Decluttering Tips for Lovers of Stuff

Ahhhhh, stuff.  I can't seem to decide on a stance regarding stuff- I vacillate between wanting to be a minimalist and wanting to own every interesting piece of junk that I happen across.  A happy medium is what I am shooting for.  My two biggest clutter areas are books and clothing.  Yes, I know that a person only needs so much clothing and that I could use a library for most of my reading needs.  However, I am not a non-consumer and I don't intend to get rid of everything that I enjoy!!  Here's how I currently manage the books and clothes:

1) Closets get cleaned out on a monthly basis and I try to stick with a one-in-one-out approach.  If you haven't cleaned out your clothing closet in years, take everything out of the closet and spend a day sorting through it all.  Get rid of everything that doesn't fit, isn't flattering, is uncomfortable, is wrong for your body type, is a bad color for you, or you just have never liked it.  Get a friend involved if you're afraid that you'll be sentimental and keep too much stuff.  After you do a big clean out, it seriously will only take five minutes each month to stay on top of things.

2) Anything with "name brand" resale value gets listed on Ebay.  I list things on Ebay 2-4 times per year.  I do well selling Born shoes, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, and Brooks Brothers- just do a completed items search to see if your brands will sell.

3) Anything that is vintage gets listed on Etsy or Ebay.

4) Anything leftover from these two categories that is in good condition gets sent to a consignment shop in a nearby town.  I like this shop because they aren't picky and donate the leftovers.  I just take in a few bags 2x per year according to season and they donate what doesn't sell and send me checks periodically.

5) Anything that is "off season" or in not great but not bad condition gets donated.  If it's ripped, stained, or junk it goes in the trash or turned into rags.

1) Books get cleaned out twice per year.  During this time I go through shelf by shelf and get rid of anything that I don't read, won't read again, or am not attached to and think others could enjoy.

2) I do a quick search on Amazon to see if any of my books are worth selling.  If they're going for $10+, I consider listing on Amazon.

3) If I feel too lazy for Amazon or would prefer something quicker, I take books with resale value to my local secondhand bookshop to get store credit.

4) If they don't have resale value but are in good condition, I list on Paperback Swap (my referral link is in the sidebar if you want to use it).  I have been a member for years and have received 181 books and mailed out 194.  WOW!!!!  Since January 1st, I've mailed out 15 books.  It isn't normally that busy but I had completed a clean-out and listed a bunch at one time.  I prefer listing a lot at once because it means people will request at the same time and I can make fewer trips to the post office!!!

5) If they aren't in great condition and have no resale value, I donate.

I know it seems complicated, but it really isn't!  This system allows me to keep the things I enjoy, declutter what I don't need, and make a little bit of money in the process. 


Anonymous said…
Your advice on getting rid of books is very timely for me. Just today I was trying to decide what to do with several books I've been holding on to but am now ready to part with. Just found your blog today (from the post on Non-Consumer Advocate FB page) and am enjoying it!
Good luck, Anon!! Hope the decluttering goes well. Glad you are enjoying the blog! :)

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