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  • Shipping Container Homes: Yay Or Nay? Feb. 26th 2017
    Shipping container homes were borne, at least in part, out of a desire to live efficiently and affordably. After all, a skilled DIYer can build a home out of a couple of containers for about the price of a mid-size car. But what if you love the idea of living in a container home, but building one…not so much? Or maybe you're not so keen on the way the containers look, even if you embrace the idea for other reasons. With the growth in popularity of container homes, you have options. Lots of them, from inexpensive pre-fab tiny units to sprawling customs that bear little (or no) resemblance to big metal boxes. Pre-fab Pre-fab means prefabricated. That means the house is not being built from scratch on site, although, when it comes to shipping container homes, even customs will use some pre-made parts (like the shipping container itself). These are, not surprisingly, far more affordable than a custom build. Canadian-based company Honomobo has gained fame this year for its pre-fab container homes that aren't just super stylish, but also eliminate one of the potential complications with these types of structures. "Foreseeing complicated regulations regarding tiny homes, Honomobo homes are built to local building codes as either primary or secondary residences and, unlike tiny houses on wheels, are typically installed on a permanent foundation," said Curbed. While many of their homes are considered tiny - the 208-square-foot mini studio is priced at $39,801 - they also range up to a 1,216-square-foot two-or three-bedroom home for $162,728. Even better: Honomobo residences are typically delivered in 10 weeks. The HO3 unit above uses three shipping containers "knit together to create a private full bedroom, kitchen with an island, and a stunning 21' wide front window to maximize light and indoor/outdoor connection," they said. The 528-square-foot unit is $112,743. The units are also stackable, which is perfect for developers looking to maximize income potential. honomobo.com If you don't want a container home as your primary residence, you can add one to your backyard to use as a she shed, guest house, or income unit. tinyhousetalk.com Or, how about a granny flat? The Monaco by Nova Deko is a $24,000, one-bedroom, one-bath, 160-square-foot granny flat "where the living space duals as a bedroom," said Off Grid World. "It features a tiled bathroom, full kitchen," and eating area. Off Grid World Custom While custom container homes will generally far exceed the small budget associated with many of the small, pre-fab homes, there are numerous advantages. Obviously, the ability to design a space that is built to exact specifications is No. 1. Custom container homes can also be designed to suit other needs, like this one that was constructed to be as green as possible. "Two shipping containers surround a taller common space in Nederland, Colorado. The containers house sleeping and work areas while the center space hosts dining, living and a loft above," said Nifty Homestead. "The project is off-the-grid using solar orientation, passive cooling, green roofs, pellet stove heating and photovoltaics to create electricity." niftyhomestead.com Flying Box Villa represents another trend in shipping container home design - it doesn't reveal the shipping containers at all. busyboo.com "What's better than a shipping container home that doesn't look like one? How about a container home that redefines everything we thought we knew about prefabricated design? That's exactly what we have with the aptly named Flying Box Villa by French architecture firm 2A Design," said Busyboo. "This small modern home is a visual blur -- an aesthetic tour de force that is as unique as it is functional." busyboo.com Or, maybe disguising the containers isn't your goal. If you like the urban look associated with shopping containers, check out this home from Hive Modular, which used two twenty-foot shipping containers the homeowners bought for $800 apiece "to create a cabin complete with kitchen, dining room, living room with a wood burning stove, laundry room and two queen beds," said Nifty Homestead. "The two cabins are connected by a middle section loft and roof" made out of fir beams and featuring a glass door at the entry. "The cabin is partially powered by solar power arrays and connected to a rainwater cistern, making this building an ecologically-sustainable vacation home."  hivemodular.com

  • You're Not Going To Believe Where We Got These Chic Home Items Feb. 26th 2017
