Monday, June 8, 2009

My Few Cents Worth

I am always amazed at the amount of money I find when helping clients organize their homes. It's in drawers, old purses, pockets, jars, the floor, boxes-- you name it. Unlike collectibles and antiques -the things people save "because it might be worth something someday", money has actual value and can be redeemed at any bank.
At one client's home, just after Christmas, I found a bar of silver (like the Fort Knox kind). I asked her if this silver bullion should perhaps in a safe, and she told me that the safe was full. It was merely a sample of what the family members would be inheriting after her father died. In the rush to serve dinner, they had simply cleared the table and the silver bar was gathered with the other holiday debris and sent to the basement. In other homes, I have found envelopes with birthday checks, cash ($600 one time!), assorted gift cards, and travelers checks, probably adding up to several tens of thousands of dollars. According to Coinstar, a coin counting machine vendor, an 8 oz jar has over $14.
The church I attend recently put out a large jar and asked people to donate the loose change in their wallets and pockets of as a way to raise money for a project. They didn't ask for checks or big bills-- just the little stuff that was adding weight to the pockets and purses. They made over $500 in a couple weeks as people lightened their load and brought jars from home.
I wonder what would happen if this "change making change" began happening in other churches or for other charities. If people gathered their jars of coins, loose change in junk drawers and cleaned out their purses of old gum, tissues and pennies, it could all add up. Less coin clutter and more people blessed--it's a win-win.

Let me know about other efforts in coin clutter and donating.