When it comes to decluttering, there’s often a gap between thinking about it and doing it.  To address this gap, Orange County Department of Aging hosted an event that made it easier for community members to take action on their decluttering goals.

On November 18, the Department hosted part 2 of “The Organizing Extravaganza” at the Seymour Center.   At the event, community members unloaded their excess papers, sharpened their eye for what’s valuable, and obtained sound advice about how to downsize… liberating them from their stuff!  The event was created by an interdisciplinary planning team that included leaders from the Department on Aging, Charles House Association, UNC’s Partnerships in Aging Program, a Planning consultant, and an intern from UNC’s School of Social Work.

The event invited Shred Ace (a shredder truck), appraisers, professional organizers, senior-focused moving companies, and real estate agents specializing in senior housing to provide invaluable decluttering guidance and resources. For a full list of exhibitors, check out the list here.

Community member dumping paper for shredding. Photo credit: Sarah Parkins

Over 100 attendees shared their appreciation for the event, particularly highlighting the importance of the onsite appraisers. Eileen Dawson, a community member, states that the she had been meaning to have items appraised before making decluttering decisions. The event allowed Eileen “the opportunity to get a thumbs up, thumbs down answer” on the value of her belongings.  Another community member, Cindy Gaines, said the organizing extravaganza allowed her to “confirm that the stuff that none of the kids want isn’t worth anything.”  As a result, the event gave Cindy the confirmation to “continue decluttering and getting rid of our stuff”.

Leland Little Auctions. Photo credit: Sarah Parkins

Alice Barrow also shared a similar sentiment, stating that she was motivated to go through old documents and get rid of the excess.  Then, for the fun of it, she brought on old clock to be valued by the LeLand Little appraisers.

Matt Murley of Shred Ace described an additional benefit of the Extravaganza: saving trees. He shares that Shred Ace “shredded and recycled 4,220 lbs. of paper at the event, which is 2.11 tons of paper.  For every ton of paper recycled, 17 trees are saved, so [the] event saved 36 trees!”

The Department of Aging understands how downsizing and decluttering is an ongoing effort that doesn’t stop after one event. However, the Organizing Extravaganza was just one of many resources to help seniors take control of their lives and their stuff, one step at a time.

Prep to Sell. Photo credit: Sarah Parkins


Orange County Solid Waste Management Department. Photo credit: Sarah Parkins