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Decluttering websites focus on how to say goodbye to Stuff without separation anxiety. Dudes, I've said so many enthusiastic goodbyes, but the things just won't leave.

This is my problem: I would like 90% of my belongings to immediately leave my life, but I want them to go somewhere where they'll be useful. Tons of cleanup services exist, but they're gleeful about tons of junk going into dumps. The "decluttering" services are more coy about what happens to the once-clutter they "get rid" of, but it's not hard to guess. That stuff kills me. I can't do it.

But then the ethical options are so manual and painful and slow. Like, charity shops accept donations, but they each accept different categories of things, and moving stuff to them in bulk is awful without a car. I like the idea of Freecycle, but in practice it's slow and unreliable, and it means itemising millions of tiny unrelated things: one remote control for a mac, one combination lock, one metronome, four cork tiles, a case for a macbook air, a mosquito repellent kit, several notebooks, a cubic foot of comics (I usually put these outside, but if I give Warren Ellis to the neighbourhood kids, their parents will burn down my house), a first generation OLPC, a 4x4 ikea expedit, a saxophone stand, a mask from Sleep No More, a keyboard, cables, cables, more cables... and that's a subset of the stuff I can see from where I'm sitting in my little study. With Freecycle, this will take the rest of my life. I will have burned down the house myself by then. Some charity shops come collect, but... itemising. Pain. A staging area that takes up half the apartment. Probably divorce. It's risky.

There's the option of hiring a storage service that will come get stuff and paying to have it hidden like toxic waste forever, but, that's more mental than I am (yet). Though someone floated the idea of doing that and then not paying the storage company, so they'll try to sell things to recoup the cost. (Still no.)

What I really want is to hire a skip/dumpster, spend a week putting things into it, and leave it sitting outside for the good people of Brooklyn to scavenge from, then have someone else aggregate stuff into piles and deliver the clothes to Goodwill, the furniture to Housing Works, random bits of metal shelving to a recycle depot, blankets to dog shelters, etc, etc. I'd be willing... no, I'd be _overjoyed_ to pay for that service. This is New York City, you know? Every crazy service you can imagine exists. Why doesn't this one?


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 11th, 2011 08:42 am (UTC)
Creative use of Freecycle really can be your friend. I've Freecycled things like "Three big boxes of random cables and power adaptors, either take them or don't" and some suspiciously dreadlocked people took them in no time (and were remarkably cagey when I asked out of interest what they wanted them for. Intriguing!).

There's a really good window of opportunity right now for various charities to do bulk collections of stuff. Some actually do entire house clearances here in Switzerland, so helping people who just want Less Stuff should pay off. Especially as decluttering is particularly popular among we hand-wringing Internet liberals who *really* just want to go down from *four* Macbooks to *one*, darling, and two of them are over a year old so they're just *worthless*...
Dec. 11th, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
Could you hire someone off Taskrabbit or the like to do that kind of itemization for you?
Dec. 11th, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
Some cities have a "free box" tradition, where people just leave a bunch of stuff on the sidewalk and others take it. You see those a lot in Portland, and Berkeley, and some other places.
Dec. 11th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
When we moved house we gave a lot of stuff to charity because, like you, we didn't want to dump good quality stuff. We didn't split it up though, we just boxed it up and dumped it all into the charity shop - take it or leave it. However, there's only one charity shop (AFAIK) in Tullow, and I'm guessing NYC has more than one ;)
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 12th, 2011 02:41 pm (UTC)
Except for the fee part, that sounds like an anarchist book fair I went to once.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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