    Who says keeping your home looking fashionable has to cost a fortune? We're big fans of stores like Home Goods, World Market, and Target for inexpensive furniture and furnishings, but today we tried a little experiment and hit a different kind of store. Behold the beauty of home decor shopping at Walmart. No, really. If you didn't know this stuff was from the discount superstore, you wouldn't suspect it. In fact, we found so much cute stuff we went over our original plan to find six things that stood out. So, instead, here are the nine things you're going to want to buy for your home at Walmart. 1. Fabric Didn't know Walmart had fabric? Neither did we. It’s not a huge section, so you’re not going to get the variety you would at a "regular" fabric store, but there was plenty to choose from. And now we have a fun new project recovering garage sale chairs that have been sitting in our garage for months. 2. Décor How cute are these hurricanes at $9.88 each? Walmart also had a slew of candles in the same aisle, ranging from $2.97 for a tall pillar to $3.97 for 100 tealights. Walmart 3. Sheets This Hotel Style Collection is super soft and super chic. We love the pattern, but they did also have a variety of solid-color options. Walmart 4. Towels We also like the Hotel Style Collection Towels, which were extremely soft and luxurious. Walmart 5. Pillows Grabbed these four throw pillows out of a bin, with prices ranging from $4–10. So cute. Walmart 6. Rugs Rug shopping is a beating. There are too many choices and colors and weaves and sizes, and most of them are too expensive. If you have a busy house with lots of two-legged and four-legged beings running around (ahem!), you may not want to invest in a high-quality piece at this point. Which is why this 7' x 10' rug in a fashion-forward graphic pattern (sensing a trend here?) was a great find. Especially at just $100! Walmart 7. Furniture In truth, they didn't have a ton of furniture at our Walmart (much more online), and most of what they had was of somewhat questionable quality. That's not surprising; you'll get a similar deal at Target or IKEA, depending on the piece. But this $248 TV unit definitely caught our eye. It's glorified cardboard in the back and we're not sure what the rest of it is made of, but it looks like wood, unlike many other pieces you might find that have a darker and not-so-rustic wood finish, it's an ample size at almost 60" wide, and the design is really attractive. Walmart 8. Placemats $.88 apiece, with a cool graphic pattern, and they wipe off clean? Done. 9. Mirrors During our shopping excursion, we saw so many great mirrors, it was hard to choose. We ended up with this fun set of five round mirrors, which is going to look great on the wall next to the garage door. It was a screaming bargain, at $16. Walmart

  • Ideas To Improve Your Small Front Yard Feb. 23rd 2017
    There are many ways to improve your small front yard without uprooting your driveway or dialing back your front porch. In fact, with the right touches, small front yards can be just as appealing as large ones. Here are some ideas to make your small yard appealing year round: #1 Take a symmetrical approach. One way to make your small front yard more appealing is to use symmetry. Balancing the elements of your yard on either side of your sidewalk -- grass, fencing, flowers, shrubs -- will make it look grand and inviting; it will also cost less than it would in a larger yard, because you have less acreage to cover. You can also find a local landscaper to map out and implement a symmetrical yard plan for you. Photo courtesy of Zachary Berger Associates, Ltd. in Portsmouth, NH #2 Make a seamless transition from yard to house. Use materials like box planters, stone steps or retaining walls to blend your home and yard together. Potted plants on your front porch or patio will also extend the yard without cluttering it. Make sure you choose plants that complement one another, so you don't have a lot of overgrowth. #3 Use a hint of color. If you want to wow people in your small front yard, pick a brightly colored flower, shrub or tree that stands out either on the porch or in the yard itself. Then use neutral colors around to make it stand out. This will be the eye-catching piece in your small yard that people will never miss. #4 Hang basket flowers. Hang flower baskets around your front porch or patio. They add fresh color and a natural element to your home without cluttering the porch area itself. You can change them every season or every year, depending on the flowers or shrubs you choose. #5 Light it up. Your front yard might be less appealing if people see it at night. That's why you should add plenty of lighting. One option is to install standing, solar-powered lamps along the walkway; another is to hang lamps on your front porch to illuminate the plants there. It just depends on

  • Ask the HOA Expert: Procedure For Voting In Person And Voting By Proxy Feb. 23rd 2017
    Question: At our annual meeting, the procedure for voting in person and voting by proxy was different. Those who attended the meeting registered by signing in. Proxies were only counted if the signature on the form matched the signature of record. Is this standard procedure? Answer: Presumably, whoever was monitoring sign-in recognized the members who were signing in. Signatures on proxies could be forged by someone trying to manipulate the election. While this is not common, it is a good idea to verify the identity of both attendees and proxy signers to make sure there is no election fraud. Question: Does the board president have more authority than the other board members? Answer: Yes, the president does have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the board as long as those decisions are in keeping with the approved budget, governing documents, established board policy/procedure and state statutes. Question: Is it permissible for the board to convene a "brainstorming session" simply to talk as long as no decisions are being made? Answer: Theoretically, it sounds okay but brainstorming generally leads to decision making. And the board needs to be careful about perception. If these sessions happen too often, it