The Art of Decluttering

Harrison Yates | July 28, 2020 @ 12:00 AM

The Art of Decluttering

Over time, we all accumulate belongings in our homes. With so much to do every day, we may keep our houses clean, but we don’t go through our things to decide what we want to keep and what is just taking up space.

Most people aren’t hoarders. Hoarding disorder is a real, diagnosable illness that requires treatment, but it’s uncommon. Most people just purchase new things over the years without getting rid of things we no longer need.

Decluttering is the process of going through our belongings to determine what we need and what we don’t, and getting rid of what we don’t.


What You Should Keep

This is hard to quantify, but we can take some advice from Marie Kondo and, as we go through our things, decide if an item “sparks joy.” You will want to keep things you need, like various types of kitchenware, cleaning supplies, towels, and so on, even if they don’t make you smile or give you a warm feeling inside.

When it comes to other things like books, pieces of furniture, and clothing, decide how the items make you feel. You may love having books filling your bookcases, and that’s fine. If you use all your furniture, keep all of it. Also, keep the clothes you love and that you’ve worn within the last six months.

Next, we come to sentimental and irreplaceable items, which include things like baby books, scrapbooks, and collections. These are things that bring a sense of meaning to life and are worth keeping around.


What You Can Discard

Do you have furniture you don’t use? This might include a couple of chairs in the living room that no one ever sits in or furniture items gathering dust in the garage. Do you have boxes of old books, even textbooks, that are no longer of interest to you? Do you have clothes you haven’t worn in the last six months? (We’re not talking about seasonal clothes. If you have winter clothes you haven’t worn because it’s the middle of summer, you should keep those for next winter.) These are the sorts of things you can discard. Set them in a corner of your living room in boxes, for the next step.


How to Discard Various Belongings

Once you’ve set aside the things you can get rid of, you’ll need to sort them a little further. This can be time-consuming, but worth it in the end.

First, decide what you can sell. These items should be in new or gently-used condition, and you can use sites like eBay or Craigslist to sell them to others. There are also apps for this purpose, like OfferUp, which allows you to sell your things locally. Think about whether or not some of these items may be the perfect start to a new collection which you can grow over time into something of sentimental value. 

Next, sort out items you can donate, which should also be in at least gently-used condition. Donate these to local thrift shops or charities that help the poor in your area. Make an itemized list of what you donate, including the estimated value of each item, and get a receipt from the recipient company. You can use this as a tax deduction. You can also donate items that you’re unable to sell. 

There will be items that don’t fit into the “sell” or “donate” category. You can recycle many of these items. This includes old clothes, electronics, glass and metal items, and more. Find a local recycling center. Ask them what they take, and if they know where you can recycle things that they don’t. 


Those things that you can’t sell, donate or recycle, you can throw out. If you have a large item like this, you can put it out with your garbage and call your waste removal company to let them know you have an item for pick up. Otherwise, you can bring such items to your local landfill.


Once all this is done, you’ll be pleased to find that your home feels bigger, and this should help relieve stress. It will also be easier to keep your home clean daily. And, if you still don’t have quite enough space for all your things, you can always rent an affordable self-storage unit with us.