As professional organizers specializing in downsizing, we help our clients to bid adieu to possessions that they either don’t need or can’t take with them when they are moving on to their next address. We deal with a slightly older demographic – primarily boomers and seniors – who are transitioning from a home to an apartment or a seniors housing community. We always begin our process with our signature CSI (Clutter Scene Investigation), where we make a visit to the client’s residence to do an initial assessment. It is fairly easy to find good homes for most gently used household items either through sale, donation or re-cycling. However, there are a couple of exceptions, most notably organs and freezers. These and other examples (like the early models of TV projection systems) constitute another C.R.U.D. (Completely Ridiculous Useless Debris) category that we have yet to explore. This is C.R.U.D. that nobody wants. You cannot even give it away.
There are lots of things that are no longer donatable because they are unsafe or presumed to spread disease. The unwelcome emergence of bedbugs makes one wary of getting involved with used mattresses or old sofa beds. New product safety regulations make some products like old cribs untouchable. But freezers and organs? Are they considered hazardous? You can kind of understand why people become reliant on stand-alone freezers. A big freezer can shave dollars off the grocery bills and minimize the number of trips to the store. At worst, older freezers may be guilty of energy inefficiency or you could risk a shoulder injury when you are diving to the bottom in search of a frozen pizza. As for organs, the danger lies in incurring the enmity of your neighbors who fail to appreciate the daily musical concerts you give. Just tell your cranky neighbours that it could be worse; they could be sharing a common wall with a bagpiper.
Every time we go to a potential client who is planning to move to smaller quarters we know these two possessions will not be making the journey with them. And, we have our work cut out for us. Freezers and organs present thorny donation, storage challenges and recycling challenges. Freezers often live in the basement and require moving companies to dislodge them. Organs are cumbersome as well. When was the last time you heard of anyone taking organ lessons? It can take weeks to find individuals or organizations willing to take them.
Even if you are not an octogenarian contemplating a move, we feel compelled to let you know about the degree of donation difficulty inherent in household items like these. You might be someone in the process of clearing your parents’ home and are considering rescuing an organ or freezer from the landfill, by bringing it home. We strongly urge you to think twice. In a decade or two, you may be faced with disposal issues yourself. We were inspired recently when we were helping a client downsize her storage locker in her building. To access the lockers we had pass through a room that had a faintly morgue-ish quality about it. This entire room was totally populated by deep freezers, each with its own lock. Most buildings come with parking spaces for cars. But a parking space for your freezer? That’s out of the box thinking for downsizers whose apartment sized kitchens are only meant for wine fridges. However, as innovative as this was, we could not help wondering where the autopsies are performed.
Our advice is to allow plenty of time. Selling is nearly impossible. Accept any offer, reasonable or otherwise, that anyone is willing to make to take an organ or freezer off your hands.