will appear that they are merely being called something other than a meeting to circumvent being open to members. Question: At a recent board meeting, the president tried to pressure the management company to quit. He accused the manager of stealing and worse. None of this was announced to the other directors before hand who were caught by surprise. Does the president have the authority to fire the manager? Answer: No. Something as important as hiring and firing a management company should be decided by the entire board, possibly with input from the owners. It appears that your president is somewhat of a tyrant and not given to communicating or cooperation. I doubt much will change until there is a change in president. Question: We have just formed a number of committees, some ad hoc (short term) and some standing (long term). One of the standing committees we have not yet activated is called "Governing Documents Committee". We are rethinking the wisdom of this committee as some members have "agendas" that they will likely try to impose to change the declaration, bylaws and rules. Answer: All committees should have specific marching orders from the board. Otherwise, you'll probably get something you didn't want. Governing documents are complex and must adhere to state statutes. While it's fine to make recommendations, it's up to the board to decide if they are worthy and, if so, it's up the HOA's attorney to determine if they're legal. For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, see http://www.Regenesis.net

  • Ask the HOA Expert: Procedure For Voting In Person And Voting By Proxy Feb. 23rd 2017
    Question: At our annual meeting, the procedure for voting in person and voting by proxy was different. Those who attended the meeting registered by signing in. Proxies were only counted if the signature on the form matched the signature of record. Is this standard procedure? Answer: Presumably, whoever was monitoring sign-in recognized the members who were signing in. Signatures on proxies could be forged by someone trying to manipulate the election. While this is not common, it is a good idea to verify the identity of both attendees and proxy signers to make sure there is no election fraud. Question: Does the board president have more authority than the other board members? Answer: Yes, the president does have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the board as long as those decisions are in keeping with the approved budget, governing documents, established board policy/procedure and state statutes. Question: Is it permissible for the board to convene a "brainstorming session" simply to talk as long as no decisions are being made? Answer: Theoretically, it sounds okay but brainstorming generally leads to decision making. And the board needs to be careful about perception. If these sessions happen too often, it will appear that they are merely being called something other than a meeting to circumvent being open to members. Question: At a recent board meeting, the president tried to pressure the management company to quit. He accused the manager of stealing and worse. None of this was announced to the other directors before hand who were caught by surprise. Does the president have the authority to fire the manager? Answer: No. Something as important as hiring and firing a management company should be decided by the entire board, possibly with input from the owners. It appears that your president is somewhat of a tyrant and not given to communicating or cooperation. I doubt much will change until there is a change in president. Question: We have just formed a number of committees, some ad hoc (short term) and some standing (long term). One of the standing committees we have not yet activated is called "Governing Documents Committee". We are rethinking the wisdom of this committee as some members have "agendas" that they will likely try to impose to change the declaration, bylaws and rules. Answer: All committees should have specific marching orders from the board. Otherwise, you'll probably get something you didn't want. Governing documents are complex and must adhere to state statutes. While it's fine to make recommendations, it's up to the board to decide if they are worthy and, if so, it's up the HOA's attorney to determine if they're legal. For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, see http://www.Regenesis.net

  • Historic Homes: What To Know Before You Buy Feb. 22nd 2017
    You've fallen in love with an old Victorian house and want to bring her back to her glory days. With dreams of starting the next row of "painted ladies," you close the deal. You may already have some ideas of things you want to do to your new home, but before you make any changes to the structure itself, do a little research and make sure you have the answers to these three questions: 1. Is your home designated as historic - part of a state or federal historical building or neighborhood registry? If so, you may have to adhere to a number of regulations and be subject to some historical preservation oversight in order to update the home. 2. How extensive do you want the updates to be? Do you plan to "take it back to the studs," or simply do some cosmetic work like refinishing floors? 