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OyBay to Take the Oy Vey Out of Decluttering

April 19, 2007 By:
Sally Friedman, JF Feature
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You're simply drowning in clutter. The garage, the basement, the attic, the spare room without an inch to spare, the guest room where no guest could possibly stay -- all are terminally stuffed.

Sure, you've been meaning to have a yard sale. Or to get the kids to come by and take some of the excess off your hands. But somehow, you never got around to that, either.

Take heart! Now there's OyBay, a new Jewish Community Centers of Greater Philadelphia project. OyBay is geared to take your donated treasures and see to it that they're auctioned off or sold on eBay. When the donated items are sold, proceeds will go to support vital programs and services. OyBay proceeds will fund the home delivery of meals to the needy and the disadvantaged, as well as to preschool scholarships and after-school programs.

OyBay was created to generate matching funds for the grant the JCCs received as part of the Citizens Community Bridge partnership between the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and Citizens Bank Foundation formed in September 2005. The donation of a $250,000 grant, to be used over a two-year period, in part inspires new initiatives such as OyBay and expands existing programs to help families in need throughout the Greater Philadelphia area.

In almost all cases, the OyBay donor gets a tax deduction.

"OyBay is definitely a bonus situation for everyone," said Larry Kagel, program chairman at the JCCs. "Kent Jackson, the auctioneer for Uniques and Antiques in Aston, is experienced and talented in pricing items, and he can really sell at the live auction. He also knows just how to post the items on line."

Best of all, you don't even have to do the schlepping. From photographing the items to handling all shipping details, OyBay does it all.

If you're not quite ready to donate your overflow, arrangements can also be made to give just a percentage of the sale to the JCCs while you get the rest.

"The reality is that so many of us hold on to things we'll never use and that nobody really wants or needs," said Marcia Bronstein, vice president of development for the JCCs. "But we can't bring ourselves to get rid of it."

So what's hot?

Answer: Whatever sells.

According to Bronstein and Kagel, it's sometimes the most surprising things, although the old sofa with the stains and the broken table with the missing leg won't make the cut.

"Particularly popular items are toys from the 1960s and 1970s, sterling silver, Bakelite jewelry from the 1920s, and yes, cars in any condition are very sought after," said Bronstein.

In test-marketing the concept before it was launched, reported Bronstein, a fur coat ended up being sold to someone from Russia and a painting went to someone in Ireland. "That's when we realized how much potential this idea has," she said.

There is minimal paperwork involved in arranging tax benefits, and if there is a major move or downsizing to be addressed, OyBay can also help rid a household of nearly everything.

"We obviously seek things that are in saleable condition," explained Kagel, "and we suspect that there is lots of that in everybody's basement and garage. Aside from everything else, it just feels so good to simplify your life."

Think of OyBay as a "diet" for your household. And start sorting.

To learn more, call 215-446-3040 or visit: www.phillyjcc.com/oybay.

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