I'm not sure if I'll ever have a home where everything has its own place, but I can dream. I admit I'm tired of moving stuff from one spot to another to accommodate even more stuff. My basement is full of projects, toys, furniture, sports equipment, holiday decorations and more. Closets and drawers are full of things I no longer need or want so I decided it's time to get my house back and create more living space.
I've fantasized long enough about having only the items in my home that I need, enjoy and treasure. It's time to make the fantasy a reality and let the rest go.
I've been re-cycling, organizing, donating and boxing up all of the stuff that I don't want or need anymore. This has created more breathing room and living space for me and my family.
Donating Books & Magazines
I love to read and find that books and magazines pile up rather quickly on shelves and other nooks and crannies. I rarely read any of them more than once so keeping piles of books makes no sense and takes up precious living space.
I've started trading them with family and friends or donating them to the local library. Our library has several book sales during the year to make extra money for the children's programs. They also take donated magazines saving patrons cash by having them available next to the front door of the library.
Less is More
I think every home I've ever lived in has had a junk drawer. It's the easy spot to toss something that has no place to go. Mine is in the kitchen and primarily holds pens, pencils,markers and other odds and ends. I like to write, but not that much. My plan is to donate the majority of them to a school in need of supplies.
Passing Music On
A collection of music CD's currently fills three shelves in one of my kitchen cupboards. A small book case in another room holds the rest. I listen to about a quarter of all the CD's I own and have recently started to thin out my music collection. Whatever I don't keep I'll give away to friends and family and donate the rest. Sorting through all this music is a work in progress.
- Tips for getting rid of stuff
Trying to make room in your house, but don't know what do with some items?
- Clothing Swap - Be good. Be green. Be glam!
Tips and advice on how to attend a Clothing Swap Event.
A free clothing-swap site.
Donate, Swap or Sell
I used to hang onto clothes forever thinking I would find a reason or occasion to wear them again. Remember the shoulder pads of the 80's? I found several jackets in my closet with the 80's vibe going on. Scary I know. I donated them to Salvation Army along with some high waist pants with pleats in the front of them. I’m enjoying the extra space in my closet because now I can see items I actually wear.
Attending a clothing swap is another great way to clean out your closet's. This is where you simply bring clothes that are in great shape that you no longer wear and come home with items you've swapped that you will. Fashion swaps are also a fun way to exchange jewelry, purses, and scarves to name a few.
If you need extra cash and have some nice items to sell try taking them to a consignment shop. Check out this link for shops located in the United States, http://consignmentshops.com/
- Photo Books, Holiday Cards, Photo Cards, Birth Announcements, Photo Printing | Shutterfly
Create photo books, personalize photo cards & stationery, and share photos with family and friends at Shutterfly.com.
Sorting through Memories
Some things are harder to get rid of than others because they bring up memories of a special person, time or place. I realize that not everything needs to be donated, passed on or tossed. I think it's perfectly fine to keep things you like, or have a connection to in some way.
I've started keeping only a few special pieces from a larger collection instead of the entire collection. Taking pictures of certain items or passing them on to family members is working out well too.
Photographs can quickly pile up so I work on keeping only the best ones. They either get framed or I create photo books and note cards of my favorite shots using Shutterfly.com. The program is user friendly and they produce a quality product using your unique photos.
It takes time to go through all this stuff, but I love having the space and living with the things I truly enjoy is amazing. The time spent so far has been well worth it.
Organizer Marie Kondo and author of Tidying Up has inspired me to look closely at every item I own. The decision to let go or to keep something has become so much easier with her method.
Sell or Donate Used Electronics
If old electronics are stacking up in your home think about selling or donating them. Many communities set-up used electronic donation sites at least once a year. This is where you can drop off your old electronics usually at no cost. I've personally dropped of old printers, key boards, old phones and stereo receivers.
Tax breaks are often available when you donate electronic items. Check out http://e-access.org/ to see if your items qualify.
- BuyMyTronics.com - How It Works
Sell cell phones, used iPhones, digital cameras and more. We buy back thousands of different used electronics. Free shipping and quick cash. Fast, easy and eco-friendly!
- E-Access.org | Tax credit for surplus electronics
E-Access.org is a Non-Profit organization that provides tax credits for surplus electronics. We want your Surplus Electronics
© 2011 Laura Ross
Laura Ross (author) on March 20, 2013:
I agree with you Gail that the whole atmosphere changes when you get rid of things. Donating items to a women's abuse shelter is a great idea too.
Glad you liked the hub:)
Gail Meyers from Johnson County, Kansas on March 20, 2013:
Decluttering changes the whole atmosphere. I love it and keep stuff pretty thin most of the time. We donate to a local thrift store that supports of a women's abuse shelter. The junk drawer is another story. lol I am impressed with how you organized that. Thanks for the great ideas.
