Is it just a coincidence that spring cleaning arrives at the peak of moving season?
Whether you’re relocating for your career, purchasing your first house, graduating college or moving for any other reason, you’ll soon be engaging in the inevitable and often unenviable task of packing up your belongings.
In most cases, that’s just something you have to deal with. To paraphrase the late George Carlin, having our “stuff” close by is what makes our house—or any temporary location we’re staying in—our home. No matter where the road takes us, we need our stuff.
On the other hand, some folks may seize the opportunity to take stock of their stuff and identify some items they can live without in the new location. If you fall into this camp, it’s good to know that there are many ways today to “spring clean” your belongings instead of just throwing them away.
Among individuals and families relocating for career reasons, “discard and donate” assistance has become popular. These services can reduce household goods weights considerably, and typically the reduced weight offsets the cost of service.
“With proper assistance, the average transferee can discard 1,500 pounds of ‘stuff,’ resulting in lighter shipments and lower costs. Reducing shipping weights will also reduce your carbon footprint,” said Ellie Sullivan, Weichert’s SVP of Advisory Services.
“Discard and donate is a good practice to eliminate what you don’t need, give it to someone who might need it, or throw it away,” added Laura Levenson, Practice Leader in Weichert’s Advisory Group. “Why spend money and time (packing stuff) that will be tossed or given away in the long run?”
Home Sweet Home is a company that provides Discard and donate services throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Because many people want to downsize before a move but often lack the time or patience to do so, Home Sweet Home provides a professional organizer to bring structure, knowledge and resources to the process.
“If we can help relocating employees downsize up front, we can help the company save money and make the family’s move less taxing,” said Jeff Heisler, President of Home Sweet Home.
Imagine having someone help you sort through your household goods to help you identify what you don’t want or won’t need in your new location. Or having someone handle the logistics to remove these items from your property BEFORE the pack and load takes place. Home Sweet Home will even donate your items for you so you can receive a charity receipt for tax liability.
The new U.S. tax laws that came into effect on January 1 of this year eliminated the ability to write off household goods move costs from transferee income. Companies with mobile employees now must choose between tax protecting their transferees (via gross-up) or having their transferees pay higher taxes. Weichert’s survey on the new tax laws revealed that most companies are planning to gross-up the costs and protect their employees, which will lead to an increase in the cost of household goods shipments. Under these circumstances, discard and donate programs provide opportunities to reduce these costs.
Beyond the potential savings to companies and transferees, discard and donate programs there are also beneficial to our environment. Last year Home Sweet Home reduced over 11,000,000 pounds of HHG, resulting in a massive reduction in packing materials that saved over 4,000 trees.
Jeff explains that Home Sweet Home partners with the US Forest Service and for every tree saved by their clients, they donate money for three trees to be planted in national forests.
“Last year our Save a Tree, Plant a Tree program planted over 13,000 trees, representing about 8% of the trees planted nationwide by the US Forest Service,” said Jeff.
Another creative spring cleaning option is to encourage your transferees to recycle e-waste at their local Best Buy instead of shipping these items. With technology advancing quickly, employees may want to upgrade hardware and software at their new location, so why pay for special crating only to discard them at the new location?
These options reduce cost, reduce your carbon footprint and can even support worthy causes, positioning your organization as a good corporate citizen.