I think one of the main reasons why we find it so hard to get rid of clutter is that we tend to look at the items surrounding us and remember how much time, energy, or cash we spent to obtain them. We feel guilty about throwing them out, even when we don’t get much use of them anymore. However, while getting rid of stuff won’t bring you back any of that time or energy you spent, it may bring you back some extra cash, which you can then use to buy things you really want or save for the future.
There are many benefits associated with getting rid of clutter. Martha Steward found no less than 100 – including less housework and less time wasted looking for things. Moreover, clutter also causes stress, and we could all live with less anxiety on a day-to-day basis.
I live in small one-bedroom apartment, and I finally realized I have way too much stuff a few months ago. There were piles of clothes everywhere, plenty of hand-me-down furniture that was pretty much useless, kitchen appliances I never used, and tons of documents that I never got around to throwing out. All in all, my place was a mess, and I started to feel like I was drowning in the amount of stuff that was around me. That’s when I decided to tackle my issue head on and try a more minimalistic lifestyle. It wasn’t easy to say good-bye to some of the items surrounding me, but I feel lighter and relaxed now that I did. Not to mention the fact that I also made some cash in the process; which I’m now saving to buy furniture I actually like.
Want to follow in my footsteps? Here are a few quick tips on how to declutter your home and make a profit.
The first thing you must to is to organize your stuff. If you find the entire process too overwhelming, start small. Buy a bunch of trash bags and boxes and set aside half hour every day to sort through your things. Label the bags and boxes: throw out, give away, sell. To make matters easier, every time you’re not sure about keeping an item, ask yourself this: will I replace it if it was lost in a fire? If the answer is no, it should definitely go. It’s OK to keep certain items with sentimental value, but those are usually limited and don’t take up that much space. As for clothes, if you haven’t worn it in a year, give it away or sell it. It’s unlikely you will wear it again. As an alternative, try Oprah’s hanger trick.
Go on a Paper Diet
It’s impressive how much amount a paper we accumulate in single week, let alone a year. To reduce clutter and help the environment, go on a paper diet, effective immediately. Start by sorting to what you already have and recycle any paper you no longer need. Then, unsubscribe from any magazines or newspapers, since it’s easier than ever to stay up to date with what’s going on in the world by going online. Last but not least, opt out of junk mail. Catalog Choice can help you unsubscribe from catalogs, credit card offers, phone books, and any other types of mail you’d rather not receive.
Rethink Your Daily Habits
Our daily habits contribute consistently to the amount of clutter we accumulate, and also cost us money that could be better spent. If you ever had a bag full of other smaller plastic bags somewhere around the house, you know what I’m talking about. Invest in a sturdy reusable grocery bag – if not to save you cash at the register, then at least to help the planet. I recently read an article by Metabolix about the plastic pollution in the ocean and I was appalled by the impressive amount of plastic waste we generate. Take a look for yourself, here. You should also give up on bottled water and drink tap instead. It’s just as tasty; plus, you can get a reusable water bottle and never be without. Before decluttering, I had around 15 plastic water bottles lying around the case, just in case I needed one someday. I never did.
Sell Your Stuff
Now that things are a bit more organized, it’s time to make some money. You can sell your stuff online, take them to a consignment store, or hold a yard sale and invite your neighbors to check it out. Lifehacker has a great guide on how to successfully sell things, with tips from how to determine at item’s value to where it would be best to sell them. I found it extremely useful. Take a look, here.
Once you’re done with the clearing out clutter process, prevent yourself from accumulating any unnecessary new stuff. Stay out of stores unless you really need something, and then stick to your shopping list. Most importantly, before making a new purchase, ask yourself these questions: “Will it benefit me?” and “Do I have a place or it?” Only proceed if both your answers are positive.