Have you ever inherited or been gifted with stuff you can’t use? Have you hung onto items because of emotional attachments? If you feel like you are “stuffocating” (suffocating from all of your stuff—a new word mentioned at my local simple living group meeting), what can you do? How do you decide what to do with Grandma and Grandpa’s or Mom and Dad’s stuff, or all those well-intentioned gifts, hand-me-downs, items you are hanging onto for someone else, or things you keep because of a memory or feeling that they invoke? Try these fresh approaches to help deal with this clutter.
Don’t Keep Misery
Items can be given away on freecycle.org, or sold in the newspaper, on the Internet at craigslist.org or ebay.com, or taken by local estate sale or auction companies who will buy stuff outright or accept things on consignment. Check the yellow pages, and feel free to get more than one opinion on values. Look for similar items on eBay to see what prices people are getting for items similar to yours.
Other People’s Clutter
What am I saying here? Parents, you are not responsible for indefinitely storing stuff for your grown children. It isn’t fair or respectful to you. Further more, do not “gift” stuff to your grown children with strings attached. It isn’t really a gift when you are basically asking for free storage under the loving guise of “keeping it in the family!”
We can give generously to get rid of clutter. It allows us to get rid of extra physical stuff, as well as the emotional, and spiritual baggage that clings to our possessions. We get a feeling of satisfaction for sharing our excess with others. At the same time, we free ourselves from the weight of our clutter. Give respectfully, however, by giving to those who can truly use the items they receive. Do not dump on a fellow clutter bug because you know they too have a weakness for stuff. It isn’t kind, and you aren’t doing them any favors.
If you are passing items down in your family, remember to pass down the stories too. Write down why these items have monetary or sentimental value. If you don’t, the treasures may get tossed with the trash. Also, it is kinder to specify who gets what today to prevent painful arguments after you are gone.
Barbara Tako is a clutter clearing motivational speaker and author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life (O Books, 2010), a seasonally organized book of clutter clearing tips that readers can pick and choose from to fit their personal style and needs. Sign up for her free monthly clutter clearing tips newsletter at www.clutterclearingchoices.com.