. Do not assume that the rules match the town you live in as they usually do not.  
• When clearing out cupboards recycle the boxes, cans, and containers only tossing what is actual garbage. It will require that boxes are emptied and collapsed.  The same applies to things in the refrigerator.  You will need to empty jars and rinse.  It takes a little bit more effort, but it is the right thing to do 
• When it comes to appliances, paint, and a variety of other metals and other substances, the internet is your friend. There are scrap metal organizations that will take a variety of metals.  Computers, batteries, light bulbs, all have special ways to recycle for eco-friendly solutions. 


Your last resort should be the dumpster.  There will be things that simply need to become trash.  If you have taken steps to gift, redistribute, reuse, and recycle you will hopefully keep the trash to a minimum. 

Clearing out a home is hard work and takes time.  To do it right will take months.  If you have impatient heirs, task them with some of the work.  For the benefit of those that share this planet do your best to clear things out with as little waste as possible.


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