How To Get Rid of a Bunch of Stuff That You Don’t Need

IMG_4381I’m a minimalist.

I don’t hold a lot of personal attachment to things and I only buy a few things that I absolutely LOVE. 

This may stem from a few things: I’ve moved a lot, I grew up in a house with a LOT of things, I get anxious in messy cluttered spaces, my personal aesthetic is very simple with clean lines, and oh the list goes on.

Last month I moved again (11 times in 8 years if you’re counting) and it was absolutely HELL. We decided to do the “slow move”, rather than shelling out money for movers and we pinched ourselves over and over about this over 2.5 weeks. At first we moved a few things over at a time, which was painful. Then towards the end we realized that we still needed to moved a LOT of stuff and didn’t have much time to do so.

At the end of the move, we plopped down in our new space (much bigger than our two previous places) surrounded by so much STUFF. How did we accumulate it all? How many bruises and scratches and bumps did that one useless thing cause? I was starting to realized that what looked like minimalism really wasn’t.

It inspired me to go out and buy a book that I’d heard so much about and had been meaning to read: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

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After reading the book, I purged. Big time. I’m talking about 20 trash bags of useless stuff to Goodwill. The donate list included books I hadn’t finished, dresses that I never wore, scarves that were a gift that I never used and even more than half of my childhood memory box. Trash items included old photos that I didn’t like or never looked at and hotel shampoos I kept just in case.

Her major emphasis is purging from our live things that don’t spark joy. I surprised myself by just how quickly I was able to siphon through all my belongings with this in mind. A jacket I hadn’t worn since 2009, a book that I never liked, a old knick knack that was just taking up space.

I love my books, they are very important to me and very personal to me, but I tore through them in seconds, cutting almost 1/3 of my collection within 10 minutes. I owned so many that I didn’t truly love. Maybe they were just bad purchases, maybe they were bad gifts, maybe they were just a silly book from childhood. So many didn’t fill me with joy.

My closet was another big area for purging. I tossed about 1/8th of the summer wardrobe, but almost 1/2 of my winter wardrobe. It just doesn’t get all that cold in Washington and I don’t need a puffy coat or 3 pairs of ear muffs. The clothes we don’t wear all that often tend to be the things we don’t like or need anyway, so why keep them around?

There was a lot of no-brainer advice that I’d always needed to hear:

-Why keep hotel shampoos? You will literally never use them and IF you do, they probably have already expired.

-You have had that mysterious cord for 4 years now. If you don’t know what it goes to now, you will NEVER know what it goes to.

-Furniture counts too. I’ve had some pieces given to me that I wasn’t a huge fan of in the first place. They were placed on Craigslist and I got a little extra cash!

-No one needs a copy of their bank statement from 8 years ago. Shred it. Forget about it.

-Boxes. I have saved so many boxes and bags, thinking that one day I will use them. Of course I never do. No one does!

-Holding onto old memories just isn’t healthy. Keeping the photos I truly loved, and the objects that really transported me back to childhood is so much more rewarding. Plus is really lightens your “memory box” load.

When you are organized, other people around you want to be organized too. If we’re being honest, my boyfriend has a lot more stuff than I do. He has a lot of hobbies and a lot of passions and they all require more stuff in the house. But as I was purging, I started to notice his things in my purging piles. I tried to return a couple pairs of pants and he told me that he hadn’t liked the way they fit, so he thought now was a good time to donate them. Even his books (he may love books even more than I do) went in with my books. Though it was a much smaller percentage of his total collection (maybe 1/12th) it was a start! Organization is contagious, seriously. 

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