Giving Stuff Away

We can’t take all of our furniture with us.  Or to be completely honest some of our furniture is past it’s “best before” date. We’ve had it since the days when we were renting a 2 bedroom flat and relatives pitched in to offload the furniture they no longer wanted to give us a good start after we shacked up.

The furniture (an entertainment unit with a gap in the middle for a TV and an antique style lounge) had rested for 14 years in our ‘formal’ lounge room.  Which is the room we seldom venture into, apart from on Christmas morning for the present unwrapping business.  It housed these two pieces of furniture – neither of which I was very fond of – as well as my husband’s football trophies and photos – none of which I am fond of at all.

So, I think we’ve established that the furniture in question is out of date, but it was still in good condition so I contacted Vinnies to come and take the entertainment unit.   They turned me down because “it won’t fit a plasma”.  I told them I wouldn’t know about that, as I don’t have a plasma  In fact I don’t even have digital TV. Or a dishwasher.  Or an Ipod/iPhone/iPad.

Next stop was the Salvos. Yep, they’d take it provided it wasn’t damaged.  So, the night before pick up hub and I lugged it out to the car port.  The truck rolled up and before they were even halfway up the driveway they were shaking their heads.

They have a warehouse full of them, apparently.  Being a regular at Op Shops I wanted to yell at them that may because the prices they put on the furniture they are given for FREE is to high, and if they lowered it they’d probably shift stuff. But I held my tongue.

Just the night before we’d agreed to get rid of the formal lounge we were left by my husband’s late grandparents.  It’s at least 40 years old, velvet cushions, heavy   arm and frame.  Quite lovely, if you’re into that sort of thing and still in pretty good shape, or so I thought.  So I asked them to step inside and take the lounge off my hands.

They pulled every cushion off the lounge (and didn’t replace them) and the young bloke of the pair pointed at every mark and decided it wasn’t for them.  It seems they won’t take furniture with marks.  Erm, does anyway own a lounge that DOESN’T have marks?  And if you had a lounge without marks would you be giving it to the Salvos?

The unit I was neither here nor there about.  But with the lounge I invited these two men into my home, to look at my belongings.  They prodded, they poked, they peered, and then they turned their noses up.  And non too politely, either.  Sure I didn’t want it anymore, but this is my HOME, my castle and some respect in the way they expressed their thoughts wouldn’t have gone astray.

Then, after sneering at my lounge they looked around the house and (probably in jest but I was royally pissed off by now and in no mood for laughs) picked out furniture they would happily take!  The bloody cheek of them!

I was hurt.

And offended.

But we really did need to get rid of these things, so I heeded the advice of my friend Judy and listed them – for free – on Gumtree, a free online classifieds.  Just like the Trading Post, but better, as it’s free!

By the next morning I had 2 nibbles on the entertainment unit.  By lunchtime, the lounge had found a new home with a lovely and very appreciative couple.  The unit was still sitting under the  car port by late afternoon, when my next-door neighbour popped her head over the fence and said she’d take it.  So, we lugged it in there* and now our formal lounge room is bare and my furniture has gone to worthy new homes.

I will never donate to Salvos or Vinnies again.  To small independent oppies, yes. But those two? Never again.

* I could do a whole other post about the carrying that damn unit into her house. About how she stopped a woman (a stranger!) out on her daily walk to assist.  And how the Little Missy got about 6 feet from her front door and hollered “What’s that smell!? Yuck! Mum, what’s that smell!”.  The smell was the sinus clearing stench of cat piss.  Thankfully, I had the back end of the unit and did not have to enter the premises.

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8 thoughts on “Giving Stuff Away

  1. Fussy Charities…sheesh.
    Next it will be Fussy about jobs for C’link holders on newstart..oh wait…no perhaps I should withdraw that remark.
    Ah no.
    Anyway, thanks for the tip about Gum Tree (geddit).
    How about you, Ms Not Techno..and the arrogance of the Charity Workers.
    I’d say complain, because I have found some very good, and some ‘on the nose’
    That was your neighbours…it’s a sensory romp this post, K..
    Well, enjoy the little house that’s served you all so well as a family till now, because I hope it is well-cared for while you are in Singers, as I am thinking it may go on sale ??
    And, for goodness sake, if a 61 year old has an iphone, you can…OK…all the better to tweet you with.

    • I can’t be bothered complaining, I will vote with my feet and take my stuff to the Uniting Church Op Shop, which is run by volunteers unlike Salvos and Vinnies.

      And an iPhone? No, thanks. I’m online enough and when I’m away from home I like to be FREE!

      We are renting out this house. but not to the Salvos!

  2. Indeed! I’d be ruffled as well if I got that sort of treatment. Although I’m still trying to absorb the bit about *no dishwasher*, which I found one of the more upsetting factoids of the post.

    Your tale reminds me of the last time we hired ‘affordable’ movers. Two dodgy looking types of clearly criminal background, looked over all our stuff and declared half of it junk, why were we taking it with us? At that point I was relieved we owned such ‘junk’ as I slept well at night knowing they had no be reason to be returning in the dead of night!

    • When scouting Singapore properties a dishwasher is high on the list of must-haves! I’d like one just to hide the dirty dishes.

      And I believe removalists only come on the “dodgy” variety. Even the large international firm that moved hub to Germany and back sent packers who looked they belonged in a seedy movie.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed your Gumtree experience, Kel. It keeps you closer to the whole process of regifting/recycling/donating when you know where your pre-loved stuff is going. Much nicer than thinking about your lounge suite sitting in some big op shop’s storage space and wondering if it will ever make it back into a loving family’s home, where it will get jumped on by little people wearing sandals with sharp buckles.

    During our big cull and move last year, we also used a couple of Yahoo Groups – Freecycle and Free-n-Cheap (and I know that you know this, but thought I’d mention it for anyone else going through the same ordeal)

  4. Hi, I’ve just found your blog and it’s fantastic. We are at the same stage as you with slight differences in our big move to Singapore. Looking forward to reading your blog. Tanya x

  5. I would be surprised if I couldn’t give my stuff away. I mean I’m *giving* it away. I’ve just registered for freecycle, but got intimidated and haven’t done anything about it yet.

    Does the room feel empty? Or does it feel good to have got rid of stuff?

    Oh. And agree with Twitchy re: no dishwasher. I didn’t used to think a dishwasher was, well, essential. But I do now. If only to hide the dirty dishes.

  6. I remember going to stay at a friends holiday house in primary school and asking “where’s the dishwasher?” I thought it was something everybody had, like a fridge.
    As for the op shops, I rarely set foot in St V’s or Salvos these days, I love my local one run by volunteers where I can get a bag full of great stuff for under $10 bucks, seriously a brand new Thomas the Tank coat, just gorgeous for 50 cents the other day! I am trying to stop being such a hoarder so they are also getting all my donations.
    Many times I have felt like writing to the organisations above and mentioning that maybe they wouldn’t have to have such massive shops if they weren’t selling used books for $10 each or crappy condition kids clothes for $5. I can buy new ones in kmart cheaper!!

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