When I moved out of my parents’ house and into my own, it took a day’s worth of back-and-forth, bringing boxes over in the back of a pickup truck. The house I rented is only 600 sq ft but with only a bedroom’s worth of stuff in it, it seemed so empty. Of course I set out to collect all the furniture and household items I needed to fill it. After two years of stalking estate auctions and yard sales, I’ve managed to fill it up pretty well. I have just as much furniture as I need, and more nick-knacks than I can honestly justify. The basement of my house, which I use as a print studio, doubles as storage for my online businesses. The wall not pictured has floor to ceiling shelving that holds all of my Ebay inventory. Still, it ends up acting as overflow for all the things I don’t want in my house and haven’t quite managed to part with. When I was looking through old photos the other day and found one of my basement when I first moved in, I realized just how much I need to get rid of.
For the last few months I’ve been trying to downsize. The more Jason and I talk about the possibility of moving into a tiny house, the more I realize I have a lot of work to do to get ready for that. I already live in a small house, but have still managed to fill it with things I don’t need. So over the course of the next few months, I’ve set out a plan to curb the crap problem. I’ll be posting updates as I get farther on this list. A few of these goals I’ve already passed, and have crossed out. Still, I”m offering up this list to any of you that are also trying to downsize, or just declutter. Please share some of your own personal decluttering goals to add to the list.
Limit wardrobe to only what would actually be worn in 2 weeks time, and a few pairs of comfortable shoes Get rid of the whole shelf of coffee cups
- Donate enough books that my whole library fits in one (organized) bookshelf
- Toss the 5 or so broken turntables and instead buy one small nice one that works
Stop storing boxes of things in the bedroom when running out of space elsewhere
- Get rid of the random pallets, kayak, buckets etc. that have to be stored in the almost non-existent yard
- Limit dishes to a 4 of each piece (no more having 15 glasses, 20 coffee cups, 10 plates etc.)
- Get rid of the nick-nacks there’s no room for
- Do something with the things that are still stored at my parents’ house
- Find a home for the several broken computers I could never part with
If you too are looking to downsize, here are some places that could use your junk:
- Goodwill – Goodwill is a large non-profit network that operates thrift stores across the US. I’ve always loved shopping there and feel good about donating because I believe in the work they do. My local Goodwill has a drive-up donation door, and no matter how much crap I bring them I’m always met by someone friendly who thanks me while carrying my donations off to new uses. Much of what they don’t sell is shipped overseas in bulk or recycled
- Local charity shops – A great way to get rid of things and help the community at the same time.
- Local food pantry – If you’re cleaning out your pantry and have things that are still good but you know you’ll never eat, you can feel good about donating them.
- Recycling center – You really don’t need to throw away a lot of things you might be tempted to. Our recycling center takes electronics, cassette tapes, books, fabric scraps, broken window glass and so many other things you might want to get rid of but don’t want to send to the landfill.
- Your curb or alley– This might not be the best idea if you have neighbors who care, but thankfully I don’t. This has proven to be the easiest way to get rid of things for me. Plus I like to pretend that the people who drive by and pick up my worn out chair, lamp, table etc. are going to enjoy them as much as some of the curb-side treasures I’ve found over the years. I try to limit my curb-side donating to only things that I know neighbors might find useful. Things that are broken, damaged or dirty, I make sure to recycle instead.
- Freecycle – A great alternative to putting things on the curb. If you want something gone, you can offer it up for free here.