For many of us on the path towards simplifying our belongings, one of the biggest hindrances we face is feeling as if it’s somehow wrong to get rid of our things: it feels wasteful, and besides, we need it again someday! In a world that emphasizes more-more-more, it feels strange to do the opposite.
Once we do decide to get rid of it, then there’s the question of how. Throw it away? Or maybe donate it, but where? Is it worth the trouble to have a yard sale?
Give yourself permission to let go of “stuff.”
I don’t have all the answers because I’m still figuring it all out for myself, but I believe the first step is giving yourself permission to simplify, to get rid of things. Moving was a kick in the pants for me because I must really love or need something for it to be worthwhile to pack it, move it, unpack it, and find a spot for it in our new home! I’ve found that when we hold on to something we think we “might” need someday, we almost never do — so why allow it to take up valuable space in our homes?
Worried about wasting? Find a good donation site, or sell it!
I like taking items like furniture and home decor to ReStore, because it helps fund Habitat for Humanity. There are a few other locally owned thrift stores that benefit local organizations so I’ve donated to those as well. Right now I have another big ol’ pile of things making me crazy on the front porch (where they landed after being evicted from the house), so I plan to have a yard sale ASAP and then haul off anything that’s left. Yard sale bonus: it’s a good chance to meet more neighbors!
In the past, sometimes I let things creep their way back into the house if they sat in the give/sell pile too long. Just say no! If an item makes it to the go-away pile, it stays there. Period.
As for books, my local homeschool group has a book sale once each month. I’ll be taking a gigantic box of books there this month, and I’ll donate anything left over. When I cleaned out my bookcases, I also set aside a small stack of novels to go in our future Little Free Library.
By selling or donating items, you release the worry of wasting because they’ll find new homes. If an item isn’t in good enough condition to sell or donate, why are you keeping it?
Take it a little at a time.
You don’t have to do everything at once; pick a small project, maybe one closet or even your junk drawer, and tackle that. The more I clean out, the more addictive clutter-free living becomes. It feels like I have more room to breathe — and the more I feel that, the easier it is to tackle the next project.
The BEST thing about simplifying your belongings: the less stuff there is to clean/organize or worry about, the more you have time and brain power for the rest of life.
One more key to simplifying: developing better shopping (or not-shopping) habits so as not to clutter it up again. Two blogs I recommend and adore for inspiration to simplify your belongings and your life — and keep it that way — are No Sidebar and Becoming Minimalist.