As I started to realize that I was buying more things than I needed or would ever use, commercials and other ads stopped working so well on me. Each national holiday brings its slew of sales, and in-between, companies always find reasons to discount some more. And so I slowly but surely lost that rush, let alone need, to catch a “great” deal. It may have taken me a while to see through the vicious cycle of promotions creating a need and subsequent urge to buy, but once it happened, I was freed from its power of persuasion and there was no turning back. I even started to delay buying things I really needed, because I thought there was probably a better (as in greener and cheaper) way to get it: like reusing what I already had (who needs everything new or every “latest” version of everything?), or finding a used version, free or not but good enough for my purpose. It almost became a challenge to try and avoid the purchase of anything, let alone new. And for many many things, buying at full price was certainly never going to be an option ever again.
In parallel, grew my need for making room in my life, and with it, the project to de-clutter my home was born. Okay, Green Dad also made me accept a “One in if one out” deal for pretty much everything about to enter our place. But this feeling that I do not have to not miss on deals anymore, not going shopping stores anymore except for the weekly grocery reload, and regaining all my free time for purposeful family (or not) activities was as liberating as it was exhilarating. I did not feel any obligation in that field anymore (now I wonder how I could ever do), and I loved that newfound freedom.
I knew about typical ways to sell personal items, like Craig List and ebay, but for some reasons, both intimated me. Well, I finally gave them a try because I had items I just could not give away. Some were not first necessity items, hence useless to people in need. Others I just had a hard time parting with and the thought of selling them to spend the money in a meaningful way with my family just eased the mental process of letting go.
Craig List is free, which is good and bad. Good because the money from a sale is all yours. Bad because it is popular, a lot of things get posted on that board so it is difficult to break through the clutter and when you do, lots of scammers are waiting to try and abuse you, or at a minimum waste your time. The good wins though, and despite several re-posts (more often needed than not, in my experience), I always end up selling my things.
ebay also proved to be a great tool. Once the scary “shipping” section was overcome (as I realized I can just look up a similar item to set up my shipping cost or use ebay’s shipping center), I started using up all my free 50 monthly item listings while also taking advantage of the many unlimited listing offer promotions in between. And… there really are buyers and sellers for everything and anything on your mind on ebay.
More recently, I started selling via local groups like the ones you can find on Yahoo, or on Facebook. Local communities conveniently gather online hundreds of people virtually neighbors to one another, with similar tastes and interest. A big common theme among them is parenting, and you can sell or buy anything a family may need. A perfect exit outlet to de-clutter your home.
Armed with those complementary resources, I started tackling one room after the other, making 3 piles each time for items to sell, donate or freecycle (depending on what it is), and items to pass on to friends. I immediately took care of the last two piles, and I am still working on the first one. If like me you find it hard to part with certain things, do a first selection, then come back at it later, several times so you have time to accept to let go of things you know you will not need or use but to which you are emotionally attached. It works! In my case, I passed a threshold after which I was really adding a lot of things to those piles, all of them.
As I am sure you figured out, the drawback is that you may live with piles of random things, stacked in your home for a while, depending on how much you trim from your closets and drawers, how big the “For Sale” pile is, and how fast you can get through it. With each item gone, there is a victory and a motivation to trim some more and bring your home de-clutter project to completion. I think I am still one or two more passes away from being done with the selection process in each room. But for now, I focus on getting the already selected items out of here. It is a journey, and it is all about doing things one step at a time, so it does not shatter your daily routine or takeover all your (newfound!) space, and time. Well, that is if your possessions are all contained in your home and you did not gave in to self-storage indulgence (more on that in a coming dedicated post). In such case, you may give yourself the elimination of this monthly fee as a first goal.
No matter how long it takes, it is a very satisfying journey and the prospect of making money out of a problematic situation is a nice booster. I started using that “free” money to pay for the expenses incurred in the creation of this site/blog, and will use it again on an as needed basis. It is nice to be able to make taking risks less risky and get some fun action in your trimmed life! A good example of replacing things with experiences.
Do you too think you may have too many things in your home? Do you think a cluttered place leads to a cluttered life?
Ever have trimmed down your closets and if so, how did you handle the excess items? Do you have a hard time getting rid of specific things? How do you deal with it?