How to get rid of things after you declutter

How to get rid of things after you declutter

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How to get rid of things after you declutter

Have boxes of items you are ready to let go of? Congratulations on decluttering your home, but now the question is: how to get rid of things? There are a lot of options and this article will cover a few choices for either donating or selling after you declutter.

Donate After You Declutter

If you are ready to just be done with the items, donating them is the easiest way to get them out of the house before you have second thoughts. There are many ways you can donate or give away your decluttered items:

  • Give to an organization that regularly accepts donations: Goodwill, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, etc. There are many options. If you have large items you can even schedule a pickup from some of these choices. It may be weeks before they can come for the items though.
  • Your local church, nursing home or hospital would probably gladly take magazines or books.
  • Give them to a friends, family or neighbors who can use the items.
  • List them on Freecycle. Freecycle is a great mailing list where you can list items you no longer want that someone else may want. Generally the person will come pick the item up at your home or you can arrange to meet somewhere to exchange the item.

Get Rid Of Things By Selling Them

Sometimes we aren’t ready to just give away an item and would like to recoup some of our investment in the purchase. In this case there are many avenues where you can try to sell the item.

  • eBay – for a large value item eBay may be the best way to sell it. There will be more fees and if it is a heavy item the cost of shipping may be prohibitive to the buyer.
  • Craigslist is a great place to sell items online to local folks. Because you are selling to people nearby this method is much more attractive for heavy items. It is easy to arrange for the buyer to pickup the item at your home or meet for an exchange.
  • Use a local mailing list. Your neighborhood, church, school or other group may have a mailing list where people list items for sale. These lists can be the simplest way to list smaller items with a simple email that others may be able to use. Check facebook or yahoo groups for local groups and ask your neighbors.
  • Hold a garage sale, or rummage sale, whichever name you prefer. Avoid the chore of having to do all the advertising yourself by joining a community garage sale. If one isn’t scheduled see if your neighbors would be interested in having a neighborhood sale. A sale with several homes participating draws in a lot more people and the cost and chore of advertising can be shared amongst the group.

You might feel that shedding possessions is difficult, but once you start, you will realise how great it makes you feel

‘It has taken you a long time to amass everything, and you won’t be able to get rid of it all straight away.’ Photograph: Dag Sundberg/Getty Images

‘It has taken you a long time to amass everything, and you won’t be able to get rid of it all straight away.’ Photograph: Dag Sundberg/Getty Images

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.54 BST

W hen you have accumulated a lot of stuff, decluttering your home can feel really overwhelming. But decluttering is just about putting new systems into place in your life. Once you start decluttering, you realise how great you feel about it, and you want to keep going. It’s like a domino effect.

Getting rid of things gives you time to look after yourself. When you’re not always tidying great piles of stuff, or looking for the potato peeler – because everything has a home and you know exactly where it is – you’re free to spend that time on yourself and your family. It’s liberating.

Don’t expect to declutter everything overnight. It has taken you a long time to amass everything, and you won’t be able to get rid of it all straight away. If you’re pushed for time, there are easy ways of introducing decluttering into your life. Spend 10 minutes a day decluttering or, if that’s not manageable, declutter three items a week.

Have three piles: one for things you’re going to keep, one for things that are a maybe, and one for things you’re going to give away. You will also need some bin bags, for rubbish. A revisiting pile is important if you’re struggling to get rid of things: you can leave things there for a few weeks while you think about whether you need them. More often than not, you end up saying, actually, I don’t need that.

Unless you have an overwhelming amount of stuff, I advise against getting storage – it’s expensive, and you’re probably not utilising all the storage you have in your home. An extreme case where storage might come in handy is if you have suffered a bereavement. You need to give yourself some time to grieve, and reflect on what you want to keep. Don’t do anything rash.

Start the decluttering process before you move in with a new partner. You will need to compromise on what you decide to keep, and get rid of any keepsakes from former partners. You will end up having duplicates of things such as kitchen utensils, which you can get rid of. I don’t have duplicates of anything in my house.

People often get sidetracked when they’re trying to declutter. They start trying on clothes they had forgotten about, or looking at old photos. Stay focused. Another common mistake is to just move things from place to place, instead of getting rid of them. If you realise that you own six wine openers, don’t just put them all in the same drawer: keep only one.

