You Paid Good Money For It

Maybe you paid $100 for a pair of gorgeous shoes that hurt your feet every time you wear them. But they were $100 you tell yourself… every time you pass over them in your closet. Or all those clothes that you don’t fit anymore; or the couch that doesn’t match the décor any longer; or that kitchen gadget that never worked the way it was supposed to. It may have cost you a bunch of money to begin with, but it’s costing you a lot more in the space it’s taking up while you’re lamenting over money that’s already gone.

Why not make some of that money back? I’m not talking about a yard sale. I’ve had lots of luck selling hardly worn, and even gently used, shoes and clothing on ebay or to a local consignment shop. Furniture and larger items are fairly easy to sell on Craigslist. It might make it easier to release these items if you get a little cash from it – cash you can put towards an item you actually need and will use.

Someone Special Gave It To You

There is always that gift (or several) that you have in the attic/garage/closet collecting dust and never getting used. Why? Because you don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. Instead, it’s taking up space, time and money, being hidden away. How is that not hurting someone’s feelings, again?

If you are special to someone, I can guarantee that they don’t want you cluttering up your home with gifts that you don’t use or like… or both! It is time to say goodbye to those items, and the guilt. You’ll both feel better knowing that it has gone to someone who does need it and will use it.

It Was Important To You… At One Time

Trophies, old toys, the first comforter you ever purchased, furniture that belonged to a family member who passed away; you’re holding onto it because it reminds you of something or someone or time long since passed. An item may feel like a way of holding on to that person, place, or event but, trust me, you can have happy memories without having a physical reminder of it in your home.

Maybe there are several small things (like trophies, ribbons, or toys) that you can pare down to your 3 or 5 favorite items and finally display them with pride. If you have furniture that doesn’t fit your décor, or home, it’s time to find it a new place for that cabinet or couch to live. If the only true reason you are keeping something is to help remind you of someone or something, take a photo (it really will last longer) and then send the item to a new home where it will be used and treasured.

Memories live in your heart, not your closet.

You Don’t Know How To Get Rid Of It

Electronics, batteries, paint; you know you can’t throw them in the trash so they sit in the garage, gathering dust and taking up space. Paperwork clutters every available space in your home because you don’t know if you’ll need it – or if you’re supposed to keep it? This can apply to any number of items, nothing is more frustrating than having something you want to get rid of but you don’t know how.

Look it up! Google is a great resource for figuring out how long you need to keep paperwork or finding a recycling facility for toxic substances, like paint. Electronics, power cords, old cell phones, etc, can all be taken to Best Buy, they’ll get rid of everything for you. Don’t let “not knowing” stop you. There is always someone willing to take your trash off your hands. Be diligent, and you’ll find them.You Might Need It Someday

Extra cameras, 17 extra screw drivers, parts to things you (probably) don’t own anymore… If you are keeping something because you “might” need it some day… you don’t need it. If you absolutely must, keep one back up in case the one you use currently breaks. If you haven’t used it in a year, or more, you don’t need it! You bought it, you can buy a newer better one if you ever really do need it again. But for the time being, it is taking up space and someone else can use it. Let it go!

Now that you’re ready to let go, turn your clutter into good deeds

Think about the people who will benefit from the items you no longer need:

Big Brothers, Big Sisters – “For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to succeed and thrive in life.”  You can donate your car, schedule a pick-up, or find a local drop-off location to take your gently used items off your hands.

Books – Some people (myself included) can be book hoarders.  My general rule of thumb is to only keep a book if I know I will read it again.  I generally donate the remaining books to my Local Library (just drop it in the return bin), or if I have a larger collection, this link will help you find a place that can deliver your books to an association near and dear to your heart.

Dress for Success – “The mission of Dress for Success is to empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.”  There is very likely a local to you chapter that will accept gently used business casual & professional attire and help a woman look her best and get on the road to self sufficiency.

Salvation Army – “to feed, to clothe, to comfort, to care. To rebuild broken homes and broken lives.”  They will take all kinds of items, even cars, and in most states can schedule a pick-up from your home.


Originally featured on The Cultural Hall 6/05/14