As each new year begins, many people are motivated to purge their homes of clutter. “Everyone wants a fresh start,” says Diana Morgan, a professional organizer based in Brewster. But in this pandemic year, she says, with people spending more time at home, her business, Morganize, is busier than ever.
The same is true for Julie Brooks, who heads up A Peaceful Place Home Organizers, also in Brewster. “The longer people are stuck at home, the more their clutter bothers them,” says Brooks. “People are now taking the opportunity to do what they have been putting off for a long time.”
Organizing starts with letting things go. But even though one person’s trash may be another’s treasure, says Brooks, choosing what to donate requires thoughtfulness. “It is important to ask yourself whether other people would really want your items,” she says.
Brooks’s rules are simple: anything you donate should be clean and in good working order. Clothes should be items someone would want to wear in 2021. But with all four of the Outer Cape’s transfer station swap shops closed due to the pandemic, following through with your donations will require a somewhat more informed and creative approach than usual.
Here’s the latest on where to take the items that make the cut:
A.I.M. in Wellfleet is selling items by appointment, but not taking donations at this time. The Eastham Friends of the Council on Aging Thrift Store on Massasoit Road remains closed for now.
MassAppeal in Wellfleet is open at the Cove Corner building on Route 6, though not as frequently as usual. They take donations in person, or you can leave items in containers outside the building. Volunteer Rebecca Kowalak says that the volunteer team appreciates it when clothes are washed and folded to make the considerable job of sorting through bags easier.
“We love sheets, towels and blankets,” she adds, “and what we can’t use, we bring to the animal shelter.” They also take toys and books, but right now they are “overwhelmed with books.” Household items are not accepted, and the team asks people not to leave bags outside the bin when it is full.
Hours: Tues., Thurs., Fri., and Sat., 9 a.m. to noon. Also, donations are accepted in the building on Weds. 10 a.m. to noon.
The Methodist Church Thrift Store in Provincetown, which resells clothing and other essential items such as cookware and blankets, set up a safe donation system early on. “We don’t take any donations inside the building,” explains manager Peter Juris. Donations go to one of the three sheds behind the building, where they sit for 24 to 48 hours before being sorted and brought in. “That way, my volunteers feel more comfortable,” Juris says.
Hours: Drop-offs may be made Mon. through Sat., 10 a.m. to 12 noon, though the shop itself is open until 2 p.m.
The Eastham, Wellfleet, and Truro town libraries are not currently accepting any books.
The Provincetown Library is taking donations of books to add to their collection or sell. Call the library in advance to arrange for a drop-off. And, says librarian May Alice Wells, “please be selective — we cannot take books that have been sitting in the basement for years.”
Little Free Libraries, a book sharing movement of homemade libraries, can be found throughout the Outer Cape. Eastham resident Sharon Krause, who maintains one at 15 Tern Lane, says children’s and youth books and family games are in demand. She is accepting donations in good condition and with book covers and boxes wiped down with disinfectant.
Furniture Consignment Shops
Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Yarmouth takes gently used furniture donations and has a free pick-up service all the way to Provincetown. Items accepted include dining room tables and chairs, dressers, sofas and upholstered chairs, coffee tables, beds, kitchen or bath cabinetry, appliances, rugs, and lighting. All proceeds from sales at the store go toward Habitat’s mission to provide shelter and affordable homes.
Hours: Donations can be dropped off at the store during open hours, Mon. through Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., or reservations for a pick-up can be made online at the ReStore website (restorecapecod.org).
Gaynor’s Fine Consignments in Orleans sells furniture for a percentage commission or by donation for local charities. Owner Scott Gaynor will drive all the way to Provincetown to look at and collect items and can be reached by email at: [email protected], or phone: (774) 316-4197. “I’m interested in looking at most furniture with the exception of large, brown dining room furniture, which people are shying away from buying,” Gaynor says.
Cape Cod Children’s Place in Eastham usually accepts gently used children’s toys and clothes. Currently, only new toys in original packaging and clothes with tags still on them or cash donations are accepted for young families in need. Contact the Children’s Place directly for more information on how to donate: capecodchildrensplace.com.
Your driveway might be a good short-term giveaway spot for a large item like a sofa or bureau, as long as you place it strictly on your own property, and only in good weather — nobody wants soggy furniture. Also, towns consider items placed outside your property to be illegal dumping, enforced by the police and health departments.
Yard sales are a thing of the future. Organizer Diana Morgan, who helps clients with them, knows the preparations can be daunting. She recommends designating an area in a basement or spare room for unwanted items, then giving yourself time to gather all you’d like to sell.