A lot of my clients have an eBay pile. Most of the time, when I revisit the house a few months later, the eBay pile is still there. So I encourage people to give back to the community as much as possible. There’s no use in thinking, I spent a lot of money on that, why should I give it away? The reality is, you have purchased something you don’t use, so you have lost your money. Why not give it to someone who needs it?

You only ever wear 20% of your wardrobe, 80% of the time. If you put all your clothes in the wardrobe facing one way, then as you wash and wear them put them back in facing the opposite way, after a month or two you will be able to see what you wear, and what you can give away. If you love to buy new clothes, I recommend the one-in-one-out rule: if I buy a jumper, I must give a jumper away. And if you haven’t worn an item in six months, get rid of it.

Kids also play with 20% of their toys 80% of the time, so rotation works well. Put some toys away, and swap them out every month. Involve children in the decluttering process. Say: “We’re going to sort through your toys and give some of them to children who are less fortunate.” Kids respond well to that, and it also teaches them empathy and to live with less stuff.

You don’t have to be an extreme minimalist. I still have sentimental items, such as things that belonged to my granny. But I just have a few things that remind me of her and make me smile.

Sally Walford is the author of children’s decluttering handbook The Clutter Monster.

You might feel that shedding possessions is difficult, but once you start, you will realise how great it makes you feel

‘It has taken you a long time to amass everything, and you won’t be able to get rid of it all straight away.’ Photograph: Dag Sundberg/Getty Images

‘It has taken you a long time to amass everything, and you won’t be able to get rid of it all straight away.’ Photograph: Dag Sundberg/Getty Images

Last modified on Wed 23 Sep 2020 15.54 BST

W hen you have accumulated a lot of stuff, decluttering your home can feel really overwhelming. But decluttering is just about putting new systems into place in your life. Once you start decluttering, you realise how great you feel about it, and you want to keep going. It’s like a domino effect.

Getting rid of things gives you time to look after yourself. When you’re not always tidying great piles of stuff, or looking for the potato peeler – because everything has a home and you know exactly where it is – you’re free to spend that time on yourself and your family. It’s liberating.

Don’t expect to declutter everything overnight. It has taken you a long time to amass everything, and you won’t be able to get rid of it all straight away. If you’re pushed for time, there are easy ways of introducing decluttering into your life. Spend 10 minutes a day decluttering or, if that’s not manageable, declutter three items a week.

Have three piles: one for things you’re going to keep, one for things that are a maybe, and one for things you’re going to give away. You will also need some bin bags, for rubbish. A revisiting pile is important if you’re struggling to get rid of things: you can leave things there for a few weeks while you think about whether you need them. More often than not, you end up saying, actually, I don’t need that.

Unless you have an overwhelming amount of stuff, I advise against getting storage – it’s expensive, and you’re probably not utilising all the storage you have in your home. An extreme case where storage might come in handy is if you have suffered a bereavement. You need to give yourself some time to grieve, and reflect on what you want to keep. Don’t do anything rash.

Start the decluttering process before you move in with a new partner. You will need to compromise on what you decide to keep, and get rid of any keepsakes from former partners. You will end up having duplicates of things such as kitchen utensils, which you can get rid of. I don’t have duplicates of anything in my house.

People often get sidetracked when they’re trying to declutter. They start trying on clothes they had forgotten about, or looking at old photos. Stay focused. Another common mistake is to just move things from place to place, instead of getting rid of them. If you realise that you own six wine openers, don’t just put them all in the same drawer: keep only one.

A lot of my clients have an eBay pile. Most of the time, when I revisit the house a few months later, the eBay pile is still there. So I encourage people to give back to the community as much as possible. There’s no use in thinking, I spent a lot of money on that, why should I give it away? The reality is, you have purchased something you don’t use, so you have lost your money. Why not give it to someone who needs it?

You only ever wear 20% of your wardrobe, 80% of the time. If you put all your clothes in the wardrobe facing one way, then as you wash and wear them put them back in facing the opposite way, after a month or two you will be able to see what you wear, and what you can give away. If you love to buy new clothes, I recommend the one-in-one-out rule: if I buy a jumper, I must give a jumper away. And if you haven’t worn an item in six months, get rid of it.

