This is a post about decluttering, kind of. It’s actually a post on placing a value on your physical possessions. A lot has been written about this topic in a lot of various forums, but it is generally accepted that decluttering is important to mental health. Why is this? Well it likely has to do with the feng shui or maybe the mental clarity it brings. The less stuff you have, the less maintenance, and the less space needed.
So let’s get to the point of this post. Mainly- STOP HORDING! The way we should all be thinking is that “IF YOU DON’T USE IT, IT”S USELESS!” Now that is not to say it is useless to somebody else but it is definitely useless to you. Therefore you should get rid of the stuff by donating it and let someone else use it. Let the object fulfill its task of being used. If it is a jacket, someone should be wearing it. A coffee cup, then someone should be drinking from it (you do not need 20 coffee cups). If it is a tent or sleeping bag and you have not used it for a year, then someone else should be letting it fulfill it’s destiny of being slept in. So get rid of your useless to you stuff….
My guidelines for decluttering
– If I have not used it in 1 year and can not truly imagine that I will use it within the next 6 months, then it has to go.
– If you have an exorbitant number of the item- 20 coffee cups, 5 pairs of jeans, 50 t-shirts that you have collected since you were 15, 500 CDs (any CDs actually), multiple pieces of luggage, etc. then get rid of some of it. Someone will happily use those items (maybe not the CDs, especially in the era of free streaming.)….
– If you are running out of space in your apartment, home, studio, etc. then you really have too much stuff. You should not be paying someone to store your stuff for you. If you need extra storage then by definition you have way too much stuff.
– If you look at it and think, “What was I thinking when I bought this?”, then definitely get rid of it.
What should you do with the stuff?
– Sell it on Craigslist or eBay (actually the new Facebook tool for selling is pretty handy too). Make some cash.
– Have a garage sell. I do not enjoy running these things but if it is your thing, then do it. I find that you can make more on Craigslist or eBay .
– Donate it and take the tax write off. We have done this a ton.
What are the benefits of getting rid of things that have not been used in a year….
– More space to relax in!
– The relief of knowing someone else may benefit from your unused item. You are finally fulfilling that items destiny by letting it be used.
– Tax write offs of donated items.
– Cash from sold items. Cash is king!
– The feeling of knowing your possessions don’t own you! You own them…and can get rid of them if you want to.
– Donating regularly will make you more conscientious about spending and buying. Is it really worth buying those jeans when they may end up donated in a year?
– It is much easier to get up and move. There will not be endless boxes to pack.
We try to go through at least twice a year and find items that we do not use. If they are of some value (think electronics or furniture then I will sell them on Craigslist or Facebook). If they are clothes, kitchen supplies, books, etc. I donate them. Our new house has a ton of storage and my goal is to make sure it is never more than 30% used. If it is, then I am doing something wrong.
So what do you all do for decluttering?