Jamie Brock from Texas on February 16, 2013:
Thank you, Laura.. going to do what you said and do it little by little... Thank you for the encouragement :)
Laura Ross (author) on February 16, 2013:
Hi Jamie...I love what you wrote and can totally relate to all of the above. It can be overwhelming if you look at all you want to accomplish. For me I had to start a drawer at a time or a closet. Trying to do to much at once is just that, to much. Some items are obvious and easy to sort through and others grab you because of sentimental value or it was a gift from someone.
What works for me is to think about it's use or purpose and if I really want it in my life. You mentioned my junk drawer in this hub. I must've had at least 50 pens in this one drawer. When I cleaned it out I put some of the pens next to my phone and kept a few in the drawer. I've found over and over that I have more than enough of one item in this case it was pens. I gave some to my daughter the rest to the local library.
I too have items I've picked up at garage sales with the mind set of doing something fun with them some day. Two large candle holders are sitting in my basement as I write this. My plan is to spray paint them purple to go into my purple dining room. If I don't get to it this summer they're gone.
The sentimental items are the toughest. I've passed on some items to friends and family members and have kept what I truly treasure. Taking photographs of the items before passing them on has helped me let go.
Bottom line, just do a little at a time and don't put undue pressure on yourself.
Hang in there!
Jamie Brock from Texas on February 16, 2013:
Wonderful hub with lots of practical advice about getting rid of all that stuff we don't need or use. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about getting rid of excess stuff, mainly because I never can find what I really need for all the other stuff cluttering everything up. The thing is I get physically anxious when I try to go through things. It is emotionally exhausting for me to try and figure out what I think I need and what I don't need. Common sense tells me that if I haven't used it and I've had it for years it's OK to let it go but then the uncertainty and anxiety start... and I usually end up piling it all back in, putting the box back and avoiding it YET again. I think I need an intervention..LOL! No, I mean, I'm not THAT bad... I'm not on hoarders level but the stuff I do want to hang on to, I just find it SO HARD to let go of.
My stuff is mainly craft related.. and it's things I've picked up here and there like at garage sales, etc. and I keep it because I "intend" to alter it... except the altering part seems to never happen. Know what I mean?
Anyway, sorry I wrote a book.. I just so need to heed your advice here and do some serious organizing. LIke I said, I don't have a ton of stuff but what I do have, I know that so much of it is probably unnecessary for me to keep holding on to.
Great hub! Thank you for sharing (and listening) :)
PS Your junk drawer before you organized it, looks way better than mine even AFTER I've organized it! I try to organize the junk drawer every so often but it just never stays that way. You did an awesome job with yours!
Laura Ross (author) on December 27, 2012:
Good question Au Fait, where does it all come from? I feel as though I'm constantly getting rid of items and still have more to purge. I have a number of boxes of CD's I no longer listen too and will have to check out a recycle book store in my area. Thanks for the vote up, useful and for sharing.
Sinea Pies I love the idea of a "giveaway party." Everyone goes home with something new to them. Very Cool! Thanks for stopping by:)
Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on December 27, 2012:
Decluttering is liberating. I haven't done it myself but some people will have "giveaway parties". You invite your friends to come "shop" for free at your home. Take what they want, then you donate the rest.
C E Clark from North Texas on December 27, 2012:
Where does it all come from?! I have had the Salvation Army come and pick up several loads including a dozen or so huge boxes of stuff (I don't like to ask them to come for just a few things because I feel it's a waste of their gas). I need to have them come and get another load, but before that I have to sort and organize. :(
As one's lifestyle changes, so does one's needs. We have a huge recycle book store that also accepts videos, DVDs, comic books, CDs, and other things of value if they don't already have whatever you bring them in stock and what you bring is in sterling condition. I've sold a lot of things there, but most things get donated to Friends of the Family, Goodwill, or The Salvation Army.
Love the purple flowers in your photo! Excellent hub with inspiration about what to do with all the stuff a person no longer needs. Voted up and useful! Will share.
Laura Ross (author) on August 02, 2012:
Thanks for checking this out B Lucy. Happy Sorting:)
B Lucy from Podunk, Virginia on August 01, 2012:
Love, love, love this hub!!!!!
Laura Ross (author) on July 13, 2012:
Victoria Lynn take your time going through your special belongings. I've kept quite a few items that I just can't part with yet and that's OK.
If you know someone else trying to get rid of stuff see if you can swap some items. A good friend of mine and I have swapped dressers, chairs, and home decor thereby giving each of us new items to decorate our homes with. It's a win win scenario as each of us haven't spent a dime on furniture or home decor. It's also fun to do!
Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on July 13, 2012:
Great tips, Green Art! I SO need to do this but I'm so sentimental and have such a hard time getting rid of stuff. I need to, though. Maybe your inspiration will help!
Laura Ross (author) on July 12, 2012:
Moving is a great time to consolidate your possessions Suzy HQ. I hope you have stress free move and have fun decorating your new home.
RunningDeer I feel your pain getting rid of favorite clothing and books, but think of it as an opportunity to update your wardrobe and find some new authors.
Moonlake I've kept many items I love and re-purposed others giving them a new life. Happy Sorting:) Thanks for the Vote up!
Cartero6 you are so right that shoulder pads and the high waist pants are back! Oh well. My fashion tastes are always changing. Comfort and color is key these days. Thanks for the vote up!
Mary from Cronulla NSW on July 11, 2012:
Your title drew me in and good to read your useful tips...(but did you no those 80's shoulder pads & high waisted pants were pretty hot fashion items again recently) :)...voted up & useful...cheers
moonlake from America on July 11, 2012:
I'm not ready to get rid of all my stuff but I do try to keep everything organized and I always have a box for Goodwill and fell it up often. I remove from closet when I bring in a new item. Voted up on your.
RunningDeer from Iowa on July 11, 2012:
Since I'm still in school, I tend to move a lot. I try to keep down on the things I own, but it seems like things just build up! I always think, well what if I need to use that again someday? Or worst yet, that I'll fit into that too small t-shirt one day again. I also have a problem with hoarding books. I can't let go of them! Maybe someday I will be able to like you did. Great tips!
Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on July 11, 2012:
Very useful and practical ideas here, love the before and after photos! As I am just about to move it will come in so handy as a good guide to use! Thanks for sharing and have voted up, Interesting, Useful and will share on also!
Laura Ross (author) on July 11, 2012:
Thanks for the vote up and kind words! It does take time to sort through items but the end result is so worth it as you say. A drawer at a time or closet if your so inclined. Thanks for stopping by:)
Sethughes on July 11, 2012:
Very helpful. I always have a hard time getting rid of stuff I have had for a good while. But the cleaner and more spacious look is well worth it.
Great hub! Voted up! Sharing!
Laura Ross (author) on May 11, 2012:
It is odd the things we decide to keep and what to get rid of. Good for you letting go of magazines you'll never read again opening up space for things you will.
mpkygm from Virginia (DC area) on May 11, 2012:
I was holding on to all the business magazines that I had ever ordered. Finally I had to admit to myself that I was never going to read them again! Human nature is so odd sometimes.
Laura Ross (author) on April 25, 2012:
Barbsbitsnpieces I agree "memory value" of certain objects is a tough one when it comes to getting rid of things. I still have some of my children's art work and school papers and they're 22 and 24. I'm thinking of scanning and/or photographing my favorites so I can have a digital file and not the pile of papers in a box.
Sounds like your accomplishing quite a lot by sorting everything the way you are with you family in mind. I know I don't want to leave my kids with a huge pile of stuff to go through either.
Barbara Anne Helberg from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA on April 25, 2012:
@GreenArt...Wonderful Hub about our "stuff"! I always thought George Carlin's tirade on the "stuff" we move with all our lives was right on. So is your Hub! Good suggestions.
Recently, I started the get-rid-of-the-unused-"stuff" task, too, but it really is difficult because of the memory value, especially when you're my age. However, it is at my age when one really needs to think about it, because what you leave behind is what your kids will toss out anyway! It won't have the same value to them. So I began to sort items by what will have value to them and what won't in order to decide what to save. That helped the pitch-it-out philosophy, increased the motivation to get the job done, and eased my mind about doing the pitch-out myself and not leaving it to others.
Laura Ross (author) on April 20, 2012:
It's so freeing to get rid of things you no longer need or want around you. I have no idea how many hours I used to spend moving, cleaning, and organizing items that I didn't even want to keep.
Have fun clearing things out and see what new things you start start to do.
In the past I used to write down ideas and save articles for art or home decor projects. Now I have time to create them. I also read books that used to be on a long wish list.
Enjoy this new way of living.
Katina Davenport on April 19, 2012:
I have loads of stuff to give away. I can't wait to donate these useful items.
Laura Ross (author) on February 21, 2012:
Hi Dolores-It's fine you hit the funny button. I think it's funny I've managed to hang onto some items from childhood and beyond.
I laughed at your magnet story too. They do come in handy so you might want to hang onto that one. Now if you have three or more large magnets taking up space and sticking to everything you may want to pass the extras onto someone else.
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on February 21, 2012:
Hi, Green - I'm sorry. I hit the funny button up top there. But I was laughing as I read this. Your messed up junk drawer looks like mine after I cleaned it last week. I found a powerful magnet that had a ton of staples stuck to it. So I pulled off the loose staples and ran the magnet over the pile on the table, picking up yet more loose stapes as well as screws and paper clips.