Kids also play with 20% of their toys 80% of the time, so rotation works well. Put some toys away, and swap them out every month. Involve children in the decluttering process. Say: “We’re going to sort through your toys and give some of them to children who are less fortunate.” Kids respond well to that, and it also teaches them empathy and to live with less stuff.

You don’t have to be an extreme minimalist. I still have sentimental items, such as things that belonged to my granny. But I just have a few things that remind me of her and make me smile.

Sally Walford is the author of children’s decluttering handbook The Clutter Monster.

Written by joshua becker · 367 Comments

How to get rid of things after you declutter

“Owning less is far more beneficial than organizing more.” – Twitter / Facebook

We are a culture drowning in our possessions. We take in more and more (holiday, birthdays, sales, needs), but rarely find opportunity to discard of it. As a result, our homes fill up with so much stuff. And because we believe the best solution is to find organizational tools to manage all of it, we seek out bigger containers or more efficient organizational tips and tricks. But simply organizing our stuff (without removing it) is always only a temporary solution. By definition, organizing our possessions is an action that must be repeated over and over and over again.

At its heart, organizing is simply rearranging. And though we may find storage solutions today, we are quickly forced to find new ones as early as tomorrow. Additionally, organizing (without getting rid of our stuff and decluttering) has some other major shortcomings that are rarely considered:

  • It doesn’t benefit anyone else. The possessions we rarely use sit on shelves in our basements, attics, and garages… even while some of our closest friends desperately need them.
  • It doesn’t solve our debt problems. It never addresses the underlying issue that we just buy too much stuff. In fact, many times, the act of rearranging our stuff even costs us more as we purchase containers, storage units, or larger homes to house it.
  • It doesn’t turn back our desire for more. The simple act of organizing our things into boxes, plastic bins, or extra closets doesn’t turn back our desire to purchase more things. The culture-driven inclination to find happiness in our possessions is rarely thwarted in any way through the process.
  • It doesn’t force us to evaluate our lives. While rearranging our stuff may cause us to look at each of our possessions, it does not force us to evaluate them—especially if we are just putting them in boxes and closing the lids. On the other hand, removing possessions from our home forces questions of passion, values, and what’s truly most important to us.
  • It accomplishes little in paving the way for other changes. Organizing may provide a temporary lift to our attitude. It clears a room and subsequently clears our mind, but rarely paves the way for healthy, major lifestyle changes. Our house is too small, our income is too little, and we still can’t find enough time in the day. We may have rearranged our stuff… but not our lives.

On the other hand, the act of getting rid of stuff from our home accomplishes many of those purposes. It is not a temporary solution that must be repeated. It is an action of permanence—once an item has been removed, it is removed completely. Whether we re-sell our possessions, donate them to charity, or give them to a friend, they are immediately put to use by those who need them.

Removing possessions begins to turn back our desire for more as we find freedom, happiness, and abundance in owning less. And removing ourselves from the all-consuming desire to own more creates opportunity for significant life change to take place.

If you’re struggling with how to get rid of stuff, you can:

1. Challenge yourself to remove the unneeded things in your home.

2. Rid yourself of the extra weight in a permanent manner.

3. Carry a trash bag from room-to-room.

4. See how big of a donation pile you can make.

5. Eliminate debt by selling what you no longer need.

It doesn’t matter so much how you remove them, as long as you do. For it is far better to de-own than to always be decluttering.

IN THIS POST: Here are 30 of my favorite declutter quotes in one place! When you need motivation beyond the usual declutter tips, sometimes it helps to read quotes about clearing things out.

Choose your favorite, write it down where you will see it often, and let it inspire you to declutter with a vengeance!

How to get rid of things after you declutter

This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. You can see my full disclaimer here.

Quotes About Decluttering

Most of these quotes are from amazing books about decluttering. If you need even more motivation than what you see here, I’ve linked to some of the books for your convenience.

But overall, remember that tackling clutter is about action, not about reading countless words.