3. How authentic do you want the renovations to be? The more accurate the details, such as spindle bannisters and egg and dart moldings, the higher the cost in materials and labor. Your home and its state of repair may dictate which course of action you choose. For example if your home has serious structural damage or decay, then preservation may not be possible. However, you'll still be able to reconstruct and renovate. Not sure if you should preserve, restore or renovate? Here are a few definitions that may help you form a plan: Preservation means restoring and using the building for its original purpose, with as much of the original features and décor saved as possible. Restoration means tearing out improvements made over time that don't reflect the original age and style of the home, and then repairing those areas to closely match the original size, shape, color, etc. Reconstruction means making major changes to the floor plan such as adding new rooms and dramatically altering and repurposing parts of the home. Renovation or remodeling freshens the look of the home using modern materials such as updating an older kitchen with custom cabinetry, farm sinks and granite countertops. Before you begin, find out if there are any local or state subsidies for historic preservation for homes in your area. You could get tax breaks and special home improvement loans or other assistance. Contact your local tax assessor-collector for more information, or your local housing authority. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has some excellent resources for homeowners of older or historic homes. Also, check out historicproperties.com and thisoldhouse.com for more information.

  • Hey, Gen X and Baby Boomer Agent: Get to Snapchat Right Now Feb. 22nd 2017
    Snapchat recorded 158 million daily active users, on average, in the last quarter of 2016. And yet, ask an average sampling of real estate agents if they use it, and you'll hear a chorus of "No's." And then you'll likely hear a bunch of stuff about how it's only for millennials. You might also hear a comment or two about how it's only for sexting - a common misinterpretation because of how Snapchat was initially rolled out. "The platform originated as a way to send messages that would disappear once opened. Initially Snapchat got a bad rap, becoming infamous for sexting inappropriate images. I personally have not experienced anything inappropriate on Snapchat," said Kala Laos, broker/owner of Arizona-based Real Estate Sauce. These objections were noted this week when leading California real estate agent and advocate Elgin Walker, of the Elgin and Pilar Walker Team at Keller Williams, put out a call to his followers on Facebook - many of whom are agents themselves - and asked their opinion on using Snapchat. The overwhelming response was that Snapchat was only for younger people, and therefore irrelevant or unimportant to older and/or more established agents. To be fair, Snapchat does skew young. Their most recent data shows that 37 percent of their users are 18–24, followed by the 25–34 age group at about 26 percent. Twelve percent are 35–54, with only two percent at 55+. But, as Walker pointed out, a changing industry is an opportunity. And there's no barrier to learning something new that can embolden or grow your business, if you so choose. The larger issue is about communicating with clients and potential clients in the manner in which they are comfortable, which only serves to strengthen the bond with them. "This is my 30th year in business. I have seen A LOT of changes in the industry," he said. "To provide the best service to clients you need to keep up and reach out in manners they are responsive too. Whether it's text, email, or social media, you give the customers what they want, the way they want!" Snapchat's impressive numbers More than 158 million people use Snapchat every day and more than 300 million monthly. The app passed Twitter's daily user numbers back in June of 2016, with Snapchatters watching over 10 billion videos per day, which is more than a 350% increase in the last year alone - data that was used to support the app's valuation of between $20-23 billion for its IPO, which is set for March 1. RISMedia Yes, Snapchat is going public in the largest tech-related offering since Alibaba in 2014. Should that be important to real estate agents? Of course. Snapchat's growth and market penetration should be on your mind if your own growth is important. And/or if you want to increase engagement with existing and potential clients. If you're still not sure why it's relevant for you, or how it can help expand your business, take a look at a few people who are doing it right. Laos compiled a list of the "Top 10 people dominating the real estate industry on Snapchat." It includes agents, top-producing brokers, mortgage professionals, and property management company founders, and they're not all 22 years old. Among those featured is Dustin Brohm, a REALTOR® and founder of Search Salt Lake. His article for Inman tiled "Why I'm jumping on Snapchat in 2016 - and why you should, too," is a good intro to the ‘who, what, when, where, why" of incorporating Snapchat into your business. His key takeaways: Engagement and interaction from your followers are all that matter. Snapchat has higher engagement than any social network on the planet right now." Side benefits Engaging directly with clients is the obvious top reason for learning and using Snapchat, but there's another important benefit for real estate agents