I used to be something of a pack rat, now I'm that guy always getting rid of stuff. Before, I always thought something might be useful later on. My thinking was, "I might need that one day." No more.
I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but now I get excited to look at the model apartment layouts at IKEA, and marvel at how you can live with less in less square footage. And do so with two large Labrador Retrievers.
I've built a few projects with IKEA cabinets, check them out here, but this post is about getting rid of stuff.
How did I come to be able to let go of stuff, and not bring more home? I think two things influenced this.
First was me starting to meditate. Not to sound all wooh and crunchy, but its allowed me to mentally let go of a lot of daily mental baggage. Lots of stuff just doesn't matter, it drags you down. (my favorite app for meditation is Headspace, it is great)
Second was the fact that I do all the cleaning in the house. If there was less stuff on the floor, I wouldn't have to move it to vacuum. Less Labrador dust balls could collect around that stuff. Fewer horizontal surfaces (piles of stuff) meant less surfaces to dust.
And when I wanted to do a project that involved large stuff, like plywood or cardboard, I always had to move stuff around to do it.
Then there is the visual. Less visual clutter. For some reason now, I like to see less stuff around.
I'll see stuff in the house, and ask myself, "Have I used that in the last year?" If the answer is no, out it goes. Many cookbooks have left the house lately. I have favorites I reference, and they stay, but I don't get the amount of cookbooks people have.
Case in point: A few years ago my neighbor was giving away a propane grill. It was in pretty good shape, but it didn't work. I fixed it, and of course made a video about it here. But I've since realized, I just don't grill. I've used the gas grill more for seasoning cast iron than cooking steak.
So it was time to let go of the gas grill. First I took a photo of it and emailed friends. With no response, I wheeled it out in front of our Brooklyn apartment, with a bilingual sign on it. I kept the propane tank for to help make maple syrup up at the house.
Literally in a few hours, someone was out front hauling it away. Nice.
I still see stuff and think "I should bring that home, I could use it" and then I stop myself, usually. A box of electrical wiring supplies did make it home, but its being used and anything left is put back out on the sidewalk.
Getting Rid Of Stuff, Some Suggestions
If you don't have an urban sidewalk, maybe your local community has an email list you can send to, or you can use Craigslist and Freecycle. There some drawbacks to using the free section of Craigslist, we talk about it on GardenFork Radio. But if done correctly, its a great way for getting rid of stuff. Freecycle's attraction is the people in that group understand the process, and are better to deal with. Either way set specific time and dates for pickup, or you will be waiting all day.
I look out the window and love that the grill has gone to a family who can use it, and I have more space in my backyard. It's a great feeling, just letting go. How do you let go?
I'm currently re-reading Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I've begun the process, but still have a long way to go. I like your suggestion of picking things up and asking yourself, "Have I used this in the last year?" Good post.
Root Simple did a podcast about her book. I'm not sure I can hold each object and think about it, but I can look at it and say, this has to go. thx!
don't use your grill! not sure you deserve outside space.
say hi to the pups.
I've seen some of the hoarder shows or the "pickers" where some old coot has a ton of stuff he can't part with. I realized I don't want to be that guy after too many I could use that pipe or storage box, planter.... I find the garage/attic/basement full. Just starting the get rid process but first step for me is saying mentally NO to that useful object someone is throwing out. I don't need it.
I would have hated to part with a good stainless steel grill but I understand. The "free" option is best. I find that when I try to sell something like on craigslist - I end up wasting a lot of time putting the add up/ pictures/responding/ setting up the exchange.... So if you sell object for 50.00 your probably in the hole for 75.00 in time effort.
Yes the hardest part is letting go, and then finding a good place for it all. Craigslist is tricky, especially for used gas grills, I was happy just to get rid of it. thx!
WE have one just like it, need to get rid of it. Bought a new Weber this time. It's free, come and get it, LOL
I saw the grill I gave away in my neighbor's yard this week. I hope they enjoy it!
Brooklyn Apartment??? I thought you lived out in the country?
I'm primarily using eBay and Amazon to declutter; I have a lot of construction equipment and tools, diecast and R&R memorabilia to sell and I find that with eBay and Amazon the buyers are more serious (as I require "instant pay") and won't leave me hanging like craigslist. I found that Marie Kondo's suggestion of thanking the item for its service, somehow, makes it easier for me to let the item go. I've got a long way to go and am finally making the commitment on June 1 to open an eBay store so I can list 250 instead of 50 items a month. The 1000 listing / month store just sounds too overwhelming but would certainly up the decluttering commitment! I've also been watching eBay Youtubers "Raiken Profit" and friends for tons of tips.
@nancy thanks for the tip on Raiken Profit will have to check them out. I am getting rid of cookbooks I don't use, and was thinking whether is was worth it to sell them on ebay or just give them away.
@Anne, Our jobs are in NYC, so we live here during the week. thx!
Goodwill, nonprofit-supporting thrift shop, local emergency assistance program - there are lots of way to get rid of stuff, as long as it's not junk. In that case, sell it to your local municipal waste authority.