The Gifts Live On

Losing a loved one is always difficult.  No matter how long it was “expected”.  When this happens, the last thing on your mind may be how to donate unwanted items.  Most people are just too distraught to think about that and it might even seem weird to give away your loved ones possessions.  Although I can’t imagine tossing them in the trash seems better.  I think people just find it overwhelming and are not up to the task during such a difficult time.


{The Greening Of Westford} Donating Unused items

My Auntie Charl was an amazing woman who we lost to cancer in March.  She would always take the time to sit and talk with you and if you ever needed a piece of candy, you knew where to go!  When my cousins and I were young, she was the president of the Wild Cats Club.  A club she made up when we all slept at our grandmother’s house.

She lived pretty simply.  My 7 cousins and I were left her house and needed to prepare it to be sold.  I felt strongly that anything useful should be reused by some.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it the weekend my cousins were going through the house.  They were behind me, but had no idea how to sort out what could be donated and where it could go.  I did!

I gave them a list of things that I knew I could recycle/donate easily:

  • Furniture – it might have been from the 1950’s but it was quality furniture
  • ANY fabric, old sheets, curtains, clothing that couldn’t be worn, etc
  • Books, CDs
  • kitchen items like dishes, pots, pans
  • Pictures and other decorative items

The picture above shows everything that fit these categories.  Unbelievable from such a small house with only one person.

Now to find donation places near her house.  Around my house, I knew exactly where I could go, but I didn’t want to have to move it 30 minutes away.

{The Greening of Westford} donating furnitureFURNITURE  

A quick internet search for “furniture donation” with her location, gave me loads of options.  I ended up finding Central Massachusetts Housing Alliance.  They work with local social workers to identify families and individuals that can use the donated items.  They were perfect.  And they could come the following week.  All of the furniture went to them:

  • Hutch
  • Kitchen table and 6 chairs
  • Bedroom set
  • TV stand
  • 2 matching end tables and  coffee table



Easy!  My cousin had already taken all of the wearable clothing to a Multiple Sclerosis charity.   All fabric, whether ripped, stained, broken, can be donated!  While waiting for the furniture to be picked up, we loaded all of the blankets, pillows and other fabric items into the truck and made 2 trips to the Salvation Army donation bins that were right down the street.  I think we filled one of them!


We filled the truck again and took it to Savers to be sold again.  Savers gives a portion of their proceeds to the Epilepsy Foundation.

A few phones calls and a couple of hours saved a dumpster-worth of usable items from the landfill.  The only reason these last few items were still left was because we didn’t have any more space in the truck!


What was left

I felt great, knowing that many of her precious belongings will be put to good use.  I like to think this would make her happy too.




2 Responses to The Gifts Live On

  1. Laura July 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm #

    My siblings and I have been going through the same process with our parents things. It’s not easy to see items leave the house, but it does feel better to know that someone will appreciate them. After sharing things among ourselves, we’ve contributed to clothing bins, library books sales, the local senior center, the Humane Society, and the Salvation Army. My classroom has even benefitted from some storage bins and office supplies.
    And, the added bonus of working together to clean and organize is the spark of memories each item ignites.

    • Kristina July 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm #

      That is an important point to remember – working together, reminiscing, can help deal with the grief. I hope you and your siblings are doing well.

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