When I went for my run at 5 o’clock this morning, it was 65 degrees outside. Sixty-five!
I’m not sure if this nice weather in Kansas is a February fluke or if it’s Punxsutawney Phil in action. Either way, it triggers the ‘spring cleaning’ switch in my brain. I won’t make you go through a full week of spring cleaning right now. (I’ll wait until it’s truly Spring for that.) Instead, I’d like to deal with just one clutter magnet that is more seasonal than others: Lost & Found.
It’s about time to announce to your customers that–to make room for the next season of found items–the current contents of Lost & Found are going away. Allow 2 to 3 weeks for the process of getting the word out and encouraging folks to come in. You can put a sign on the door and announce the “event” through your newsletter with something like this:
“Have you been missing your umbrella? Your brown gloves? Your favorite pair of sunglasses? If you lost them in our store, there’s always a chance that we found them. Our Lost & Found box is completely full, so we’re beginning the semi-annual purging-of-the-found-items process. This isn’t a free-for-all to look through the box, but instead, a match-game of sorts. Email or call us with a description of your lost item, and we’ll diligently look through our found items for a match. We’ll play this game through March 15. After that, you’ll be able to buy back that left shoe from Good Will.”
You can also have some fun with it on social media, especially with odd items left behind. You might be reuniting items with their rightful owners through the process, but you’re also spreading the word of the purge.
By limiting the claiming time, you are able to establish a deadline–for yourself and for your customers. Put that deadline on your calendar and get whatever is left behind to Good Will or other thrift shop of your choice. If you want to make it really easy on yourself, take the entire Lost & Found box there and start a new one at the store.
As you go through the box, take a photo of the oddest/most unique item in your Lost & Found box. Send it by March 20 (the first day of Spring) to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll compile an album to share, and my clutter-judge (read: my mom) will decide the winner. The bookstore with the most unique item from their Lost & Found box will win this Banned Books umbrella.
Because there’s never an umbrella in Lost & Found when you need one.