DEAR HARRIETTE: I am cleaning out my closets and trying to make more space in my house. I have accumulated so much over time, including some pretty great clothing. I could give it all to Goodwill or the Salvation Army, but I also like the idea of getting something back for my clothes. I know that some people use websites to offload old stuff. What do you recommend? Part of me is concerned that if I go the route of selling at a discount online, it will just keep the stuff in my house for a lot longer. -- Purging
DEAR PURGING: If you can give yourself a deadline and stick to it, you can potentially earn money selling your old clothing -- and other household goods. Acting like the yard sales of my youth, there are now many websites that allow you to post your gently used items that you feature with photos and discounted pricing. Some popular options are eBay.com, Tradesy.com, MaterialWorld.co, Etsy.com, Poshmark.com, ThredUp.com, Bonanza.com and Shopify.com.
I will add that if your home is bordering on hoarding status, you may want to dump the items on your sidewalk on trash pickup day, call a company like 1-800-GOT-JUNK or take your items to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you do that, you can get tax write-off slips that will allow you a bit of relief at tax time.
DEAR HARRIETTE: A friend of mine let me know that my boyfriend from a few years back is homeless and living in a shelter. He lost his job a couple of years ago, one thing led to the next, and he lost his apartment. I feel awful for him. He is a really nice guy with a big heart. I can’t imagine what it’s like for him. My friend told me that he still has the same cellphone number. She encouraged me to call and check in on him. I’m not sure if I should. I do like him, but I don’t have any money to give him, and I’m in a relationship. Do you think it will be misleading to reconnect with him? -- Homeless Ex
DEAR HOMELESS EX: If you care about your ex -- as a person -- definitely give him a call. Tell him that you learned about his misfortune and you wanted to offer moral support. Ask him how he’s doing and what his plans are. Tell him that you are sorry that he has fallen on hard times, but you know he is a good person and you pray that he will be able to be in a better place soon.
Be upfront and let him know that you are reaching out to him as a friend only. Tell him that you are in a relationship now. If you are up for it, allow him to contact you from time to time as he manages through this difficult period.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)