The first stop is to change your mindset: This is not easy. You have to choose to be ruthless. If you just cannot bear to throw or give your stuff away cold turkey, place it in a box and seal the box and label with a date 6 months in the future. If you have not broken the seal on the box to retrieve an item in 6 months it is safe to donate to your favorite local charity.
Think of the free time you'll gain by not having to clean your stuff or look for it in piles of junk. Get creative when trying to clean out your items. Set a timer and allow yourself only 15 minutes to clean out a closet. Have boxes handy for throw away, donate and put in their rightful place. Do you really want your loved ones to find all the ____ (Fill in the blank) if you were to die unexpectedly? We laugh and say my husband will kill me when he finds all the fabric, yarn and craft supplies in the basement if I were to die suddenly!
Resist purchasing clothing just because it is on sale and a good bargain. Many of these items end up being discarded with the tags still on them.
Recycle your clothing: Turn kids t-shirts or all your racing shirts in to a lap blanket or a quilt. These make nice gifts. I made one for my daughter when she went to college. I have even heard of recycling deceased loved ones garments into a blanket or stuffed animals. Old ties can be made into skirts or messenger bags. Recycle buttons into bracelets or for future sewing projects.
Host a PROM dress exchange at your local high school or contact an inner city school about hosting a free PROM dress shopping day in their gym.
Host a yard sale, a FREE give away (instead of a sale), donate to your local churches Mission, allow the DAV or Veterans organization pickup, post on Craigslist, etc.
Don't open that box from your last move 4 years ago. Take it directly to the Goodwill! Trust me, you will NEVER miss it! Discard all the "parts" of broken items you were planning on repairing. You are NEVER going to get around to doing it if it has been there for more than 3 months.
Source: I finally got serious about de-clutterng and it worked for me!
By Diana from Prospect, KY
Getting Rid of Clutter
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Besides Freecycle, what are some charties/organizations that will take your stuff, such as cellphones, clothing, appliances, furniture, etc. I know Habitat for Humanity will take gently used items in their stores and sell them.
The only thing I would add, is I now have a rule. "If you bring something home, something else has to leave, unless it's a replacement for something broken and already gone." For a pack rat, this is difficult to do, though after working on it for several years, it's getting easier to do.
Try the group Freecycle. Dedicated to keeping things out of landfills, you can use this group to find new homes for items that you can't bear to just throw out. I've freecycled everything from a couch to a box of pieces from a broken mirror. Check them out at http://www.freecycle.org/
Also craigslist has a section for free stuff that might be useful. I've not used it but I know folks that have with good results.
I have something posted in front of me on my computer. It says, "By keeping only what you need, you'll always be able to find what you want, when you need it!" And here I am reading this good article, now if only I would do it!
Thanks for some wonderful hints.
Shirley in Ohio
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