For the past few months we've been preparing ourselves for the exciting event of becoming parents for the second time. We've been having baby showers, buying all the baby related items we needed and just stocking up.
Through all this we realized that even before we started buying all of this baby stuff that we were starting to run out of room, and we really had a lot of stuff in the house that we no longer needed.
While we certainly aren't hoarders (1.4 million Americans DO suffer from chronic hoarding & clutter. source), and we weren't trapped and killed by our piles of stuff like this unfortunate fellow, we didn't want to have our home stuffed to the gills with things we didn't want or need.
We decided to simplify, and to declutter.
What Things Do You Really Need?
When you get down to it you're probably storing a ton of things at your house that you don't really need.
For us, we decided to think about how we were actually using the items in our house, and think about just how likely we were to actually use it in the future.
If we weren't using it and weren't likely to use it in the future, we decided to either sell it, donate it or junk it. Want some ideas for what to do with your stuff – check out this post over at marthastewart.com called “100 Reasons To Get Rid Of Your Stuff“.
Our Criteria For Getting Rid Of Stuff
- Are we currently using this item?
- Are we likely to use it in the future?
- Is it sentimental?
- Even if we're using it, does it take up more space than it is worth?
More often than not we're not really using the item anymore, and in many cases we're not even sure why we saved it. Old shoes, old magazines and CDs we hadn't listened to in years went out the door. Old computer motherboards and computer cables? Gone.
Of course there are the exceptions – things that I will always refuse to get rid of – like my guitars and my old baseball card collection.
How To Get Rid Of Things When You Declutter
There are a lot of ways to get rid of things when you declutter your house. You can sell it, donate it, give it away or junk it.
Sell The Item
When we're deciding what we're going to do with an item we go through a mental inventory to decide on if the item is actually worth anything. If it is, we try to sell the item. Our favorite places to sell things are online. They include:
- Craigslist.org: Here's a post talking about the essentials of selling on Craigslist.
- Facebook garage sale groups
- Electronics buying sites: Decluttr, Gazelle, SellShark.com, Buyback Boss or BuyBack World
- Amazon.com Marketplace
We recently sold a couple of old rugs, and some old electronics we had in storage on Craigslist. In the end we made a couple of hundred dollars on the items. Money for baby stuff!
My wife has found she has a knack for selling things like old baby clothes and accessories on Facebook via mommy pages and garage sale groups for our local area. Usually she'll list more popular items on there and we can have the items sold within a few days. We sold our son's old baby clothes that we had been saving for several hundred dollars that way.
We've also sold old technology items using electronics buying sites. We recently had an old Samsung Galaxy phone to get rid of. We checked prices at a variety of sites, including the ones listed above, and ended up finding the best price with Decluttr.com. We were able to make some money on a phone we weren't using, and someone else will get a like new Galaxy phone for a low price.
If selling our stuff online doesn't work, and if we have enough items, we will sometimes have a garage sale.
The problem with garage sales is that far too often you put in more effort to have the garage sale than you actually make in selling the items. Another alternative is to ask family or friends if they're having a garage sale anytime soon. If they are, ask them if you can bring your items over to sell. We did this last year and sold several larger ticket items – and had fun hanging out with friends all day!
Donate The Item
If we don't believe we'll get enough money for the item to make selling it worth our while, quite often we'll donate the item to a local charity. We have a goodwill store pretty close to our house, and quite often we end up donating the items there. Remember, you can often get a tax deduction if you donate items!
Some options for donating items:
For some more options on places to donate your things, check out this great post: Where To Donate All Your Unwanted Stuff.
Give The Item Away
If you can't sell the item, and charities don't take your item as a donation, you can always give the item away for free. Place a free ad on Craigslist offering the item for free – or leave a post on a site like Freecycle.org. Usually you can find a taker for just about any item you're getting rid of.
Junk The Item
If no one will take your items, even for free, you can always just dump them. If the items are too big to throw in your own garbage receptacle, you can use one of these options:
- Your local dump
- Some communities have a “large trash item” day once a year where they'll pick up your larger items.
Get Rid Of Your Excess Items – You'll Be Glad You Did
When we started getting rid of things from our house, at first it was a bit painful. We were both coming up with excuses about how we would use items in the future, about how certain items meant so much to us, and how we could continue to store items because we wouldn't want to re-buy them again in the future.
In the end we realized that we were making a lot of rationalizations, and that things we weren't currently using were probably going to remain unused for the foreseeable future. It just made sense to get rid of all these things that were weighing us down.
After we started getting rid of things it felt really good to be rid of all the excess baggage. It was a like a weight lifted off of our shoulders, and we felt so much more free! We have free space in the house!
So if you're thinking about getting rid of your things – just do it! It may be hard at first, but it will get easier, and the freedom you'll feel by having de-clutterfied will be priceless!
Have you recently tried decluttering your house? Was it hard to get rid of things – even the things you weren't using anymore? Why do you think that “things” are able to get such a hold on our lives?