Wednesday, March 28, 2012

When You Clean Out Your Parent's House And No One Wants The Stuff

Tips About Cleaning Out Your Parent's House

I never thought I would get to the point during a "clean out" when I would call in The Salvation Army to retrieve the rest of my dad's furniture and STUFF....and even they wouldn't take it. Let me set the record's harder to donate goods than you think.  I mistakenly thought that I was being a good citizen and offering household items and furniture to a wonderful organization. Nope...they too like to "cherry pick"  the good stuff  from the  not such good stuff.

When You Are Not Allowed To Have  A Tag Sale

In case you are thinking why not just have a tag sale? That option was not available to me because dad's condo complex is in a gated community. Also, Craigslist was too cumbersome to try for the amount of items which remained.

After The Family Picks What They Want (Not Much)
Keeping you informed, I had  already gone through the regular steps most of us are familiar with when downsizing a loved one's home....offering things to family and friends; calling in Estate liquidators, consulting with antique dealers etc.  Now we were down to the STUFF which remained (soiled sofas, over sized silk trees, a rusty patio set, chipped chairs, wobbly kitchen table etc.) and all the loose  bric a brac. The Salvation Army (like other charities) wants all smalls packed. They also require beds, shelves etc. dismantled. The bottom line is that when they arrive they want to be  in and out and want the job to be seamless.

Did You Know The Salvation Army Is Picky?

The clincher is that The Salvation Army is picky. They do not want furnishings that are chipped, soiled, stained,  rusty etc. Nor do they want to spend too much time in your house shlepping out little things. Like any other business that deals in the re-sale of merchandise, The Salvation Army wants to buy what they can sell easily. They are not the Shabby Chic gals who see promise in everything they pick. The Salvation Army has a formula and they are first and foremost business oriented.

Calling In A Junk Dealer To Cart Away Your Parent's Stuff

What do you do when the salvation Army rejects your stuff? You call a JUNK dealer who you will have to pay to take your stuff.  Or you rent a truck and invite some friends to help you haul the stuff away.  To find a reputable junk dealer, ask the condo  association or management where your parents are vacating or look up junk dealers on-line. Many of these companies have names similar to 1-800 Got Junk. You need to do some homework before hiring anyone of course.

Be sure to visit my FREE site  and join the group Estate Mavens (FREE).

C. Dianne Zweig is the author of Hot Kitchen & Home Collectibles of the 30s, 40s, 50s and Hot Cottage Collectibles for Vintage Style Homes. She is also the Editor of I Antique Online an actively growing internet based resource community for people who buy, sell or collect antiques, collectibles and art. You can find Dianne’s fabulous retro and vintage kitchen, home and cottage collectibles at The Collinsville Antiques Company of New Hartford, CT, a 22,000 feet antique emporium with an in-house retro cafĂ©. To read more articles by C. Dianne Zweig click on this link: C. Dianne Zweig’s Blog Kitsch ‘n Stuff Email me at Visit my website, Dianne is a member of: The American Society of Journalists and Authors The Society of Professional Journalists


  1. I don't know about the Salvation Army, but Goodwill is now a business for profit, although most think it's still a non-profit. But it reorganized a few years ago and now just donates a certain portion to's own included. Times have indeed changed!

  2. Wow, I'm sorry you had such a tough time getting rid of your parents' stuff. I had a similar experience when I left Toronto and immigrated to the UK recently - I had a junk dealer come in and buy a whack of clothing and accessories, but he left most of the furniture as he didn't have the space to store it. I had nothing of value, really, so estate people weren't interested, and in the end I called multiple charities - one was local and I kid you not, right around the corner - but none had the resources to do pick-up. The sad thing is, the charity around the corner really wanted the furniture. I ended up leaving some good stuff on the sidewalk for the locals to pick up. It was sad. What did you do, in the end?

  3. Sorry to bump such an old thread but there is a great way to get rid of the things that are useful without paying a junkman.
    It's called Freecycle.
    The idea is if you have something useful you no longer need/want you offer to give it away to someone who wants/needs it.
    It's a great idea and there are Freecycle groups for most major areas. And even Craigslist has a section that allows you to give things away.