Find your spark of inspiration… then go declutter the things! The sooner you begin, the faster you will build decluttering motivation and momentum.

“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”
― Joshua Becker

“Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.”
― Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

“If you have clutter, you’re richer than you think!”
― Donna Smallin

“Owning less is better than organizing more.”
― Joshua Becker, Clutterfree with Kids

“You don’t have to face every skeleton in your closet before you can make some room in there!”
― Carmen Klassen, Love Your Clutter Away

“Out of calmness comes clarity.”
― Trevor Carss

“If you’re not using the stuff in your home, get rid of it. You’re not going to start using it more by shoving it in a closet somewhere.”
― Joshua Becker

“In the never-ending battle between order and chaos, clutter sides with chaos every time. Anything that you possess that does not add to your life or your happiness eventually becomes a burden.”
― John Robbins, The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less

How to get rid of things after you declutter

“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions”
― Barbara Hemphill

“Time spent minimizing possessions is never wasted.”
― Joshua Becker

“Every minute you spend looking through clutter, wondering where you put this or that, being unable to focus because you’re not organized costs you: time you could have spent with family or friends, time you could have been productive around the house, time you could have been making money.”
― Jean Chatzky

“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.”
― Marie Kondo

“Today is the day you rid yourself of anything that distracts from your best life.”
― Joshua Becker, The Minimalist Home

“Your home is living space, not storage space.”
― Francine Jay

“What I know for sure is that when you declutter – whether it’s on your home, your head, or your heart – it is astounding what will flow into that space that will enrich you, your life, and your family.”
― Peter Walsh, Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight: The Six-Week Total-Life Slim Down

“If someone doesn’t live with you, neither should their stuff.”
― Monika Kristofferson

“Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. But sooner or later, all the storage units are full, and the room once again overflows with things.”
― Marie Kondo

“It’s easier to get rid of things when you’re giving them to someone who can use them, but don’t let this kind intention become a source of clutter itself. I have a friend who has multiple piles all over her house, each lovingly destined for a particular recipient.”
― Gretchen Rubin

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
― Albert Einstein

“I often ask myself, Will anyone I know be happier if I save this?”
― Margareta Magnusson, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning

How to get rid of things after you declutter

“But first, declutter.”
― Julie Hage

Minimalist Quotes

Even if you don’t aspire to extreme minimalism, you can still use the concept in your own life. The realization that we can appreciate the things we love so much more when we don’t have SO MUCH to care for is truly life-changing.

“Minimizing can be exhilarating. If you continue decluttering, you just might find a zest for life that you didn’t know existed under all that stuff!”
― Lisa J. Shultz, Lighter Living: Declutter. Organize. Simplify.

“Picture your dream home. I bet it’s not filled with clutter.”
― Joshua Becker

“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all.”
― Nathan W. Morris

“There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.”
― Jackie French Koller

“Digital minimalism definitively does not reject the innovations of the internet age, but instead rejects the way so many people currently engage with these tools.”
― Cal Newport, Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World

“It’s better to have extra time on your hands and extra money in your pocket than extra stuff in your closet.”
― Joshua Becker

“Minimalism is the constant art of editing your life.”
― Danny Dover, The Minimalist Mindset

“Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
— William Morris

How to get rid of things after you declutter

We’re talking about the tough stuff today!

We’ve gone through decluttering clothes and decluttering books, but decluttering keepsakes and memories can be really difficult.

You might feel obligated to to keep things.

You might have a hard time letting something go because of the memory associated with it.

You might be keeping something in case your kids might want it someday.

So let’s dig in. Since we moved a month ago and downsized majorly, I just went through all of my keepsakes and was pretty ruthless. These are the methods that helped me.

How to Declutter Keepsakes & Memories

Step 1: Ditch the Guilt

Dealing with keepsakes and memories items can make you feel a lot of guilt. Sometimes you feel obligated to keep something because of the memory associated to it or because it was important to someone else.

You absolutely have to ditch the guilt. Feel free to keep the things that are important to you, not the things that were important to someone else or that someone thought should be important to you.

You’re looking to save your keepsakes and memories, not someone else’s.