And the high waist pants made me laugh too.
Laura Ross (author) on November 01, 2011:
Thanks for the vote up robyna. I haven't read the blog "Zen Habits" but want to check it out now. I am trying hard to simplify my life and giving to others in the process.
What is Purple Heart? I've never heard it before and it sounds interesting.
robyna from Michigan, USA on October 31, 2011:
I so agree with you on this. Have you ever read the blog "Zen Habits?" It's at zenhabits.net. It's all about simple living. Even the blog is super simple. I just donated stuff to Purple Heart today just to clear out clutter. It will drive you crazy after a while! :)
Great Hub! Voted up.
Laura Ross (author) on October 30, 2011:
Thanks for dropping by bangingbeauty. It's great that you have a game plan of organizing once a month. Accumulating more than you need is so easy to do. I'm great at it!
I cleaned out a cabinet this week that had old maps from past travels and vacations. It was full and I decided to get rid of the majority of them. A few of the maps will be used to cover furniture, picture frames and other random items.
The cabinet now empty made a perfect new home for my entire CD collection that used to be split between a kitchen cabinet and a book case as seen in the photos above.
Have fun organizing:)
bangingbeauty on October 30, 2011:
Nice pictures! I try to organize my stuff once a month, I have a really bad habit of keeping things that I do not need :)
Laura Ross (author) on October 29, 2011:
As far as what books to donate to a homeless shelter I would imagine just about anything. If your unsure check with the administrator of the facility. I bet children in the shelter would appreciate books too.
Penny splendid on October 29, 2011:
Oh brilliant idea about the homeless shelter. We have one near us. Wonder what sort of books they would read.
Laura Ross (author) on October 28, 2011:
Penny splendid I also have art supplies in various parts of my home and need to consolidate them. It's a process and it takes time. Sometimes it's hard to get motivated, but once you start seeing the results you won't want to stop.
I enjoy donating the books to our local library. They really appreciate the support for the programing they do. I would imagine homeless shelters or nursing homes might take donations as well.
Laura Ross (author) on October 28, 2011:
Hi homesteadpatch - I think we all accumulate things for different reasons. I used to be of the mindset that I shouldn't get rid of something because I might need it some day. Years would go by and the same item was never used. I finally came to the conclusion if I haven't used it by now I probably never will. Time to go.
Penny splendid on October 28, 2011:
Our house is in need of a good declutter too. We are all guilty.
My kitchen drawer is similar and we have art stuff in just about every room.
I like the idea of donating books to the library.
Laura Ross (author) on October 27, 2011:
I agree with you midnightbliss that it can be therapeutic to get rid of things. I feel more relaxed when I get rid of things and organize the items I really want to live with.
If I do buy something new I try to get rid of one or two other things so stuff doesn't just keep piling up.
At one point I had four pairs of worn out sneakers I was using for gardening. I was constantly pushing them aside on the shelf I keep my garden tools and supplies on. I tossed three of them and wear the fourth. No more time wasted moving shoes around, and more time spent gardening.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing:)
homesteadpatch from Michigan on October 27, 2011:
Someone once told me that having too much stuff is a sickness. I tend to agree, even though we have way too much stuff. Thanks Green Art!
Haydee Anderson from Hermosa Beach on October 27, 2011:
in order not to accumulate stuff that i no longer need, i make sure to check if from time to time and get rid of some of the things. i also noticed that the perfect time to do this is when i feel bad, because it can be therapeutic and i can get rid of things that i would rather keep when I am in good mood.
Laura Ross (author) on October 27, 2011:
Hi The Dirt Farmer - One drawer at a time has worked for me. Otherwise the thought of going through a ton of stuff is just plain overwhelming. Tackling one drawer at a time is much easier and you can see results quickly.
When you do start going through things you may find duplicates of certain items. That's fine, just keep what you need or can use and pass on the rest.
I plan to post after pictures of the ones in this hub to share the changes made.
If I can do it I know you can too!:)
Jill Spencer from United States on October 27, 2011:
Oh, Green Art, these pictures look so familiar! It seems every one of my drawers eventually becomes a "junk" drawer! Maybe (sigh) I'll start going through them.
Laura Ross (author) on October 26, 2011:
Thanks Movie Master! I find having the extra space has cleared some clutter in my mind too. Instead of thinking about this pile of stuff or that one I can focus on a creative project instead. Much more fun and rewarding.
Movie Master from United Kingdom on October 26, 2011:
Some excellent ideas here for clearing stuff out and passing them on for others to make use of, it's time consuming but well worth it!
voting up, best wishes MM