Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Getting Rid of Big Possessions
When you read the word “clutter,” you probably think of all the little, irksome items that take up space around your home: kids’ toys, shoes, DVDs and books, shoes, tchotchkes and kitschy décor, and shoes. However, though your eye might be drawn to the mountains of tiny things, the true space-takers throughout your house and yard are actually quite large.
The key to living a happy minimal lifestyle is cutting out unnecessary possessions and clutter, and at times, stuff like furniture, appliances, vehicles, and more can be the worst culprits of clutter. Here’s a simple guide to help you evaluate what big stuff you can get rid of ― and how.
Mark Your Favorites
Before you can decide what big items you no longer need, you must sift through the rooms of your house and catalogue your possessions. Unwanted big stuff often hides in places you wouldn’t expect; not only do you have moth-eaten, hand-me-down furniture stacked in the attic, but you could have large, outdated tech stashed in backs of closets and parts of old vehicles littering the garage. While you inventory your big possessions, you might be surprised to find your kids have outgrown their bedroom set and need something new.
You need a system for sorting through your large items to ensure you actually do get rid of the items you don’t want. If you are a list person, you can tote around a clipboard with two columns: keep and give away. Another strategy is to carry a pad of sticky notes and paper your home with different colors; that way, you can visually confirm that you have surveyed the major items of every room. Any system will work as long as it allows you to inspect your possessions and consider discarding them.
Relocate Stuff First
Even after you have selected which items will stay and which will go, you should wait to call waste disposal. The reason you so rarely sort and cast off your large possessions is because they tend to be exceedingly expensive to replace, and often, big items carry more sentimental value than small stuff like clothing and toys. Therefore, you should give yourself a couple days of down time during which you can contemplate whether you truly should give your big possessions away.
While you deliberate, you should remove the items you are planning to discard, especially if they originally stood in a highly visible space in your home. Then, you can see how decluttered your house will be without them taking up unnecessary space, and it may be easier to let them go.
Evaluate the Quality
Just because you no longer want that old armchair or that rattling dryer doesn’t mean it is a piece of trash. Large items tend to hold their value much longer than small clutter, and it benefits the environment and the community to reuse and recycle big possessions.
At some point during the eradication process ― either while you are surveying which items you’ll keep or after you know for certain which stuff has to go ― you should evaluate the quality of your unwanted items. Stuff that you or your family has outgrown likely still has a few good years, and your friends and neighbors may eagerly accept them. Alternatively, you could expend a little more effort and attempt to sell your items on sites like Craigslist or eBay.
If you have a hard time valuing your old possessions, you might have the best experience with a qualified charity. Charitable organizations, like Boat Angel, are comfortable assessing the worth of large donations. Not only will a charity appraise your items for you, but it will often haul the stuff away for free and provide you with a sizeable tax deduction. Often, this deduction is higher than the profits you could make from a sale. You can donate more items than you might expect; everything from furniture to kitchen appliances to cars and boats are enthusiastically accepted.
Do It Again
The war against clutter is never-ending, which means in a few years’ time, you will have to endure this ordeal once more. However, if you believe you can conquer your big clutter and you remember your successful system for effecting change, you can always keep a beautiful, spacious, clutter-free home.