Tip #1: Avoid Tackling Everything at Once

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You’ve heard the truism “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”. This is true when it comes to getting rid of ‘stuff.’ The challenge of removing a mountain of ‘things’ begins with disposing of the first thing. Too many people get overwhelmed by the height or volume of the mountain and never begin. I call it “frozen” in indecision. The mountain can be moved if you tackle the project one space at a time. (I don’t even say one ‘room’ at a time because sometimes that is overwhelming.)

Let’s start with a closet.

Begin with establishing four ‘piles’ for your decisions. Keep, donate, dispose, or sell. Give yourself 48 hours to act on your decision to donate, dispose or sell, otherwise the decisions will just become another pile. Pull every item out of the closet and put in one of the four piles. If your “keep” pile is the recipient of most of your generosity – you’ve got to be harder on yourself.

Is it clothing? Try it on. If it doesn’t fit, isn’t in style, or you haven’t worn it in a year put it in one of the other three piles. Someone needs it. Your overflow is someone else’s provision. Don’t fall into the trap of “maybe” or “I might” – that’s what caused your clutter to begin with. Is it the ‘stuff’ of life: books, CD’s, games, etc. If it hasn’t been pulled from your closet in over a year it goes into one of the three piles to get rid of. When you are finished, return to the closet the “keep” items: you should have left only the favorite items you use on a regular basis and your closet should have considerable more order.

Now, let’s tackle the remaining piles.

Let’s start with the trash: that’s easy, throw them away.

Now, the giveaway pile. Immediately put the giveaway items in a box or bag and put them in the backseat of your vehicle. If they are ‘giveaway’ to a specific person, but them in a box labeled for the person. (Make sure you ask if the recipient wants your ‘gift’, don’t assume.) If they are ‘giveaway’ to charity, put them in another box. Don’t put the boxes in the trunk – the trunk becomes an out-of-sight-out-of-mind disposal site. The next time you are running errands you are always aware of these items in your back seat. Drop them off at the friend or family member or the donation site as you are in the area.

Finally, the “Sell” items. There are many online resources to sell your unwanted items. I’ve found great success with Facebook marketplace; for larger volume there are companies like www.EBTH.com; for entire estate or household sales there are many local online and physical auction houses. The key is – know how to handle the online market place or hire someone to do it. If you have an entire household of “stuff” you are often better off setting aside “sale” items and having a professional handle it for you.

Give yourself a goal of one ‘space’ a week to clear. If the ‘space’ is a room, give yourself time to thoroughly inventory the ‘stuff’ so that you are keeping only the essential, loved, or items that give you joy.

The Kathy Chiero Group of Keller Williams Greater Columbus specializes in helping homeowners “downsize”. We are the creators and presenters of Central Ohio’s premier downsizing event, DownSize Columbus. How can we help you? Contact us for a free in-home analysis of the value of your home, tips for getting your home sale ready and additional resources for getting rid of stuff.