Example #1: When my parents moved, my mom decided not to keep their wedding album. It was a super nice professionally done album full of great photos. She gave it to me in case I wanted to keep it. She honestly didn’t even care what I did with it and didn’t give me any guilt about it, but it felt like one of those things that should be kept. But honestly, it’s their keepsake and memory, not mine. I wasn’t born yet so I’m not in the photos and I don’t remember the event. I do have a few photos of their wedding, so it’s not like no more pictures of their wedding exist, but I did ditch the album. It’s not special to me.

Example #2: Austin’s mom gave him a huge tub of things that she saved from his childhood. When he went through the tub, there were many things that he didn’t even remember or that just weren’t important to him. We got rid of those things. I’m sure Austin’s mom remembers those things, but he doesn’t. We wanted to save things that are special to him, not to someone else. If she wanted to save those things, she would have kept them, right?

If you have keepsake items that aren’t important to you but might be to a friend or family member, offer it to them. Don’t let them tell you, “oh, you have to save that”. If they want it, they can keep it. If you don’t want it, don’t feel like you have to preserve someone else’s memories.

If you like this article, please save it on Pinterest 🙂

Sometimes things get saved from someone who passed away to show grandkids later on.

Honestly, when it comes to relatives that I’m too young to remember, I appreciate seeing pictures of them or pictures of me with them more than I appreciate their stuff.

For relatives who passed away when I was older, I have a kept a few items or theirs that were meaningful to me, like my grandma’s china and jewelry. What I love most, though, are photos of me with her.

Related Posts:

Step 2: Use It or Lose It

One of the best ways to honor someones memory and enjoy keepsake items is to use them!

I’m trying to use my grandma’s china more instead of storing it. I display a few important photos and gifts on our shelves.

I have a tub of things that it doesn’t make sense to display, like a few old journals or home movies, but I try to use as much as possible, otherwise what am I keeping it for?

How to get rid of things after you declutter

Step 3: Take a Picture

If you have an item that can’t be used or you’re ready to get rid of but want to make sure to remember, take a photo.

I’ve heard of people taking pictures of their kid’s artwork or a homemade quilt that was no longer usable.

Getting rid of something doesn’t mean that you get rid of the memory associated with it. However, if there is something you think you’d like to look back on, take a photo. It will take up less space and you can enjoy it anytime.

Step 4: Set Space Limits

Austin and I have a space limit for keepsakes and memory items that aren’t being used or displayed.

We each have a storage tub that we keep our things in. Over the last year we were both given more childhood items from our parents. We went through our tubs and got rid of what we needed to so that everything we wanted to keep would still fit in our tubs.

I had kept all of my journals from middle school through college in my tub and there were a lot! I decided to get rid of most of them to make room for other things. I kept one from middle school, one from high school, and one from college in case I want to look back and remember how immature and insecure I was 🙂

Whatever seems reasonable to you, set a limit for how much you will keep. This will force you to pare down to only the most important items. Everything else you can get rid of, use, or take a photo of.

Things that have an emotional connection are always the hardest to get rid of. In my mind, by only keep what truly matters to me and finding a way to use it (if possible), I honor the memories more than if I were to keep huge amounts of stuff boxed up in storage.

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How to get rid of things after you declutter

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In the average American home, there are over 300,000 items. [1] That’s true even though 1 in 10 Americans (and rising) rent offsite storage [3] and even though the size of the American house has tripled in the past 50 years. [2] Do some math too: the average American home ownership tenure is about 9-10 years, meaning people are accruing 30,000+ items each year to reach the 300,000 total above. [4]

What is all this stuff, though? It can take many forms: loose change we’ve been hoarding, kids’ old toys, outfits that don’t fit or went out of style, screws and nails, stationery, or items that we have an emotional attachment to, like an old a concert program or record player.

People tend to keep more things because they believe that some day in the future, these things will be useful or gain value. This is right to an extent. These items, especially ones with emotional memories, are not trash, but whether or not these things are useful for their owners is a question.

It’s not easy to kickstart decluttering and deal with all the 300,000+ items, most people run into these three problems when they are trying to determine usefulness of an item:

  • Exaggerating or over-emphasizing its need in the future.
  • Underestimating the cost and space it takes up.
  • Ignoring the storage cost.

