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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Simple Living: Getting Rid of "Stuff"

"The stuff you own, owns you."

I know that saying sounds bizarre and maybe a little paranoid but in many ways it's true.

In my the back of my mind I'm always thinking, "I have to clean up and organize; my house is too cluttered.".  It's a little thing but it's one more stress in my life and it takes time away from more important things.

Cleaning and organizing is just a temporary fix though. Eventually the "stuff" will get out of place and you have to go through the process again.  The only permanent solution is to get rid of stuff and only keep essentials (or better still, don't buy it in the first place).

Getting rid of stuff actually feels very liberating!

Not only does it make your house more tidy, but by only keeping what you truly need and use you're also evaluating your own life and thinking about what's important to you. You may think "I can't live without that", but by getting rid of stuff you're proving to yourself that you can!

My advice to get started is to go through all the storage boxes in your house.

This is why I actually love moving; you evaluate all your stuff twice over.  When you pack the moving boxes you think, "is it worth packing or should I junk it?".  Then when you unpack in your new home you tend to first unpack only the stuff you really need.

If you haven't opened a moving box after more than a year, you should really ask yourself if you truly need whatever is in that box. That also goes for any other box, bag, shelf or storage area in your home.

There are also many option to get rid of the junk besides just throwing it in the garbage:

1) Charities

Places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill or Value Village sell these used items for charity funds.  Just pack the stuff and drop it off.  Some charities will give a tax receipt for drop offs or a coupon for use in their shop and some will even come to pick up the stuff!

2) Freecycle

Freecycle is like on-line classified ads which features only free stuff. It's all done by volunteers and is usually done through email lists or online forums.  Naturally to prevent people abusing the system you're not allowed to re-sell the items you get for free.

We've gotten quite a few things through our local freecycle and it's a great way to build a sense of community.

3) Garage Sale


A little more work than the other options but at least you'll get some money out of it.  The downside though is that you'll probably still have stuff left which means you'll still have to get rid of it somehow.

(Cross posted at Next Best West)