looking to increase their brand reach. Backchannel has a great story about "Alex Wang: suburban dad of three, Silicon Valley real estate agent, a steady ace at selling houses in Silicon Valley's frenetic housing market," whose early adoption and mastery of Snapchat - even as a decidedly non-millennial - has reaped great rewards in some surprising ways. There are those Snapchat stories that can have "tangible financial rewards," like when Wang "asked his Snapchat followers for referrals for a client who needed to find a good agent in Salt Lake City" and was sent numerous recommendations, lining up a potential referral fee for him at closing. But mostly, Wang is "playing the long game of building influence among his peers," they said. He's formed the SnapPack, a group of seven "REALTORS across the country  -  only one of whom falls into the Millennial age bracket " - who "regularly trade Snapchat tips." And, ‘So far, he's ‘snap-coaching' one agent in Texas who asked for advice. He oversees and coaches ten agents at the brokerage where he works, Sereno Group, and noticed that they would approach him for advice on how to better use Facebook or better negotiate  -  both Wang's strong suits. So on Snapchat stories, Wang decided not to target more customers, but to pass on tips to other agents in a profession where he says the barrier to entry is way too low (you take three courses and an exam) and, as a result, is rife with amateurish high jinks." Want more information about how to use Snapchat? The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has a Field Guide for Realtors with basics and links to articles and videos that can help. Or you can just ask your child/grandchild/babysitter/neighbor's kids/nephew. That's what I did.

  • 3 Steps To Saving For Your Dream Home Feb. 21st 2017
    According to Harvard University's "State of the Nation's Housing" report, while more people than ever before want to own their own home, fewer feel financially ready to do so yet. Reasons range from high rents to student loan debt. Millennials, in particular, are waiting longer to get married, start families and purchase their first home. But this is not necessarily bad news for the housing market. In fact, it could mean that the millennial generation has something to teach us all about saving consistently towards a big life goal such as owning your own home! In this article, learn three important steps to take when you start saving for your dream home. Step 1: Pay down your debt to clean up your credit. Your credit score is a tricky business when it comes to saving for your first home. You have no history of carrying a mortgage, so you can't make any real impact there. What you can do is to clean up your overall credit report so your general credit score is as healthy as possible before you apply for your mortgage loan. According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), a surprising number of Americans think they have "above average" (60 percent) to "very good" (41 percent) credit, although a full 48 percent have not seen their credit score in the past three years or ever. So clearly, this is where you need to start. The best way to differentiate yourself from your competition (other people who are trying to convince a direct lender to give them a mortgage loan) is to pay down your debt, clear up any disputes on your credit report and, in so doing, boost your credit score so you can qualify for the best mortgage at the lowest interest rates. Step 2: Separate and automate your savings. Saving money is never going to be the easiest goal you attempt. In fact, according to The Atlantic, one of the chief reasons that nearly half of all Americans have little or no emergency savings to fall back on is taking on too much mortgage debt. So here is a clear area where you should proceed with caution. First, save. Then, buy a home. The best approach to make saving as painless as possible for you is to automate your savings. You can do this by setting up direct deposit on your paycheck and then regular auto-drafts into a savings account reserved just for dream home savings. This way, you never even touch those funds and feel tempted to spend them instead. Step 3: Downsize to upsize. Finally, one effective change many adults today are making to save more towards their dream home is to downsize while they save. This can mean anything from moving to a smaller apartment to getting rid of your cable television subscription. Also, you must continually remind yourself why you have downsized in order for this step to work well. But the key to making downsizing work to serve your greater goals is to make sure you deposit every cent of what you save into your dream home fund. Referring back to Step 2 here, the easiest way to do this is to calculate for yourself exactly what you are saving by paying less rent, giving up cable, etc., and then setting up a monthly auto draft in that amount to deposit directly into your dream home savings account. By following these three steps, you can make tangible financial progress in saving to buy your dream home. If you can save 20 percent towards a downpayment, you can avoid paying expensive Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and you may even qualify for a lower interest rate. Scrimping and saving is never fun or easy, but it will be worth it when your realtor hands you that brand-new set of house keys!

