September 22, 2009

On the Move

Moving is never fun. In fact -- and I could be wrong about this, but I don't think so -- it surpasses divorce, job loss and a root canal as the most stressful event that life can chuck at you. Having just suffered through the gauntlet of relocation, however, I learned that shifting your stuff from here to there can actually present some opportunities for a bit of do-gooding.

For example:

- Craisgslist is King: Not only can you get free moving boxes on the online classified ad site, you can pass the favor along when you're happily ensconsed in your new home, thus saving a couple of large trees and someone else two dollars per box.

- Take of all those pesky wire hangers -- the most infuriating inanimate objects this side of packing tape -- back to your local dry cleaners. They'll gladly recycle them for you.

- Got printer cartridges? If you find a stash of empties while cleaning out your desk drawers, take them to your local
Staples or Office Depot. They'll be more than happy to take them off your hands in return for store credit. All you have to do is sign up for their rewards program.

- Fashion Emergency: Moving gives you the perfect excuse to clean out those closets. It's really a win/win situation. You won't have to pack up and lug all that extra stuff that you never ever wear and someone will greatly benefit from your generosity. Most major cities have a Salvation Army, Goodwill, Out of the Closet or other similar thrift store. They accept everything from shoes and shirts to coats and linens -- even underwear and socks (strange but true, though exercise some common sense here: no one wants the "lucky" boxers you've been trying get your partner to part with for the best part of a decade). You can also donate furniture that won't quite fit into your new pad . Hello, 7-foot glass dining room table, your time is up! Better yet, most will come and pick it up for you if you have enough stuff to donate, which makes moving week a little less hectic.

- You might also consider donating your clothing (mostly skirts or pant suits) to "Dress for Success," an organization that provides suits to disadvantaged women returning to or entering the workforce.

- If you've got sheets, towels, pillows, blankets and comforters, contact your local animal shelter or rescue. They're always in need of these items, especially in this economy.

- Last but not least, if you've got non-perishable food that you don't want to pack up, think about donating it to your local food bank. To locate one near you, just type "food bank" and your city into Google or other search engine.

The golden glow that comes with doing any of the above will make absolutely no difference to the severity of the anguish that will inevitably accompany your move. It will, however, make someone else's life a little easier, and that's something you can feel good about while you're replacing the digits you sliced off with a utility knife and are waiting for the cable guy to turn up four hours after he said he would.

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