How and why to let go…

I’ve been there.

You’ve been on a decluttering roll.

You are starting to see some progress! You have purged your closet. Then purged again. You are not yet where you want to be, but you are on the right path. You’ve trashed all the damaged stuff, donated all the ill-fitting stuff, taken bag after bag to goodwill. But off to the side of your closet, separated from the clothes you need, use, and love, is a little group of hangers, or a little pile of clothes. Or maybe it’s the kitchen and it’s a little stack of dishes.

These are the things that you just can’t let go because they are BRAND NEW or (to be read in my mother’s voice) REALLY GOOD QUALITY.

SURELY you can’t just throw these things in a donate box. They must have a greater purpose! You have Grand Plans! Sell them on Craigslist to make a little cash, donate them to a special cause, find a friend who needs them!

My amazing-in-every-way cousin, who you would definitely want to be your best friend if you ever met her, emailed me with this exact question. She has some brand new items that she says “have been in a pile in my room forever because I don’t know what to do with them!”

So, here is my take on it, Cuz!

1. LET GO OF THE GUILT.

I get it. You spent hard-earned money and you regret it. But no matter how long you hang on to these items, you will never, ever get that money back. Quit punishing yourself and let it go. If you need permission, you have it. I’m giving it to you on behalf of your sanity. 🙂

2. REMEMBER THESE THINGS ARE CONTINUING TO COST YOU EVERY DAY.

You already spent the money to purchase these items. It turned out to be a waste. You feel bad, and so you hold on to them. But just remember… by holding on to these items, you are allowing them to continue to cost you. It is likely that every time you see them you are reminded of your wasteful decision and forcing yourself to feel guilt. Cut your losses, forgive your error, and get that thing out of your life. So you wasted some money…it happens. Quit wasting your time and energy too!

3. WANT YOUR STUFF TO GO TO A GOOD HOME? GIVE IT A TRY AND THEN HAVE FAITH.

I have two main methods of getting rid of things that are more difficult to let go.

1. For some items, I post them on Facebook. These people are all my actual friends, and I would be thrilled if anyone could use any of them. Very often, a friend contacts me immediately about how much she could use the item I posted, and I leave it out for them to pick up the next day. Everyone wins!

2. I schedule pickups with the ARC. It usually take about 2 weeks from your call for them to pick up your items. After two weeks, anything that is laying around in one of my “I am totally going to sell this on CL pile” gets put with the ARC pickup pile! Then, I just have a little faith that these things will get to someone who needs them. I remember that when I was a young and very house-poor teacher, finding nice work clothes at Goodwill was incredibly helpful!

Now… you can try to sell your items on Craigslist or other online sites, but I find that whenever I decide to do that, I end up just keeping them for an extra month while I DON’T ever list any of the items for sale, because really, it’s not worth the money to me to have strangers come to my home. If the money you would get listing these items is worth the hassle of listing them, then do it TODAY. If they are still in a pile tomorrow and not posted on CL… into the donate pile they go.

And when you find yourself in the situation that you are giving away brand new things, go easy on yourself. We are all learning as we go, figuring out how to make our life as we want it. There are bound to be bumps in the road and that’s ok.

Just get those bumps out of your house so you quit tripping over them.

Having trouble letting go of clutter? Read this.

Decluttering my wardrobe started with the easy stuff… the items I didn’t really like all that much or were uncomfortable. Then went the stuff I loved but that didn’t fit quite right. Next I got rid of things I used to love or thought I should love or would love someday.

After all this, there was one category of clothes that still remained in my closet. It was the stuff that was beautiful, fit well, was relatively expensive and almost new, or (hard swallow) brand new. These are the items that I have had a really difficult time letting go of….until today!

So how did I finally let go of these things?

I figured it out by accident. One of my dear friends also happens to be a phenomenal human being and is holding a clothing drive at school. He is collecting clothes for homeless LGBT teenagers and donating them for the holidays.

This morning, I was getting dressed and I noticed a pair of nice pants that I paid too much for and then proceeded to wear one time in five years. (The truth is, they are a liiiiitle too small). It suddenly hit me that these pants would be perfect for a young kid going to, say, a job interview.

That one realization and my perspective changed.

Suddenly, all of these brand new or almost new clothes had a new purpose, and it wasn’t sitting in my closet. These nice things were destined to go to a needy kid.

Can I tell you how easy it suddenly was to get rid of those things I had been hanging on to?

So friends, here is what I learned….There are so many things that cause us to hang on to unnecessary clutter, and many of these are completely negated in the face of a good cause.

If you are having trouble decluttering an area of your home, try to visualize who the recipient of these items will be when you donate them.

Too many kids’ books and toys? Picture some happy munchkins, opening those books and toys on Christmas morning. Picture their parents, who couldn’t afford those things glance at each other across the room and throw each other a teary smile.

A box of maternity clothes? There is a pregnant mama out there that can’t afford them. Your clothes that you have been meaning to sell on Craigslist for four years could be keeping her warm.

A ridiculous amount of serving pieces? Post them for free online to a family in need, or drop them off to a shelter that serves homeless vets… and picture them eating a holiday dinner served from your lovely dishes.

It doesn’t matter what you donate or who it goes to… just remember that your excess clutter can be another person’s saving grace, especially during the holiday season.

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!:)

Ladies and Gentlemen…. the hubby is IN!!!

My husband has been on board with this minimalism thing since day one. Every time I bring minimalism to another area of our life, he is my biggest supporter and cheerleader. But until recently, he has never initiated a project himself. But the other day, something new happened!

There I was, sitting in my living room, giving the kids some snuggles while we watched a movie. My husband was making a snack in the kitchen. He open the knife drawer, rummaged around for what he was looking for. Then he stopped. And stared. And then he said,

“Babe… do we really need all these knives?”

Guys. I got a liiiittle too excited.

I practically jumped off the couch and said, “NO! NO WE DO NOT!” And danced into the kitchen for my first husband-initiated decluttering project.

In case you need to get at your own knife drawer, here is a little inspiration:

1. First, we took everything out of the drawer. Yes, that is all from ONE DRAWER.
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2. Then we pulled out the keepers.
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After I took this photo, we reevaluated. Do we little need those useless little corn thingies? NOPE. Do we really need three bottle openers? Actually, yes. One will be installed outside on the patio. The silver one is the one we actually use. And then, you will notice the USMA opener. It’s musical, people. Remember my post on keeping only what you need, use, or love? Yeah, well to say my husband loves hearing “On Brave Old Army Team” and watching the kids march around while sing the Army theme song every time he opens a beer is an understatement. It stays. Remember, we are creating a minimalism that works for us. 🙂

3. Next, we wiped out the drawer and put the keepers back. Check out what is still left on the counter!
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4. We put the rest into a box for our next trip to Goodwill!

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It’s so great to have a partner in this journey. I am one lucky lady!
Have a great night everybody!