Recently, I sold the home that I have lived in with my daughters since 2001. Prior to that move, I resided in another home for 9 years. When I find a place that I like, I tend to stay there awhile which leads to a tendency to collect stuff! So when faced with the challenge of packing up the last 17 years of our lives, it was a daunting task. I needed coping strategies and action plans to prepare for my move. I thought I would share a few things that I learned along the way.
Trying to sell stuff on your own is frustrating and no one ever pays what you think it is worth but there are apps like Offer Up, 1stdibs, RealReal, LetGo if you want to try to sell online. E-Bay takes too much work and is not for the one-off types. Craig’s List is so congested and does not get good results in our area; I won’t even discuss all the scammers on CL. Consignment stores have lots of rules and criteria plus I don’t think you get much money in return. The dreaded Garage Sale – I just had to have one! I sold what I could (mostly gave it away) and when the garage sale was over, I packed it up in my car and a friend’s truck and took the remaining items straight to a Thrift Store’s donation center. I would not let it back in the house.
I asked my daughters to take what they wanted of baby clothes, toys, pictures, school artwork & assignments and other keepsakes from their childhood. They are not “collectors”…yet. I allowed them one plastic bin each for me to store.
If you plan to donate, schedule the pick-up far in advance. If you take your donations to a location, you can pretty much drop-off anything and they will take it. If you want a charity to come to your home, you have to schedule weeks in advance. I called at least 5 organizations and none could come for at least two weeks. Then when one finally did arrive, they were very picky about the items they would take – I was slightly offended and annoyed that I had waited so long for them. My stuff wasn’t new but it was in very good condition.
In an effort to ultimately reduce my required closet space, I am trying to be disciplined and use all the clothes that I have, instead of constantly choosing my favourite 20% or so to wear. My previous closet was about the size of a small bedroom (seriously). In my new house, I have my stuff in 3 out of 4 closets – and this is after I got rid of a ton of stuff! I am making myself wear them by implementing two different methods. I return clean items to the back/side of the closet (or bottom of a drawer) and select my daily wardrobe in order of what’s next in line/placement. This does not always work so I have another technique – turn the hangers backwards so the tip of the hook faces in the direction opposite of how you normally put it in the closet. When you wear it, the item is returned to the closet with the hangar oriented how you normally use it. At the end of the year, the items that are still hanging on the hangars with tips in the “wrong” direction should be donated.
If you have time, like you have already moved to your new home and are still trying to downsize or you don’t need to downsize but want to de-clutter…then eliminate one item a day OR organize one area at a time – like a closet, drawer, cabinet or shelf.
Ask a good friend to help you pack/declutter. Sometimes you need a little nudge to give yourself permission and to help you let it go.
Obviously, this is a massive topic and people write books and have careers based around de-cluttering and down-sizing, but I hope a few of my experiences and ideas gave you something to think about and maybe help reduce your clutter too!