A box of old toys for donation gathered from the basement.

Keep, Donate, or Trash? Sorting Your Basement Stash Before a Move

In many homes, basements serve more as storage areas than living areas. As valuable as this additional space can be, basements can be challenging to sort through before moving because so many items get tucked below ground level and forgotten. Here are a few things to consider as you sort your basement stash before your household move.

Unused Holiday Decor

Keep, Donate, or Trash? Donate or trash it.

When the holidays roll around, it is easy to accumulate new decorations even though you have a collection tucked away somewhere in the house. Year after year, this often leads to an overabundance of holiday decor. Sometimes you are better off donating the excess decorations. Some holiday items are unsafe if they are several years old or in disrepair. Keep in mind electrical decorations are dangerous if the Underwriters Laboratory has not approved them. Go through your collection and sort out any damaged or hazardous items. Also, weed out any ornaments, garlands, and yard decor you don’t use anymore.

Old Toys

Keep, Donate, or Trash? Keep or donate them.

Toys are sometimes too special to be given away or sold. You may have wooden train sets, American Girl dolls, or favorite books packed away as keepsakes for your children or grandkids. Reduce what you can, then make sure you label the boxes, so you can quickly identify them later.

On the other hand, many places offer drive-thru drop-offs, like Goodwill—and some will even pick up from your home—making it easier to donate toys these days. The best part is that others will use your toys for good.

Old Furniture

Keep, Donate, or Trash? Donate it.

The basement can become a catch-all for old furniture pieces you no longer use, don’t have space for, or need to be repaired. If you have broken furniture that has been sitting idle for a few years, it is likely safe to say go ahead and discard the pieces. If you have items you likely won’t use in the new house, consider donating them to local charities. You can post nicer items for sale and pocket some much-needed cash to cover moving expenses.

Small Kitchen Appliances

Keep, Donate, or Trash? Donate or trash them.

The small kitchen appliance market is ever-evolving. Every year, new items hit the market that people feel like they must have. However, as the market evolves and the latest gadgets and appliances are available, people also tend to stuff unused appliances in places like the basement — where they go unused. Examples of small kitchen appliances you may have stowed in your basement that never get used include

  • Juicers
  • Blenders
  • Toaster ovens
  • Microwaves
  • Ice cream makers

If you last used the stored small appliances over a year ago, it is likely safe to say things will stay the same when you get to the new house. So make space in your new place by donating these items.

Mementos and Keepsakes

Keep, Donate, or Trash? Keep some.

While it is easy to go overboard with mementos and keepsakes, as long as your collection is conservative, these items are always worth keeping. Sort through your items and make sure to discard what you no longer find valuable or damaged pieces. Consider taking photos of some treasured items, then donate or pass them on to other family members who might appreciate them.

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