Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Few Useful Moving Helpers

**Please note that this entire moving experience has made me come to grips with my privilege in a most tangible way. Everything that I have written about, joked about, complained about, or simply observed comes from a place of extraordinary fortune and I recognize that even more today than I did a year ago. I have been truly blessed.**

I have never ever used this space for advertising and I promise you all that won't change. I am not the type to tout a product or establishment that I find appealing simply because I know that every person and every experience is different. If I recommend a particular business or individual, it will usually be offline and only if asked. Frankly, I simply don't need the shit. If your experience is less satisfactory than mine, I really don't want to carry the responsibility for your disappointment. But I felt I might be a bit remiss if I didn't share a few really good organizations that we have dealt with over the course of the last few months in preparation for our move.

At the start of this process, I was adamant that we try to make this downsize shift as green as humanly possible. I did have to shift my expectations slightly when I realized that the amount of garbage was more than we could possibly handle even with diligent recycling, repurposing, and reusing. The number of open garbage bags littering (pun intended) our house currently is in double digits due to the fact that the North Jewish Ghetto only collects trash every other week and this week is an off one. And this is the fifth such week in this year's spring/summer cycle. We have overflowed our blue bins every single week and we have done our level best to find new homes for many items that we simply won't have space for. (Thanks to all who have taken things off of our hands. We hope that you use and enjoy them with our compliments.) And of course, there was our garage sale. But even with all of that divestiture, we knew that we still needed a more professional plan to help rid ourselves of junk and other perfectly good but unwanted items. I wish I could tell you that every  company we used was non-profit. They aren't. But they all do yeoman's work in service to the greater good of the community.

Value Village. The thrift store, which has multiple locations in the Greater Toronto Area, is most definitely a for-profit organization and they have had some issues in the past year here in Canada with  a rising price controversy. That said, with Goodwill still on the sidelines here and my personal concerns with The Salvation Army, Value Village has been an oasis in the desert. They will take almost anything that is gently used, including books, VHS tapes, old clothes, housewares, toys, games, and so much more. We have been there so often that some of the young kids who work there know us on sight. While they do resell most of the stuff for profit, they do offer employment to many who have had it rough and it does make me feel better knowing that the mountains of material that we have donated are not ending up in landfills. I can live with the other side of the coin.

Just Junk. We knew very early on that we would require junk removal. Old building materials, broken office furniture, a huge and non-working television were among the massive amounts of debris that need to be hauled. This company, while at its core is a refuse removal group, also has as part of its mandate, a commitment to re-purpose much of what it receives. A "green junk" removal group. I don't care one whit that they might make money on that old TV. We had zero interest in dealing with Craigslist or Kijiji. Just Junk allowed us to maintain a bit of integrity even while we have been over-contributing to the garbage problem.

The Furniture Bank. This non-profit organization collects gently used furniture and other household items for the purpose of transitioning families out of homelessness into safe, clean, and usable spaces.   Many of their clients are women and children who are escaping domestic violence and abusive situations. We paid a pre-arranged fee for them to pick up our donation and then they, in turn, gave  us a tax receipt for almost twice that amount. (I would have donated without the tax receipt.) Two young men arrived (one was a volunteer) and hauled away our family room furniture and other assorted items. They told me that it would be in a new home by Friday. I was so impressed with their honour and professionalism, that I gave a cash donation in addition to the furniture.

I feel comfortable touting my positive experiences with these organizations. If you and yours have had contradictory incidents, then I'm sorry. All I can say is every situation is different. I am only speaking for myself and they have all worked well for me. I feel a bit cleaner for at least attempting to do right by both my privilege and the environment.

Two weeks today....

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