Next week will start our 5th Declutter Challenge. By now, I believe I’ve heard all the excuses! While there are very real life events that stop decluttering progress, some challenges can be worked around.
We could simplify Decluttering down to this: we get rid of an item by trashing or donating it. You’re sure to find plenty of things to trash, but mostly …
Donating is the easiest, most obvious thing to do with your good stuff.
Decluttering properly involves getting rid of perfectly usable things! Donating things gives them a chance to be used, and maybe even loved, by someone else.
Give To A Friend Or Family Member
Be sure to give with no strings attached. If you’ve ever been given a hand-me-down with strings attached, then you know it doesn’t feel very good.
Sometimes hand-me-downs turn into big blessings. I dressed my infant and toddler twins in hand-me-downs from other twins, and it was such a blessing! It was the only way at that time that I could afford to dress them in adorable matching outfits like I wanted to do. I was also given a small plastic play-yard that was the most amazing toy. It didn’t matter that it had previously lived through a family of four kids, it was still in great condition and my children loved it!
BUT, Sometimes hand-me-downs don’t workout. When my twins were young, someone very well meaning gave me a CD of noises to help babies fall asleep. They had used it with their children and it was a lifesaver for them. My mother had also given me a white noise machine. I tried all the different noises and the noise machine worked best for us. I passed the CD on to someone else who could benefit. But, when I ran into the CD-gift-giver, they asked about the CD and I thanked them again for it to be curteous… but they didn’t seem satisfied by my answer and quizzed me about it. It was so awkward. Don’t do that to anyone!
The best gifts don’t have strings attached. Don’t attach strings to the stuff you give. When you give a well-meaning gift, let go of what becomes of it. Give the recipient the additional gift to do what’s best for them.
Sell Your Item
Selling something is a very thrifty thing to do. If you need a little extra cash, this may be worth a try. Drop-off or keep the sell items separate from things you’re keeping, so that there is a boundary and it won’t find its way back in the house.
When choosing to sell your item, you need a backup plan if your item doesn’t sell.
Deadline: Promise yourself if the item doesn’t sell by ___(give yourself a date)___, that you will donate it!
**If I could get enough from a tax deduction by donating, I skip the hassle of selling and wait for my “payment” in tax returns. I don’t set my prices lower than what I find in ItsDeductible.**
Certain items are great candidates for consignment. Baby clothes and baby equipment in good condition, maternity clothes, vintage kitchen items, and items that are commonly used but expensive to buy new (like bikes, mixers, etc.).
There are online consignment sites as well as local consignment stores. There are also pop-up consignment sales that can work well.
When my girls were younger, I consigned a lot of their clothes. My Mothers of Twins Club in Arkansas would have sales that benefit our club and the community. They were so convenient! I would use the funds to buy the next size up for my kids. Ask around to see what’s available in your area.
There are so many ways to sell online now. My suggestion is to choose a reputable website.
My favorite way to sell is online is through local Facebook Groups. I usually look that there is a mutual friend between us – kind of like vetting them a bit. I usually sell more valuable items this way, like lawn mowers, freezers, working TVs, etc. Selling things in season is when you’ll get more buyers.
Important: be cautious and safe!!! Getting a few extra dollars isn’t worth being risky.
When decluttering, it is important to remember old electronics collecting dust in your home. If you want to help the environment and make some extra cash you can sell old iPads, smartphones, laptops, and other electronics conveniently using online recycling sites
Confession: I really don’t like garage sales. I’ve done them and I think they are such a hassle. You end up selling things for such low prices – you might as well have donated them. I think my time (and your time) is valuable. This is not how I want to spend my time. Personally, I usually choose to get the Tax Deduction instead of going through this!
Often I think that Garage Sales become a mythical thing for the future, and an excuse to put off donating. People have sacrificed their garages for years to piles of junk (and the stuff in the piles are not gaining value) because “they’re going to have a garage sale one day”.
The deadline rule is so important for garage sales: If you choose to do a garage sale, give yourself a deadline and keep it. Say “If I don’t do my garage sale by ___(give yourself a deadline)___, then I am going to donate all of this.”
Now You Know Your Choices
Getting rid of the good stuff is vital part of decluttering. When we let something go, it’s because we can live without it for the sake of creating more room in our homes.
Don’t over-complicate it. It’s okay to do what’s easiest and it’s also okay to want to make a few dollars – both are right ways! Just do what’s best for you.
From my home to yours,
Dorothy A Pennington says
Thanks for the information about shipping back with Amazon and Goodwill. It will make it easier for me to donate my unwanted.
Yes, I think this will help a lot of people!
Stig Young says
It frees up time to!
Gayle Campbell says
I give collectible type things to a friend with an antique mall booth, she sells them and uses the money to buy items for our church caring center, which provides shoes, clothes, duffles, backpacks, and toiletries to homeless and families in need. Makes it so much easier to pass things along when they’re providing for folks that really need it.
What a great place for your things to go!
I donate craft supplies to a co-worker’s Sunday school class. (she teaches small children). They love the paper punch that cuts out bird shapes. She said that is all they ever want to do.
So precious! It is great fun to watch unneeded treasures get new life. Even when we don’t know what becomes of our stuff after donating – I always picture it being appreciated. 🙂
Suzy Taylor Oakley says
Great advice, as usual, Mary. And I was excited to learn about the Amazon/Goodwill service … until I realized that I could totally drop off my items to Goodwill on my own, as there is one about a quarter of a mile from my work. I have another charity (two, actually) in mind for my donated items. What I just need to do is put the boxes in my car and deliver them!
Yes, if it is convenient to drop off, that could be easier in a way because you don’t have to package anything and can just use big black bags … but, this is such a great service for those who need it!
Loretta Oliver says
I love the new Give Back Box project, so awesome to be able to clean up, declutter, and use some of these shipping boxes all in one go 🙂
Kelly L Wade says
Any tips on what to do with all the excess toys???? All the places to donate around here will accept clothes and household goods but not used toys. It seems such a waste to chuck them, but too much of a waste of my time and effort to sell such things.
No one cares that it was 65 dollars five years ago, they just want to spend a few bucks and move on. Chances are that there’s no kids asking for these “old” items, no matter how good condition or complete the set is.
Plus I live in a very rural area so no one wants to come out here to buy stuff (besides I am home alone with the kids and I don’t want random people stopping by to buy things) so if I try to sell via FB or something, it’s always this arrangement to meet someone in town to sell. I don’t want to pack up my 4 kids to drive 10+ minutes away to wait around for this person IF they even bother to show up (I’ve been stood up at least half the times I have attempted to sell anything).
Maybe ask people near you how they get rid of stuff? I will say this – I’d rather the clutter go to the dump than trash up your home. Of course, it is great to donate or sell if possible, but the bottom line is getting the stuff out. That trumps it all. 🙂