But here’s a way out.

The Declutter Formula

The best acronym to move past this is using the framework RFASR:

  • Recency — “When was the last time I used this?”
  • Frequency — “How often do I use this?”
  • Acquisition Cost — “How difficult/expensive is it to get this?”
  • Storage Cost — “How much space and maintenance cost is it tied to?”
  • Retrieve Cost — “What costs are associated with retrieving it or it becoming outdated?”

As you ask yourself these questions, plug in this equation:

R (Low) + F (Low) + AC (Low) +SC (High) + RC (High) = Not Worth It

For example, a typical declutter scenario for many families is clothes, which often flows like this:

  • Recency: “I last wore this over two years ago.”
  • Frequency: “Even back then, I didn’t wear it a lot.”
  • Acquisition Cost: “I could order something similar online in the next five minutes.”
  • Storage Cost: “This and similar items are taking up 3/4 of my closet.”
  • Retrieve Cost: “It’s so two years ago, too…”

In such a situation, you get rid of the clothing. It’s not going to add value or usefulness in the future.

If there’s an emotional attachment (e.g. a gift from someone you care about) try to remember this: when it was presented as a gift, it already achieved its primary goal. Two or more years later, it’s just clothing taking up space. That doesn’t change the connection to the gift or the person who gifted it.

While the declutter formula can help you get rid of the stuff you have already collected and help you decide whether you should collect or buy things, there’s always a dilemma when you want something more than you need it.

To combat it, consider waiting a week to make the purchase. In the week, think about that equation and think about the relative degree of want and need. If you decide to purchase the new item, get rid of one item at your house. One in and one out is a relatively simple rule here.

The Hidden Perk of Decluttering

The real value of the declutter formula is more than saving money and space. It is also saving you mental energy.

There’s a massive amount of mental energy involved in organizing and cleaning old clothes and items, or even preparing yourself to do it. There’s also a large amount of mental energy involved in ignoring what you need to do, which is a common tactic of those with clutter. Think about this: if I hand you a white piece of paper with a large black dot and say “Don’t think about the dot,” you will have to try hard not to think of that black dot. That’s plenty of energy spent on trying not to think of the dot.

It’s the same with getting your house in shape. You know all that clutter is there. You know you need to declutter. But you keep finding ways to ignore or procrastinate on it, and that’s actually reducing your attention and priority away from where it should be.

The best way to re-focus on what matters to you and reduce distractions is by repeatedly applying the formula, you’ll have a house full of (a) things you like and (b) things that are valuable to you. That’s a huge win in the decluttering game.

How to get rid of things after you declutter

How to get rid of things after you declutter

You may well have an overstuffed wardrobe, a collection of old birthday cards you can never get rid of but haven’t read since opening them, or a garage full of decade-old junk that serves no purpose.

Look, we’re all human. We attach objects and items of clothing to valuable memories and feelings. But building up too much clutter can seriously mess with your life. And when it reaches that point, you’ve moved from being a bit sentimental to full-on hoarding.

Perhaps you’ve still got the shirt you were wearing when you met your partner, even though you no longer fit in it and it has holes. And that’s good — your clothes should mean something to you.

Meanwhile, you’re moving house and arguing with the very same partner about what to keep from your ever-expanding wardrobe. And they’re the souvenir you should really treasure. So what gives?

Finding it difficult to give away possessions is a complicated issue that sometimes has to do with fears about letting go of the past, worries about being wasteful, or just not knowing where to start with organizing your mountain of possessions.

But it’s possible to overcome those obstacles and get rid of absolutely all (or fine, maybe just half) of that extra stuff.

Stashing away everything we’ve ever bought, touched, or blown our nose into can contribute to serious stress, and stressful life events can also be the cause of hoarding behavior. Landau D, et al. (2011). Stressful life events and material deprivation in hoarding disorder. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20934847/

For one thing, a cluttered desk can be distracting and overstimulating when it’s time to buckle down.

And constantly having to look around at all the stuff that really belongs in the nearest garbage truck, or in a donation box headed toward those who really need it, can provoke feelings of guilt and anxiety.