  • Condo 101: The Governing Documents Feb. 21st 2017
    Question: I am interested in buying a condominium, and have just received a package from management containing a lot of documents and information. Frankly it is overwhelming. What should I review? Answer: When you sign a contract to buy an existing condominium, you must be given what is known as a "resale package". If you are buying from the developer, it is a Public Offering Statement (POS). Typically, the sales contract gives you a period of time, usually. three business days, from the day you get the package to cancel the contract and get your earnest money deposit back. I prefer to change this "cancellation period" in the contract before you sign it to five business days, to give you more time to absorb all of the material. The package includes such things as the condominium governing documents,, the current budget, any pending lawsuits involving the association, insurance information and an audit report from an independent CPA. You should carefully review the financials to make sure the association is financially sound and has sufficient reserves for that rainy day. To create a condominium, there must be a law enacted by the state legislature (or the DC City Council). All of the Washington metropolitan jurisdictions have a Condominium Act; in fact, some local counties -- such as Montgomery -- have their own laws that also impact condominiums. In general, the Condo Act has legal priority, and overrides any conflicting legal documents. Although there are some provisions in these laws that are carved in stone -- such as percentage interests cannot be changed without unanimous consent from all owners -- the drafters of the legislation recognized that times and circumstances change. Accordingly, the various condominium laws permit associations to amend their legal documents from time to time as needed. The governing condo documents start with the Declaration. This document literally "declares" the complex to be a condominium. It provides an explanation of the three components of the condo, namely "units", "common elements" and "limited common elements". It also spells out the ownership percentage of each unit (which must total 100 percent) on which voting and condo payments are based. It should be noted that although a few associations have one-unit-one-vote, the majority of condominiums base voting and assessments on percentage interests. Each unit's percentage interest is shown at the end of the Declaration. The "bible" of a condominium is the Bylaws. It sets forth the way board members are elected and what they can -- and cannot -- do; it contains restrictions on such issues as pets, parking, leasing and payment of condo fees. While I always strongly urge potential buyers to read all of the condo documents, at the very least one must carefully read the Bylaws to make sure this is where you want to live. You should, of course, also review the financial status of the association; you don't want to buy into a place where there are too many delinquencies, where the reserves are too low, or major repairs are upcoming with no funds available to pay for them. There often are Rules which are adopted by the Board of Directors. They deal with a host of issues, often interpreting or expanding on provisions contained in the Bylaws. For example, if the Bylaws permit dogs, the Rules may spell out that dogs must be on a leash while on common grounds, or that owners must pick up their dog waste. On the other hand, if the Bylaws prohibit dogs, the Board cannot override that by enacting a Rule. Another document is the Plat and Plans. This is often called the "condo map". It is an architectural drawing -- recorded among the land records in the jurisdiction where the condo is located -- that is a floor plan of each unit, showing what is a general common as compared to a limited common element. General common elements are for everyone's use, such as elevators or hallways. Limited common elements are reserved for less than all unit owners. Limited common elements can include a balcony, deck, patio, storage space and even parking spaces. If you are buying in the District of Columbia, the Plat and Plans must be included in the resale package. They are not required in Maryland or Virginia, but if you are buying in those states, I would ask to get a copy before you decide to buy. I use the concept of hierarchy -- priority of legal condominium documents. The condo law in your jurisdiction trumps everything. If state law says you need a super-majority vote in order to amend the Bylaws, that requirement can only be amended by the legislative body. Next in priority is the Declaration. Referring again to pets, if the Declaration says "no pets", that is the law. The Board cannot allow pets unless the Declaration is amended, and that will take a 66-2/3 vote or higher of the membership, depending on what the Declaration states. The Bylaws fall in place under the Declaration and then, in last place -- but still very important -- are the Rules and Regulations. Buying a condo unit requires lots of reading, consulting with current owners, management, your lawyer, and financial advisors. This may be the biggest investment you will ever make; do your homework, with a good place to start being the condo documents, since they will govern you if you purchase.

