Clear out obsolete electronics, including small appliances and computers and that box of mysterious cables and cords that every home seems to have. Bring them to the parking lot of Foster City’s City Hall, 610 Foster City Blvd., between 9 a.m. and noon Saturday, May
19. (And mark your calendar for the next collection, Saturday, Sept. 8.)
Rid your files of paperwork you no longer need or can access on line. Shred medical documents and paperwork that contains your Social Security number, plus credit card and bank/financial account information. You can shred documents for free from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 19; Wednesday, July 25 and Saturday, Sept. 8 at Foster City’s City Hall parking lot, 610 Foster City Blvd.
(But don’t go overboard. Shredding address labels, credit card receipts and junk mail isn’t necessary. Remember that most identity theft occurs through online hacking and credit card or merchant security breaches, not by thieves digging through your recycling bin for your name and address, both of which are easily accessible online.)
Gather household hazardous waste (pesticides, paint thinner, drain de-cloggers, etc.) for safe disposal. Never put anything toxic, corrosive, flammable or reactive in your trash, recycling or compost bins. Here’s the schedule
for San Mateo County residents.
Remove expired, unused or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs from your medicine cabinets and drawers. Don’t flush pills, capsules or tablets because the active ingredients
contaminate our water supply and harm plants and marine life. Instead, pick up a special envelope from the Foster City Fire Department, 1010 E. Hillsdale Blvd., that allows you to mail medications for disposal. For other Bay Area locations, check here
Weed out new and gently used children’s coats and jackets for the Coats for Kids program. Wash and dry them, and store in plastic bags until Nov. 5-9, when they can be set out curbside for collection on your recycling day. Or from Nov. 5-17, you can drop them off at the collection bin at the Foster City Recreation Center, 650 Shell Blvd.
Donate unused bicycles to a non-profit that distributes them to people who need them. The Silicon Valley Bicycle Exchange accepts bikes that need no more than a hour of maintenance work to be usable. The exchange is based in Mountain View. Read these guidelines
for donations. (They welcome repair volunteers too.)
Bye Bye, Baby (Beanie Babies, That Is)
It’s been about two decades since Americans became obsessed with colorful little critters
called Beanie Babies. Collectors couldn’t get enough of these $5.95 toys with button eyes, colorful coats and the promise of skyrocketing value. Enthusiasts frantically sought supposedly rare figures that were predicted to be worth tens of thousands of dollars.
So much for that. Turns out there’s no market for these “collectibles”—precisely because they were made to be collected. The market is glutted with unwanted Beanie Babies, many still bearing their red heart-shaped tags from manufacturer Ty. (The Beanies made a very wealthy man of inventor Ty Warner, who in 2013 pleaded guilty to tax evasion for hiding millions of dollars in offshore accounts. But that’s another story.)
“Toy appraisers predict Beanies will never make a comeback,” The Wall Street Journal reported
, “since the 1990s children—millennials—aren’t collecting like generations before them.”
These millennials are the same people who have consistently rejected their Boomer parents’ efforts to saddle them with ugly brown 1970s furniture, fine china sets, knickknacks and, yes, all sorts of “collectibles.” And because millennials didn’t invest any time or money in amassing Beanie Babies, they view these beady-eyed toys as clutter, not a potential windfall.
The title of The Wall Street Journal article? “Sorry, Collectors, Nobody Wants Your Beanie Babies Anymore.”
Best. Organizing. Comic. Strip. Ever.
Organizing—or its perils and headaches—is a popular theme for cartoonists and comic-strip artists. Stephan Pastis, who draws the syndicated “Pearls Before Swine” strip, recently produced an instant classic that will resonate with anyone who’s ever said “But what if I need this someday?” (That would be most of us.) See his clever handiwork here
Spoiler: The last panel shows a character digging frantically through the trash at the local dump and saying, “Always … keep … everything!!”
Have an organizing question or need a referral to a resource? I’m happy to help. Email me at junebell (at) me (dot) com or catch me on Twitter @JuneDBell.