(You don’t always need to feel guilty about avoiding chores though — Sofa Sunday can be the one.)

Hoarding disorder, according to the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, is a diagnosable condition. Substance abuse and mental health services administration Rockville (MD). (2016). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519704/table/ch3.t29/ And while throwing away useless stuff can be easy for most people, it creates intense distress for people with hoarding disorder.

It falls under the umbrella of obsessive-compulsive and related disorders and can often coexist with OCD. And it’s not how it looks on the TV.

Researchers estimate that 2.5 percent of people in the U.S. have hoarding disorder, keeping them from fully using their living space and interfering with their daily lives. Postlethwaite A, et al. (2019).
Prevalence of hoarding disorder: A systematic review and meta-analysis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31200169/

But for those who don’t live with this psychological condition, getting rid of extra stuff can be liberating and energizing. Some organization experts say difficulty throwing stuff away isn’t about selfishness: It’s often a way to avoid change.

A house full of clutter may also reflect the procrastination habits of a person who’s just too distracted or unmotivated to get rid of old ticket stubs and used garbage bags.

Whether you have hoarding disorder (and you should seek a consultation with a psychological health professional if you feel like you do) or simply need to strategize how to unclutter your life, allow us to give you the full walkthrough.

Being tidy and having OCD are not the same thing at all — we clear up the difference here.

How to get rid of things after you declutter

We’ve been cleaning out our basement and storage room to make space for family coming to stay with us (nothing motivates you like a deadline, right?).

Honestly, I love it. I love organizing our stuff and even better, finding things to get rid of! Every time we give away or sell things we don’t need, I feel like a weight has lifted off of me.

I try really hard to only keep items that we love and use in our house, but extra stuff always seems to accumulate. Sometimes I’m not even sure how it happens. We hardly go shopping, but every few months I start to notice our house filling up.

Well, there are many articles written about how to go through your home to purge extra stuff, plus what questions to ask yourself when you are deciding if something should stay or go. But I think there is a big step being skipped when we get get rid of things from our home.

Before you take those items to the thrift store or sell them online or hold that garage sale, ask yourself how you accumulated this extra stuff in the first place.

We are always going to need to get rid of tons of extra stuff until we figure out where it’s all coming from and why we’re accumulating it.

Sidenote: Don’t miss out on the 4-Day Declutter Challenge! It’s the perfect way to get started.

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Start your 4 Day Clutter Breakthrough!

Wonderful! Now just check your email to get started with the challenge!

Is It Worn Out?

If you’re throwing out clothes or furniture that is completely worn out, is there a way that you can buy better quality items in the future so that you don’t need to go through the process of purging worn out items as often?

Because of my back problems, we spend more money on quality shoes for me. Yes, it can get expensive, my shoes last for at least 3-5 years before I need to think about getting rid of them. It often actually saves money in the long run.

A lot of those super cute clothes from Target start to warp funny after a few washes and you find them in the bottom of the closet a year later. You might have spent more on a similar top somewhere else, but it would have lasted longer and gotten more use.

How to get rid of things after you declutter

Is It Unnecessary?

If you’re getting rid of clothes or items that you don’t need, try to remember where you got them from.

Maybe you’ve been buying items that you don’t really need just because it was a good deal or you were shopping just for fun.

Maybe you’ve been given hand-me-downs from well-meaning people. Can you politely decline their extras in the future so that someone else can get more use out of it sooner?

I recently decided to ban myself from thrift shopping! I did a huge closet purge and took a minute to look at what I was getting rid of. A ton of it was thrift store clothing! I found myself buying things that fit but not quite perfectly, or I’d get something home and find a hole or stain on it. In general, I wasn’t making good thrift store choices. For all of the money I “saved” by buying second hand, I should have just bought one full price new item because I was decluttering so many thrifted ones.

How to get rid of things after you declutter

Is It Trash?

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If you have piles of papers that need to be thrown out, what systems can you put into place so that these papers don’t make it into the house in the first place? Or how are you going to go through them daily or weekly to organize them (if they’re important) or throw them out as soon as possible?

I think if we analyze what we are purging, decluttering, and getting rid of, we can stop these extra items from making it into our homes in the first place.