  • Clean Out Your Closet And Help A Charity Feb. 20th 2017
    When you clean out your closet (or your whole house), the "donate" pile can get pretty big. But there's no need to worry about lugging everything to a donation centre. Clothesline will send a truck right to your door to pick up your gently used clothing, electronics and small household items for free. The proceeds will go to the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) to support its research, education and advocacy programs. Each year, Clothesline, a national Canadian program, raises more than $10 million and diverts more than 100 million pounds of clothing and household items from landfill sites across the nation, something else donors feel good about. The CDA started the program in 1985 as an innovative way to raise funds while making a positive impact on the community, says Janelle Robertson, general manager of Clothesline, one of the longest running programs of its type in North America. In addition to clothing, the donations accepted for pick-up include towels, draperies, shoes, dishes, cloth items, post secondary textbooks, kitchenware and toys. The not-accepted list includes large appliances, sofa beds, newspapers and food. Clothesline has more than 110 trucks that pick up at 1.7 million households each year across Canada, Robertson says. The organization also has more than 3,000 clothing donation boxes, as well as 30 offices or donation centres where items can be dropped off. Clothesline solicits donations, picks them up and delivers them to Value Village stores. Value Village pays for the volume of goods delivered. The two organizations have enjoyed an exclusive mutually beneficial partnership since Clothesline's inception. By having a business arrangement with Value Village, the CDA receives much-needed funds to support its programs and supplement the monetary donations it receives directly from the public. "Our relationship with Value Village is longstanding and we would not be able to raise $10 million annually to support those living with, or at risk of diabetes, without their support," says Robertson. "We grew the Clothesline program quite quickly because we recognized this partnership as an opportunity to generate revenue though a social enterprise. Our growth followed Value Village." Donors can drop off reusable items at a Clothesline Donation centre or donations box, or by scheduling a free household pickup online or by calling toll free at 1-800-505-5525). "By donating directly to Clothesline, CDA receives proceeds from Value Village. It does not benefit from items dropped off directly at Value Village," says Robertson. In addition to support from individuals, the Clothesline program needs help from corporations, local businesses, schools and communities. "You can help by becoming a drop box host, sponsoring a community clothing drive, becoming an apartment/condominium building pickup co-ordinator or arranging for your business or school to conduct a clothing drive on our behalf," CDA says. Through the In The Bag program, schools, clubs and communities across Canada can raise funds for trips, equipment or other projects. Clothesline pays for each garbage bag (67L) of clothing collected. Clothesline will provide step-by-step guidelines, a list of acceptable items, a checklist and tips to make your In The Bag event a success. Furniture is accepted at only specific locations, so if it is not collected in your area, there are other options. Furniture can be donated to other charities, such as the national organization, Furniture Bank. Another option is the Salvation Army Thrift Store. It accepts "gently used" clothing and household items and in some locations it offers a pick up service for larger items. The organization says that for sanitary, health and safety concerns, it is unable to accept donations of used mattresses and box springs, used carpets, hazardous materials (such as paints), propane tanks, barbecues, infant equipment (such as car seats, cribs and strollers), tires and auto parts.  The Salvation Army supports many programs and services including food banks, shelters, children's camps, addiction treatment facilities and other community programs. It says it is Canada's largest non-governmental provider of social programs. Visit https://thriftstore.ca/ for the closest location. Some Canadian cities, such as Calgary, offer a municipal textile recycling service. City landfill facilities there have Throw ‘N' and Go areas where residents can dispose of used clothing and textiles, even if they are damaged. "If the item isn't reusable, it can still be recycled," says the City of Calgary website. "Textile recyclers turn old clothing, shoes and fabrics into new products. Materials are sorted, cleaned and can be turned into wiping rags or shredded down for upholstery stuffing or fibre recycling." All proceeds from the revenue of the recycled textiles support the charity Haiti Arise.